PaperCity Magazine

May 2019- Houston

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111 took interior design courses in London and design classes at Harvard University's summer school program. "But there is nothing like the practicality of learning on the job," she says. Summers opened her design firm in 1979 when contemporary high-rises and houses were going up in Dallas, but the city remained a bastion of traditional design. "There was really no one else doing modern interiors here when I started," she says. "The appreciation of contemporary architecture and design was slow in coming." Her first job was for the husband of a good friend, who hired her to do the interiors of his law offices. The client loved the Knoll-influenced environment she created for him — but not everyone understood it. Summers traveled to Paris and New York on buying trips. "I discovered a whole school of design from the '30s and '40s that revolved around Jean-Michel Frank," she says. "You could buy original furniture from that era, so I started putting together collections for clients." Today, she is one of the most sought-after interior designers in the country, known for incorporating important 20th-century furnishings with museum-worthy modern art. Her high-profile clients have included Lupe Murchison, and Ross and Sarah Perot Jr. For Deedie Rose and her late husband, Rusty Rose, Summers collaborated with architect Antoine Predock; the four-year project, completed in 2007, was published in The New York Times and received numerous national awards. It established Summers as a preeminent designer and landed her on Architectural Digest's AD 100 list — a distinction she's held every year since. She is currently working on the interiors for Hall Arts Residences in Dallas, slated to open in late 2019, along with residential projects in Hawaii and Bermuda. Her first book, Emily Summers: Distinctly Modern Interiors (Rizzoli, $50) was published this spring, opening a new chapter in her life. "It was so long in coming — more than 35 years," Summers says. Included is a 1957 masterpiece by Edward Durell Stone, the original interiors of which were designed by T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, as well as Summers' own homes in Dallas, Palm Springs, and Colorado Springs. A FEW THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT EMILY SUMMERS. Card stock. I started going to Paris early in my career. It was before digital cameras or iPhones, so I took my Kodak around and took pictures of all the things I'd seen. I printed two copies of everything I found, then I'd staple an index card on the back and write everything down about it. I organized it all in boxes — it took hours. I learned in grad school to always go to the original source material for any project, and I used that inventory for years. Those shoeboxes have since evolved into 300 white vinyl notebooks. Pages that inspire. Star Pieces: The Enduring Beauty of Spectacular Furniture by David Linley introduced me to a lot of the really contemporary designers of the '30s and '40s, who changed the way we thought about furniture. I also loved monographs by designers Paul Dupré-Lafon and Gio Ponti, who designed timeless furnishings that glide right into any environment. Someone to believe in. Antoine Predock opened up a lot of doors for me. He said, 'I have to do all these bathrooms, but if I do them, they'll just all be black granite. Why don't you take over all the baths and have some fun?' The best architects are collaborative. Working with him was an endorsement that brought validation to my work. Perfectly imperfect. One of the inherent dangers in decorating is the too-perfect room — the space that's been so over-managed that it doesn't come to life. I always throw in a really sculptural piece of furniture, like an Edward Wormley tall-back chair. It's important to have things that are interesting to look at as well as being functional. Custom gate designed by Aaron Rambo and made by San Miguel artisans Summers collaborated on a Dallas house designed by architect Antoine Predock. The concrete wall outside the guest bedroom includes a 2000 construction by artist Liz Larner. A custom wall mural by John-Paul Philippe was commissioned for the living room of a Dallas house by architect Bud Oglesby. Emily Summers

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