Jessica's Dallas Regency

Jessica's Dallas Regency

Micki Howl
May 6, 2011

Name: Jessica
Location: Lakewood; Dallas, Texas
Size:515 square feet
Years lived in: 7 months — rented

Jessica's space got rave reviews when it was entered into Small Cool 2011. Even though she didn't make the final round of the contest, readers were intrigued and asked for a longer look at the style, personality and design intuitions of this animal-print, Hollywood-starlet-loving Texas gal.

Jessica is quite the open book when it comes to sharing the style and inspirations of her space. In Jessica's own words:

I love the coziness. It feels like I live in a hide away and that is exactly how I want my home to function as a retreat and a source of comfort. The apartment itself is laid out so well - the private backyard, the strangely large kitchen, the TWO closets - it makes living small surprisingly comfortable.

Specifically in my home, I love the vanity area. The animal prints, the pictures, my jewelry and favorite accessories displayed all make me feel glamorous every day. It's my favorite place to sit and take my time getting ready for an evening out with friends or quietly prepare for my day. I want it to feel feminine but not overly fussy.
I call my style Dallas Regency. Nods to the glam Hollywood muse with some tacky Southern elements thrown in. I revel in a little sparkle or a bold print. At the end of the day, it's incredibly soothing to be at home in a place that feels like it really reflects my personality and that I hope is welcoming to others.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Dallas Regency (my own tacky southern take on Hollywood Regency)

Inspiration: Someone in the comments for my Small Cool entry mentioned Dallas folks always have Jan Showers in the background somewhere and they nailed it. Showers boldness with accessories and formality are a constant inspiration. I also love the work of Kelly Wearstler, Jonathan Adler and the inimitable Dorothy Draper.

Personally though, I am inspired by bold leading lady types - everyone from Bette Midler to Miss Piggy to Dolly Parton! I wanted a space that was stylish, flirtatious and had a sense of humor about it and that was inspired more from a place of personality.

Favorite Element: My favorite element is the French Doors. Initially I was actually living in an upstairs unit and moved into the lower level as soon as possible. The french doors looking out into the private yard is an unexpected luxury in such a small space.

The very close second is my vanity area. On a busy day or weekend, sometimes the only time I sit down and am alone is when I am preparing to go out for the night or for the work day. There is something ritualistic about applying makeup or doing hair anyway but I am also usually listening to music that I love, or hearing the news for the first time that morning. I also usually have pictures or little mementos on the mirror from recent adventures, this adds to the experience. The apartment is equipped with the perfect space for this whether I need some quiet reflection or just a little glamour that day. It's my favorite nook to evolve.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge is also those doors! I traded a wall of storage/shelving space when I upgraded to the unit with the backyard but it's worth it. Also, there is a small interior A/C unit that I still haven't figured how to decorate around. Help?!

What Friends Say: My friends say it is very, me. Meaning, I think I might dress like my apartment too. More importantly, my friends always accept an invitation over so I think that means they find it to be cozy, inviting and comfortable. Although, if I have too many candles lit, it can occasionally sway a little TOO bachelorette pad.

Biggest Embarrassment: Right now? The yard! That thing is so cute and I have not done squat with it. It's my next big project but I feel some pressure to have it nice enough enjoy before it gets too hot to go outside.

Proudest DIY: Honestly, I am not much of a DIY'er. Besides some spray paint here and some customizing there. I am attracted to pretty bold pieces, so usually there is not much to do to embellish them. In fact, I could probably use a lesson in transforming pieces that don't immediately fit in, into something more palatable with the apartment. I wonder if Kelly Wearstler even notices things that aren't metallic?

I do think those closets are pretty well-organized though and that took some ingenuity!

Biggest Indulgence: My biggest indulgence is to have fresh flowers as frequently as possible and champagne in the fridge at all times. What good is a well-appointed space if you don't have the tools to enjoy it with others?

Best Advice: The best advice I have had has been echoed here time and time again. Wait it out for your dream pieces. They find you as frequently as you find them. I found that horse painting after a day of shopping at Flea Market and almost completely overlooked it. I have had that dresser/bureau since college and it was a lucky Craigslist find when I went to pick up a different piece. So, just wait. That perfect furnish will come along in time.

The advice I would give is to decorate for yourself! You are going to spend the most time in your home, not your friends, not a photographer. If you don't breath a sigh of relief when you sink into your couch or your bed - work for that. Your home does not have to be soothing to anyone but you!

Dream Sources: My dream source is basically the set from the film Valley of the Dolls. But also, I'd love to have an open credit at any of Leslie Pritchard's studios in Dallas, the Fort Worth Modern's gift shop and of course, Design Within Reach.

Resources of Note:


    • I frequently use Martha Stewart brand paint, but I actually did not paint my interiors. Thanks landlord!


    • I like to use vintage candy dishes for catch all's near the door. The turquoise one I have on the desk is from an estate sale but others I have been sourced from Lula B's in Dallas and varying thrift stores or other estate sales.
    • Half-price books is a great source for coffee table books, I love looking for used books with messages inside from a previous owner. I don't even have a record player, but I can't resist buying old Dolly records when I visit Half-price. They liven up the desk and she always looks so fantastic!


    • has a great selection of small scale basic pieces. I knew I needed a basic sofa and they had the perfect placeholder while I wait to fall in love with something. My occasional chair (that I do actually love) and storage ottomans are also from CSN and offered the measurements I needed and a great price. If you love patterns especially, there are a lot of textiles to choose from.


    • After sourcing my bedspread and other textiles I liked around the web. I was able to find almost everything or an approximate facsimile on for better prices.
    • The Dallas Flea - is a great flea market round up of incredible vendors in Dallas, held at SouthSide Lamar. This is where I found the horse painting and some of the artwork I have. There really is something for everyone and it is a great mix of low and high end buying opportunities.


    • Target & World Market - almost everything in the bathroom is white so mid-priced functional pieces mean I can replace things easily if they get dingy. Thankfully, despite reasonable prices, these pieces are well-made so they have withstood heavy (and sometimes bleach-y) cleaning.


    • The Container Store is an obvious treasure trove for the organizational needs of a small space but there retractable clothing racks saved the day for my oddly sized closets!
    • Lula B's - there are so many wonderful antique stores, thrift stores and consignment places in town, but every time I spend the weekend looking for something all over the city - I find it every time among LuLa B's wares. My vanity, green accent chair and several accessories throughout have been sourced here.

Thanks, Jessica!

Images: Micki Howl

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