Julie Dodson Round Top

Kevin Isbell with Julie Dodson at the Round Top Designer Shopping Spree 2016. Photos courtesy of Julie Dodson.

Twice a year, 2,000 dealers and over 100,000 shoppers from all over the U.S. flock to Round Top, midway between Austin and Houston, for the Round Top Antiques Fair. It’s a shopping extravaganza showcasing European and American antiques, architectural elements, and collectibles.

Texas’ own designer Julie Dodson hosted a special event at last year’s fall show that was such a success she’s returning for a reprise this year. The Second Annual Designer Dream Spree, to be held September 26-29,  will include shopping the dealers of Round Top, a designer panel discussion on “Exceptional Discoveries,” and an array of social gatherings, from wine tastings to fine dining featuring cuisine prepared by notable Houston chef Travis Lenig.

Click to read more about the event and the design star-studded panel she’s recruited to speak at this year’s Designer Dream Spree on CandysDirt.com!

When it comes to decking out a second home, interior designer Denise McGaha has seen it all. Denise is the Owner and Principal of Denise McGaha Interiors , an interior design firm in Dallas, Texas.  After 7 years with luxury retailer Neiman Marcus, Denise opened her design firm and set out to design luxury homes for her clients. Denise often designs second and third homes and enjoys building long term relationships with clients and their families.  Her designs reflect the style of each client, and fine art and textiles are often a catalyst for her design inspiration. 

“Designing a vacation home for our clients, we often depart from the style they have in their primary residence.  This gives you an opportunity to TRULY feel like you are on vacation from your real life, ” says denise

 Here are her tips for making that second home as relaxing as possible:

1. Resist the urge to take old furniture or accessories from your primary home to your vacation home.  This only creates a garage sale feeling when you arrive and you should be inspired the minute your turn the key in the door.  Buy new, or at least reupholster old pieces for a fresh new look.

2.  As you will often have friends, family, and even clients sharing your vacation home, make sure you are investing in durable flooring and furnishings.  There are so many great fabrics that are indoor/outdoor you can create a designer look that will LAST.   Flooring should be easy to clean and durable too.  I use lots of hard surface flooring with rugs in second homes.

3.  Buy great art, local if possible.  Take the time to tour local galleries and meet local artists.  This will bring local flavor to your vacation home and inspire you time and again at your arrival.

Second homes are an Rx for relaxation!

4.  Invest in the best linens you can afford.   I love Sferra linens because of the numerous options. But I found some GORGEOUS 1,000 thread count sheets for one client at Tuesday Morning! You will have time to appreciate them more and there is nothing like sliding between cool sheets or warm blankets after a day of sun or slopes.  The same applies to towels.  I like to create a special monogram for our clients’ second homes and use them on beach bags, ski gear, bedding and towels.

5.  Stay well stocked.  Make sure you have lots of your favorites on hand.  Whether it’s soaps, sparkling water, libations, or candles, having everything you love when you arrive will make for a less stressful arrival.  I don’t like having a list of to-dos the minute I arrive for relaxation.  Have your local store deliver food before your arrival so the fridge is well stocked too.  Give them a list of your favorites and call them before each trip. Some friends have housekeepers in the area who check in on the house and shop for food before your arrival.

Arrive late at night to a full stocked kitchen

A vacation home is an opportunity to relax, regenerate and build memories with family and friends!  Make sure yours is ready for all three by investing a little planning and in the beginning to design the space to do just that. 

Denise McGaha is the Owner and Principal of Denise McGaha Interiors , an interior design firm in Dallas, Texas.  After 7 years with luxury retailer Neiman Marcus, Denise opened her design firm and set out to design luxury homes for her clients. Denise often designs second and third homes and enjoys building long term relationships with their families.  Her designs reflect the style of each client, and fine art and textiles are often a catalyst for her design inspiration.

All the comforts of the first home in your bedroom!

We are going to feature very select hotels here on SecondShelters, because more hotels are becoming second homes, some offering CondoHotel deals as well as residences. Two weeks ago, I was in New York City, where I have had my share of negative hotel experiences. Hint: you smell Febreeze, there’s a reason. But I finally found the most perfect hotel in New York City if you want to be in the middle of Times Square and simply walk across the street to a theater. I’m talking 46th Street just a bit east of Broadway. Location with a capital L but also, once inside, a complete peaceful oasis from the NYC jungle with a huge Texas plus to make Dallasites feel right at home: interior furnishings by our very own Cantoni.   (more…)

I caught up with Vern Yip, star of HGTV’s way popular design shows, when he popped in to visit I.O. Metro up near the Dallas Galleria last week. Yip has a new partnership with the Little Rock, Arkansas-based store that offers a wide variety of stylish, sleek but hip, good-looking and comfortable home furnishings at most affordable prices and a “made in America” stamp/tag. Yips fans were busting down the door, first in the Allen store, then at the Galleria location. Many brought design dilemmas — and he was so gracious! Yip has formed a new alliance with I.O., will be seen in advertising campaigns and is offering “Vern’s Picks” throughout the stores — these all items Yip has selected as design must-haves.

I sat down on a plush I.O. couch and just went right for the real estate jugular — turns out Yip is also real-estate obsessed and even has a second home in Manhattan:

VY: Second homes are really getting popular because real estate is so affordable now and it really gives you an opportunity to free up your design sense a little.

CE: Like?

VY: Oh, let your hair down, explore a different style, do something radically different from the primary residence.

CE: Load it with old furniture?

VY: Second homes are not about old furniture! They are an escape, a retreat, a gathering place for friends and family and the last thing you want to do is have it filled with old leftovers.

CE: Everything new then?

