COTE DE TEXAS: A New Lisa Luby Ryan Design and Build House

A New Lisa Luby Ryan Design and Build House

One of my favorite Dallas designers is Lisa Luby Ryan.  I love her aesthetic – it’s warm, inviting, and accessible.  Her designs are not too contemporary or so exclusive that only a lucky few could ever enjoy her look.  No.  It’s the opposite.  On her website,  Lisa shows Before & After photos which provide an easy way to study and learn how to update your own rooms, with just a few key pieces, paint job, and accessories.

OK.  Maybe it’s not SO easy!  Lisa just makes it look that way.  But, there is something about her designs that make you think –  “I could live here.  I like this.  I could see my family happy, here in this house.” 

In the end, LLR’s designs appeal to most because they are just so beautiful. 

For years, Lisa had a retail store, Vintage Living, but she recently closed it, which I’m sure is a decision Dallas shoppers have been mourning.  While the shop has closed, Lisa is going strong.  I was so excited to see that she has launched a new web site to announce her newest endeavor “Lisa Luby Ryan Design and Build.”

Along with her talented crew, Lisa is now concentrating on interior design, renovations and new builds.  I think her renovations are amazing:

A few years ago, I wrote a Before & After story about this house renovated by LLR.  HERE.  Lisa took an old cottage, above, and turned it into a jewel box!

AFTER.   By painting the brick white, adding new lanterns and an old front gate – LLR gave the old house a brand new charm and excellent curb appeal. 

Inside, Lisa filled the cottage with antiques and seagrass and peeling paint finishes.  The house was featured in Veranda and it was much admired by all of us!!

LLR grouped blue and white (note:  these do not have to be antiques – opt for cheap-chic to get the same effect!) and she framed a set of prints which together formed one large piece of art, another wonderful look you can emulate:  Can’t afford good art work?  Frame a set of prints alike and tightly hang together to create a large focal point.

Another view of the dining room with the prints hung as one piece of art.

I started following Lisa years and years ago when I first spotted her own Dallas home in a magazine. It was instant love and I have shown that house on the blog several times.  When she sold it a few years ago, I wrote a story about it – showing how the house had completely changed from 1999 to 2015. HERE.

It was really fascinating to see how much Lisa’s design aesthetic had changed in the past 20 years!

For example:

In 1999,  LLR’s living room was very Ralph Lauren meets Country English Manor.  I had a rug just like that – did you too?

2015:  By the time her house was sold, this room had gone through quite a  few drastic changes.  In the end, Lisa chose the gray painted, highly edited look for her front room.   The only piece of furniture that remained from 1999 was the coffee table.

BEFORE:  The 1999 dining room with its beautiful architectural details:  the French fireplace, the high ceiling, and the paned glass windows.

AFTER:  With the color and furniture pared down, you can see the pure beauty of the room.

Lisa’s family has a summer house on the eastern shore, so it wasn’t a huge surprise that they would sell their Dallas family house and move to a smaller home, especially now that all the children are grown.  Lisa has been sharing photos of her new house on her Instagram and the Before & After photos of its exterior is totally LLR:


The Before photos show a boring brick house and the After is incredible!!!  The brick is now white stucco, with a new stone retaining wall.  Gray shutters were added, along with a new gate, front door, steel windows, and lanterns.   There is a new landscaping design and inside – the house was gutted.

Lisa’s new house is a study in white and gray; it is very sophisticated and highly edited.   But it is her kitchen that really stopped me in my tracks.  The kitchen is open to all the public rooms and although it is located right in the middle of the house, Lisa made it disappear. 

The kitchen is behind the family room, but it’s practically invisible.

The only appliance you can see is the range which is actually hiding behind the island.  Notice the hood is also invisible – no oversized fancy hood that is so trendy today.  Instead, there is a gorgeous backdrop of a marble slab – it looks like a piece of art work.   The refrigerator is behind white cabinetry.  Two doors flank the range – and that is where the magic happens!

Notice there is a huge, walk-in pantry behind the range!  All the extra dinnerware, glasses, vases, pots are placed on open shelves that make everything easy to see and find.  Genius.


And then there is Lisa’s study in her new house.  I found this photo on her architect’s web site, J. Wilson Fuqua and Associates Architects – HERE.  Lately, I’ve been obsessing over using tables instead of desks in home offices.  Here,  LLR chose a classic marble topped oval Saarinen table and she mixed it with a deconstructed French antique chair.   All the office junk is hidden in the cabinet behind the table.  The room has great appeal with antique doors in lieu of cabinets and warm wood beams.   I can not wait until her house is published in a magazine!  Veranda?  Milieu?  Southern Homes?

