Dallas Design Gossip

Rest in Peace

The news that Southern Accents has folded came as a shock to many people including designer Joe Minton, builder Trey Laird, and architect Larry Boerder, who were frantically trying to get the $2.5 million Southern Accents Show House in Fort Worth readied for the magazine's mandatory photo shoot on August 17. Minton says he got a call on Friday from editor-in-chief Karen Carroll who had just heard the bad news herself the day before from bosses at Time Inc.

Carroll told Minton that Time Inc., planned for the show house to continue. But how? In lieu of the promised 12-page magazine layout and cover of the November issue, the show house would appear on the magazine's online website. There was also the possibility of a spread in Accent's more downscale sister publication Southern Living and a shot or two in Time Inc.'s Coastal Living (since Fort Worth is essentially landlocked, that's a bit of a stretch).

"Hundreds of plants and flowers are being put in as we speak," Minton told me on Sunday. "Next week, we're picking up all the furniture and draperies and everything that's been loaned by the showrooms, and we're worried that they won't want to do it because it's not going to be in the magazine. I haven't been able to sleep the last two nights thinking about all the ramifications."

Hey, there's always room for levity.

George Cameron Nash left a message on Minton's phone during the weekend, which was "so funny that it didn't even make me mad," says Minton. "He said, 'Joe, how are you going to like being in Southern Living next to the bundt cakes?' But, that's how we all feel. If people start to pull out, I don't know what we'll do. And in the middle of all this, we can't talk to Karen about it because she's in Alaska."

Come again?

"Karen already had a cruise planned for Alaska so she left on Saturday morning," says Minton. "I told her while she's there she ought to apply for governor, there's a job open."

Laura Lee Clark

Interior Designer Laura Lee Clark has teamed up with renowned modernist architect Frank Welch to do a house in Greenway Parks, slated to be finished in late 2010. Yes, it's a tear down, probably of some great old house, but if you're going to level a good piece of architecture it might as well be rebuilt by someone of Welch's caliber.

Frank Welch

I'm fascinated, too, because Clark, who is quite talented, is known almost exclusively for a more classically traditional look. Welch is a modernist all the way, no questions about it. I'll definitely keep you posted on the progress of this one.

Room designed by Brant McFarlain

Interior Designer Brant McFarlain has teamed up with architect Joshua Nimmo to open Bloc Design Syndicate, a hospitality architecture and design firm. Both McFarlain and Nimmo were formerly with Morrison Seifert Murphy. McFarlain left four years ago, with Nimmo only recently leaving the fold. McFarlain and Nimmo will continue to do residential projects separately, but together they'll tackle hotels and restaurants. (Read more about McFarlain's work in the October issue of Modern Luxury.)

Mary Crosland

Mary Crosland is opening a salon in Preston Center dubbed Lucien, named after husband Luke (Lucien B) Crosland who is the developer on the project. Luke just finished a cool, mixed use condo and retail center on Cedar Springs called Ilume. The salon, slated to open in October, is being designed by Travis Terry, an Aspen and Dallas based designer might as well be the Crosland's in-house designer, having done their Highland Park home and Ilume, among others.

Brochier, a new line by Cleric Tessuto & Co

ID Collection has picked up a new line of Italian fabrics, Brochier. "The line, if you remember, was around many years ago," Jim Williamson, partner in ID Collection writes. "It, like some of the older fabric houses, had become somewhat dated and uninspired....basically languishing until last year when it was purchased by Cleric Tessuto & Co. They relaunched the line in January at Maison & Objet.

"This collection was designed by Italian designer Erasmo Figini, known for his innovative takes on traditional fabrics. He also designs for Rubelli....

"The line is especially noted for its technical and innovative excellence, and for the very high quality of the natural silk, cotton, and linen they use," says Williamson. "To put it simply, It is elegance with ease.This is the first collection of the relaunch of the brand. Look for this line to really grow in the years to come."

Ann Fox

After last week's post about Dallas-based Room Service Home catalog shuttering and leaving many of its vendors in the lurch, I got an email from Robin Riddle a former employee at the original store on Lover's Lane, when it was under designer Ann Fox's ownership. She wanted to set the record straight. I was unable to get a hold of Fox herself in time for this post, but verbatim, here's what Riddle had to say on Fox's behalf:
My name is Robin Riddle and I am a really close friend of Ann Fox. I also worked at Room Service ( the store) for many years. Another mutual friend sent both of us the link to your blog. We were both heartsick to read it. I think that both Ann and the store’s memory, if you will, are owed that the record be set straight. Room Service Home (the catalog) was a completely separate company with separate investors and a board of directors. The company was started when Donna King, who was a parent at the elementary school in which Ann’s son was attending, approached Ann with the hopes of putting together the catalog which had always been a desire of Ann’s. After putting in several years of juggling both the store and the buying for the catalog, Ann felt that it best to close the store and devote her energy solely to the catalog. The store was closed a little over a year ago with all vendors paid in full and a stellar reputation as part of our community for nearly twenty-one years. The year that followed brought many changes to the catalog which was at the hands of the board of directors. Ann left the catalog this past January as a result of her disapproval at the way things were being run, namely how investors and vendors were being treated. She was in fact “let go” and betrayed by her partner, a fact to me that was the most shocking considering there would have been no Room Service Home if not for Ann’s vision, creativity and hard work for so many years since the inception of the store itself. I hope you can pass this on to your readers to correct any confusion and misinformation.