Can a home designed with mid-century modern furniture that’s heavy on light-loving Lucite and mirrored veneers be considered traditional? In addition to its modern touches, the Dallas home of newlyweds Natalie and Matthew Perry also features classic architecture. The red-brick two-story is embellished inside with chunky traditional moldings; its ceilings are high, and its proportions proper. Put together, the classic architecture and modern furniture create their own distinct style—trad-mod fusion—which celebrates the best of both.
For help reconciling the traditional architecture with the fresh look they wanted, the Perrys turned to interior designer Mary Anne Smiley. In the living room, Smiley repainted the brown walls an ethereal neutral with a hint of blue. Then she mixed in white leather classic Barcelona chairs, vintage white plaster Dorothy Draper torchieres, and an acrylic-and-glass coffee table. Hand-painted Nomi fabrics at the windows, velvet-covered mid-century-style sofas, and a Kelly Wearstler custom wool rug complete the light look.
"I layered dramatic elements for a contrast of shiny and matte, cool and warm," Smiley explains. "I aimed for a young yet dressy room, a touch more formal than the others." Gilt-trimmed side tables with antiqued-glass inserts continue the living room’s youthful elegance, as does the 1960-vintage Venini chandelier.
Interior designer: Mary Anne Smiley Interiors, ASID, IIDA, NCIDQ Cert. Tx Reg. Designer, 5440 Harvest Hill Rd., Suite 234, Dallas, TX 75230; 214/522-0705.
Photographs by Colleen Duffley
Written by Candace Ord Manroe
Produced by Diane Carroll
Sofas ("Canape Apollen,’’ Lucien Rollin): William Switzer Collection, 212/207-8332, trade only.
Sofa fabric ("Penumbra/Polder #5700-14): Joseph Noble Inc., 800/774-7788, josephnoble.com.
Pillows ("Knotty Knotty’’/Meringue #10012-10): Donghia Furniture/Textiles Ltd., 914/662-2377, trade only.
Art (by Mark Whitmarsh): Southwest Gallery, 866/413-2305, swgallery.com.
Armchairs ("Julian/gold finish #L26): Niermann Weeks, 212/319-7979, trade only.
Chair fabric ("Knot-B’’/Celadon #1002B-2): Nomi Fabrics Inc., 831/728-4335, trade only.
Ivory leather chairs ("Barcelona’’/chrome finish): Knoll Inc., 877/615-6655, trade only.
Coffee table ("Hammon Cocktail Table’’): Allan Knight & Assoc., 214/741-2227, trade only.
Quartz cluster on coffee table; citrine geode; quartz tabby crystals: Mineral Hunters, 214/752-8662.
Area rug ("Pierced Lattice’’/Light Sea #1074 by Kelly Wearstler): Patterson, Flynn, Martin, 212/688-7700, trade only.
Chandelier; torchieres: John Gregory Studio, 214/741-9858, trade only.
Fireplace screen: Crow Chandeliers, 214/744-5488, trade only.
Side tables (by Sun): Allan Knight & Assoc., 214/741-2227, trade only.
Consoles: Mary Anne Smiley Interiors, 214/522-0705.
Table lamps: John Gregory Studio, 214/741-9858, trade only.
Vases and bowls: Carlin & Co., 214/760-9522.
Drapery ("LB Dynasty’’/B1 Multi #1 design, #1053): Nomi Fabrics Inc., 831/728-4335.
Shades (natural grass): Conrad, 866/426-6723, trade only.
Wall paint (custom); ceiling paint ("Window Pane’’ #6210): The Sherwin-Williams Co., 800/474-3794.
For the Perrys, it all began simply because Natalie wanted to return to her old childhood neighborhood. "I grew up in Highland Park, and I love it here," she says. "It seemed like the best place to buy a house and eventually start a family." There was only one problem. The Perrys had bought a rather somber house. What they really wanted was a home with some spunk to reflect their own spirits.
"Matt and I both grew up in very traditional homes, and we both love the familiarity of traditional design. But as newlyweds, we wanted a younger look," explains Natalie, who not only started a new life as a wife and homeowner but, in January, launched a new career in land investments.
Drapery fabric (#260-24): Perennials Fabrics, 888/322-4773, trade only.
Wire armchair (by Edra Corolla): Scott + Cooner, 214/748-9838, trade only.
Sofa (teak): Henry Hall Designs, 800/767-7738, trade only.
Sofa fabric (#200-11): Perennials Fabrics, 888/322-4773, trade only.
Vinyl rug (#5017): Bolon, 206/932-8031, bolon.com.
Glass awning: René Designs & Assoc., 972/717-7566.