And I see you “Beautiful” – Mark Sikes book.  When I saw this, I thought of him saying he chose a small book design so that it would always be on top of the stack, which it is!

With Lisa’s store closed, the emphasis of her web site is now on her interior design and her portfolio takes center stage.  Seriously, there is so much beauty on her web page and so many new projects to drool over,   I was in heaven.

While Lisa personally loves an all white/gray decor, “Lisa Luby Ryan Design and Build” aims to please.  One client wanted a colorful scheme and I loved what LLR did with their house:

This is a farm house that Lisa Luby Ryan Design and Build recently completed. I love the use of the bold check in brown, mixed with the pops of blue.

And I love the textured rug that anchors the seating arrangement.  The curtains are perfect – a pattern that adds a classic and colorful look to the design.  I just love this!!

Another house on her new portfolio is more personal.

A few years ago, a reader of Cote de Texas saw the stories I had written on Lisa Luby Ryan and she fell in love with her style.  The reader had just moved from Houston to Frisco, a small suburb outside of Dallas, in order to be closer to her children and grandchildren.

The reader especially loved the cottage in Veranda that Lisa had renovated and it was this cottage which served as the inspiration for her new home in Frisco.

On a whim, she called LLR and was thrilled when Lisa agreed to take on her project.  The reader, Dee, wanted a house that was a mix of French styling with Swedish and Belgium mixed in!  In other words,  she wanted a light colored palette with feminine lines.

Being single meant Dee was able to make all choices herself – the house would be totally her.

Starting over completely can be daunting, so Dee tackled the house one room at a time to make it easier.  The design was a collaboration between Dee and Lisa who really wanted to capture the look that Dee wanted.

The house has an open design – with rooms that blend in with the next.  The decorative theme had to flow throughout the house, which is very light and bright.  Dee and Lisa added unique architectural pieces which make the house even more special. 

Dee loves her house and is so proud of it – she is as beautiful as it is and with her softly curled blonde hair – Dee fits in here perfectly.   Lisa did an outstanding job for Dee and hopefully this will be her forever home.

Most of the photos of Dee’s house are by OVERMAN Photography HERE

Less professional photos are from Dee’s I-phone and Lisa’s Instagram!!


The front door is paned – which lets in lots of light into the foyer.   For privacy – there is a cafe curtain, which I think is so cute!!

In the foyer there is a painted cabinet.  This was the first piece of furniture that Dee purchased for the house and it set the tone for the decorative scheme.  Painted in a light blue – more light pops of blue show up throughout.

On top is an antique mirror, a piece of coral and a contemporary lamp.  LLR placed white and blue coral all throughout the house.

The music room is seen off the foyer.  Lisa took this photo of the elegant room with its crystal chandelier and player piano.

The music room was supposed to the formal dining room but Dee preferred a music room instead. 

Dee says this room is her favorite – a place where her entire family gathers to play music.

The room is so pretty with a crystal chandelier hanging from its high ceiling.  LLR had an artist paint the pillows with the “R” on it.  The piano bench is antique with a new custom cushion with ballerina ties. 

Throughout the house there are seagrass rugs in two different patterns.  At the window are textured blinds and white curtains.

Dee took this photo of the music room – which shows the chairs and the piece of art work which Lisa reframed.  Above is an architectural remnant.

Past the foyer and music room is the large living room with dining area.  A white sofa is flanked by two pairs of chairs.

Across from the seating area is the fireplace.  Dee told the builder she would be providing her own mantel –  which is a 19th century French limestone one that she picked out with Lisa.  The sconces were bought by LLR in Europe.  The mirror is antique.  Through the arch is the sitting room and master bedroom.

The two chairs by the window are trademarks of LLR.  I love the wood frames on the other pair of chairs.

Lisa’s trademark chairs – with an antique stool and table.  The pillow brings in more pops of the blue and white.

A close up of the antique sconce and mirror.

Dee took this photo – which shows that hiding in the cabinet is the flatscreen TV.   The sitting room/master bedroom are seen through the open archway.

Lisa styled the table with white vases and coral.

Another view of the styling by Lisa.

Close up of the side table.

The dining area is off the living room.   A modern fabric was chosen for the French door and windows. 

The table was decorated with antique jars filled with daisies. 

On her Instagram, Lisa showed the antique shop where she bought the wood pieces with the antique bottles set in it.  Love this!!!!

