PaperCity Magazine

December 2019- Dallas

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70 And, with a new skin of concrete, a dated brick fireplace in the living area became a sculptural statement. McInroe's next decision surprised Nguyen: Paint all the ironwork and doors black. "Black helps unify trim that's not perfectly matched and makes it much more stylish," McInroe says. It wasn't a color Nguyen had considered — her wardrobe is full of colorful frocks. She originally envisioned a white-and-gray scheme for her home. "But he totally changed my mind," she says. "I had no idea black could be so dramatic. That's when I realized that if I want a beautiful house, I'd better listen to James." N guyen's initial consultation with McInroe quickly grew into a bigger design project when she hired him to advise on new furnishings and artwork. "She has great personal style — I have several clients who use her styling services — so it was easy to see what she liked," McInroe recalls. "Her fashion sense is about fresh combinations with a bright, young feel." To stay within budget, Nguyen did a lot of the legwork herself, hunting for furniture online and in vintage stores. Each one had to get McInroe's stamp of approval before making its way home. "Even if I loved it, if James didn't think it worked, I didn't buy it," Nguyen says. The striking black-leather sofa in the living room, which she bought online from CB2, was moderately priced and allowed her to splurge on other furnishings. She has the same philosophy with clothes — why buy a $400 T-shirt when a $37 version from Zara works as well. On the other hand, some pieces are worth the investment, such as a classic Louis Vuitton Epi leather clutch or an iconic cowhide Le Corbusier chaise from Cassina, which looks great in the living room, next to a '70s Lucite table Nguyen already owned. A pair of ochre velvet chairs with Gio Ponti-inspired lines from Guggenhome were purchased to flank the sofa. "It just so happens that I saw these chairs and liked how they contrasted with the sofa," McInroe says. "With a neutral background like she has, almost anything could have been the contrast color." Nguyen wanted a really big coffee table, so McInroe pulled a great one from his inventory: an unusual cantilevered, steel-and-glass number that holds court in front of the sofa. A pair of 1980s Italian floor lamps with definite Memphis overtones also came from his inventory. In many ways, designing a room is like putting together a great outfit: The whole thing comes together at the end with the right accessories. Nguyen instinctively knows this, and her personal style really shines in her art choices. "I was at Dolly Python one day — I love vintage clothes — and I stopped into Benny Jack Antiques next door," Nguyen says. "They had all these drawings for $75 apiece, and I bought them all." On another trip to Benny Jack, she came away with an elegant taxidermy peacock and large-scale African artifacts. "I had no idea what to do with any of them," she admits. McInroe grouped six of the drawings and the peacock high above the seating area in the living room for maximum impact. A Noguchi paper lantern, illuminated by a spotlight, helps balance the composition. "The room is very minimal, so the pictures going up high give it drama," McInroe says. "It was the one stroke that completed the room." It wouldn't be a fashion stylist's home without a few The entryway to the 1970s-era house includes the original chandelier, teak staircase, brick planter box, and stained-glass window. In the lounge area, Robert Sonneman Orbiter floor lamp. Eero Saarinen side table from Knoll. Eames lounge chair from Herman Miller. (continued)

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