There’s an unassuming shopping center skirting the edge of the Design District on Irving Boulevard; it’s a lot like the other nondescript shopping centers across the metroplex, but this plain gray exterior is deceiving—it belies the massive inventory of stunning overseas finds behind Loyd-Paxton’s front door.
A royal Chinese screen from 1910 greets visitors just inside the entrance. It’s ornately carved and inlaid with precious materials, like jade. It’s a showstopper, but that’s not unusual because the company’s other offerings are as well.
This showroom and interior design firm, named for founders Loyd Taylor and Paxton Gremillion, is built on a simple principle. “I buy things that excite me, whereas so many shops are focused on one look,” says Taylor. “I’ve always loved a mixture of things. Our items are so strong—they’re each a signature piece for a room and mix well with contemporary furnishings.”
The entire showroom floor is stocked front to back with museum-worthy finds from far-flung places, like Japan, Afghanistan, India, France, Italy and Germany. For instance, a voluptuously proportioned Biedermeier secretary desk from 1830s Vienna sits near a pair of striking wardrobes from mid-20th-century China in a bold Chinese red.
There are chairs, tables, chandeliers, a four-poster bed, urns as tall as a person, and tabletop pieces, like vases, incense burners and sculptures. Fine materials abound, like gold inlaid enamels, brass-covered wood, and accents of motherof- pearl and ebony. Just when you think you’ve seen the most interesting piece, there’s another marvel around the next corner.
“Our pieces are unexpected,” says Taylor. “People love a surprise. That makes people more happy than anything, because they expect the same, same, same thing.”
Loyd-Paxton doesn’t disappoint; it was fashioned on straightforward concepts that have a lasting impact. Taylor says their prices are fair for the market—people would have a hard time finding a newly manufactured piece of furniture for less money. The offerings aren’t limited solely to exotic antiques. The showroom also has mid-century modern pieces from much closer to home. The firm also provides in-house design services and fulfills custom orders for clients via the master craftsmen that Loyd-Paxton calls on to create one-of-a-kind items.
“We can do acrylics or custom metal things. I just did a beautiful pot rack to hang from the ceiling for a client who collects copper cookware. We do a bit of everything,” he says.
Taylor and Gremillion started the company in 1960, right after graduating from college. They met while studying interior design at the University of North Texas and formed a bond that was the basis of a long-lived, successful business partnership.
“We stimulated each other creatively,” Taylor says of Gremillion, who passed away in 2014. “We enjoyed doing things together, being involved with the symphony, opera and museums here.”
The duo had always been invested in the Dallas arts and society circles, and that vast network led to the formation of relationships with clients and buyers all over the world.
“I started to meet a lot of Chinese people when they started moving to Dallas in the ’70s and ’80s. Then they started bringing their families and colleagues from Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Canton. We’ve always had a very strong Oriental collection in the shop,” says Taylor.
Whether dealing with people or antiques, that proclivity for variety led Taylor and Gremillion to assemble one of the most exotic showrooms in the metroplex— one that transports visitors to locations around the world.
Alaena Hostetter is a Dallas-based journalist who writes about all of her favorite things: art, fashion, culture, music, entertainment and food.