Paper City

A Dallas Designer Injects Color and Fun Into a Plain Preston Hollow Home

Written by Caitlin Clark | View Article

Sara Johnson’s mission was clear: punch up a pretty but plain white picket home in Dallas’ Preston Hollow neighborhood. But while interior designers are accustomed to tight turnarounds, her clients’ timeline needs were particularly time-sensitive. They wanted to have everything finished in the 1998 home before the arrival of their third daughter—in just four months.

The Dallas designer, known for her preppy New England style, was happy to take on the challenge.

“I was in love the moment I laid eyes on this home,” Johnson recalls. “With the white picket fence, dormers, and black shutters… I knew it was going to be a perfect fit. This client has three precious girls, so I had so much fun sourcing all the girly things since I’m a ‘boy mom.’”

The original exterior and interiors of the Preston Hollow charmer. (Photo by Emery Davis)

In addition to sourcing products from Visual Comfort, Scalamandre, Scout Design Studio, Cowtan & Tout, Perennials, Kravet, and more, Johnson kept a close eye on items that were available and in stock.

“We also found stock items at area stores like Acquisitions and Ballard Designs, and even found a few treasures on Facebook marketplace,” the designer adds.

sara johnson interiors Dallas preston hollow home -11 (Photo by Emery Davis)

Beyond time, one of Johnson’s greatest challenges was how to utilize an awkward space off the kitchen (and one of the first things you see upon entering the home).

“The entry hallway is on a split level from the family room and kitchen,” Johnson explains. “The hardwood stair leading to the kitchen and family room became a tripping hazard as the hardwood camouflaged with the landing.”

sara johnson interiors Dallas preston hollow home -_E7A7597 (Photo by Emery Davis)
A local Dallas artist drew a stylish stencil to help distinguish the once hazardous stair. (Photo by Emery Davis)

The solve came in the form of a local artist, who drew a stylish stencil to help distinguish the step. As for the formerly awkward space, the new gaming area and reading nook is one of the family’s favorite corners of the home.

Johnson’s personal favorites include a transformed alcove in one of the girls’ rooms (“The wallpaper was the jumping off point for that entire space,” notes the Dallas designer) and successfully tracking down a dining table (from Dallas-based David W. Gilbert & Associates) to accommodate her clients’ large extended family.

 Dallas preston hollow home -5 (Photo by Emery Davis)
Sourcing a table that could fit 20 people was a priority in the dining room. (Photo by Emery Davis)

“I love the dining room,” she notes. “The rug and the artwork came last and tied the entire space together.”