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A North Texas home enjoys a refresh

by DANA W. TODD / photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

When the homeowners of this European-style home reached a stalemate in their DIY battle to redecorate, they reached out to interior designer Gary Riggs for professional assistance to lead them to victory. Their marching orders to Riggs: Take the home from so-so to finished and make all the rooms flow as a cohesive unit. Their one caveat: Reuse newly purchased furniture in which they had recently invested.

Riggs assessed what was on hand and set aside one room as a staging area, where he moved pieces in and out for temporary storage as he decided where they really belonged in the house. “The home was disjointed and lacked cohesion, and the homeowners were interested in finally finishing each room so they all flowed well together and were entertainment-ready,” Riggs says. “I approached this home one room at a time. As each room was finished and the homeowners were pleased, only then did I move on to the next room.”

Using newly purchased colorful chairs in the breakfast room as a jumping-off point, Riggs played off the upholstery color, splashing it strategically throughout the entire house to create the flowing feeling the homeowners craved. He furnished the nearby living room with a bright teal sofa and deep orange accessories to carry the color scheme throughout the large space. Working with existing neutral drapery and painted walls, he added other modern furniture such as a clean-lined coffee table to bring the look up-to-date. He instantly modernized a traditional shield-back chair by covering it with orange and tiger-striped fabric. Adding accessories and a wall of artwork echoing the color scheme of orange and teal served as the final step in transitioning to a contemporary Italian villa aesthetic. “I pulled original artwork from Gary Riggs Home, our showroom and retail store in the Design District,” Riggs says. “I was able to incorporate several local artists’ works and help the family start its own art collection.”

Upsizing artwork and rugs in the main living areas and primary bedroom provided Riggs another chance to give the home a more complete feeling. The living room, main bedroom and sitting area all received larger area rugs with interesting textures, patterns and colors. Riggs repurposed the smaller rugs in other rooms of the house.

The sitting room received a dramatic face-lift, including new artwork with the teal and orange colorway and complementary framed art created by the children. Keeping only the large, round coffee table as a centerpiece, Riggs introduced more color through lively upholstered chairs, throw pillows and a teal lamp, making the room a new favorite retreat for all family members to craft, watch television and play games.

Subtle changes in the main bedroom finish the look and create a comfortably luxurious retreat for the homeowners. Adding modern, gilded glass nightstands and accessories and swapping out traditional seating for a contemporary, clean-lined chair modernize this room. Riggs reused artwork from the living room, positioning it over the fireplace to add texture and eye-catching interest.

“We evolved the look room by room,” Riggs says. “I took the color lead from the homeowners’ few purchased pieces and magnified it throughout the house. That one thing helped create a flow.”

With the success of this redesign, the homeowners asked Riggs to update their vacation home—a lakeside retreat on the shores of Moss Lake. There, Riggs painted dark chocolate moldings throughout the house a creamy white to give it a fresher feel, installed modern furniture that married well with the few traditional pieces in the house, and added a tropical flavor through the use of vivid color and animated artwork and fabrics. “We made this house more fun, and it has a whole new life now,” Riggs says.

What was overwhelming for the homeowners became a fun project for Riggs. It seemed a daunting task to finish the design and installation of both homes, but he approached it systematically, keeping the homeowners’ goals in mind. This design story is a reminder of how to eat an elephant—one bite at a time.

Dana W. Todd is a professional writer specializing in interior design, real estate, luxury homebuilding, landscape design, architecture and art.

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DALLAS, TX 75207