A Dallas Home Proves the Beauty of Living Alone Is Decorating Exactly How You Want

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Melissa Smrekar)

Name: Melissa Smrekar and a Maine Coon rescue cat named Gwynnie
Location: Park CitiesDallas, Texas
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: 8 months, renting

A fourth-generation Dallasite, the rest of my family now lives on our working ranch in the Texas Hill Country. Everything in the house is brown. My city mouse apartment, then, is the complete opposite. It’s quirky, colorful and bold, with no apologies for its femininity.

(Image credit: Melissa Smrekar)

By day, I oversee corporate fundraising for a Tony-award-winning theater in Dallas. In addition, I also write and perform nonfiction comedic essays. Along with a giant Maine Coon rescue cat named Gwynnie, I live alone in the Park Cities neighborhood of Dallas in a 1950s four-plex. I never experience boredom or loneliness. That’s the beauty of living alone—you surround yourself with things that strike your fancy and inspire you, without compromise or concession.

(Image credit: Melissa Smrekar)

Throughout my home, you’ll recognize my sources of inspiration: the late ’50s and early ’60s, Wes Anderson films, Thorne’s miniature rooms, The Wing (a women-only co-working space and social club), Italy, Mad Men, the Beverly Hills Hotel, Eloise,and mid-century typography.

(Image credit: Melissa Smrekar)

All the quirks of a mid-century apartment fall in the “plus” column to me. I love my home’s crown molding, original hardwood floors, curved archways, built-in phone nook (which I use as a vanity) and pink and blue bathroom. My apartment only has one bedroom and one bathroom, but its 1,200 square feet make it feel quite spacious.

(Image credit: Melissa Smrekar)

I have a large sitting room, with my library of color-coordinated books, as well as a full-size dining room. Having the dining room was particularly important to me since it allows space for my dining table and china cabinet, which were the first two things my dad bought for my mother after they were married. It’s the most traditional piece of furniture in the house and holds a tremendous amount of sentimental value. I love to host dinner parties around that table. It sits by a coral-colored bar and polka-dotted lamps because, well, I do what I want.

(Image credit: Melissa Smrekar)

What is your favorite room and why? My bedroom! In my dream world, I’d have the same daily routine as Winston Churchill. He was insanely productive from the comfort of his own bed. He would spend the first few hours of his day with breakfast in bed, reading the daily news and writing his correspondences. That sounds perfect to me!

My bedroom is a perfect reflection of my personality, from the white steel canopy bed to the mustard zebra wallpaper to the Angelina mug of freshly-sharpened pencils on my desk. In that way, I find it both relaxing and inspiring. There’s no place I’d rather be (except Italy).

(Image credit: Melissa Smrekar)

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? At a local junk shop, I bought a brass frog who is wearing an ascot and holding a tray to display my favorite matchbooks. I saw him and knew he needed to come home with me.

I recently taught myself to needlepoint after I saw a canvas that said, “I would prefer not to.” It was too “on brand” to resist!

Lastly, I bought an art show poster by British designer and wunderkind Luke Edward Hall from his recent “Hotel Majestic” show in London.

(Image credit: Melissa Smrekar)

Any advice for creating a home you love?

  1. Nothing is worse than boring.
  2. Only buy chairs you’d actually want to sit in.
  3. Wallpaper forever.
  4. Replace that hideous ceiling fan, even in a rental.
  5. YOLO. Buy the brass frog wearing an ascot to hold your matchbooks if it strikes your fancy.

Thanks, Melissa Smrekar!

• Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour & House Call Submission Form.