Bruce Birnbach, CEO of American Leather (Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography)

Being a writer and Lifestylist for is never dull. One day you are sipping wines in Napa Valley covering a winery opening, and the next you are visiting a furniture factory. I would never have expected how much I would enjoy touring American Leather, but this Dallas based company has made me a believer of the extraordinary design and technology a company can offer right here in Dallas.

Only a few of the styles available for your new Comfort Sleeper by American Leather (Photos: Lisa Stewart Photography)

Dallas is becoming a world-renowned design destination, and it’s exciting to see how many companies are based here that have an international reputation. This Lifestylist had heard about American Leather, but until I met Bruce Birnbach, their CEO, I had no idea how much having them in Dallas impacts our local economy.


With a background in architectural design, Golnar helps clients find better living through well-designed spaces.

With a background in architectural design, Golnar Ghezelbash helps clients find better living through well-designed spaces.

Not everyone can see a property for what it is. Even fewer can see it for what it could be. But Realtor Golnar Ghezelbash is one of the gifted. Through her unique vision, she helps clients find better living through well-designed spaces.

While Golnar’s talent may be exceptional, her story sounds all too unfamiliar. When the pull of a demanding career and a busy home life lead the architectural designer to crave a better balance, she decided on a career change. “Being an integral part of projects in architecture is rewarding, but demanding,” she said. “I wanted flexibility, variety, and less stress. I wanted to be able to spend more time with my kids and be present for them.”

So after 15 years, Golnar left behind the glitz of high-end hospitality and mixed-use projects. After spending several years investing in real estate industry, she now lends her expert eye for design to the team at David Griffin & Company Realtors.


Broken 7 SM

Replacing solid walls with glass separates while unifying

There’s a new design term percolating over from Europe called “broken concept.”  I think of it as open concept 2.0.

If the point of open concept is to remove all dividing walls to combine multiple rooms, Broken Concept is about achieving openness while retaining some separation. Think of it as a halfway point between individual rooms and complete open concept.

Some homeowners are realizing that open concept is OK when there are few people in a home but the more residents added, the more privacy decreases as intrusion increases.  There is a reason we all don’t live in wall-less communal studio spaces.  Maybe you’ve just had a spat and you need some physical separation to cool off. Or the more typical reader facing off against the sports fan.

But as we know, open concept does some things really well.  It’s great for entertaining groups.  It’s great for connecting the kitchen to the rest of the house.  It’s great for increasing light transmission.  It’s great for improving sight lines.  It’s great for making several poky rooms feel much larger and grander.


Baccarat Logo

Lalique Logo

Outlets get a mostly deserved bad rap from the discerning shopper. Originally intended to sell end-of-season and overstock merchandise at reasonable price, today’s outlet malls are stuffed with big names and slim bargains from cheaply-made collections sewn in Romania instead of Italy. These are lines never seen in the brand’s high-street boutiques. As oversaturated as Coach, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ralph Lauren are in these malls, it’s a wonder any label queen would touch their “real” stores with a 10-foot AMEX Platinum card.

But sometimes … sometimes an outlet is REALLY an outlet for some pretty incredible things.

I’m betting y’all didn’t know that in all the world there is ONE Baccarat and Lalique outlet store … in Orlando of all places. It’s located at the Orlando Premium Outlets between a Neiman’s Last Call and a St. John outlet.

It’s true!


Fraun Delafield of Allied Stone shows off a slab in the warehouse of the Design District location. The business plans to expand its warehouse, more than doubling its existing footprint.

Fraun Delafield of Allied Stone shows off a slab of quartzite in the warehouse of the Design District location. The business plans to expand its warehouse, more than doubling its existing footprint.

You may not think of a slab of granite as a work of art, but when you visit Allied Stone, it’s hard to not draw that parallel. Arranged like a sleek gallery space, the showroom of Allied Stone’s Dallas Design District location has gigantic swaths of granite, marble, onyx, and many other exotic varieties of natural and composite stones draping the walls, floors, just everywhere.

But it’s Fraun Delafield, a design consultant at Allied Stone, who really conveys both the business side and passion she has for the beautiful ways that natural stone enhances a home’s character.

“I’ve always loved design, and I just get excited when people call with interesting projects, ways we can incorporate natural stone into their home in unique, unexpected ways,” Delafield said.

It’s a way to add color and texture to a project, whether a kitchen, a bathroom, an entryway, a fireplace, a bar, or one of the many outdoor projects that Delafield has worked on, she said. Each of these projects was an intense process in which the vision of a client, an architect, a designer, or a builder was realized with expert craftsmanship and attention to detail. Allied Stone, while it remains a distributor to large-scale homebuilders and contractors, is also a retailer, a place where high-end designers can shop for their clients and find unique materials that take projects to the next level.


Pinterest is a cruel mistress to the person planning a remodel. That person is me, and my current source of indecision is lighting.

I’m planning on pretty much gutting our hall bath, opting for a more transitional style with a modern double-bowl vanity sink, wainscotting, a rustic wooden mirror, apothecary-style cabinetry, and gooseneck barn lighting above the vanity.

Of course, the lighting is what is causing the most indecision, thanks to the recent boon in American-made light fixtures modeled after old-time gas station lights. They’re built to stand up to the toughest conditions, and often come in a wide array of colors with a decidedly industrial feel.

Here are a few of my most recent favorites:

1) Restoration Hardware’s warm white 10-inch Vintage Barn Sconce — $209

Vintage Barn Light Resto Hardware

2) Barn Wall Urban Outdoor Wall Sconce from Lamps Plus of Dallas — $79.99 (Bargain!!!)

Barn Wall Light Lamps Plus

3) Wheeler Dino Wall Sconce from Barn Light Electric — $208 (Comes in a host of bright colors!)

Barn Light Electric Wheeler Dino Yellow

4) Mini Derby Warehouse Shade Wall Light from Barn Light Originals — $168 (Also comes in tons of great colors!)

The Derby Mini Wall Light Red

5) Barnard Solid Brass Indoor/Outdoor Sconce — $189 each, $339 for two (Has adorable seeded glass cover!)

Barnard Rustic Sconce Potterybarn

Which one is your favorite?

clutttered attic

Most attics are used for storage, as a way to keep odds and ends from taking over a home. They can also become time capsules, preserving history until we are brave enough to explore them. For Bernadette Schaeffler, attics are so much more.

“The world changed and architects embrace attic rooms into their design. In some homes attics are pretty appealing and therefore more and more people realize the potential of space and remodel the attic into wonderful living areas. The space under the roof can be fantastic for a variety of rooms and easily maximize the home,” Schaeffler said.

View into an attic

While they can be odd shaped, thanks to the slope of a roof, they remain versatile, accommodating a wide range of uses. In Schaeffler’s native Germany, converted attics are sometimes called “sky parlors,” a romantic term if there ever was one.

“Attics can be bedrooms, computer rooms, TV rooms, and playrooms. The big advantage of attics is that they are mostly separated from the rest of the house and more private,” Schaeffler added.

remodeled attic

Want more inspiration for your attic conversion? Visit the Bernadette Schaeffler Collection showroom.