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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Linda Fritschy

All interior photos: Michael Hunter Photography

Dallas interior designer Linda Fritschy learned early how to make good design choices. Her mom’s hobbies included updating her home and purchasing art, and she was Fritschy’s first client.

Linda Fritschy

Linda Fritschy, ASID. Photo: Robert Peacock

“She began when I was 12 or 13, taking me with her to go make purchases for the house and she would ask me my opinion,” she said. “I learned to consider what’s in the house already and what we were going to add to it, what was going to be good in the design scheme, and I learned about seeing the big picture and trusting my gut.”

Today, her expertise is honed and she is the owner of Linda Fritschy Interior Design, a firm she established in 1989. Her ability to create inspired spaces customized to each client—often using existing pieces of furniture, accessories, or art—is part of her genius. She manages the style, balance, and color of each color expertly and the end results speak for themselves.

While every space is a one-of-a-kind creation, Fritschy says she finds herself returning to certain elements again.

“I always lines that are clean and modern without being trendy,” she said. “I like to create a variety of interior styles.”

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Carl Lowery

All photos: Dan Piassick

For creative-minded interior designers, one of the hardest parts of their jobs can be selling their ideas to clients and helping them “see” the vision for a space. But for Carl Lowery, it’s a natural fit.

Carl Lowery

Carl Lowery

That’s because Lowery took a circuitous route to becoming a Dallas interior designer. This Louisiana native started his career in telecommunications, eventually becoming the director of marketing for a large telecom company. But several years in, Lowery found himself growing bored and started going to antique auctions, eventually opening the Oak Lawn Antiques showroom in 1999.

“It seemed as I started to purchase the products in auctions that I was very good at selecting items that complemented each other, and as I put together the showroom, it seemed like I was good at merchandising,” he said. “So I opened three showrooms total in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Southlake to great success and the rest is history. Now, instead of the showrooms, we work out of a studio in the Design District.”

Lowery’s ability to clearly communicate his creative ideas and help clients envision the final product is one of his strongest skills as owner and founder of Wesley-Wayne Interiors. It paves the way for a relationship built on trust, with happy clients at the end of a job.

“I just love making people happy and I love improving spaces, taking full advantage of spaces, and making sure they not only function the way the client wants, but they are very aesthetically pleasing,” he said. “When the client sees the final space and they have a huge smile on their face or get tears in their eyes, that makes my day.”

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Sherry Hayslip

All photos courtesy of Sherry Hayslip Interiors

Visionary design takes a lot of inspiration, and a fair degree of risk. Playing the middle ground usually makes for unimpressive spaces.

Sherry Hayslip

Sherry Hayslip

Dallas interior designer Sherry Hayslip, ASID, IIDA, brings 30-plus years of inspiration to her work, and creates marvelous residential and commercial spaces. She knows how to walk that fine line of risk for extraordinary results.

“Being completely safe seldom results in the best design; I always want to include something a little unexpected or even outrageous,” Hayslip said. “One reason I love design is because it opens so many doors to new experiences, fascinating people, unexpected collections, and interests.”

Hayslip is the owner and principal designer of Sherry Hayslip Interiors, a firm she established in 1974. Since then, this passionate creative has dedicated herself to continuing education and learning.

“I can’t help myself! There is an endless amount of knowledge out there, and I want to absorb as much as I can before I start forgetting it,” she said. “The world of design is constantly changing, and I find it fascinating to try and see where it has been and where it is headed.”

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Traci Connell

All photos: Michael Hunter

An unlikely path led Traci Connell to great success as a Dallas interior designer.

Connell earned her degree in education and was an elementary school teacher. She enjoyed the job, but says she hadn’t found her passion.

Traci Connell

Traci Connell

“What I really loved about teaching was the creativity and structure of the classroom,” she said. “The big ‘ah ha’ moment for me came in 2000, when my good friend asked, ‘why can’t you make money doing something you love?’ And shortly after, with some careful consideration, Traci Connell Interiors was born.”

At first, Traci Connell Interiors, Connell Interiors at the time, was a helpful second income for her growing family. She spent the first ten years developing her eye for design, honing her business skills, holding leadership roles within the Interior Design Society (IDS), and completing successful client projects, as well as many charity opportunities.

Life threw her a curve ball in 2011, when she found herself a single mother with three children, and the sole provider for the household.

“Fueled with pure passion to feed my family and realize my dream, I reestablished my company as Traci Connell Interiors,” she said. “My decision to change careers is justified every time I see a client lay eyes on their newly designed space for the first time — the tears of happiness say it all.”

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Barbara Gilbert fairview living-room-interior

A cabana living room in Fairview designed by Dallas interior designer Barbara Gilbert. All photos: Michael Hunter Photography

Dallas interior designer Barbara Gilbert is an expert in the psychology of color, creating carefully curated spaces that not only work visually, but positively impact function and use.

