The Five Best Hotels in Dallas

Categories: Interiors

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Courtesy Belmont Hotel
It's time to ditch that Hampton Inn. How many times are you going to let yourself get roped in with the promise of a continental breakfast? Business travelers, and the rare species known as tourists, pour into Dallas because "Big Things Happen Here." Whichever big part of Dallas you're coming to see, we've compiled a list of five Dallas hotels that have a bit of local flavor. Stop staying at that Hyatt House just because it's close to your meetings and stay at one of these five hotels instead.

Belmont Hotel
When the sun sets over the Belmont Hotel, be sure to grab a spot on the bar's patio to see a stunning view of the Dallas skyline. Smartly capitalizing on its rich history, the hotel has an atmosphere that can only be described as hipster vintage. In the past, we've doled out numerous awards to this local favorite -- for its hotel bar and its neighbor restaurant, the very interesting barbecue joint Smoke. With rates beginning in the low 100- dollar range, it's definitely the most affordable option on this list and the quality remains high. Plus it's just minutes from the dining and shopping destinations in Oak Cliff and the Bishop Arts District.

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Look Inside Your Dream House: Dwell With Dignity's Home Furnishing Sale

Lance Selgo of Unique Exposure photography
Sherry Hayslip
Home is your safe place. It's where you hold intimate conversations with loved ones and display meaningful objects. That doesn't make you shallow, just human.

Not everyone has that. Many, like the Dallas families transitioning out of homelessness and poverty, barely have walls. Imagine the increased feeling of pride that a comfortable bed provides? How about a table to eat a meal around? These things matter, and that's why we gave Dwell With Dignity our Dallas Observer award for Best Charity. They furnish those interiors for families in need. They even stick food in the pantries.

Doing good work requires funding, so DWD offers semi-annual sales, like this one opening on Thursday, where you shop discounted and donated designer home goods. Each vignette is arranged with intentional beauty by local pros, and we've got a sneak peek into the showrooms. Check it out now, draw a little inspiration, then gussy-up your nest this weekend. Have to miss the preview? That's alright: Dwell's sale runs for 30 days. Now, let's look inside.

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Peer Inside: A Look at Dallas' Finest Modern Homes from the White Rock Home Tour

Categories: Interiors

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White Rock Home Tour
We are architecture addicts. Voyeuristic rubber-neckers. Lovers of clean lines and free-flowing natural light. That's why we're drooling over the White Rock Home Tour, which happens this weekend and benefits local learnin' institution, Hexter Elementary.

The shoes-off affair features five different modern homes in the time trapped geographical area around White Rock Lake, so you'll spend an afternoon taking in views, both inside and out. They've given us an advanced look, so let's explore a few addresses before the doors open on Saturday.

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Zen and The Art of Furniture Reupholstery

Categories: Interiors

Bad, ottoman! Bad!

There comes a time in your mid-30s when you start to figure out some things. Like, you're not really that good at dancing, yes you should get that looked at and no, you shouldn't try to do that yourself.

My ottoman is a perfect example. It's a square. Well, a rectangle, but that point is it's a simple shape. Nothing too fancy. No elaborate detail, just a big ol' rectangular cube of pale turquoise fabric that no longer matched anything. I didn't want to throw it out completely, it was only two years old and only had one cat puke stain on it. MIRACLE. But I definitely wanted it updated. And different. Like something ... custom. I knew what I wanted, but I didn't have a freaking clue how to make it happen. Fortunately for me, I met a guy named Phillip McVean. The man can really tie a room together.

I found Phillip through his booth at Indie Genius. I liked the fabrics he chose and the sort of deconstructed look of his work. I had almost purchased a chair from him no less than three times and I kept his PandK Upholstery postcard on my fridge for approximately five months. I like to never make up my mind about anything ever, but I was so over having not matching furniture. One Sunday I finally said, "Fuck it," and called the number on the postcard. Kristi, Phillip's girlfriend, answered and told me to email him with pictures, dimensions, etc. so I did. I said, "Here's the deal, I'm not even sure I can afford you, but I really hope I can." He said no worries, that he'd work with me and then quoted a price. Much to my relief, it was one I could afford.

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The $4,500 Toilet, A Must Have For Your Modern Home

Finally a toilet fancy enough to keep in the living room of your magnificent, glass-enclosed, hilltop house.

This weekend's First Dallas Modern Home Tour begs the question: Everything else in your retro-futuristic frame is perfect, but how do you hide the commode?

Well, if you're feeling especially flush, you shouldn't have to. Ringing in at $4,473 dollars, the Numi toilet by Kohler is more than a streamlined waste removal system: it's a remote-controlled work of art. Complete with varying bidet spray settings and dryer, seat warmers and a built-in sound system (FM radio and an MP3 input), Numi will wait until commanded and then politely fold up like a Transformer, disguising any physical evidence that you do, in fact, poop.

The price tag has made it a bit of a target. Conan played up the original commercial with this late night parody:

Designed primarily for oil magnates, Japanese heads of industry, and anyone who's super stoked that Emirates now offers non-stop flights from Dallas to Dubai, the Numi is not a toilet for the everyman. But for a true modern home, there is no substitute. Or is there?

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Design Star Gazing: Dallas' Leslie Ezelle On Breast Cancer, Reality TV and Bachelor Pads

Leslie Ezelle
It may not be on Bravo or have Andy Cohen's head talking after it airs, but HGTV's Design Star is just as addictive as any of the Top Chefs, Platinum Hits or Work of Arts out there.

The latest season of Design Star premiered with the same panel of expert judges (Vern Yip, Candice Olson and Genevieve Gorder) a new host (Tanika Ray) and new mentor (the disturbingly happy David Bromstad, who not-so-incidentally was the first ever winner of Design Star), and a new slew of contestants.