With a portfolio that includes her design of a lake house for President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura, interior designer Mary Anne Smiley had more than enough moxie to offciate at the unconventional marriage of traditional architecture to sparkly modern furniture. She painted an antique secretary red to balance out the breakfast area’s distribution of color, and chopped off the pedestal base of the mirrored dining table to reinvent it as a pair of cool console tables.
"My original impression of the house was that it was dark and dreary. The question was how to make it youthful and upbeat," reflects Smiley. "The main element to change was the shell—the colors of the walls. No faux finishes—simple, clean, and clear make it look fresh. We removed all the texture and chose expansive colors—sky and air colors."
She lightened the entry’s staircase wall, which had been dark brown faux bois with faux marbre trim. She retained the original metal staircase and expounded on its idea by designing a new stainless-steel-and-iron front door.
Sunburst mirror; circular table: John Gregory Studio, 214/741-9858, trade only.
Vase: Chris Brown, 214/564-2411.
Wall paint ("Rice Grain’’); ceiling paint ("Window Pane’’ #6210): The Sherwin-Williams Co., 800/474-3794.
With an airy French Moderne feel, the new front door brings the exterior’s otherwise plain portico to life. "The design for the door was inspired by a fret pattern we used in some of the other rooms," footnotes Smiley.
Door: designed by Mary Anne Smiley, 214/522-0705.
The most traditional space arguably is the dining room, with a Fortuny light fixture as its focal point. "I wanted nothing ordinary in here," says Smiley.
One way of achieving that was by manipulating shapes for drama. "It’s a nearly square room, so it was perfect for a round table," the designer explains. The round fixture and a round rug keep the focus in the center of the room.
"My goal in the dining room was to mix elements that could be interpreted as either contemporary or traditional," the designer notes. A repro mirrored table (the one she tinkered with) and an acrylic console at the window are the bastions of modernity, while large china cabinets filled with antique Asian ceramics inherited from Natalie’s grandmother ground the room in tradition. Pollack fabric at the windows was "the icing on the cake, along with the ivory silk chandelier," Smiley adds. "We needed those soft elements to set everything off."
Chandelier: Odegard, 212/545-0069, trade ony.
Area rug (custom): Patterson, Flynn & Martin, 212/688-7700, trade only.
Drapery ("Hang Ten’’/Shell #9128/01): Pollack & Assoc. Inc., 212/421-8755, trade only.
Table (Niermann Weeks "Mirabeau’’ top and custom base); console table (Lucite): Mary Anne Smiley Interiors, 214/522-0705.
Chairs ("Plante Side Chair’’#1020S): Dessin Fournir, 785/434-2777, trade only.
Demilune tables (custom): Mary Anne Smiley Interiors, 214/5522-0705.
Lamps; brackets: Allan Knight Assoc. 214/741-2227, trade only.
Urn on bracket: Ceylon et Cie, 214/742-7632.
Geode (Blue Hemimorphite): Mineral Hunters, 214/752-8662.
Smiley removed the dining room table’s original mirrored base, designed one in acrylic to replace it, then cut the original base in half and adapted it as console pedestal tables, one of which is shown here.
Venetian glass brings old-world elegance to the light, modern furniture.
A wedding gift to the couple, the colorful hand-blown glass vessel displayed on the second-floor landing was made by a student of famed glassmaker Dale Chihuly.
With two dogs and three cats in the house, a vinyl sisal rug in the breakfast room made sense. "It can be mopped!" says Smiley. A banquette hugs the windows and augments the antique chairs that Matt’s British mother bought for him in England years ago when he was still a child.
The ’60s coral-motif chandelier is another piece Matt grew up with. But nothing is sacrosanct in Smiley’s creative hands. She painted the white fixture a coral red and hung it upside down for an updated look. White doves on coral-red Roman shades introduce more color.
Roman shade, seat cushion and pillow fabric ("White Dove, Coral Red’’): Victoria Hagan Home, 212/888-3241, victoriahaganhome.com.
Banquette (custom): Mary Anne Smiley Interiors, 214/522-0705.
Banquette fabric ("Firenze’’/Corn #34155-4): Clarence House, clarencehouse.com, trade only.
Banquette pillows ("Angles’’/Yellow #83276-331, by Kirk Brummel): Brunschwig & Fils, 212/838-7878, trade only.
Cord and buttons ("Beauregard’’/Coral): Kasmir Fabrics, 800/527-4630, trade only.
Rug (gold and coral vinyl sisal): Bolon, through Mats Inc., 800/628-7462, bolon.com.
Secretary: Mary Anne Smiley Interiors, 214/522-0705.
Wall and ceiling paint ("Rice Grain’’ #6155): The Sherwin-Williams Co., 800/474-3794.
In the breakfast area, Smiley reinvented a vintage French secretary with red paint, black lacquer, and gilt.