Everything is bigger in Texas, from the mansion-sized suburban homes to the crew cab pickup trucks and the wide open blue skies. It only makes sense, then, that J. Mackie & Associates has continually enlarged its North Texas showroom, which now spans 30,000 square feet following the latest expansion in December 2015.
Located on the ninth floor of the Dallas World Trade Center, the showroom is a magnet for designers from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex as well as those making the trek from Austin, San Antonio and across the southern border.
Amber and Ken Graves ran another showroom in the World Trade Center for 10 years before partnering with Mackie McCauley in 2011. Since that time, they have hired six fulltime associates and expanded the space from 5,000 to 30,000 square feet, as they introduced new home furnishing and accessory lines and broadened the creative scope of the business.
“I’ve always gone for a really eclectic mix,” says Amber, adding that she is always looking to fill certain niches. J. Mackie & Associates currently carries nearly 40 different manufacturers, with a focus on upholstery and case goods. “Now we don’t have to go for lines, they come to us—they want us to represent them,” she says proudly.
The entire showroom bursts with color, from the pink, purple and teal accent walls to the shimmering amethyst geodes, gold sunburst mirrors and red ceramic vases on display. The furniture runs the gamut, from traditional sectional sofas in muted colors and soft fabrics to funky orange leather club chairs and round tufted accent chairs upholstered in vibrant chartreuse cotton twill, mirror-front sideboards, and dark walnut dining tables. J. Mackie brings in new stock weekly and sells off the floor, something many other showrooms are not able to do. Consequently, some designers come in two or three times per week to shop, and the inventory is constantly turning over.
In addition, Amber and her team completely revamp the entire look of the showroom twice annually for the Dallas Total Home & Gift Market held in January and June.
“We change everything— I don’t keep a painting or a chandelier in the same spot,” says the vivacious designer, who notes that she draws inspiration not only from visiting manufacturers at High Point Market Week in the spring and fall, but also from browsing social media sites, like Pinterest and Houzz.
“We used to be so traditional, and now we’re so much cleaner and what I call the ‘new traditional,’” Amber says. She adds: “[Clients] still want the nice soft fabrics, and they don’t want the real contemporary hard lines, but a much cleaner look. We just constantly try to reinvent ourselves and figure out where the next trend is going to be. It’s a labor of love.”
Leslie Thompson is a Dallas-based freelance writer with a passion for interior design, although her own decorating skills are limited to choosing throw pillows and bathroom tile.