DALLAS-BASED INTERIOR DESIGNER MONICA WILCOX is no stranger to reality television or reimagining the interiors of homes and businesses. After competing on Bravo’s Best Room Wins! in 2019, the entrepreneur and owner of M. Wilcox Design recently snagged a spot on a new Netflix show called Find and Design. The premise: Wilcox partners with a Realtor to take potential homebuyers to three different homes that need to be redone and persuades them on which one to choose based on her design concept and project management.
That’s how she met Lancia and Ray Herzog, who starred in an episode—and spoiler alert—settled on purchasing a 4,600-square-foot home situated in the Willow Bend neighborhood of Plano, thanks to Wilcox’s vision for the home. While the family was drawn to its U-shape that surrounds a glittering pool and its overabundance of windows that flood the interiors with natural light, the home’s interiors were drab and outdated. “It needed a complete gut,” says Wilcox of the home built in the late ’80s. The Herzogs have a 17-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son, and they wanted a transitional modern home, touched with a little glamour and a lot of Wilcox’s coveted style. “My style is a Californian vibe with a twist,” explains the San Diego native of her affection for neutral palettes and serene spaces. “I think the main thing is that my firm is set up for turnkey, which means we order everything from the drains to the tiles. Our team handles everything.”
The family desired more than just an aesthetic makeover—they wanted to add 2,000 square feet to the home. “The home only had three bathrooms, which is not functional for a house that size. Also, since the couple works from home, they needed their own separate offices,” explains Wilcox, who teamed up with contractor Joel Greenwald of GrunBuilt Construction to build a two-level addition, which included an office, two bathrooms and a loft for their daughter. The first order of business was splashing the home’s dull exterior in a contemporary white hue, and Wilcox replaced all the aging windows with stunning black-and-bronze-paned Andersen windows. “Those windows are all the rage, and it gave the home an instant update,” says Wilcox, who also replaced some old windows with sliders to further open the space.
Of course, when the family and team started this huge undertaking in January 2020, they had no idea that a pandemic would soon strike the world. “They had to move out of their house and into a two-bedroom apartment, and it was not easy,” says Wilcox about the project that started and stopped numerous times due to the lockdown. The saving grace, she adds, was that the family let her and the contractor have free rein and creative control. “If you could have a dream client, these are them,” says Wilcox. “After 23 years of doing this, it’s so rewarding to have people who appreciate your input and listen to your advice.”
Dare to Be Different
Part of listening to Wilcox meant the couple had to trust her with fashioning an unconventional yet bold black-and-white kitchen. “At first, they were worried it would be too dark, but with those fabulous windows, it’s bright and sunny,” explains Wilcox of the sophisticated space. “Now they’re obsessed.” And for good reason: Two-tone cabinets by Kitchen Concepts and one wall of stark black cabinets, along with a striking backsplash of Carrara marble with gold metal inlay that scales the entire wall, offer a visual surprise. “The client loved chevron prints, but every time she would show me her inspiration pictures, I would say, ‘We can elevate this,’ and that’s what we did with this backsplash pattern,” Wilcox says.
The family hosts a lot of social gatherings and charity events at their home, so plenty of conversation areas were particularly important. Wilcox fulfilled the homeowners’ request for ample seating with a 16-foot island that’s edged with Meridian Furniture chairs swathed in black velvet, while cage pendants by Uttermost dangle from above. To keep countertops free of clutter, Wilcox hid appliances—already plugged in and ready to go—behind seamless panel doors.
The designer continued that streamlined black-and-white motif in the formal dining room, which is easy on the eyes with sparse yet curated pieces that make sense. “I always tell my clients not to worry about buying a lot of things, but to buy a few things that are the appropriate scale,” explains Wilcox. The elegant room features a Hooker Furniture dining table surrounded by Bernhardt chairs that are covered in neutral, durable fabric meant to withstand dinner parties, all perched on a plush Feizy rug. A buffet by Essentials For Living with brass pulls boasts a marble top, perfect for serving heated dishes. To keep the room light and airy, Wilcox ripped out a wall and replaced it with stunning French doors. A glittering chandelier by Elk Lighting adds visual depth and a dash of glam.
One of the biggest transformations took place in the formal living room—the entertaining hub of the home—where Wilcox removed the original redbrick fireplace and replaced it with an attention-grabbing, wavy-patterned tile that envelops the fireplace and dramatically extends to the ceiling. Two tall black mirrors by Uttermost flank the fireplace and mimic the nearby windows, causing you to do a double take to differentiate the two. “I found these at the last minute, and the client died when she saw them,” says Wilcox. While the furniture conveys a neutral palette, black-and-white accent chairs in a Greek key pattern break up the uniformity, and the room is punched with mixed metals, including a gold and white marble Hooker Furniture coffee table, circular wall décor on the fireplace by Cyan Design and acrylic Safavieh Couture end tables with gold endcaps. “Acrylic goes with anything,” offers Wilcox. A special touch for the family—Wilcox had their heirloom piano refinished to match the luxe design of the room.
The Glam Master
The outdated master bedroom also needed a serious overhaul, and the homeowners allowed Wilcox to put her glam touch on the space. The first thing that catches your eye is the huge crystal chandelier by Elegant Lighting, which grandly punctuates the ceiling. A traditional redbrick fireplace was repainted gray, and Wilcox added modern built-ins with frosted glass around it. “What a difference that made,” she says. A custom king-size bed by JC’s Upholstery is wrapped in a rich-sheen fabric, appropriately called “Velvet Glam,” and the bed presents wings that flare outward. For extra drama, Wilcox edged the bed with over-the-top 72-inch-tall mirrors by Uttermost and nightstands by Essentials For Living, and she crowned the end of the bed with a bench from Gabby Home.
Wilcox worked her magic in the small master bathroom, adding an opulent glass-walled wet room with a shower equipped with all the bells and whistles, including body jets and accessories brushed in gold, and a square Japanese soaking tub. A gray glass tile border accentuates the white marble backsplash. York wallpaper in a geometric gray and gold pattern adds something bold above the vanity, which is topped with a Cambria-century quartz. The designer built towers for extra storage.
As with many home renovation reality shows, there was a surprise ending that the family didn’t see coming. The production company gifted them with furnishings set in blue tones for their family room/game room. “This was the room where Lancia started crying. They had no idea this was being done,” recalls Wilcox about the family’s reaction to the gratis furnishings. Ironically, this family room, with a stone fireplace that reminded them of their California roots and an old bar that recalls Lancia Herzog’s family history of owning a distillery, is what prompted them to choose this particular home. “We re-stained the bar to make it richer, but kept the authentic German feel,” explains Wilcox.
When it was finally time for the family to move in to their transformed home in August, Wilcox took care of every detail, from placing the towels in bathrooms to layering the bedding. All they had to bring were their clothes and themselves. “To me, it’s a dream house that I would live in myself,” says Wilcox. “If you’re going to be stuck at home, you want to be inside this beautiful home. They can’t wait to invite everyone over when the pandemic ends.” *
Angela Caraway-Carlton is a Miami-based freelance writer, travel and lifestyle expert, and television producer. Her works have appeared in Indulge Magazine, Time Out, Elysian, Aventura, South Florida Luxury Guide and Modern Luxury Weddings South Florida & the Caribbean. Caraway-Carlton has covered lifestyle trends in South Florida and beyond for more than a decade.