The owners of a classic Dallas home have no trouble explaining the way it felt when they met their future interior designer, Richard Trimble, for the first time: “It was serendipity.” Showing him the country French rooms they liked most in the armfuls of books they’d lugged to his office, “We found he had done the majority of them!” Trimble’s incomparable knowledge of their favorite look earned him a place on the design team, along with Robbie Fusch, the couple’s long-time friend and architect, and home builder Jerry Brinkerhoff.
“This was going to be their fourth home in Dallas,” Trimble explains, “and their requirements were simple: They wanted a comfortable, understated, country French residence, with an open format, a library for him, a study for her and three bedroom suites for visiting family and friends.” So, the design team worked jointly, piecing together each element on the wish list and developing deep-seated respect for each other in the process. “Although he’s a traditionalist, Robbie can interpret the historical aspects of a house for today’s lifestyle, and at the same time, maintain its integrity, which was key here,” says Trimble.
Located in a lush, wooded part of the city, the home’s loggia and patios provide expansive views. The two-story structure hits all of the right notes with the homeowners, featuring a steeply-pitched, gray slate roof and a cast-stone exterior that duplicates classic, cut limestone—all necessary to establish a timeless, casual interpretation of country French style. The entry hall welcomes; its graceful, curving stairway exhibits some of the 19th-century paintings Trimble carefully assembled, and a group of Delft and Chinese porcelain on an alcove table hints at others he gathered to round out the owners’ collection.
The blue-and-yellow palette, with a few accent colors added to intrigue the eye, provides continuity from room to room and a mellow background for the furnishings and wealth of details. “We especially love the reclaimed-wood beams, each mortised individually,” says the wife, “and the early 19th-century lace makers’ chairs that Richard found for either side of the en trumeau fireplace in the sitting room.” Knowing his clients were also open to using reproductions, Trimble had many items custom made with 17th- and 18th-century France in mind, also introducing a number of exquisite, one-of-a-kind chandeliers created at Murray’s Iron Works in Dallas.
The décor, too, is heavily influenced by Louis XIII. The coffee table in the living room is a prime example: it’s an interpretation of one favored during the king’s reign, whose silhouette is at ease with the cozy, chenille-upholstered sofas and the luxurious, embroidered throw pillows.
One thing that always makes Trimble chuckle is the recliner. Very much desired by the husband, “It’s the bane of every designer’s existence,” he says. Rising to the occasion, he tailored a handsome chair that corre- sponds to the man’s long-legged stature, and equally important, sized it so as not to overpower his wife’s chair directly across from it, which was scaled for her petite frame.
It truly is a country French manor for the modern age. From the chandeliers’ beeswax-encased candle sleeves to the coffee bar off the master bedroom, not a detail was overlooked. “This home suits us parfaitement,” says the couple.