WHEN INTERIOR DESIGNER SHELBY Owens, of Shelby Owens Interiors, got a call from her grandmother Patricia Pilgrim to design formal draperies for her French baroque-style home, she instantly thought of Designer’s Workroom. Pilgrim had a specific vision for the draperies at Chateau de Pilgrim, often referred to as Cluckingham Palace, an 18,000-square-foot mansion custom built for her and her husband, Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim, that recently went on the market.
“She wanted it to look like you were in Paris,” says Owens. “I have worked with Jaclynn at Designer’s Workroom in the past and knew she was the best in the business for creating formal draperies. The quality of her work is amazing.” Owens was delighted with the hand-painted cornice with gold leafing and motorized sheers and swags that allowed more light into the rooms.
“The property is very ornate and just fabulous,” says Jaclynn Cauthorn who, along with her husband, Donnie, has owned and operated Designer’s Workroom for more than four decades. “It was surprisingly comfortable, and the family is very humble.” Cauthorn created custom draperies for the master bedroom, sitting room and bath, in addition to being commissioned to dress the windows of the dining room and living room. “When we were measuring in the living room, we discovered that the intricate millwork was actually carved chickens,” says Cauthorn with a smile, recalling that the chicken beaks determined the swag placements.
Other notable clients include T. Boone Pickens and NFL football icon Deion Sanders, along with top Texas designers and architects. Over the last four decades the husband and wife team has created a unique workroom. “We did not wake up one day and decide to be a drapery workroom. It just organically evolved,” says Cauthorn, who studied interior design and began sewing as a young girl after a family tragedy sent her family from riches to rags. “I used my creativity to adorn our new home with draperies and make my own clothes.” Cauthorn says the couple started the business as a mom-and-pop operation in their own backyard workshop in 1978.
“My purpose in opening a drapery business was to earn enough money to go into the horse business,” Cauthorn notes, saying that Donnie married her and her five horses. His training as an architectural draftsman coupled with her talent as a seamstress and innate design sense were a winning combination. The horse business had to take a backseat. As projects evolved and the details became more intricate, they moved from a 600-square-foot space to a 2,500-square-foot workroom to their current 4,500-square-foot workroom and showroom.
Along with creating custom draperies, Roman shades, valances, bedding, upholstery and handwoven grass shades, Designer’s Workroom has expertise in drapery and shade motorization and automation. It offers Somfy, Lutron and other motorized systems to best meet its clients’ needs. Donnie Cauthorn handles the motorization side of the business, ensuring correct communication between all parties and providing clients with the highest level of knowledge and service.
The Cauthorns worked with T. Boone Pickens for almost a decade and a half. “I never thought I would be sitting in the boardroom of T. Boone Pickens hemming his drape because someone’s high heel got caught in the hem,” Cauthorn says with a laugh, noting that she always carries a little stool just in case a client needs help. Mr. Pickens’ ranch, Mesa Vista, is one of the Cauthorns’ favorite projects. They made many trips to the West Texas Panhandle over the 10 years they worked on the project, which can be seen in the book Mesa Vista Ranch—Boone Pickens’ Oasis in the Texas Panhandle.
Creativity continues to be the cornerstone of Designer’s Workroom, where Cauthorn finds ways to work with materials she loves, like leather. Along with creating curtains for horse stalls, the team designed gorgeous leather draperies for Custo Barcelona stores in the United States and Barcelona, Spain. “We ship all over the world,” says Cauthorn, citing a job the team just recently completed in Maui.
The couple also owns a business called Southern Harmony, where they create custom leather-covered grand pianos. They reside in a timber-style log and stone home that adjoins the 25-mile Trinity Trail around Lake Lavon. You may spot them riding their matched pair of black-and-white paint horses, Casanova and Rio on the trails.
Stacey Marcus is a Boston-based freelance lifestyle, luxury and travel writer. Her works have appeared in Art New England, Boston, Boston Common Magazine, Coastal Design Magazine, Charleston Style & Design, Modern Luxury Chicago, Ocean Home Magazine, Playboy.com, RD.com and many others. A lover of big words and little white dogs, Stacey’s biggest joys are found in life’s simple moments.