Style and Grace
By Meda Kessler
Photos by Ralph Lauer
Originally painted brown, with a bulky wrought iron chandelier, it’s one of the first rooms you see when entering the residence, which features an open dining/living room. “This house has such good bones; I just wanted to bring it up to date,” says Letz. “And this space needed to make a good first impression.”
With its high ceilings, the room was perfect for a couple of “vintage” Restoration Hardware pieces — a large two-piece glass storage and display cabinet and an oak dining table — she had purchased years ago and that have made several moves. Examine the 9-foot dining table closely and you’ll see not only the wood’s exposed knots but also a few permanent marker scuffs left by the kids — both of which give the piece character.
But it’s the surrounding players that give the furnishings a fresh feel.
Letz has lived in Japan and South Korea, giving her an affinity for Asian decor. She collects ginger jars and Rose Medallion porcelain, and has found a way to work both into the room. To set the scene, she chose David Hicks’ The Vase wallpaper from Clarence House, opting for a neutral beige that immediately lightens up the space. Letz replaced the heavy chandelier with a more modern design and had it centered over the table. “The fact that it was slightly off to one side originally was one of those things that I just couldn’t live with,” says Letz with a smile.
Rose Medallion was produced in China in the early 1800s and mainly exported to Europe and the United States. Most pieces depict the peony, the national flower of China, along with other florals, fruits, birds and people. Letz has been collecting pieces for about two years, and the vibrant palette complements her love of soft neutrals. While she uses functional pieces such as bowls and candlesticks, she displays plates on the walls and in the china cabinet.
Letz added a pair of RH head chairs to the mix, customizing them with a Greek key trim from Fabricut. “With the pandemic, the lead time on custom furniture was at least three to four months. So I found similar silhouettes at retail shops like RH and customized them to get the look I wanted a bit quicker,” says Letz.
She opted for Crypton performance fabric and trim for the existing dining chairs and again turned to a local retailer. “Calico, in Southlake, was so easy to work with; I could make an appointment, drive a few miles to the store to see and feel the fabrics and also check out large swatches to take home.”
With Skipper, the family’s friendly Bouvier des Flandres, and the kids, Letz is content to keep the area rug, as it has proved to be family-friendly. “I never want anything that’s too precious. Comfort is just as important as style.”