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A ROOM WITH A VIEW A sculptural light fixture illuminates the dining area of an Olmos Park residence designed by Lake|Flato. 

FINE DINING From top: STIRR in Deep Ellum and Quill in the Design District, two Dallas hot spots designed by Coevál Studio

HOME MAKEOVER Bodron+Fruit meticulously restored this 1964 Dallas house designed by architect Philip Johnson. 

A master bath design by Cambridge Row featuring a marble shower and steel trim

 

Best of Design: Best in Biz

Texas is teeming with undeniable design talent. Here, we pay homage to the Lone Star State’s hottest and brightest.
 

Best Architecture Firm
Lake|Flato
In the last 30 years, Lake|Flato has assembled a body of work that is encyclopedic in scope and importance, a timeline of modern structures that tell the back story of Texas’ agricultural past. The firm’s signature is its use of local materials (usually rock, glass, wood and steel) and partnerships with the best local craftspeople—a commitment that results in beautifully constructed buildings that are also environmentally responsible. Led by eight partners, including David Lake and Ted Flato, the San Antonio- and Austin-based firm’s project list includes houses, ranches, schools, university centers, libraries, museums, nature and visitor centers, hotels, restaurants, wineries, places of worship and—last but not least—modular housing. Lake|Flato’s romance with the landscape empowers every design produced by the 90-person firm. Big overhangs, trellises, porches and easily accessed water features are hallmarks. 1711 E. Cesar Chavez St., Ste. C, Austin, 512.373.3715; 311 Third St., San Antonio, 210.227.3335

Best Restaurant Design
Coevál Studio
The Rustic, Happiest Hour, Quill, Whistle Britches, El Bolero—the list of successful Dallas restaurants designed by Coevál Studio, led by creative directors John Paul Valverde and Miguel Vicéns, goes on and on. The duo offers a cohesive package to stylish restaurateurs, including architectural and space design, interior design, branding, graphic design and more—all in-house. Their latest vision is STIRR, a popular cocktail, lunch and dinner concept in Deep Ellum. “The mix of raw, natural finishes, exotic marble, and details in the bench seating and lighting all come together to define the concept and execute our vision of refined casual,” Valverde says. Playing with different textures—whether combining wood and tile in different patterns on the floor or mixing different lighting styles—is an au courant Coevál move. The team’s biggest do and don’t? Do incorporate focal areas with communal tables that grab attention and create comfortable gathering areas for guests, but definitely don’t think only about the guest. “Operations must be part of the design development,” Vicéns explains. “Function, form and operation must all work together. This helps with overall efficiency, which in turn adds to the guest experience.” 154 Leslie St., 214.931.4097

Best Interior Design Firm, Contemporary
Bodron+Fruit
“It’s not about the furniture,” says Mil Bodron, co-principal in the interior design and architecture firm Bodron+Fruit. The designer is committed to creating interiors that are first and foremost about scale, proportion and composition—which is why his and architect Svend Fruit’s projects are virtuosic tutorials in how to make a house and its interiors seamlessly stunning. The pair is responsible for the renovation of an honor roll of midcentury houses designed by some of the country’s greatest architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Edward Larrabee Barnes and Philip Johnson. Bodron+Fruit’s new construction projects reflect the same meticulous attention to detail, nuance and restraint that it elicits from its renovations. The firm also has a no-nonsense approach to displaying art: “It’s about the architecture and the art,” says Bodron. “The interiors should be beautiful and respectful to both.” 4040 N. Central Expressway, Ste. 150, 214.826.5200

READERS' CHOICE
Best Interior Design Firm, New

Cambridge Row
Laurin White’s new full-service interior design and renovation consulting company is a one-stop shop for builders and remodelers looking for everything from space planning and drafting to furniture and finishes. But this firm of the future, based in The Woodlands, also offers something straight out of your wildest design dreams: your very own virtual reality tour. When renderings and fabric swatches fall short, White’s team will create a 3-D space for clients to physically explore, giving them an almost real-life sense of walking around the project they’ve developed together. “It’s an unparalleled tool for helping people assess projects before work has even begun,” says White. “Not only can it alleviate stress, but it can also help save money, as there are fewer needs for adjustments or revisions.” 832.930.7015

Best Hotel Design
ForrestPerkins
With a fondness for bringing the interiors of both luxury hotels and private residences to life, ForrestPerkins—with offices in four U.S. cities, including Dallas—has a penchant for capturing the distinct personality of a space. Recent projects in Texas include The Westin Dallas Downtown and the renovation of San Antonio’s historic St. Anthony Hotel—an undertaking that garnered the team myriad accolades. “The design is modern and sexy, yet thoughtful and respectful of the hotel’s magnificent history,” says Colletta Conner, principal in charge and lead designer of the St. Anthony project (shown here). “Individual spaces feel like special little jewel boxes,” she adds, touting the way the architecture, antiques and period artwork contrast with 21st century furnishings. 3131 Turtle Creek Blvd., Ste. 700, Dallas, 214.953.2210

Best Interior Design Firm, Classic
Michelle Nussbaumer
“I want the interiors I create to feel timeless,” Michelle Nussbaumer writes in Wanderlust: Interiors That Bring the World Home. “These are not staged or museum settings but designs for living, growing and changing!” Nussbaumer’s well-received first book, published last fall by Rizzoli ($50), takes readers through a medley of color-infused, pattern-happy homes designed by the illustrious Dallas-based decorator whose touch can be seen in residences across the globe. The collection of rooms—and Nussbaumer’s stories behind them—showcase her fondness for mixing important antiques and modern art with prized finds from the markets of Istanbul, Paris, Beijing and copious points in between. In her aim for timelessness, Nussbaumer blends styles and eras with ease, creating lush, layered spaces where every item is a conversation piece. 1319 Dragon St., Dallas, 214.742.7632

Best Interior Design Firm, Transitional
Benjamin Johnston Design
For Houston-based interior designer Ben Johnston—who launched his eponymous design firm last year—the name might be new, but the mission remains the same: creating beautiful contemporary rooms that feel curated over a lifetime. Most recently a partner at Avondale Design Studio, Johnston has been lending his talent for interiors to private clients at home and abroad for more than a decade. Whether it’s a midcentury transformation in Glenbrook Valley or a glam master bath remodel in West University, clean lines and tailored details are the order of the day in any project crafted by the architecture-trained designer. Johnston also has a knack for incorporating eye-popping elements throughout his projects, from overscale abstract artwork in a home office (like the one seen here) to striking sculptural light fixtures in a bedroom or living room. 912 Lovett Blvd., Ste. A, Houston, 713.300.9203

Best of Design: Out & About
Best of Design: At Home
Best of Design: Products & Pieces