We were stepping away from the wine bar when my husband leaned in and lowered his voice. “Hold your glass by the stem,” he said. I was rusty in the art of performative drinking, having spent the last year consuming adult beverages out of juice glasses. But on a balmy Saturday evening, in the days after the CDC declared masks unnecessary for the vaccinated, we ventured out for a date at the hottest new spot in town: RH Dallas, The Gallery on Knox Street. Yes, the home furnishings retailer formerly known as Restoration Hardware.
Of course, the new RH Dallas is not your average furniture store. The three-story Venetian plaster façade strikes a sophisticated presence on Knox Street (pour one out for Highland Park Soda Fountain, will you?) and when we pulled into the Cole Street entrance moments earlier, it felt more like we were checking into a posh New York hotel. In fact, the 42-by-15-foot waterfall fountain across from the valet stand was modeled after the one in Manhattan’s Paley Park.
Inside, the 70,000-square-foot gallery was buzzing with shoppers and gawkers. In the central expanse of the light-filled ground floor, a man snapped a photo of a silver-haired beauty posing on one of several Cloud sofas, the aspirational down sectional owned by Jenners and top YouTubers. A young couple strolled through vignettes of living rooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms as their infant napped in an UPPAbaby.
While everything in the gallery is for sale, from the $32,995 60-inch Rain Round Chandelier by Dallas-born glass artist Alison Berger to the $49 Ultra-Soft Turkish Towel—staffers can even offer prices on antiques and artifacts from Chairman and CEO Gary Friedman’s travels used to style the space—the only thing I was permitted to pick up and carry was my wine glass. Rather than warehouse goods on-site, all purchases are delivered to customers’ homes. Museum-like mounted placards bear two prices for each item: the retail price and another at 25 percent less for those who have paid the $100 annual fee for an RH membership (surely worth it unless one is shopping for a single washcloth).
Membership also includes complimentary consultations with RH interior designers, and as we walked through the store, I noticed a couple lounging with wine glasses at the end of a large marble dining table, peering at a designer’s laptop screen. There were more client-and-designer brainstorm sessions in the second-floor Design Atelier with leather, upholstery, and rug samples galore. The same level houses RH Modern, the sleek-lined sister brand to the more traditional RH Interiors, on display downstairs.
We eventually returned to the bustling third-floor wine bar and glass-enclosed rooftop dining room, which is outfitted with a fountain, faux olive trees, and massive chandeliers. An outdoor terrace with patio furniture (all shoppable) flanked either side. The menu was much like the store’s home goods: comforting, reliable, pricey. We considered shrimp cocktail, crispy artichokes, and roast chicken. I ordered the lobster roll.
One staffer apologized for the evening’s inclement weather, but I couldn’t think of anything more romantic than watching storm clouds gathering in the distance. And the act of people-watching felt restorative. Twenty-somethings in floral dresses screamed as other members of their party arrived. Rosé flowed.
As we nibbled on a dessert of warm, sea-salt-sprinkled chocolate-chip cookies, a strange thing happened. Across the indoor courtyard, I saw a familiar face. When was the last time I ran into a friend out on the town? I weaved my way through the tables and gave her a hug. There at RH, as the rain streamed down the glass panes above—the sound may very well have been audible—my bubble officially popped.