Her attention to detail means you’ll find every inch accounted for in her designs in ways that often surprise and delight. One exampleL LED toe kicks in the kitchen, bringing illumination to the floor.

Barbara Gilbert

Barbara Gilbert

“Details are what make a room beautiful—it’s the mixing of patterns, textures, and colors and placing them strategically in a room,” Gilbert said. “We will mix two patterns on a chair and add contrast welt for variation. We make sure that the height of an end table is the right size for the furniture it sits next to. We are very particular about scale, so when we source artwork we make sure it’s the perfect size for the wall it adorns.”

We mentioned Gilbert on CandysDirt in 5 Dallas Interior Designers to Watch in 2015 this January. We noted her work on an eco-friendly home in Highland Village that earned her two 2014 ASID Legacy of Design awards, as well as the Dallas Builders Association ARC Award for the kitchen. She’s a Best of Houzz winner from 2012-2015. Additionally, Gilbert just won five 2015 ASID Legacy of Design awards, including first place for transitional living areas and first place for a transitional singular space.

Gilbert and her team at Barbara Gilbert Interiors specialize in high-performance, sustainable new construction and full service luxury residential interior design. It’s work she loves and in which she excels.

“We interpret our clients’ needs and dreams and use all of the principles of design to create their spaces,” she said. “Excellence is the standard for us and we don’t quit until we think it’s perfect! Thinking outside of the box is normal we love challenges.”

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Margaret Chambers downtown Dallas highrise study

The study of a downtown Dallas highrise, designed by Margaret Chambers. Photo: Dan Piassick

Interior designer Margaret Chambers is a pillar in the Dallas design community. She formed Chambers Interiors & Associates, Inc. 23 years ago after dreaming of having her own business, becoming known for her ability to confidently mix different styles, techniques, and cultures for her clients.

In those years, she’s come to regard Dallas as the ideal place for her thriving business, which employs five professionals, with every designer in the office having a degree in interior design.

Margaret Chambers

Margaret Chambers

“It is really a perfect place to practice interior design—people are very aware of interior designers and appreciate their ability to transform their home or office into a wonderful place to live and work,” Chambers said. “In Dallas, people can see a difference when a professional interior designer has created a space. In addition, Dallas is an international city and is continuing to grow, making it an exciting place for design to serve a wide range of people.”

Chambers’ work is award-winning, and has been published in more than 20 industry magazines, including Traditional Home, Texas Home & Living, and D Home. She is also a friend of CandysDirt, telling our readers about everything from kitchen design and investing in antiques to picking a chandelier and the best strategies to use to get your home on the market and sold.

You’ll find Chambers’ work in Highland Park, Preston Hollow, Plano, and other North Texas homes of discriminating clients, spanning a range of styles.

“I always try to make my work as classical and timeless as possible, whether I am doing a contemporary, transitional, or traditional home,” she said. “I want each project to have its own unique style that reflects the client’s unique taste. I also love to add in furniture, art, and accessories that are handmade. I feel these add warmth and a soul to the interior; they bring with them a history that enriches a space.”

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The living room of a Meadowood Estate designed by Mary Anne Smiley.

The living room of a Meadowood Estate designed by Mary Anne Smiley

Mary Anne Smiley had big plans for herself as a young woman. During childhood, she began drawing house plans and dreamed of a career in architecture.

Several years later, she tried to begin architecture studies at Oklahoma State University. But it was the 1960s, and the dean informed her, “Women do not enroll in architecture.”

Mary Anne Smiley

Mary Anne Smiley

That unfortunate turn of events led her to a different kind of adventure—she decided instead to study interior design and fine art. This began a successful career as an interior designer, and today, Smiley is recognized her as one of the top designers in Dallas. She received a Best of Houzz 2014 award for service, and a Best of Houzz 2015 award for design.

“I went to college with the intention of being an architect, but I am so glad the dean told me women could not enroll in architecture, as I think that would have been so limiting for me,” Smiley said. “I also wanted to be an artist so bad, but realized I did not have the raw talent required for that at that time—during the 60s, if you were not angry, and interested in phallic symbols, you did not have what it took! I think all-in-all, I landed just where I needed to be.”

Smiley’s love of bright color made her a pioneer of its use in Dallas interior design, and a signature of hers is bright spots of pure color against soft pearl-finish backgrounds. She’s also known for her ability to mix antiques and lavish textiles with cutting-edge products, from metallics to recycled plastics.

“I love to mix elements,” she said. “For instance, in the Highland Park contemporary study, for the desk, I used two contemporary chrome bases for a custom acrylic ‘tray’ top with honey onyx insert. The unique thing about this desk that you do not see, is that the onyx has a hollow space that encompasses an LED light grid that lights the onyx top without any evidence of a light source or wiring, as the wiring is concealed inside the chrome base, running directly into the floor, with the transformer for the lighting mounted beneath the floor.”

Today, she brings her talents to clients with her company, Mary Anne Smiley Interiors, creating carefully curated spaces for a range of clients. Her work is simply stunning.

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