Kim Armstrong designs a cozy English mansion-style home for a multi-generational family in Texas
While many couples decide to downsize once they retire, Dallas-based interior designer Kim Armstrong’s clients had a somewhat different request. His clients had retired from their careers in marketing and commercial real estate in Dallas and were ready to move to a house closer to the ranch they owned in the countryside.
At the same time, their family is growing. As their children created their own families, they returned for family home visits, new spouses and babies in tow. The owners – new grandparents on several occasions – are very family oriented and looked forward to the big holiday season.
Their previous house, also designed by Armstrong, had been the work of another architect known for his European influences, in particular the English Tudor work. This time around, Armstrong’s goal was to recreate that same elevated style, but now in their new home on the line.
The owners pledged to bring many pieces they had invested in over the years that had defined their previous homes (even down to the classic curtains she loved). Armstrong’s biggest design challenges were how the new, larger home was more open and therefore had less wall space to display family moments, and the taller ceilings, which made window treatments a breeze. -head to solve.
“The hardest part” of the project, says Armstrong, “was creating an intimate space” in a much larger, but also more open, home.
“One of my favorite features is the fireplace, which was original in the house but an architecturally salvaged antique – I love its grand scale,” Armstrong enthuses. “I love the Brunschwig & Fils curtains and how they light up the room but still support the architecture with the more traditional design.”
Personalized pouf: Edelmann leather. Fabric on chairs and window treatments: Brunschwig and Son. Strip fabric on the curtains: Creators Guild. Stair Runner: Carpet workshop. Sofa: made to measure with Schumacher fabric and Samuel and Sons fringes.
It was meant to be “another room where the architecture is quite stunning with stone walls, rotunda windows, and Gothic arches,” Armstrong notes. “We needed bold design elements to support this. I love that the client splurged and did a premium Lee Jofa fabric on the curtains that caught all the colors of the house. The custom ottoman was inspired by designer Charles Foundry, known for his French country design, even though it is an English Tudor.
Round table skirt: J Samuel. Fringe: Samuel and son. Chairs: antique.
“We wanted to continue the beautiful architecture of this room, so we added wainscoting and blended it in with the detail that’s on the door,” says Armstrong. “We painted this off-white, which we thought would be a great background against the Schumacher fabric, but we wanted to keep the color, so we brought in a Kravet ramie fabric in turquoise, his favorite color. We also wanted to put the accent on the (expensive) Schonbek crystal chandelier – so we painted the ceiling to complement this feature.
Upstairs guest bedroom
“It’s one of my favorite rooms because when you walk in, you step down and you feel like you’ve entered a little castle oasis,” Armstrong says. “I wanted to take that feeling and turn it around, so I wrapped the room in wallpaper. The pattern covers you like a blanket and plays on the corners of the walls. and the ceiling, it plays a trick on your eye and gives the impression that you are not stopping at the short ceiling but continuing your gaze to the higher ceiling.This bedroom has a European feel to it.The bones in the room were already there, so we embraced it.
Guest bedroom on the ground floor
It was fun “because it was so different from the grand architecture of the house – basically four square walls and carpeting,” the designer explains. She added wood floors, lattices to the ceiling to create architectural interest, and used Thibaut fabric to outline the windows. Hotel bedding and grass cloth on the wall added a “beautiful vibrant impression” with traditional components.
Wallpaper: Thibault. Drapery Panel Fabric: Valance. Bed skirt: Thibault. Bedding: Williams-Sonoma. Blanket: Dallas carpet.
Guest bathroom on the ground floor
Wallpaper: Schumacher. Candlestick: Visual comfort.
The owners have a growing family of grandchildren who often visit them, “that’s why we created a nursery for them,” says Armstrong. It was a tough request as the clients “wanted to create a nativity scene in an open corner”, which the previous owner had used as a foosball table, with access to the upstairs den.
“To create privacy, we added woven blackout blinds – a daybed, in case the mother needed to sleep with the baby – and a crib. We tried to create a room within the room,” she says, using double-sided drapery with a thick lining to create a sound buffer and visually separate the den from the living room.
Fabric for drapery panels and room dividers: Stroheim. Day bed: Catering equipment. Bumper fabric: Thibault.
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