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A Little Touch of the Doge's Place

This year started on a tremendous high when long time clients engaged me to redo a massive room in a dramatic, Doge’s palace kind of style.  Working constantly with Bree Hyatt, the H D A project manager, I had real joy at the intensity of the design opportunities in this room… a room which once was much simpler, much taller, a baronial hall of a space.  The clients wanted something truly spectacular… something glorious, filled with light and color and over the top exciting.  This is a good recipe for design ecstasy!  At the end of December 2009 we settled on the design direction and the budget and in the first week of this year, we began….at a full gallop!!

  the lovely Bree Hyatt

Although we have only been working a little more than half a year, it is now coming to fruition.  As we near completion, I actually sit and stare at this room. 

The fireplace is over 20 feet in height, made of five kinds of marble in the most subtle shadings of color and totally hand carved.  No Renaissance master carver has ever exceeded the work done by Kevin Austin on this mantel.  Taking my design concept and working closely with me to develop each detail, Kevin was the perfect conduit for my vision for this mantel.  

  Rick Bennett and Kevin Austin 

How many Eveready Services movers does it take to install a mirror (when it’s 10 feet tall and 20 feet in the air)?

The ceiling has 15 giant coffers, in a pattern that conforms to the size of the room.  First I sketched my concept, adapting an antique ceiling design.  Then my talented staff translated it into cad drawings which I took to Casci Ornamental Plaster where Royce Renfro and I selected all the elements, many totally custom, to create the massive ceiling.  There is a pair of 8 foot tall chandeliers with custom blown ruby glass centers, the tiers dripping with old and new crystals… redressed and embellished from a former skimpier condition.  Here, they await unveiling.

LED lighting adds a total glow to the ceiling coffers (and avoids the annoyance of changing lights for years to come!).

The home’s original architect Richard Drummond Davis and his associate Larry Loftis assimilated the new supports for the plaster ceiling and helped integrate our new interior details into the structure.  The superintendent for construction, Jerry Nogalski, from Sebastian Construction Group, made the whole process very simple and smooth.  Jerry’s team included Wade Electric and Metroplex Wood Specialties’Russ Hydenrich.

Many thanks to all of the talented artisans, craftspeople and trades who contributed to this incredible project:

Eveready Services, who are always instrumental in our installations, Michael Stallings’ custom furniture makers and gilders, Jo Mattison’s art translated into fabulous finishes on the coffered ceiling, special detailed finish work by Mary Kaye McElwee, handscraped, custom parquet floors from Roosevelt White of Gleaming Floors, extraordinary chandelier modifications by Greg Clayton from Pettigrew Associates, glowing Venetian plaster walls by the meticulous Ralph Murphy, masterpiece rugs from Mina Torabli at Park Cities Oriental Rugs, Bobby Turners’ great wall upholsters, Klassic Designs Custom Furniture’s superb custom upholstery…. all the wonderful people who populate our projects so loyally and with such talent…. custom furniture by Michael Stallings and Eduvigas Frias and their fantastic team, Pallas Architectural WoodworkAllan Knight & Associatescrystalline Lucite table – just as we requested and even better, metal work byWhitesmith & Company, mirrored glass by Glasshouse, draperies by Juanita’s Draperies, a stunning onyx console top from Statement Furniture, specially commisioned paintings by Jason Stallings, and many others….. this is a fabulous group of people.  

  Jo Mattison

  Eduvigas Frias,  Michael Stallings

and the talented craftspeople working with Michael to fabricate several massive pieces of furniture.

the intrepid Ralph Murphy

Roosevelt White, master of wood flooring!

our friends from Pallas Architectural Woodworks.

Mina Torabli, bringing in the masterpiece rugs!

Chris Wynne, and his team from Statement Furniture, installing the elegant onyx top on a custom console.

The room is virtuallycomplete.  It is a bit crazy, a bit Lagerfeld, a little contemporary, a lot sumptuous.  Over the top….like the most delicious design meal you ever ate!  Well, at least a durn fun design sensation.

And last but not least, a special thanks to my husband, Cole Smith, of Smith, Ekblad and Associates, whose contributions to the beautiful details and architectural embellishments on this project (and many others) are the icing on the cake.

I’m the queen of the world!!  It’s easier with such a talented team.

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