MAYBE IT’S HER LAID-BACK PERSONALITY OR Midwestern goodness that draws people in, but Stephanie Kratz seems to have a gift when it comes to instantly connecting with a client. “I have a knack for reading people, and I’m able to pick up on their personal style and needs without having to do many formal interviews,” says Kratz, principal of Stephanie Kratz Interiors in Carrollton. “Trust is everything in an industry where you’re dealing with someone’s personal home and money, and that’s what I hope to develop with all my clients.”
That trustworthy know-how is what led one of Kratz’s longtime clients—Kratz designed two of their previous homes—to ask for her services once again. The family of four recently built a custom 6,585-square-foot home on a 1-acre lot tucked away in the up-and-coming suburb of Prosper, located 40 minutes north of Dallas, and they knew Kratz would be the only one who could effortlessly merge furniture from their last home with a fresh, new vibe.
The goal for the new five-bedroom home: casual elegance meant for juggling life with two kids and two dogs, and entertaining extended family and friends. “I wanted a home that was unique, stylish, cohesive and comfortable, but I wasn’t sure what that exactly looked like,” says Holly Freier, the homeowner. “Our project was big, and Stephanie delivered with her fantastic design ideas and beautiful choices.”
When it comes to inspiration, Kratz says she’s drawn to nature—and Mother Nature’s flair for creating beautiful palettes—and also draws upon her fashion background. The designer offers clients an all-important accessory package, where she’ll bring all the accessories to complete the home’s room during the final install. “When you’re getting dressed, you’re going to put on all your basics, but it’s the accessories that finish the look,” she explains, “and that’s how I connect fashion with a home. You don’t want too much or too little.” Kratz’s style trends modern with a classic feel, and she attributes her time in New York with the development of her style. “I don’t like a lot of patterns, but I do gravitate toward texture. If there’s a pattern, it has to have an edge to it.”
Kratz’s rules of fashion are seen throughout this home, along with Pantone’s “Color of 2020”: a classic blue, reminiscent of the sky at the magic hour of dusk. The home’s color story of blues, whites, and creams begins in the entryway, where Kratz collaborated with local artist Carol Benson-Cobb of McKinney, Texas, to transform one of her pieces into a dramatic mural that spans three walls. “I’ve used some of her artwork in other homes, and when I walked into this entrance, she immediately came to mind. This was the perfect space for the art,” says Kratz, pointing out that the walls’ blue colors capture the essence of the pool, which can be seen from the entryway. “It really envelops you when you walk in.”
Furniture in the home is very organic, like the entryway’s agate table and the John-Richard console, which is delicately wrapped in linen. In the dining room, Kratz kept furniture from the couple’s previous home, adding a new console from Bernhardt and paper art from John-Richard, something that you’ll see sprinkled throughout the home. “I don’t want everything to be the same medium. The paper art exudes a natural feel, and it’s not something you see often,” explains Kratz.
Matching Surya area rugs and custom draperies from Clarke & Clarke effortlessly unify the connecting dining and living room. “The fabric in the draperies is ombre, but I reversed the panels with the black on top, so that it brings your eye upward and makes a statement,” she says. The main focal point in the living room is the fireplace wall, and conversation is invited with plenty of seating. Beige and gray tones and touches of black and brass seen in the kitchen are carried through with hardware and art frames.
Kratz enhanced the original kitchen, collaborating with local artist Nicole Zules to create a standout hood above the stove. Zules painted the gold banding; the dimensional tile above the hood is from Daltile. A gray-and-white herringbone backsplash was added for accent, and Kratz purposely took the herringbone all the way to the ceiling on the opposite wall. “The window looks out at the pool, so it creates this picture frame and brings that all-important outdoor feeling inside,” she says. Brass and alabaster pendants from Visual Comfort dangle from above the island.
While the family doesn’t have a specific breakfast area, the expansive outdoor living area that’s located directly off the family room offers an inviting dining space with barefoot luxury. The area can be completely enclosed and is dotted with heaters, a fire pit and comfy seating from Lane Venture and Palecek. Kratz focused on a custom table made of wood and metal from Stål Timber that easily seats 12. “My husband’s favorite space in the home is our outdoor space,” says Freier. “It feels like an extension of the home, and the inside flows out, allowing us a perfect space to entertain.”
Powder Me Pretty
Kratz gave extra special love to the home’s two statement-making powder rooms. “These are the bathrooms that guests will see most, and I wanted to make a powerful impact on these small, but mighty spaces,” the designer says of the punctuated design. Both rooms are brimming with modern details. Walls are swathed in coverings from Thibaut and JF Fabrics. Floating vanities are from Kholer, and tile backsplashes—one white and another a striking blue—are from Ann Sacks. The bathroom, wrapped in gleaming white and gray tones, features dual light fixtures from John-Richard, while the second powder room in blue boasts hanging pendants from Arteriors. “These powder rooms will make guests think, ‘I need to go home and redo my hall bath immediately,’” says Kratz.
Wall to Wall
Kratz’s love of wallcoverings is highlighted in the master bedroom and Holly Freier’s office. The neutral and textural wallcovering behind the bed and the wallcovering on the ceiling are both from JF Fabrics. “I like to use a lot of wallcoverings for the texture or for color, not necessarily for pattern,” says Kratz. “These wallcoverings offer a very serene tone-on-tone, calming feel.” Glass-panel wall sconces by John-Richard add some sparkle to the neutral space. The office is swathed in three different wallcoverings. At the homeowner’s request, the main wallcovering by Fabricut is inspired by the beach. “I love the color schemes as well as the different textures brought in with wallcoverings, fabrics and art pieces,” says Freier. “It all comes together to make the spaces unique, but personal, too.”
Home Away from Home
One of Kratz’s favorite spots is the home’s separate one-bedroom casita that’s designated for guests, which she decked out with a sophisticated, boho feel. Her team ripped out the kitchen’s existing countertops and created a totally different color palette, painting cabinets in opposing black and deep teal colors and adding a pop of orange with a handcrafted backsplash from Presidio Tile. “It’s a small space, so we wanted to create interest and move it forward by deepening the colors,” she says. Paper art, once again, dominates, as do textural rugs. In the bedroom, a dreamy feeling abounds with an iron canopy bed from Made Goods, rugs from Loloi and Surya, and eclectic lighting with shells and beading from Palecek. A long bathroom impresses with an art gallery wall marked with a collection of textural paper and string art, and textural tile in the shower makes a statement. “Holly wants to live in there,” says Kratz, with a laugh. “It feels totally different from the main house and feels like you’ve been whisked away to a far-flung destination.”
Ultimately, though, Kratz’s motivation when designing is to make every client feel blissfully at home. “If I can walk away from a home that I’ve designed and say, ‘I could live there,’ I feel good about it,” says Kratz. “If there’s a comfort in it for
the homeowners, I know I’ve done my job.”
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.