While looking for a home in University Park, a recently married couple was encouraged by their realtor to see an incredible house backing up to Turtle Creek. The house, with its beautiful southern Louisiana French styling, made them feel as though they were standing in the serenity of the countryside rather than in the middle of Dallas. They put a contract on the house within the hour. It was a memorable vacation the couple took to the French Riviera that inspired them to do a major remodel of the entryway and master suite of their new home. They stayed at the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat and fell in love with their rooms overlooking the ocean. The hotel, built in 1908, is a beautiful mixture of history with modern conveniences, clean lines and color. When the couple wanted to style their home more to their French tastes, they called on the experts at Phelan’s Interior Design, who are well known in Dallas for their design skills and attention to customer desires. The couple had been long-time clients of Amy Bailey, owner of Phelan’s. Built in 1980, the home has four bedrooms and four-and-ahalf baths, three fireplaces, two kitchens and a spacious patio with an outdoor kitchen. The style is French New Orleans both inside and out, but the overall look is what Amy Bailey calls “updated traditional” with a look that is timeless instead of trendy.
Stepping up into the entryway you immediately find the dining room, which features a beautiful, old dining table that the owners found in an antique shop in New Orleans. Phelan’s reupholstered the dining chairs in a tone-on-tone damask and added custom draperies of embroidered linen damask to match.
Across the entry from the dining room is a study that features reupholstered chairs with a Kravet fabric and custom draperies using Fabricut fabric and a modern tassel trim from Stroheim along with Stark carpet. Bailey says the homeowners enjoy buying art, and this room has built-in shelves and cabinets to display some of their collection, including two sculpted horses dating to the 17th century.
Creating light was a primary goal in the downstairs den. Despite a wall of French doors and transom windows, the room, with its hardwood floors and bricked columns, was somewhat dark due to a large overhang outside and numerous trees that block the sunlight. Arches were added between the columns to mimic the ones across the room. The room was lightened with neutral fabrics, cabinetry and paint. In addition, glass was added to some of the cabinet doors along with interior lighting.
Off the den, more light comes from the kitchen where light-colored cabinetry contrasts nicely with dark hardwoods. Bailey worked with a carpenter to create a kitchen island that provides a large work area as well as casual seating. Hanging above the island are twin iron candle chandeliers, which further evoke the New Orleans style. The quiet, sophisticated neutral palette continues in the upstairs living room where the hand-painted fabric on a pair of Bergère chairs provided inspiration. Bailey re-covered the French fireside chairs and the French bench, which is used as a cocktail table between matching sofas. Across the room sits a re-covered Tomlinson sofa where nailhead detailing was added to accentuate the lines of the arms. In the master bedroom, Phelan’s had the headboard custom built and upholstered with hand-blocked fabric made to order by Jacques Bouvet et Cie and obtained at E.C. Dicken in the Dallas Design Center. Bailey had the remote-controlled custom draperies made out of the same fabric. The bedding was a combination of custom-made and material from Home Treasures.
Projects such as this help keep Phelan’s rich legacy alive. The store opened in 1950, and Bailey worked there for five years before she and her husband bought it in 1999, becoming the fifth owners. “I wouldn’t have bought the store if I didn’t know my wife is one of the best designers in Dallas,” says Nathan Bailey. Located conveniently in University Park, the store carries furniture, lamps, pillows, paintings, sculpture and other decorative pieces, and is also the only high-end wallpaper store in Dallas. The home may physically reside in Dallas but, thanks to Amy Bailey’s incredible work, the owners feel like they are reliving a favorite memory from their time in France. She took their interests and lifestyle into consideration, as well as the overall look of the home, to create a pleasing retreat filled with both old and new memories.
Jeff Hampton is a freelance writer and author based in Garland, Texas. Find out more at jeff hamptonwriter.com.