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.”
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.”
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.
“The homeowners didn’t want their home to look like any you had seen, and that is always my goal too.” —DESIGNER KARA ADAM
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.”
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.”
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.
“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.
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.