Artfully Designed

For a young Dallas family, interior designer Kara Adam curates rooms with plenty of artisan pieces and lively wallcoverings, along with an outstanding art collection assembled by advisor Lynsey Wiley Provost.
Bright pink and blue furniture make a white living room feel fun and airy.
Employing her client’s favorite blue as a base, Kara Adam added glamourous notes to the living room with a sinuous vintage Parisian coffee table and a unique purple blown-glass accent table. Artwork from left to right: Bernard Frize, Francis Picabia, Anthony Pearson (over mantel), and Mark Grotjahn.

On a spacious lot in a sought-after Dallas neighborhood sits an elegant yet restrained French neoclassical manse built from the ground up but giving the impression that it has long graced the street with its stately façade. While the interiors tell a similar story with beautiful appointments, compelling colors, one-of-a-kind pieces, and a to-die-for art collection, there’s also some hidden ease at play. “The owners have three children, so they wanted the home to feel comfortable and not museum-like,” says interior designer Kara Adam. “And they want visitors to feel like they can relax when they are in their house.”

A bright white kitchen is accented with deep blue lampshades and blue patterned chairs.
Brass strapping on the vent pairs with brass hardware and fixtures to bring a bit of shine to the classic white kitchen. An Urban Electric light fixture with custom shades and an Imogen Heath print on the chairs add bolts of blue. The green botanical painting is by Jonas Wood.

For the architecture, Kara and her clients worked with Larry Boerder, known for his authenticity and meticulous attention to detail. “Our dream was a home with traditional lines, but we didn’t want it to be overly ornate,” say the homeowners. “We were confident in Larry’s ability to achieve our vision. He created a house that doesn’t look ‘trendy’ and will stand the test of time aesthetically.”

A few pieces of light blue patterned furnishing fill a white bedroom with a tall vaulted ceiling.
A geometric-style print from Lindsay Cowles adds liveliness to a custom bench and bed pillows in the primary suite.

Inside the home, Kara pushed the limits a bit when it came to selecting furnishings and décor. “I have a great relationship with these clients, so trust came naturally,” says the designer.

“However, some choices were definitely out of the wife’s comfort zone. I told her, ‘We are not building your grandmother’s house.’ I wanted to add some funkier pieces and unexpected accents here and there.” Ultimately, the homeowners were pleasantly surprised by how much they love some of these picks, such as the gray lacquer in the bar, the moody palette of the basement, and the statement-making bed in the primary suite.

Deep blue velvet furniture creates a moody feel in a lower level lounge.
The lower-level lounge is the ultimate hangout spot with a bar and an adjacent room that houses a golf simulator.
“The homeowners didn’t want their home to look like any you had seen, and that is always my goal too.” —DESIGNER KARA ADAM
Hot pink curtains contrast a bright teal pattern bedframe.
For a girl’s dream of a bedroom, Kara injected a bright pink Highland House fabric for the window panels with a Hickory Chair bed dressed in a playful Ferrick Mason blue-and-white botanical print.

While her client’s favorite color is blue—and there’s plenty of it in the house—Kara also introduced shades of purple and pink, as well as some warm neutrals, to keep it from feeling too monochromatic. And she employed a plethora of wallcoverings—31 in total— to inject liveliness throughout the rooms. “They didn’t want their home to look like any you had seen before, and that is always my goal too,” Kara says. “We worked with niche vendors and artisans and had a lot of things customized to fit the scale of these large rooms.”

Purple and blue patterned furniture fill a white living room with sun peering in the large arched windows.
Generous furniture pieces provide options for convivial gatherings. A custom coffee table in Brazilian rosewood and blue ceramic lamps by Christopher Spitzmiller anchor one of the seating areas. Chairs in an Elizabeth Eakins purple print punch up the color scheme.