Early on, Dee took this photo too – which shows the layout of the living room and kitchen.  Through the arch on the left is the foyer and front door.   The bar stools in the kitchen have since been replaced – they were the last items to be finished in the house.   This really shows the difference that professional styling makes!    The white vases add so much to the table – which looks bare without them.


The kitchen with the marble counters and backsplash. 

You can see the new slipcovered barstools in this photo.

The farm sink is located on the marble topped island.

A closeup of the antique tiles on the hood.

Lisa Luby Ryan shows Dee how the antique tiles will look on the hood. The house was not finished overnight in one installation.  Instead, the homeowner took her time, enjoying the process.  When you don’t order everything out of a catalogue or from a furniture store – and when you use a lot of antiques – the decorating process can take much longer.

A view of the styling done for the photoshoot.

Through the living room is the sitting room and master bedroom.

The sitting room has a high, curved ceiling – finished in bead board.  The lantern is antique, newly wired, and bought from LLR’s former shop Vintage Living.   Dee previously owned the chaise from Quatrine and LLR slipped it in white linen adding a sexy skirt – as Lisa calls it!  I do too.  Love this room!!!

From Vintage Living, Dee bought this antique balcony which was repurposed with a zinc top.  Notice the curved ceiling.  I love the architectural details found in the house.

Dee took this early photo which looks back into the living room.  Hmm.  Lisa must have removed the branches  - but I like them!!

The view into the master bedroom.   At the right is the antique fountain filled with corals in white and blue.

The headboard is made from old linen fabric that LLR bought in Europe.   Flanking the bed are individual antique chests with peeling painted finishes.

Candlesticks were made into lamps.  The only pattern comes in from the quiet material used for the curtains.

Two antique wood fragments were framed in Plexiglas boxes and each flank the bed.

The second bedside chest.

Lisa bought this antique Swedish settee for the bedroom.  Two more plaid pillows were still waiting to be finished before Dee took this photo.

I love this Swedish settee!!

A close up of the chandelier in the master bedroom.   I adore the way Lisa used crystal chandeliers throughout the house.  It adds such an elegant touch and it is such a classic element.  How soon will we all tire of the Sputnik trend?

An antique chest was repurposed into the power room vanity.    Above is an 18th century mirror found by LLR.

Details:  Dee had the builder add this charming, tiny window to the foyer.  LLR had an antique shutter which happened to be the perfect size – perfection!!

Details:  In the laundry room, Dee added wood paneling to make the room cozier.   While Dee had collected the antique door knobs, it was LLR’s idea to use them here.  Collaboration.

The guest room follows the same design theme found in the other parts of the house – French lines and painted furniture mixed with whites and blues.

The other guest room was turned into a playroom for Dee’s grandchildren.  She bought the tee-pee on Etsy and lined it with Restoration Hardware string lights.  The chairs are really lambs wool bean bags she bought at Pottery Barn Teen HERE.

My favorite is the area rug which is from Ikea!!!   I don’t think it is still available though.

The last room is Dee’s study.  The study is off the foyer – across from the music room.  It was Dee’s idea to cover the Pottery Barn desk in fabric, since the industrial desk didn’t mix with the French feel of her house.  Why not slipcover it instead?   At the window, Lisa hung matching curtains in the same blue tones that are found throughout the house.  At foot is a subtly patterned carpet. 

Two French doors close off the study from the foyer.  Here you can see how the desk was actually slipcovered.

Across from the desk is a large cabinet.  Through the doors, you can see into the music room which is across the foyer.  The chandelier was bought at Vintage Living.  It wasn’t originally electrified, but Dee changed out the candles for light bulbs.  Dee says one of her most important tips is to put dimmers in each room – they let you create different moods.  She even has dimmers in her closets.  I agree – I prefer a dimly lit house over one that is too bright at night.

Not seen is a work out room which is located on the second floor of the home.

Dee says this is her dream house – something she created exactly how she alone wanted it - with help from Lisa Luby Ryan Design and Build.

Want to see more of Lisa’s work?  Be sure to visit Lisa Luby Ryan Design and Build’s new web site – HERE.


  1. Dee is one lucky lady. What a gorgeous house.
    A console table made from an old balcony railing! That is one I have to copy. And the door knobs as hooks. Love it!
    As for LLR's house, I have to admit I prefer the 1999 living room to the new one. Maybe it shows my age and resistance to change. Maybe it's just classic. I would only change out the chinz.

