When longtime Dallas interior designer Paige Locke of Paige R. Baten-Locke Designs first stepped into a pristine modern home in an established and woodsy neighborhood just off Lovers Lane, she could instantly see why her client— who happens to be a lifelong friend—had fallen in love with the space. With floor-to-ceiling windows, a neutral paint scheme and jewel-box baths, it was the perfect palette for her extensive art collection. “She loves art and is young at heart—she travels all over the world,” Locke says. “She had amassed a comprehensive collection with beautiful pieces and wanted to have them on display.”
But her client longed for a fresh perspective when it came to showcasing the color-filled, eclectic collection, which spans vivid, psychedelic works by American artist Peter Max to Chapman Kelley paintings, three-dimensional art, embroidered pieces from Mexico and pottery. Another factor was that the client wanted to create spaces conducive to entertaining— her two teenage sons live at home—and to trade her more traditional furnishings for contemporary pieces. She also wanted the transition to mark an entirely new beginning. “This project was about a metamorphosis,” Locke says. “She was giving herself permission to let go of things and to find fresh pieces that evoked her enjoyment.”
Given the abode’s blank slate, it made sense to begin with art placement. “She is thorough and loves projects, putting things together, and being a part of the process,” Locke says. “Once we had all of her art laid out, she started putting pieces up—she had found her vision.” The two collaborated on arrangements and from there worked to integrate complementary hues in the surrounding furnishings, lighting and accessories. “She is a Crayola box of colors,” Locke says. “Though the home came to life when her art came through the door, we still wanted to create an atmosphere reflective of her high-energy personality.”
Locke had the ideal dining room rug in mind: the “Swirl” rug by British fashion designer Paul Smith for the Rug Company, which boasts ribbons of color. She paired it with a marble- topped Bungalow 5 table and white leather chairs from Vanguard Furniture. A flokati rug previously used in a bedroom was given fresh life in the media room with a Thayer Coggin round coffee table and teal armchairs from Bassett Home Furnishings.
The client owned a bold “Peacock Dark” rug by British designer Matthew Williamson for the Rug Company and an iron bed with scrollwork, which Locke paired with antiqued mirrored-drawer side tables and a mirror-inset console from David W. Gilbert & Associates in the master bedroom. She also incorporated a reading nook, which holds a velvety chaise and armchair, both from Gabby. A guest bedroom—reserved for the client’s daughter when she returns to visit—is awash in teal. The breakfast room holds the client’s previously owned iron breakfast table, which fronts a large collage of art that Locke and her client compiled.
In the family room, Locke and the client found a set of cream sofas and chairs from David W. Gilbert & Associates, which they formed around the client’s previously owned salmon-hued rug and a David W. Gilbert & Associates coffee table. “We leaned toward neutral furnishings in several spaces to really allow the art to show,” Locke says, adding that she enjoyed taking a more modern approach to design with this project. “I enjoy being a chameleon. Nothing should be the same between two projects— I always design around the client’s wishes and personality— and that’s what made this one fun.”
Locke balanced the home’s abundance of color by exercising restraint when it came to drapery and accessories. “The house is spacious, and she didn’t want to take away from its simplicity,” Locke says. “She wanted to keep it open.”
The end result is a sprawling and life-filled contemporary house—one that invites guests to pause and reflect on the homeowner. “I walk in her home and feel as though I’m taking a big, deep breath,” Locke says. “There’s a peacefulness, but at the same time, there’s a fun energy that you feel through the art, and it all tells a story.” A story of new beginnings, a dynamic personality and most of all, happiness.
Jessica Elliott is a Dallas-based freelance writer and can be reached at email@example.com.