For four episodes, we've watched the designers battle through designing their own living space, the great White Box challenge (this time with restaurant supplies as their only decor options), a neighbor challenge and renovating a bed-and-breakfast. In just the first episode it was clear who fit all the categories: among them, Cathy, the hard-to-work-with, condescending snarler; Karl, the mural magician; Kellie, the perky spitfire; Mark and Tyler, the guys who were silently competing the moment they met; and Leslie, the Dallasite who dropped the f-bomb and did two push-ups in the first half of the premiere episode -- the exception to the category rule.

Whether or not any of those other assumptions are correct, what is completely true is that Leslie Ezelle is stealing the show. She may not have won big challenges yet, but she cracks us up, her talking head segments are stellar and her banter with her fellow contestants is honest and refreshing. Also, she blogs about the show, covering what you see as well as what you don't see.

She's the one of the few designers on the show you'd actually want to hire or hang out with in your home -- which will hopefully bode well for her given the prize for winning Design Star is a show on HGTV (so we could all hang with her all the time).

The Mixmaster caught up with Ezelle -- local designer, artist, mom of four (not including all the pets), wife, former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, breast cancer survivor, advocate for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, fan of soulful music (Adele is a favorite), and someone who finds the television production rule "Don't sing while you work" to be exceptionally difficult to follow -- while she was out in LA working on a friend's home, and learned about life on camera, her take on pink, who her favorite clients are in Dallas, and how you can de-lame a room in minutes.

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Trina Turk Boutique Open in Highland Park Village

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Highland Park Village's Trina Turk Boutique is open for business, and a stylish cool down.
Those into high-end have some new, very fashionable, doors to stroll through in Highland Park Village. Last Saturday morning marked the first day that the 1300-square-foot Trina Turk Boutique was open for business.

The store offers the Turk not only ready-to-wear and accessories (including summer appropriate collections), but also a selection from the residential collection.

Label lovers are no doubt already panting at the selection, but in our opinion, it's the decor that's the stand-out. Designer Trina Turk, known for her bright, bold use of color and fun but accessible patterns, offers up a boutique that is largely a neutral palette with vivid pops to excite the eye and make us feel like we're out on a breezy lanai instead of in the middle of a heatwave.

Kelly green anchors the lounge (and residential display) area by way of a circular banquette and Turk patterned pillows, with orange appearing in contained bursts in fitting rooms (and echoing the flourishes of orangey red in the newest Turk offerings). Decorative accessories give the showroom a "mid-century modern and contemporary hooked up at a garden party" look that's fresh and appropriately flirty.

In other words, the Trina Turk boutique does a wonderful job of showcasing the wears, but as the lounge area makes us content to chill out and take in the decor, we're now going to be jonesing for more Turk housewares.

Dallas Architecture Forum Opens Ritzy Residences To The Public

Categories: Interiors

photo by Flickr user jimbowen0306
Southfork Ranch isn't on the tour, but a penthouse that's bigger will be.
When you've got a 10,000 square-foot penthouse with picturesque views of the Trinity River and downtown skyline, entertaining at home is kind of mandatory, but entertaining a bunch of strangers who are specifically there to see your home might be a different story. The Dallas Architecture Forum is known for picking drool-worthy residences for the annual 365 Modern receptions, and this year is no different as the Forum has chosen two stunning Dallas homes to showcase, though you won't know where you're going until you drop the cash to see them.

The first reception is tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. at a residence in downtown which boasts 5,000 square feet of outdoor living space, but we can't afford to shell out $75 for a ticket ($125 for a ticket to both homes, $225 for 2 tickets to both homes), and well, it's too late to get one. We thought maybe you, observant commenters, could help us figure out where the high falutin' folks will be hanging out tonight. After the jump, take a look at the description of residence and leave a message in the comments section if you think you know which Downtown building houses this fine penthouse. We'll also have the details about the next 365 Modern reception on the flip side.

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Yip's Tips: HGTV Star Vern Yip Remakes Our Space

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Vern Yips gives Nikki Lott tips for decorating her parents' house.

I simply must stop starting stories with, "So the other night I met Design Star's Vern Yip," but now is not the time.

So the other night I met HGTV Design Star's Vern Yip. He was in town offering design tips and exchanging pleasantries with local yocals at I.O. Metro. I caught up with him at the Fairview location because if there's one thing I love it's an unnecessary commute.

I took him a design challenge for the ages, my parents' living room. It's an odd, long space that feels disjointed from the rest of the house, an isle of what-the-hell-do-we-do-with-this. Vern had some awesome tips, so if you have this identical living room you just hit the jackpot. But even if you don't, you'll find his tips are worth their weight in lush fabric swatches.

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Into the depths of Theatre Too for Language of Angels

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Jeffrey Schmidt
Jessica Renee Russell and Montgomery Sutton wander around in the dark in Language of Angels.
Doing a play set in a cave is a redundant move at Theatre Too, which itself is a dark grotto some 30 steps below The Quadrangle. The play that opened last night at Theatre Too, Language of Angels by Naomi Iizuka, is about a group of hick kids in North Carolina who hang out in caves, drink beer and generally screw around. Their lives are changed when one of their own, a young girl named Celie (played by Jessica Renee Russell), is either lost or murdered in one of the caves.

For 90 minutes the Theatre Too cast, directed by Jeffrey Schmidt, deliver Iizuka's dreary dialogue in long vignettes in which the actors' faces are lit by tiny flashlights. To create a cave-like atmosphere, Schmidt, who also designed the show, has draped the walls in heavy clumps of gray fabric. Actors waft in and out of the fake rocks at various intervals and sometimes speak from behind them, as if lost in narrow passageways. (More about the play in next week's Stage column.)

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