An Architect’s Mid-Century Dallas Oasis

Turns out neutrals and color aren’t mutually exclusive.

By Chanel Dror
bright and colorful dining area

If you caught my guest house renovation last week, you may already be familiar with the work of Dallas-based architect and designer, Scott Parks. IRL, Scott is someone I’ve turned to for years for design advice and style inspiration, and with that in mind, I had no hesitation asking to run photos of his apartment here on Camille Styles sight unseen. Not surprisingly, when I finally did get to peek at the space, I discovered a thoughtful, sophisticated and totally personal home. Besides for making you want to kick back and stay a while, a tour through Scott’s apartment serves as a lesson in harmony: neutrals and color, designer and DIY, vintage and new — they all coexist to create a place that’s perfectly, unabashedly Scott Parks.

photography by Stephen Karlisch

Your apartment has such beautiful light. Tell us about the space.

My apartment is on the fourth floor of a charming mid-century building nestled into the banks of Turtle Creek near downtown Dallas. When looking for a place in Dallas, we were coming from NYC where we were living in a 450 sq. ft. apartment with no outdoor space. I was really craving something light and bright with an indoor-outdoor feel, but still with the comfort of being in a building. As a design enthusiast, I also wanted to find a historic building that was loved by its residents. I immediately fell in love with 3701 Turtle Creek and my unit, which looks out over lush greenery. The building feels gracious, not stuffy, with a real sense of community because of the building’s storied past. It’s one of the earliest residential high-rises in Dallas, completed in 1963, and is a beautiful example of mid-century design, with many original finishes…and its original windows! The building was established as a condo association as soon as condo laws were adopted in Texas in the 70’s by a group of investors including Nieman Marcus founder Stanley Marcus and former US Ambassador Robert Strauss. Scenes from the TV show Dallas were filmed in the building, and Jerry Hall called the penthouse home for many years while with Mick Jagger.

pictured: dining table is Richard Schultz for Florence Knoll from 3 years after Scott’s building was built; chairs are collected Paul Volther for Frem Rolje with original caning; paint color is Ice Mist from Benjamin Moore

Who are your dream house guests?

I don’t cook as often as I would like, but I do love making meals and entertaining. Honestly, my favorite times are always with dear friends and family…trying to spoil them with a great spread.

To us your space looks perfectly complete and so thoughtfully arranged. Did you run into any challenges while designing and decorating it?

When we left New York, we brought very little of our furniture, because most of it had been around since college. At the same time, we were more than doubling our space, so the emptiness was overwhelming initially. My biggest struggle was finding the patience to only buy quality, meaningful furnishings that would be interesting together and hopefully stick with me.

Describe your home in 5 words or less:

Light-filled, artful treehouse.

This balcony is dreamy. Do you spend a lot of time out here?

Drawing and designing are my favorite ways to lose track of time. A good cup of coffee is a nice accompaniment. I also really enjoy taking care of our plants on the balcony. I grew okra this summer.

What was the design inspiration for your home?

The history of the building was really where I started, so studying and thinking about the cause and the spark that ignited mid-century design, from color stories to ways of laying out space. I was also inspired by my own collection of objects and thinking about how to best enjoy those. And then of course, the human comforts and trying to make sure Ali would feel at home as well!

We love your use of color. While you use bright shades, they still feel subtle. What are your tips for incorporating color into a space?

I find that everyone sees colors and color combinations differently, both literally and because of specific memories that we have from our life experiences. Color can lead to really interesting conversations with clients, and I love that. With each project you have to boldly follow your color instincts and play until it works for all parties.

pictured: lounge chair is Cassina designed by Le Corbusier in the 1920’s

pictured: coffee cubes are 1950’s chrome, Scott added the purple feet and glass tops; rug from Restoration Hardware; sofa from DWR; living room painting by Scott

How do you approach shopping for your home?

I like to mix it up, so I’ll thrift an item one day, design/build something the next, and order a brand new item online the next. I like it that way because you capture a wide range of time and style in your furnishings, which creates richness. For soft items like beds and couches, I tend to go new or have things fully reupholstered, mostly for practical/cleanliness reasons. With hard items like tables and chairs, I like to thrift and revise things, like my coffee table cubes, which I finished with more cubes for feet and glass tops for durability.

pictured: original Milo Baughmann Scoop Chairs that Scott reupholstered in denim

What’s your number one interior design tip?

Design at the pace of your life and enjoy the process. Rushed spaces always show it.

How about tips for keeping your place clean and clutter-free?

Try to only buy things you truly love and that are made with care. Then put away the things you do have when you’re done with them. Don’t leave picking up for tomorrow.

pictured: dark wood chair is 1930’s from Scott’s grandfather’s barber shop in Stillwater, Oklahoma; burgundy vase by Aesthetic Pursuit

pictured below: vintage dresser designed by Yngve Ekstrom

pictured: bed frame and nightstands are DWR Min Collection; bolster pillow is custom; euro shams by Yves Delorme;
blanket by Garza Marfa; sconces by Workstead; photograph is Felix Gonzalez Torres from 2010 exhibition at Fondation Beyeler; 

If you had to pick, what’s your favorite spot in the house?

No doubt the bed – we love to sleep.

Where do you turn for design inspiration?

BOOKS about design history; Fashion runways and editorials; Nature

Fill in the blank: A well-designed home should ___.

Tell you a story you can’t hear anywhere else.