  2. Joni, What would I do without you?? lol but seriously! This house is beyond fabulous. I love the color palette and the use of antiques. Wonderful. Also, I just want to let you know I have learnt so much design-wise from reading your blog - like your post on Oliver Messel. I am from Barbados where Messel designed a number of properties which I have always admired so reading your post on him was like a full circle moment for me. Anyway, I really really really enjoy reading your work. Keep it up!

    1. Thank you so much!!!!! I hope the islands did ok during the storm. I think Barbados is too far south?

  3. Great Write up Joni,Dee's home is stunning as well as LLR kitchen in her new home. I hope you received my email as I was just thinking about LLR's beautiful new Website The old Cottage is no longer so quaint as it has been enlarged, its LLR charm is most certainly no more.

  4. Big change with the exterior house design and its gutters.

    Changing gutters to a darker color makes them go higher into the roof. White gutters lower a house to the ground.

    And, downspouts went round from square. More historic, elegant and great contrast to all the 'square' shapes homes have.

    Garden Design archetypes are the same as Interior Design archetypes, myriad color/abundance to little color/minimal.

    Texans saw it on the big screen from childhood, and every viewing since, with Giant.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

    Mom/Sister had no Harvey damage, Irma gave me a new roof, and acres of debris on the ground from century old pecan trees. Crazy !

  5. Better Homes and Gardens featured plans for a kitchen YEARS ago, that had everything behind doors. I am not sure that it had an island, but maybe. I have never forgotten that kitchen. There was a baking center behind doors, a bar area. I think that nothing in the room looked like a kitchen. The appliances and kitchen sink were all behind doors. Of course they were dark finish back then. Stunning!

  6. Well, I never. I really never thought I'd love the look of a house like I do this feature! It absolutely breaks the moldin understated originality and eclecticism!! Outstanding!! franki

  7. The Great Falls area near Washington DC is ripe with well funded homes. On a recent tour a kitchen without counters caught my attention. Turned out all the counter surfaces were pull outs. When collapsed there were cabinet faces but they were a dark walnut and the kitchen more resembled a man's sitting room. I thought the idea a bit much and could not see myself pulling out those counter surfaces and pushing them back in all the time. I'm just too sloppy, "leave'um out" would be me. Your blogs are just the very best ever. I hope you keep doing them for the betterment of us all. Ann

  8. I have absolutely wasted my day stalking each and every picture numerous times, both on today's blog and LLR website. I adore her look and was so disappointed when her store closed in Snider Plaza. I visited there every time I made it to Dallas. I follow her on Instagram (and you) and I guess you can say I am a LLR stalker. When I saw the title of your blog today, my heart started racing. :) You did not disappoint! Thank you thank you for making my day!

  9. I looked for Lisa Luby Ryan's Instagram page, but could not find it. Can you help me.

    1. Lisa Luby Ryan's account name on Instagram is Vintage Living. xo

  10. Hello Joni! Thank you again for an amazing blog post. I agree with a previous comment -- I have spent hours today analyzing each photo on the blog and on the LLR site. Awesome content! Random question -- I love the hotel rod or french radius rod that LLR and other designers use these days for drapery and was wondering if you might know of a good source? Many thanks! Dawn

  11. I always love your before and afters even though they may be years in the making! Would you venture a guess as to the stain on the dining room floor? I am having my floors stained tomorrow and need to make a decision on a color. Thank you

  12. Hi Joni, love your blog and the LLR aesthetic, too. Any tips on how to get those heavenly soft white walls?

  13. Thanks for your post which is truly informative for us and we will surely keep visiting this website.

  14. I will always count that reno of the highland park cottage as one of my all time favorites. She is so super talented. Thank you for introducing her to me!
    -Linda, NY

  15. everything is sooooooo pretty. dee's house is a dream. makes me want to chuck it all and start over:) x

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  17. Thanks, Joni, for post on Lisa. Truly a fan of her design work. Joni, I sent you a private message via your Instagram account. Thinking maybe you have not accessed it. Do you or any of your readers know if the magazine Antique Shops & Designers is still being published? I recently learned the sad news of Dana Aichler's passing. If possible, Joni, could you give me a reply. I do not have your email address. Thanks!

  18. I read and studied your post about bamboo blinds in windows. I noticed that each window was treated individually in this case; would you have done it differently with one blind, outside mount? I want to get my windows right this time!
    Thank you
    D Cannon

  19. Superbly written article, if only all bloggers offered the same content as you, the internet would be a far better place..


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