Friday, July 8, 2011

Garden Room Revealed

The Garden Room of a house in the Volk Estates section of University Park, Dallas, Texas, renovated by John Tackett Design.
Photo by Pieter Estersohn.
A number of blogs, including two of my favorites, The Peak of Chic and Me & Mrs. Jones, have featured the latest book by Florence de Dampierre, Walls:  The Best of Decorative Treatments which was published by Rizzoli this past March.
I was delighted to learn that a room from one of my projects, an extensive renovation of a 1920s house in the Volk Estates area of University Park, Dallas, Texas was featured.  The book is a little "lite" in text, however, and no identification is given for the room, a peeve that has now moved to the top of my list of Issues With Authors of Design Books.  But The Devoted Classicist is happy to be able to provide more information on the room.

The wallpaper panels as installed in the Dining Room of the owners' previous home, with interior design by Josie McCarthy.
Photo by Peter Woloszynski.
The eighteenth century handpainted wallpaper panels were bought by my clients some years before, and installed in the previous home's Dining Room which was arranged with mouldings in a boiserie effect of black lacquer walls.  But the owners wanted to use them differently in their new residence.

The trio of custom made stools resulted from a 1996 series of velvet covered furniture developed by John Tackett Design.
Photo by Pieter Estersohn.
The space was previously a Florida Room with jalousie windows of glass louvers and a shag carpet over the concrete floor.  With the addition of a new panelled Library on the ground floor, this room became a passage from the adjacent Living Room on one side and a cozy Sitting Room on another, making it essential to create a distinctive space as well as a link to the remarkable garden beyond.

Drawing by John J. Tackett  from construction documents by John Tackett Design.
The six panels were the same length, but of different widths.  The layout of both the room and the panels allowed them to be joined as a large panel on the north and south walls but kept separate to flank a doorway on the east wall.  A design module was devised to allow a fretwork frame that would fit the four resulting widths yet still allow for corners to be resolved.
Views of the Garden Room showing the south and west elevations showing the treillage added to the ceiling and the antique tole chandelier from Marvin Alexander, Inc.  The slipcovered loveseat was relocated for the previous images.
Photos by John J. Tackett, John Tackett Design.
To reinforce the garden theme, a traditional lattice motif was introduced but restricted to the ceiling.  Roofing slates were used for the new flooring and custom French doors open to a new porch.
A scap of the wallpaper from the previous installation was used to develop the paint scheme for the Garden Room.
Photo by John J. Tackett.
The paint scheme for the room was developed on site with the owner and the painter, Barry Martin, who used pigments to mix the colors for review and approval.  The furnishings were a collaboration with Josie McCarthy, who had designed the interiors of the clients' former home.  An admirable job was done by the building contractor Kevin Smith, and Wilson Fuqua provided the documentation for Code Compliance.  The 1999 Pieter Estersohn photos originally appeared in a fourteen page article in "Southern Accents" magazine in 2001.  Some photos of the house also appeared in the 2003 book Southern Accents on Color edited by Frances McDougall.  My clients have since sold the house, now spending more time at another project I designed for them in Pebble Beach, California.  But additional aspects of this Vassar Avenue house will be featured in future posts of The Devoted Classicist.

The 2011 book WALLS: THE BEST OF DECORATIVE TREATMENTS can be ordered at a discount of 30% off the published price with the option of free shipping by clicking here to visit The Devoted Classicist Library.


  1. I hope everyone will click on the pictures then click them again to enlarge, those magazine sized pics don't do it justice. Throw those doors open and get the party started!

  2. really beautiful project -so glad you are sharing it with us :-)

  3. Terry, the site is especially large and backs up to Turtle Creek. During the project, my clients increased the scope when they also acquired an adjacent property at the corner of Lovers Lane, razed the 1960s Louie Whoey style house, but kept the pool and garage which I transformed into a In addition, I also designed a new lodge that was built on the property. The clients are great benefactors for cultural institutions and charitable organizations; there is room for over 500 for dinner using the garden as well as the main house.

    Stefan, I thought you might be posting about the Getty Villa at Malibu when I saw the title of your latest today. I think one of the wonderful murals there provided the image for the cover of the WALLS book.

  4. Terry, my previous comment should have said that the second garage was transformed into a poolhouse and shed for garden equipment. A greenhouse was also added there. The second lot also allowed for a gracious driveway entrance.

  5. Exquisite … a perfect example on how design and color create the world we live in.

  6. P.O.E., this old house, practically historic by Dallas standards, is a welcome oasis from the intense Texas sun. But it took jewel tones, used throughout the house, to help keep it vibrant. Thanks for commenting.

  7. For more about painter Barry A. Martin, see the article "Go With The Faux" in the current issue of D HOME magazine and the July 8 post of the blog A Great Big Canvas at

  8. Impressed, as always, with the precision and the careful attention
    to detail in that staggeringly beautiful room~as well as the instinctive
    good taste behind all of your decisions! Lovely, lovely, lovely.

  9. Thanks, Toby. It was a fun project with great clients.

  10. Congratulations on your projects! The space and interiors look beautiful, therefore making it worthy to be recognised.


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