It all began with the art.
When her client found a house in Greenway Parks in 2012, designer Dawn Bergan, owner and partner at Corley Design Associates, didn’t start with furniture, lighting, or construction needs. The large art collection took precedence. “I photographed all of her art. We measured it to make sure it would all fit and that she had a little room to grow,” Dawn says.
Dawn has known her client for many years. “Her parents were clients of David Corley many years ago. She and her sister grew up with David Corley. When I began working with him, I started working on her projects,” she says. “Now, we have kind of a shorthand. She makes decisions pretty quickly. It’s not a hard sell.”
“The house has a modern flair, but it’s very comfortable and functional.”
Once it was certain that the house would accommodate the space needed for the art collection, Dawn set to work making sure the rest of the space met living requirements. They added a large master closet, painted and added lighting throughout, changed out the fireplaces, and moved the laundry room upstairs. They also converted a staid storage area into something a little more exciting. “We put in a bar. She likes to entertain a lot, and there was no formal bar. We refitted it so that it could have a sink and house all of her barware,” Dawn says.
“The house has a modern flair, but it’s very comfortable and functional.”Dawn Bergan
When it came to furnishing the rooms, Dawn created some custom pieces and mixed in items from the homeowner’s previous residence. She just gave it a new look. “Her house was pretty traditional before. She loves modern art, so we tried to make things a little more modern with construction. We reupholstered some of her pieces with more modern fabric or changed lines, making things a little sleeker and cleaner. But we still worked in the family antiques that she loves.”
The result is a very comfortable place where the homeowner’s large art collection can shine. She began collecting in the 1970s. “I got nicer and nicer pieces. I began mixing them with some things I got from my parents,” the homeowner says. “My tastes have changed as I’ve matured.” She works with Dallas art dealer John Runyon, but she also buys on her own. “It’s about half and half,” she says. “I’ve filled up the spaces I have, but off and on, I’ll look in Dallas. I’ve bought in London and France—really all over.” The house is bursting with pieces from a host of notable artists including Andy Warhol, William Cole, Tony Scherman, and David Levinthal.
Even so, this is very much a place that’s meant to be lived in, and it is. The homeowner loves throwing large dinner parties and weekly mahjong games. “The house has a modern flair,” Dawn says. “But it’s very comfortable and functional.”