PaperCity Magazine

November 2014 - Dallas

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B Y R E B E C C A S H E R M A N . A R T D I R E C T I O N M I C H E L L E A V I Ñ A . P H O T O G R A P H Y S H A Y N A F O N T A N A . INSIDE JOB BRANT McFARLAIN, R BRANT DESIGN THE SHOELESS COBBLER'S FAMILY HAS NOTHING ON INTERIOR DESIGNERS, WHOSE OWN HOMES ARE NEVER QUITE FINISHED. THREE OF DALLAS' TOP TALENTS OPEN THE DOORS TO THEIR PRIVATE ABODES — EACH, BY HIS OWN ADMISSION, IN VARIOUS STAGES. WE PERUSE THE AWE-INSPIRING LAYOUTS. T he 20-year-old modern house in the Turtle Creek area, located a stone's throw from the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, had always been one of Brant McFarlain's favorites. But the house itself — which had originally been built by caterer Wendy Krispin — wasn't what appealed to him. The early-'90s architecture was too severe for his tastes, with harsh edges, a glass catwalk upstairs and a curving staircase that reminded him of the Guggenheim museum. "I had a friend who lived in the house for 10 years, and there were years of going to parties over there. Everyone loved it," says the designer, whose clients include art collectors Lindsey and Patrick Collins and Christen and Derek Wilson. "It was a neat house, but not for me. But I loved the area and the memories." His friend sold it, then another four years went by. In October of last year, McFarlain noticed a for sale sign in the yard. On impulse, he and his partner, commercial broker Justin Moon, bought it sight unseen. "First thing we did was try to take the '90s out of it," says McFarlain, who brought the 5,000-square- foot house down to its studs while leaving the original footprint. He expanded the master bath and bedroom upstairs (a balcony now overlooks the pool) but kept the galley kitchen. "I wanted it to have a more European modern feel — to add some history with the new," he says. In other words, he wanted the casual rustic feel that knotted woods, limestone and bronze detailing bring. A recent trip to Prague, with all of its history and old buildings, was the inspiration for his own home as well as his current design direction for clients. "Societies are so sophisticated now; we travel a lot," he says. "People want clean, sexy living, and the younger generation has loved modern. I want to bring a little of the past to them with richer materials, layering and a little traditional vibe." He notes that you see the shift from strict minimalism to warm contemporary everywhere, including retail establishments such as Prada: "Slick and cold is gone. It's not the white box anymore." At home, McFarlain aimed for a warm, masculine feel that's reminiscent of a '20s-era gentleman's club, with gray limestone floors, black wool/silk rugs, parchment and green mohair upholstery with brass nailheads. A tufted-leather chesterfield sofa ("My ode to bankers," he says) was also a nod to Moon, who prefers traditional furniture. "I'm working on getting the traditional out of him," McFarlain adds. Five sets of black steel and glass French doors were installed throughout the house — "the kind you saw in the 1920s a lot that are strong and elegant," he says. "It's really a sexy property." The house is still evolving. The galley kitchen will soon get updated, although it won't be opened up as has been the trend. "It's more formal this way, and it's kind of fun when people squeeze into the kitchen during a party," he says. A breakfast room will be added along with a New Orleans-style courtyard. The clubby, Old World feel notwithstanding, McFarlain has already installed a fireplace in every room, with a flat-screen TV above. "After all, we live in a modern world," he says. McFarlain relaxes in the vestibule near his kitchen. Christian Liaigre chair. Oushak rug from Abrash. McFarlain's French bulldog, Boudreaux, sits on a Zanotta chaise longue. Christian Liaigre console with Caste table lamp. In Brant McFarlain's living room, a pouf designed by McFarlain was fabricated locally. Zographos coffee table. Jean Michel Frank for Julian Chichester chairs in Pierre Frey mohair. Taxidermy mouflon. Holly Hunt sofa. Tony Sherman artwork.

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