Merriman Park

Merriman Park Elementary parents and local business banded together to create a more welcoming and cheerful space for the school’s 60 teachers. Their efforts inspired us to begin matching schools with businesses and groups who would like to do the same. (Photos courtesy Merriman Park Elementary PTA)

[Editor’s note: Merry Christmas! This week, we’re taking time off to focus on our loved ones, so we are sharing some of our favorite stories from this year. Keep an eye out for our top features from the archives as we rest and get ready for a brilliant 2019! Cheers, from Candy and the entire staff at CandysDirt.com!]

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Katy Hancock, a PTA officer at Merriman Park Elementary School, the kind that I love to get.

In it, she told me about how three parents (who just happened to be experts in their fields) banded together to spearhead a makeover of the teachers’ lounge — a teachers lounge that was sad, dark, and dysfunctional.

Before

Before

“The PTA had a little money left over at the end of the year,” Hancock said. “We thought maybe we could get a few cabinets and a new countertop.”

But then Kim Armstrong, a parent and owner of Kim Armstrong Interior Design, offered to manage the project.

“Kim stepped in, some amazing MPE families stepped up, and OMG…we have ourselves one very amazing teacher’s lounge,” Hancock said.

Fellow Merriman Park parents Derek Kellogg and Kevin Bryant of Richland Renovations and Bentwood Kitchens, respectively, also got involved, providing labor, materials and more.

“Their contributions and a whopping PTA budget of $2,500 made this possible,” Hancock said in her email.

I took Johnstone up on her offer to see the completed space in person, and met with her, Kellogg, and Armstrong in the now bright, cheery room that is a vast improvement for the 60 teachers that use it. (more…)

Could your pooch be bathing more luxuriously than you? It’s possible in the latest pet design trend.

Imagine installing your dog’s own shower or designing a custom bed for your cat. It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. Dallas interior designer Kim Armstrong says when her clients begin home renovation projects, they’re including pets into their interior design schemes. Here are some of the best pet design trends she’s seeing here in the Dallas-area.

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Dallas Based Global Views debuted their new showroom and collections at the Dallas World Market Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

The dogs need to be walked. The pool needs painted. Brunch at Parigi sounds sooo good. It’s easy to find excuses to not leave your routine, but this Lifestylist decided it was time to step out and revisit the Dallas Market Center during the recent Total Home and Gift Market. I am so glad that I did!

I discovered that there’s a reason my east and west coast designer friends have started traveling to Dallas twice a year for these markets and realized we have some fantastic resources and companies that are proud to call Dallas home. (more…)

Pedro Ruiz’s Catleya Dowiana available from Beatriz Esguerra Art

Perhaps not dinner, but in many ways art feeds the soul. From the earliest to the latest, art transforms thoughts and ideas into physical form.  But it can be expensive.  For those not bothered by budgets, this coming weekend is the Dallas Art Fair that runs Thursday until Sunday downtown at f.i.g (Fashion Industry Gallery). Tickets are still available starting at $25 for a day pass ($20 if you’re too old or too young to pay $25) and topping out at $500 for a Patron pass.

If you’re like me, art events with a section titled “Works Under $10,000” and more “Contact Gallery for Price” than actual prices, it’s a window shopping outing. For example, Pedro Ruiz’s work (above) with large floral images punctuated by lone tribal figures on rafts are bold in color and subject (the appropriation of goods from native areas for the enrichment of the voracious and fickle West). Beautiful and moving, but too rich for me.

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There is nothing I like better than a bargain, unless it’s a design bargain. Or a real estate bargain.

Thus I hit jackpot Monday when I walked into Jan Showers Interior Design showroom at 1308 Slocum Street, in the Dallas Design District, and found out about her fabulous February sale. Amazing fabric rolls selling for… are you sitting down? I want proof, tell me you are sitting down.

Okay, you are sitting down.

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Megg Braff Book|candysdirt.com

A Braff New York bedroom. Photo credit: J. Savage Gibson

Looking for gift ideas for anyone with an eye for beautiful interiors? Check out the first book by notable interior designer Meg Braff, a Mississippi-born, Long Island-based designer who’s known for chic timeless style. Braff visited Dallas recently, presenting a program for the Dallas Woman’s Club on her modern take on traditional design fusing bold colors, rich patterns, and incorporating antique pieces with up-to-the minute furnishings. The hallmark of the the mother of four young boys is home design that is pretty and polished but welcoming and livable.

Charlotte Moss wrote the forward to Braff’s book – that says it all. We caught up with Braff at a book-signing at a private home following her appearance at the Dallas Woman’s Club for a Q&A:

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Those purveyors of the best contemporary furnishings in town, Scott & Cooner, have a great present for all of us: a holiday SALE just in time to outfit the house for the holidays. It’s at the warehouse location, 2150 Irving Blvd. 10 am to 4 pm until Friday. We told you all about it last week but here is  reminder.

For a handy-dandy map, click here.

What you (and I) will find:

Rugs by Yerra: fabulous hides and stitched hides, by Moooi: bright pallettes and unusual creations, like this Delft round rug whose original art design was hand-painted on a ceramic plate, and by Nanimariquina, a Barcelona rug designer and manufacturer. I’m actually buying a rug now so you might catch me down there. Rugs are impossible, I think, to buy on the internet. 

Furnishings: a selection of Giorgetti sofas, Cassina chairs, tables and more, and a variety of Paola Lenti indoor/outdoor and outdoor furniture. I mean, with temperatures this temperate, go ahead and have Christmas dinner outside! (more…)

Stacy Brotemarkle remembers when she was a 12-year-old, tagging along with her parents while house hunting. For most kids, hours and hours of showings and trekking through home after home can be boring and tedious, but Brotemarkle remembers it all fondly. 

“I said, ‘Mom, I want to be an interior designer,’ ” Brotemarkle recalled. “She said, ‘Yeah, sure, and last week you wanted to be a singer.’ ”

But unlike her musical ambitions, interior design stuck with her through high school and onward. Right after graduating high school, Brotemarkle went to work for Hawkins-Welwood Homes, later graduating from the University of North Texas with a BFA in interior design. Today, Brotemarkle is the vice president and lead interior designer at Bella Custom Homes, one of the foremost luxury custom builders in North Texas. 

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