Interior designer: Julio Quiñones, Julio Quiñones & Assoc., 2525 Butler St., Dallas, TX 75235; 214/350-6437, julioquinones.com.
Landscape architect: Boyd Heiderich Bargas Inc. 1708 N. Griffin St., Dallas, TX 75202; 214/871-1530, bhbg.com.
Written and produced by Candace Ord Manroe
Photographs by Werner Straube
Remember those days when Dallas and big hair were uttered in the same disparaging breath? (For Dallasites who shunned the oversized 'do, self included, those were fightin' words.) That was the same time the city took an equally unflattering rap for design with a capital D--as in, over Done. Well, hang on. Big D may be done with overdone. Or so it appears from its newest wave of interior design. Retro and its leaner lines are rampant, and where they're not--as in the home of Ann Stordahl and husband Kelly Austin--a different sort of restrained aesthetic, classic yet fresh, prevails.
It's no coincidence that Ann, a former model and now Neiman Marcus executive vice president of women's ready-to-wear, chose Julio Quiñones as her designer. Named by Traditional Home in 2009 as one of 20 young designers to keep an eye on, Quiñones is riding the crest of Dallas's new design wave. (See the home he designed for former Dallas mayor Laura Miller here.) His sensibility is everything a fashion maven could desire: a celebration of strong lines with a beautiful drape and shape; an homage to dressmaker detailing; intuitively tactile; tightly edited; sharply nuanced, especially with color; and more concerned with the sum of the parts than with any single detail.
Ann's respect is reciprocated. "I love clients who work in fashion and art because they are so open-minded," says Quiñones. Ann happily jumped into the decorating game with both feet, while Kelly, a businessman, was content to observe from the sidelines
"When we moved here from San Francisco, we wanted to bring the California look with us," Ann recalls. This 1924 Spanish Colonial just 10 minutes from the Neiman Marcus flagship store downtown offered an appealing familiarity. It was washed in sunlight, thanks to a tasteful update by previous owners, and it still maintained its original charm, including a pristine Rookwood-tile fireplace in the living room.
But nothing's perfect. "When we bought it," says Ann with a slight tilt of her head, "the walls were orange." Contrasting moldings stepped up the visual temperature even more.
One of Quiñones's first jobs was to chill the palette. "I painted all of the walls and moldings the same light natural linen for a monochromatic background," he notes. Khotan and Oushak rugs place pale, pearly color underfoot in the living and family rooms.
The designer continued to calm the living room by camouflaging a pair of bookshelves on either side of the fireplace with tall panes of antiqued mirror. Not only do the mirrors hide the distractions of the shelves and their contents, they add shots of sparkle imperative for interest in a room so subtle.
The first furnishings he bought for the house were the living room's exuberantly grained olive-wood Parsons tables. "I knew Ann liked burl woods and simple lines," says Quiñones. "I only chose pieces that had interesting woods, shapes, and textures."
To get the right shape, he designed the living room sofa himself. With a top and arms that roll back in well-defined curves, its silhouette is exquisite. "I designed it so that the arm and back would look good in profile, because that's what you see when you first walk in."
Surprisingly early in the decorating process, Quiñones committed to a pair of tomato-red lamps that he ultimately used to bookend the living room's sofa table. "In a room that's mainly taupe, I thought we needed that little pop," he explains. In fact, the lamps are really the room's only pop. Fabrics are neutral or subdued, and windows are left undressed. Color comes from the art, which includes several canvases by Ann's favorite painter, Rufino Tamayo.
"When we moved to Dallas in 1992, I was thrilled to learn that Stanley [Marcus] knew the artist, and that one of his paintings hangs in the executive offices at Neiman's," says Ann.
In the dining room, the pop of color is even smaller--a bright, almost periwinkle blue on a pair of 19th-century Sèvres candelabras on Ann's Biedermeier-style table. "One of the things I asked Julio to do was to create a look that was sort of eclectic, interspersing antiques that I've collected from my travels," explains Ann.
In the living room, a Regency-period mahogany desk teams with an 18th-century Italian chair. "That chair reminds me of something Ann would wear--like the sharp heel of a shoe. I like a chair with attitude," says Quiñones. He used an ebony finish to up the attitude of an old daybed. "You can make a piece more modern with a dark stain so it doesn't look so grannyish," he notes. Linear custom floor lamps and sleek tub chairs add more modernity to the mix.
Music is a big part of Ann and Kelly's lives, so incorporating her piano (she subs as her church's organist) and their stereo system into the family room design was a must. Quiñones hid subwoofers behind decorative metal inserts on the bookcase wall. "The living room is my favorite space, but this is where we live," says Ann.