VY: Sometime used is good, sometimes it’s not — but we are not talking —

CE: Furnishings you would have take to the Salvation Army?

VY: Yes. A second home is a good opportunity to reflect a design side of yourself not seen in your primary home. Maybe go for clean lines or contemporary —

CE: If your primary home is traditional?

VY: The design must be functional for less upkeep, not loaded with a ton of stuff.

CE: Like a beach house?

VY: Yes, you need to have furniture that works, that is not just great looking. Closed storage is important. Stain resistant fabrics and furnishing s that do double duty. Second home furniture must work harder.

CE: Good point! So do you have a second home?

VY: My primary home is in Atlanta and I have a second home in New York City.

CE: Do you lease it out? (Pulling out checkbook.)

VY: No! It’ about 800 square feet at Columbus Circle with great views of Central Park. I’m there at last once a month and I always feel more relaxed there — you tend to be more relaxed in your second home because you — literally — leave your baggage in your first home!

CE: That’s what I love, too. OK, so how is it designed?

VY: Clean lines, neutral tone on tone, minimalistic and big, bold art. The windows see nothing but Central Park. I have a sofa bed that is a queen sleeper, and my one bedroom. Simple, easy, what else do you need?

CE: Sounds perfect. Everyone needs a second home in NYC. Thanks Vern!

Q – Serena, I find it so hard to sleep away from home. I hate strange beds, I worry about bedbugs, I toss and turn. What do you suggest?

A-Duxiana, of course! Duxiana has aspired to produce the most comfortable and technologically advanced beds on the market. For over 80 years, we have studied how to blend state of the art technology with luxury and comfort so our customer’s receive the best night’s sleep.  Not only are DUX beds crafted from the finest materials, but they have also added revolutionary features such as dynamically interlocking springs forged from Swedish steel, the Pascal Personal Comfort Zone system,  and an exclusive independently Adjustable Lumbar Support.

Q- Wow, that’s a lot of stuff? But they are so expensive!

A-They are, but the DUX mattress lasts a lifetime.  I have a customer who has owned their DUX bed for 75 years!  However, the DUX beds all have a top pad that must be occasionally flipped and that needs to be replaced every 5-7 years for a nominal charge.

Q- So your customers actually buy these $12,000 beds and come back for more?

A-     They do. I have several returning customers who purchase or build second homes that they want to make feel just like home.

Q- Because you want to sleep as comfortably in your second home as you do in your primary home, right?

A-The best way is to use the same quality bed and linens that you have in your primary home. A bed is an investment, just like real estate. In fact, the two are so similar. If you buy a quality home – what you call your blue chip real estate – it appreciates over the years. In the same way, buying a Duxiana may cost a bit more initially, but you will not replace it ever, except for the top pad, and you will feel better, healthier, every single day. The average person spends about a third of their life sleeping – the more restful that sleep is, the more you can function.

Have you ever in your real estate life had clients zero in on an item in a home that sold the home faster than you could think? I am always looking for a unique real estate story, especially anything about selling a home faster for the most in this market. (This vacation home advertises the Duxiana to pull in renters.) I met Serena Cole, owner of Duxiana Dallas, over in my favorite neighborhood haunt of Preston Center, and she told me that a Duxiana bed actually, truthfully, recently sold a house in 75230.

You have got to be kidding me, I said.

These are not what I’d call cheap beds.

Readers consistently give these mattresses high quality, high price and high service votes. A Swedish design, the Dux Bed claims its fame from the huge multiple of springs in each mattress: 4000 springs compared to the up to 900 springs found in conventional queen-size mattresses.This allows you incredible firmness and softness so that your spine is straight and not bent. And each bed is custom-fitted to the buyer’s sleep preferences by inserting cartridges into the main mattress: firm, extra firm, soft. The cartridges are interchangeable and couples can create their own, so just because your husband wants ultra firm doesn’t mean your side has to be that way.  A queen size will run you from $6,500, but should last you 50-plus years. The top cushion pads can be replaced every 7 to 10 years for about $1,000. So you can drop $5000 on a high end bed every 7 to 10 years, which is how often you should change your mattress, or get a Duxiana. 

Serena told me that when the buyer, who was also a Duxiana Fan herself – I guess there’s rather a fan club – saw the bed, they immediately zoned in on the the quality of the bed and deduced that the homeowner must have had similar standards for everything they put into the house. Something to the effect of “if they put their money into this kind of quality, we feel secure they built a solid house.” So they bought it. And this was not all that long ago; in fact, it was within the year 2010 just about the time the first time homebuyers credit was getting hearted up.

If these guys had a Duxiana, something tells me they may not have been first time homebuyers.

Now I am not telling you to run out and buy a Duxiana bed just to impress your buyers… but think about it. Real estate and beds are a natural fit, especially in this town. They are made for each other. So much of what happens in real estate happens under the covers…  or between the sheets!

Just like a great piece of blue chip real estate, a Duxiana lasts forever: at least one realtor has told me that her back pain disappeared after the first night she spent in her Duxiana. Another person told me his grandmother has a 75 year-old Duxiana –he’s hoping to get it in her will!

Calling all home stagers, stylists, contractors and budding young designers. Have you always dreamed of being on TV or, at least, having your own TV show? Well, sistahs, now’s your big double dare lucky chance. HGTV is looking for their newest reality TV star from Big D.  All you have to do is show up at the Westin Hotel Dec. 5 — that’s tomorrow — between 10 am and 1 pm with a couple of pictures, a portfolio of your work, and the application that you can download here. Or email “designstar6dallas@gmail.com” for more information!

Go ahead, we give you permission to skip church one day if it means fame and fortune.