Paintings From Kenya Inspire A Dallas Home’s Interiors


contemporary neutral living room paintings

Earthy paintings from Kenya inspire the interior palette of a sophisticated house in Dallas.

contemporary living room purple sofa...

Designer Morgan Farrow established this Dallas home's palette based on a collection of Timothy Brooke paintings, one seen here behind the great room's custom Hickory Chair sectional in Ralph Lauren Home wool. CR Laine armchairs from C. Maddox & Company and a Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams cocktail table add lightness.

contemporary neutral living room

The great room's Palecek Brando Lounge Chair and an Arteriors accent table draw the eye in from the front entry. The previous owners' designer, Allen Kirsch, selected the rugs throughout the first floor. The framed tribal necklace is from the owners' collection, and a Timothy Brooke painting hangs above the mantel.

contemporary white kitchen

The kitchen's Sub-Zero refrigerator, Wolf range and vent hood are from Capital Distributing. Palecek barstools line the Neolith Estatuario island countertop, purchased from The Stone Collection and fabricated by Il Granito, which pairs with a Rohl faucet and cabinetry by Douglas Cabinetry. Ro Sham Beaux lighting hangs above.

contemporary hallway white clear console...

A vignette near the wife's office features an Arteriors ottoman under a Butler Specialty Company console. The framed photo by William Stafford and the Studio A hand stool are both from One Kings Lane. An Arteriors bar cart leads into the master bedroom.

contemporary white bathroom

Daltile's Contempo White marble flooring reflects light pouring into the master bathroom through Marvin windows. A Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams stool pulls up to a vanity by Douglas Cabinetry. The Sonneman sconce is from Lights Fantastic. The Victoria + Albert tub and Rohl fixtures are from Ferguson.

contemporary neutral bedroom

The master bedroom features Noir chairs from In-Detail and a Bernhardt Palma canopy bed from McGannon Showrooms. An Arteriors bench wears Pindler velvet from Scout Design Studio. A Kelly Wearstler for Visual Comfort & Co. ceiling light from Taylors adds texture.

contemporary pool

Innit Acapulco chairs from One Kings Lane and a ceramic garden stool from International Caravan form a relaxing seating area near the pool designed and built by AquaTerra Outdoors; the company also designed and installed the home's landscaping.

contemporary exterior and pool

Outdoor lanterns from Carolina Lanterns & Lighting in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, cast a soft glow against the exterior façade of this home designed by SHM Architects. The chaise lounges by Westminster Teak feature Sunbrella cushions.

Our main goal was to showcase the couple’s collection of art from Kenya that’s very near and dear to their hearts,” says designer Morgan Farrow, whose Dallas clients with two teenagers had amassed a series of paintings by renowned Kenyan artist and family friend Timothy Brooke. “They wanted a platform that would allow these pieces to really shine.” Originally designed by architect of record Enrique Montenegro and design principal Mark D. Hoesterey, with builder Mark Danuser of Tatum Brown Custom Homes, the residence was well suited with gallery-like spaces to display these artworks. “Its scale and proportion are reminiscent of a classical aesthetic,” Hoesterey explains, “but without the fussy ornamentation.” It also has a strong indoor-outdoor connection, with plenty of natural light. So Farrow devised a plan using the paintings as her point of departure, keeping in mind the active lifestyle of a family with teens. “We wanted the home to be functional and livable,” adds the wife, “but also fun and modern, with some cool elements.”

As far as placing the art, “it was a process of elimination,” says the designer. “I looked at colors and whether the scale and sizing were appropriate for the walls.” Once they were hung, Farrow evaluated the pieces as a way to direct the overall palette and set the tone of each space. The works by Brooke–known for his series of pieces featured on the film set of Out of Africa–depict natural scenes brought to life through his use of “a fresh combination of colors,” observes Farrow. “To me, they’re both earthy and vibrant.” For balance, the designer established the home’s color palette as relatively neutral, in shades of cream, rich caramel browns, navy and gray-blue. She also kept the home’s previous owners’ rugs, featuring a subtle geometric pattern that bespeaks the architecture’s spare trim, in place as the foundation for the dining, living and great rooms.

Turning to the furniture, while the owners desired a change from the darker interiors of their previous French Provincial-style house, they “didn’t want overly stark or uncomfortable pieces,” explains Farrow, who translated that request into approachable, family-friendly furnishings with rich, masculine touches. Hence, the formal living room–inspired by a landscape painting by Brooke above the mantel–houses aqua armchairs with nailhead detailing and a golden garden stool, all repurposed from a previous residence; an architectural leather sofa with distressed tufting and a contrasting chrome frame; and acrylic shadow boxes containing a selection of beaded tribal necklaces that add texture while also underscoring the home’s global vibe. Meanwhile, warm metal accents appear in the form of a low gold-frame coffee table, a glass and gold-rod column floor lamp and a clean-lined torch chandelier.

Elsewhere, the vibe becomes more casual, such as in the great room where the teens and their friends typically hang out. Distinct from the living room’s more formal crisp-white coffers, this space features a ceiling with wood beams that impart a sense of warmth, while two Brooke paintings with chartreuse backgrounds inject a pop of color. The nearby kitchen is another welcoming gathering spot for family and friends. Complete with a large island that doubles as a hub for doing homework and a spacious breakfast banquette that pairs well with a weathered table as a nod to the overhead beams, it’s also one of the wife’s favorite spaces. “I love that it’s crisp and all white but in materials that are durable,” she explains. “If I open a bottle of red wine and it leaves a ring on the island countertop, I can wait and remove the stain the next morning.” Materials also take center stage in the neighboring wine room, which features a backlit blue-agate wall.

The home’s sub-Saharan sensibility reappears upstairs in the serene master bedroom. Here, a pair of statement rattan chairs and a canopy bed with rush detailing on its headboard and footboard all recall a grassy savanna. Likewise, the scale of these elements helps to accentuate the room’s height and elevate the design. “I really wanted to use the volume of that popped-up ceiling,” says Farrow, “and the chairs helped bridge the height of the ceiling to the canopy.” Framed photographs the family has captured in Kenya over the years also cover a wall in an organized, inviting grid.

For the designer, working within the constraints of the owners’ art throughout the home was a satisfying challenge, allowing her to bring consistency to the residence while also giving each room a unique personality. “The pieces each tell a different story,” she explains, “but their stories are from the same book aesthetically.” From the owners’ perspective, they couldn’t be happier to finally showcase their prized art collection, in a home brought to life by a designer who understood their tastes and goals so wholeheartedly. “Morgan and I have very similar styles,” notes the wife, “and I loved everything she recommended along the way.”