Personal Decorating: A Designer Designs for Himself & Herself. Part One


Hello fellow quarantined humans!!!

I hope you all are safe and free of illness.  God willing, we will be over this soon and life will go back to normal.

Quarantining for introverts like myself and Ben is probably much easier than for extroverts.  Staying inside has been almost normal for us, but I know we are the exception. 

My heart goes out especially to those with young children living at home.  I can’t imagine how hard it must be trying to explain to a rambunctious 3 year old why they can no longer go out to McDonalds or to the neighborhood park.  And forget about trying to reason with a 16 year old who just wants to be with their friends!

The one bright star in all this darkness is being at home, safe, cocooned with your family.  When was the last time everyone stopped and spent three weeks alone with just their loved ones?   The earth has slowed down too.  A silver lining, to be sure.  Now, we just need to stop the virus and find a vaccine for this horrible plague.

Hopefully, it will be soon and we will be able to hug and kiss our extended family and friends.  

Until then, Stay Safe and Stay Home!

And now onto design:

Being mandated to stay at home does tend to make one obsess over the interiors of said home and – over home design, in general.

At least for design aficionados, that is. 

Lately I’ve been obsessing over two houses that I was recently tipped off to – both are for sale and both are owned by designers – one male and one female.

Both houses are stunning examples of personal decorating, decorating by yourself, for yourself.  What a simple concept but it’s one that few in this world are able to enjoy.   Those who are lucky enough to live in a decorated house, most likely live with the aesthetic of their hired designer, not their own. 

I broke this story into two parts because it got rather long.

Part One

Our first stop is Dallas, Texas – the home of architect designer Paul  Duesing who is a world renowned expert on resort design.  Born in Texas, he got his start in England where he cut his teeth on castles in Ireland, hotels in Spain, and resorts in France. Eventually, after ten years, he moved back to Dallas to start his own firm.   Paul Duesing Partners has designed some of the world’s most glamourous resorts - such as the Capella Pedrail in Cabo San Lucas, Tucker’s Point Club in Bermuda, the Royal Livingstone in Victoria Falls, Zambia and the Beverly Hilton in LA.  Here are a few photos of some of his work:

Emerald Pavilion, Turks & Caicos

Woodstock Inn & Resort, Vermont

I particularly love this Inn!!

The Royal Livingstone Hotel, Victoria Falls, Zambia

The lobby at the Royal Livingstone.

Late last year, Duesing's house in Dallas was put up for sale.  Located in Bluffview, the property is as unique as he is!!  Originally there were two structures on the large corner property, the main, large house and a smaller cottage next door.  Additionally, there was a guest house behind the pool on the main house’s property.

The realty report listed the two houses, offering each one separately.    

The main, two story house was built in 1981 and is over 3200 sq. ft.  It was extensively renovated in 2015-2018.

Let’s look at this fabulous house first!!!

The two story house has tall windows with a skinny profile. The yard has been removed in favor of a gravel courtyard.  The heavy trim surrounding the front door is continued throughout the renovated house.

From Google, you can see that the main house on the corner shares the gravel drive with the older, smaller cottage next door.  This house was originally part of the complex, but the two house were put on the market – separately.

An early Google view of the house before the renovation.  A typical 1960s French styled house, the changes that Paul Duesing made in the façade shows the depth of his talents!  Look below – it’s amazing!!!


New windows, new shingle siding along the second level, new front door surround.  Could it be any more charming?????

At first glance, the house seems symmetrical – but when studying it from the inside – it’s clearly not.    The front windows on the right are the dining room, while, the windows on the left are the library.  The remaining area on the left side of the Duesing home is an enclosed sunroom that runs along the side of the house.  It’s testament to the architect that with a few tricks to the eye, the house looks symmetrical and is so beautiful!!

The back of the house.  Notice the English styled chimney pots!  The new porch mimics the curving bay window on the left side of the house. 

Looking across the pool towards the back is the guest house/office/garage.

Another view of the guest house.  Notice to the left of the house – you can see into the back yard of the small house.

The glass paned front door opens to the foyer which sets the mood of the Duesing.  Black and white marble floor with tall white baseboards play against the dark sage green walls.

Immediately, the foyer gives off hints of a masculine vibe.  Not a masculine vibe that means dark paneling and leather recliners.  No, this is a sophisticated aesthetic created by a man, for a man.

Past the foyer is the stair hall with all its newly installed millwork and paneling.  The dining room is off the entry hall, seen here:

To the right of the entry is the dining room, filled with antique furniture and doors.  Silk curtains hang at the newly installed windows. 

On the left, the set of black lacquered doors lead to the kitchen.

The opposite view – here you can see the beautiful tapestry on the wall.

The house is filled with antiques and accessories collected over a lifetime while working around the globe.


Across the foyer from the dining room is the library with a built in bar and beautiful millwork!!!!   The windows face the front of the house.  Most likely this room was once open to the foyer but it is now closed off by the built in bookshelves.

I notice the books – Lee Radziwill’s Happy Times is on top.  And be sure to notice the frog on the piano!!!  I mean, I THINK it’s a frog! 

The built in bar in the library. 

Notice the trim – around the top of the window, there are two tiny balls that hang down from each side of the trim.  This ball trim will be seen throughout the house – at most of all the windows, doors and thresholds.

The library is entered through the living room.  Look at that accent table next to the piano!  Love it!

The main living room off the stair hall and the library.  Through the back opening is the kitchen.

Notice all the trim around the doorways and openings.  Just beautiful.

