PaperCity Magazine

July/August 2019- Dallas

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80 BRAD KELLY HE'S THE BOMB BY BILLY FONG I t's become a tradition that for the July/August issue, we feature a Boy Bomb. However, the word "boy" doesn't seem an appropriate moniker for Brad Kelly. What immediately comes to mind is handsome gent or dashing playboy. Brad is Dallas' Errol Flynn, David Niven, or perhaps George Clooney. Charming doesn't begin to sum him up. He exudes classic glamour, with a youthful grin that belies a devilish side. During a recent coffee at Brad's, he fl ung open his gray double doors and greeted me with a warm embrace. His University Park house is modest compared to others in the neighborhood. You know, those 7,000-square-foot new-construction manses that have recently sprouted from the foundations of perfectly beautiful (albeit older and smaller) Tudor or ranch-style houses. Brad's retains its classic bones from the 1940s — and it's perfectly old school. You might even hear the landline phone ringing from another room. I've known Brad for years — and he's already part of the Bomb family. While interviewing another Bomb girl in Highland Park Village, Brad drove by and shouted from his car, "You must consider featuring my Aunt Nancy!" His Aunt Nancy, of course, is Nancy Dedman. Two short months later, Aunt Nancy was inducted into the Bomb club. Debonair Brad was born in Tulsa and raised in Bristow, Oklahoma . He graduated from the University of Oklahoma then moved to Dallas, where he received his MBA from Southern Methodist University. Post-college, he secured a job with Bobby Lyle, founder of Lyco Energy and the namesake of SMU's school of engineering. Lyle, one of Brad's earliest mentors, inspired him to take a bold adventure. "I really changed my life at age 28 when I decided to take a year off and travel the world," he says. Today, Brad credits his worldly view to that valuable time in his late 20s. His family didn't think taking time off to travel was the smartest thing for a young professional. But Brad showed them his was far from a rash decision, detailing a precise plan to visit Europe, Africa, and Asia via a TWA around-the-world pass that provided 12 months of fl ights. "I was poor as a church mouse," he says. "I had done little traveling up to that point, as my life had been devoted to school and work." Still, Brad knew he needed to feed his growing wanderlust. At home, Brad has an assembly of L.L. Bean boat-and-tote bags (all in the preppiest shades of blue, pink, and green) fi lled with blueprints. I love this. It's a refl ection of his accomplished career as the principal of his own fi rm, Brad Kelly & Associates. "I am part architect, part general contractor, part interior designer, part accountant, part landscape designer, part marriage counselor," says Brad of his work as a residential home development consultant who directs projects from all stages of planning. "In my business, I am frequently asked where and when I developed such a keen eye for design." His frequent response is simple. "Aside from being born with some basic good taste, one of my fi rst house projects required my overseeing the work of the late great Dallas designer Beverly Field. Beverly tested every fi ber of my manhood and professionalism — from my patient and calm demeanor to my respect for a project budget. But what I got in return from her — aside from my silver hair — is the confi dence in knowing how to use color as a complement to texture, art, textiles, and accessories in a home, combined with a balance of antique and contemporary furnishings." Brad's memories of Beverly made me realize that we are truly kindred spirits in our love of women who are and were wildly successful but always witty, warm, and the life of a party. People always say that when Brad talks to you, you feel like the center of his world. Few have that innate quality to make people feel singularly important. And so it is that no matter how many times we meet, I always feel privileged when I am in Brad's company. Approximate date of photo. Summer 1993. Yikes! That was nearly 30 years ago. The occasion. Summer vacation, with my friend Melissa Melville. I think the lire was about 8 million to the dollar then, and we hired a boat for the day to take us all around the islands. I had not done anything this decadent in my life! What were you wearing. It doesn't look like much! I think I was wearing my favorite bathing trunks and Ray-Bans — and hopefully sunscreen. What price fashion. There's so little fashion to talk about in this pic, we should just move to the next question. Why is this a picture of you. It captures a time in my life when I was so happy and carefree — healthy, young, independent, and curious about everything. And it was on this particular boat outing, hopping from one beautiful cove to another, where I fi rst began to appreciate how I — formerly a fat little burr-headed boy from Oklahoma — could ever have ended up in a place like this. I felt like Cary Grant! Brad Kelly, 1993

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