Dallas design doyenne, Beverly Field, died in her sleep Wednesday night at the age of 88. She had struggled with heart problems in recent years, but weathered a pace maker replacement a few years ago. A member of ASID, her influence in the design community was extensive, enduring, and spanned generations.
“She was such an original-that’s what you have to know about Beverly” explains friend and gifted designer, Michelle Nussbaumer. “She was the first to mix before it became standard. She appreciated the most beautiful antiques, folk art and mainline modern. She had already made a date to go to the DMA with my new assistant”, Nussbaumer added. “She thought there were some things she needed to see. And she was friends with my daughters who are also deeply affected. They never thought of Beverly as having an age.”she added.
I met Beverly in the early eighties and was impressed by her Bud Oglesby condominium, which blended her collection of Continental antiques, with a Knoll, Joe D’Urso table, a collection of gilt frames, and folk art paintings of children. She was quick to encourage and compliment me when my Argyle apartment was published in 1987.
“You’ve got it kid. Keep it up”, cheering me on.
And she was so damned fun. Possessed of a rapier wit, she could reduce you to floods of laughter with one ironic, usually accurate, observation.
Her youthfulness and constant regeneration shines through in her last major project for life long friend Nancy Dedman. I was frankly blown away by the breakfast room consisting of a modern oval table, 18th century Swedish chairs, and Scott+Cooner light fixture, all wrapped in a shimmering celadon looking every bit the work of some bold, young upstart.
Brad Kelly, who knew her from an early age and was the project manager on the Dedman job notes, “She was my first exposure to design. She gave me the courage to go bold and explore my own style. Traveling with her on global buying trips was an education and an experience I will never forget.”
Much of her work was for clients so deeply embedded in old Dallas society, that it never appeared in print.
“She should have been better known”, Michelle Nussbaumer observes. “If she hadn’t lived in Dallas she would have been. I was thinking of Madeleine Castaing, another influential tastemaker. Beverly made a pilgrimage to her house in France, when she died in 1992, before it was all dispersed. When she came back she shared all of her photographs.” This reminds me of the fact that although Beverly’s talent seemed instinctual, it was informed by an endless font of curiosity and self education.
She will be dearly remembered, and sorely missed.
Eric Prokesh is an interior designer whose work has appeared on HGTV, and in books and publications including D Home, Southern Accents, House Beautiful, and House and Garden. In January 2005, HG named Eric one of the 50 tastemakers in America and D Home has included him as one of Dallas’ Best Designers for 10 years. Having lived most of his life in Dallas, he now calls Fort Worth home and is one of our experts on beautiful Fort Worth Dirt.