A pleated silk Élitis wallcovering graces a powder room for texture, while an indigo-and-white Ashley Woodson Bailey design brings some drama to another space. “Kara certainly pushed us on wallpapers and fabrics too, but having worked with her on multiple projects in the past, we knew to trust her eye for unique selections,” say the homeowners. “Two great examples are those in the pool house and the dining room.”

A blue mosaic tile covers the bottom half of a bright bathroom.
A mosaic tile, used as wainscoting in the bath, is topped with a wispy circle wallpaper from Studio E.
A deep blue marbled wallpaper envelopes a high ceilinged dining room.
Wow moments in the dining room include a tiered-glass Vaughan Designs chandelier, a hand-painted Timothy Corrigan for Fromental wallcovering that evokes the ocean, curved white dining chairs, and a large, peach-toned contemporary art piece from Sam Falls.
A glistening teal pool leads to a beige pool house.
The pool side of the pavilion features a charming eyebrow dormer. All of the outdoor furniture is upholstered in Perennials Fabrics.

To complete the décor, Kara turned to art advisor Lynsey Wiley Provost, who saw the clients through the art curation process. “When you are amassing a collection of this scale, you need to have someone who is on the pulse of the industry; someone who is in it every day,” says Kara. Lynsey has been part of the industry for over 20 years, honing her expertise with graduate studies at Sotheby’s and working at the auction house and in galleries in New York. Along the way, she has garnered a vast network worldwide.

An outdoor bar is set with lemon water.
The pavilion has many options for seating; this one looks out on the pool.
Bamboo bar stools with blue cushions stand next too a white marbled bar.
The wallpaper from the pool house bath repeats in the bar for a sense of continuity. A complementary Moroccan tile forms the backsplash with shelves holding dishware at the ready.
Teal patterned furniture fill a white pool house with a wood vaulted ceiling.
The vaulted pool house with its comfy furnishings provides a gathering spot to escape the heat. Whimsical artwork by Donald Moffett adds to the relaxed vibe.

“We really enjoyed working with Lynsey,” say the homeowners. “She has helped us navigate the art world and has made collecting enjoyable. Plus, her ability to collaborate with Kara on dimensions and palettes made the entire process seamless from start to finish.” Works by both established and emerging artists fill the rooms with welcome color and texture. “It’s hard to pick favorites, but we love the Jane Freilicher landscape next to our bed, the shaped Sara Crowner piece in our upstairs landing, and the Mark Grotjahn, the Francis Picabia, and the Milton Avery in the living room,” say the homeowners. Such remarkable pieces serve as the icing on the cake of this thoughtful and beautifully executed home—one that will clearly stand the test of time.

Warm yellow lights fill a grand beige mansion from a street view.
Live Oaks frame the exterior of the elegant French Neoclassical-style home designed by architect Larry Boerder.

Art Advisor 101

Lynsey Wiley Provost shares her role in helping clients collect meaningful art.

First and foremost, I get to know my clients and their personalities and discuss their collecting goals while also educating them about the market and the process. I protect them from making hasty or ill-considered choices, and I oversee their collection for the long term.

I look at artists who are on a certain trajectory in their careers and have a certain amount of exposure. If my clients enjoy following the artist, we decide to move forward and try to acquire the artwork.

I like to ensure that the acquisition is the best representation of the artist’s work and that it fits in with the rest of the collection.

I always advise clients to purchase what they love and not pieces to match their décor or for a specific room. For example, you don’t want to purchase something because it looks good with your purple sofa. Your sofa will change, but your art will be for the long term.

I make sure my clients have variety in their collections—pieces from different eras, genres, and schools, as well as a mixture of mediums for contrast and excitement. I’m also available for the installation process to work alongside the designer in choosing the best placement of the pieces.

An abstract art piece with a green background and yellow and pink flowers hangs above a plain grey chair.
Art by Friedrich Kunath pairs with a Gregorius Pineo chair to create a simple vignette.

By Alice Welsh Doyle

Photography by Michael Hunter

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