The view from the opposite side towards the tiled sunroom.  Notice the  tall black cabinet.  More info on that piece, later.

Are you noticing the tiny balls from the threshold trim???

Another view of the living room facing the back fireplace and the side, tiled sunroom.  Through the back windows you can see the Guest House in the back yard.

The sunroom has punches of green in fabrics and artwork.

Another view of the sunroom with the view out towards the swimming pool and the guest house.  Notice the breadboard ceiling in the sunroom.

This view out the sunroom looks to the small yellow cottage next door – also owned by the architect.  A croquet set sits by the door.   More hints that the owner of the house is an interesting man!

On the opposite side of the living room is the kitchen with its large stylized bay window that open to the back brick terrace. 


The view of the kitchen towards the breakfast room and the side fence.

The breakfast room opens to the side yard.

Notice the postcard rack in the corner.  This just says so much about the owner,  his interests, his creativity, his sense of fun.

Up to the bedrooms!

I love all the paneling the architect added.  It’s reminiscent of old English paneling in stained oak which probably came from the ten years the architect spent living in London!   I like the paneling in white rather than stained dark.

An entrance hall that leads into the master bedroom.  I wish I knew the name of the sage green paint found throughout the house. 

Again, it’s a masculine house – for the man who lives here. 

Sigh.  So pretty.

Beautiful vaulted ceiling with such interesting beams.

The carpet – it looks like its cow skin?  Not sure but that’s what it looks like to me.

Another view of the master bedroom with a view of the entrance hall with its black and white floor.  The next door opening leads into the closet. 

Love this space!

The closet for shoes is behind the same styled black lacquered doors as seen downstairs.

And notice the chaise longue in the bedroom – to the right of it is the bathroom with the stylized bay window.

The coffee bar.  Notice the antique books and the wood sculpture.  I'm going to guess that is a papoose.  And don’t laugh!   

Notice the trim around the vanity.  Everywhere your eye looks it is just so interesting.

And the closet.

The bathroom with the bay window that sits above the same window in the kitchen below.

Just love this!!!  And love the matching dog bed.

So many artifacts from Africa in here.

What a fascinating man the architect must be!!!

The front office is filled with beautiful antiques.

The door opens to the small porch above the front door.

The bathroom with the glass door that leads into the office.

Look at the tiny closet with the tiny door.  The two tiny balls are part of this trim too.

And the third bedroom.

The back of the house all lit up.  Notice the two bay windows – the kitchen and the bathroom above it.

Two brick porches – one off the sunroom.

And the second porch off the kitchen with the rounded curve mimicking the bay windows, above and below.

The Guest House and garage.  No photos from inside unfortunately.

When the main house was put up for sale, so was the smaller cottage at the left.  Each house was put up for sale separately.

The smaller cottage.   Built in 1939, it is as charming as can be.

 The front view.


The front porch.

I love the choice of two different sized chairs.  It’s just a further example of the artistry behind the properties.


The long porch across the back of the yellow cottage.



Looking out from the yellow cottage to the back yard – where there is a surprise – a chapel!


Looking from the chapel to the back of the cottage.  So charming!  Towards the left is an art installation under the oak tree and further, is the main house.  No fence divides the two properties – for now.


From the cottage looking at the chapel and the Guest House.


The wood art installation is by Texas artist Philip Milo Duesing (Paul’s brother)  – using timbers from Santa Rita #1, Reagan County late 1800s.  Santa Rita #1 is the famous first oil producing well in the Permian Basin.  !!!

Artistry runs through the veins in this family.

Past the art installation are two stone lions,   actually they are Mayan jaguars. 


Close up of the Mayan jaguars.


At the back of the property of the yellow cottage is what is called the Chapel of St. Francis.  Duesing told D Magazine that his own birthday falls on this saint’s birthday.  He remarked that there is a long lineage of Benedictine priests in his family, and many of the relics found in the Chapel of St. Francis are from his family: 


Inside are inherited chalices which were used by Duesing's uncles to celebrate Mass.  Also in his chapel are Virgin Mary figurines, icons from his grandparents’ home, stained glass, and an antique prie-dieu that Duesing located in Georgia.


On the left side of the cottage is a hidden, round garden with an Italianate fountain at its center.


Another view of the hidden garden with the yellow cottage on the left.  The neighbor is on the right. 

NOTE:   What a great reminder to not forget to landscape the side of your house!   Most times this space is neglected but here – you can see how crepe myrtle bushes and box with a little gravel and a fountain makes a special, private garden.

Unfortunately – there are no interior real estate photos of the small cottage.

BUT, last April before the houses were put up for sale, a beyond fabulous sale was held the yellow cottage.

The photos from the estate sale showed some parts of the yellow cottage’s interiors, but just looking at what was sold was mind boggling.  A lifetime of collecting further confirmed what a fascinating man the architect is:


This photo from the sale shows the entry with its mural wallpaper.  Love!!!  Wish we could see the entire foyer.

The main room has a bead board ceiling.  The yellow cottage was filled to the rafters with his  collections.

I love this table of antiques and would have bought each and every piece – I especially adore the round gilt portraits.  Love!

The bedroom with the two black cabinets – that were later shown in the main house’s living room, remember?

The dining room with even more goodies.

This collection of vintage belt buckles is just a small example of what was sold.

You have GOT to see all the photographs of the estate sale.  Go HERE to see the pictures.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, what a fascinating, talented, and interesting man Paul Duesing is.

In Part Two - which I hope to have up very soon – we will see a female designer and how different her feminine aesthetic is compared to this property with its masculine aesthetic. 

Each is beautiful.