Inside Dallas’ Chicest Townhouse: This Legendary Fashion Editor’s Home is a Sexy, Soulful Stunner
In the study, Van Hayes’ vintage Bob Dylan poster from Santa Fe. The Navajo rugs belonged to Tracy Achor Hayes’ parents. Chair from Antiques Moderne.
On the upstairs landing, a mosaic mirror by Austin artist Barry Jelinski.
On the upstairs landing, custom shelves by Trey Bartosh and Joe Dann store books on fashion, photography, music, horses, art, and the American West. The claw-foot table belonged to Achor Hayes’ grandmother. Leather Brno chairs from Antiques Moderne.
Dining-room gallery wall displays Van Hayes silkscreens; a photo by Achor Hayes’ father; Keith Haring serigraph Best Buddies from Haring’s Pop Shop, purchased during New York Fashion Week in the 1980s; Allison V. Smith’s Prada Marfa photograph; John Derian dish; The Clash poster, a souvenir from a London concert.
Tracy Achor Hayes inherited the mahogany chest, lacquered white with new brass hardware, from her grandmother. Cast horse head from White Elephant. The Picasso etching, circa 1960, belonged to her parents.
Tracy Achor Hayes at home
In the living room, a Roberto Dutesco photograph from “The Wild Horses of Sable Island” series. Tusk table, a vintage Thrift Studio fi nd. Vintage lacquered chairs. Porcelain lamps from Mercury Design Studio, Austin. Art of Old India rug. Custom brass-and-black-marble side tables from Scout Design Studio. Walls painted in Behr’s Cracked Pepper.
In the master bedroom, one of a pair of brass Brutalist pendants sourced by Steve Shuck from White Elephant. Mid-century chest from Antiques Moderne. Mirror from Wisteria.
Like many great arbiters of taste, Tracy Achor Hayes moves in a stylish, rarified orb. As the fashion editor at the Dallas Morning News for more than 30 years and editor in chief of the paper’s shuttered style magazine FD Luxe, Hayes traveled to fashion weeks in New York, Paris, and Milan three or four times a year, where she covered the shows with editors of Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily, Elle, and other international publications.
There were lunches and interviews with the likes of Karl Lagerfeld in Paris. And during Tom Ford’s early days at Gucci, before he skyrocketed into superstardom, Hayes was invited over for dinner at his Milan house, where he cooked pasta for her in his bare feet.
Hayes has fostered generations of great talent in Dallas, launching major careers of everyone from her former interns to the subjects of stories. “Being in that role [of editor] was incredible because of the connections I made,” she says. “My whole job was to meet cool people doing cool things, and let other people know about them.”
Now, as the director of editorial content for The Book at Neiman Marcus (a role she’s held since 2012), her sphere of influence is even broader — and just as satisfying, says Hayes. Her job is to spotlight the fabled Texas retailer’s many luxury vendors across the globe.
“There’s never a shortage of great stories to tell,” she says.
On a recent morning, Hayes greets me at the door of her townhouse in Old East Dallas, garbed in a red-and-black paisley Etro dress, topped with a cashmere cardigan trimmed in a wild ruff of black Mongolian lamb’s fur. Her black lace-up Zara ankle boots inject a little rock ’n’ roll, and the whole look feels effortless and chic.
“Fashion is my first love,” Hayes says. “With clothes, I know instantly how to pull a look together.” On the other hand, she admits that concocting a beautiful room doesn’t come as naturally. “My taste is eclectic, and that’s hard to do at home. You don’t just throw it all together and have it work.”
The house she shares with husband Van Hayes, a longtime graphic designer at the Dallas Morning News, languished for years in a mishmash of furniture and bright colors before her good friends Samantha Reitmayer Sano and Joslyn Taylor of Swoon, the Studio stepped in.
“The house wasn’t reflective of Tracy’s style at all,” Reitmayer Sano says. “There’s a real soulful side to her, and that was missing.” Part of Swoon’s modus operandi is to dig through clients’ stuff to find what’s reflective of them, and Sano discovered a trove of memorabilia buried in a closet from Hayes’ decades of travel and work as a fashion editor.
Among them were a signed poster given to her by Andy Warhol, artwork from the 1986 opening of Keith Haring’s Manhattan Pop Shop, a silk-screened Valentine from Yves Saint Laurent, and a Prada, Marfa photograph by friend Allison V. Smith, along with photos shot by the many prize-winning photographers she’s worked with.
Other closets contained inherited heirlooms such as antique Navajo rugs, African masks, Native American pottery, Chinese screens, and Santos figures. Hayes’ mother was a cultural anthropologist; her father, an artist, photographer, and amateur archaeologist.
“All these things spoke to Tracy’s soulfulness,” Reitmayer Sano says. “We mixed them with furniture they had and new pieces we bought. It’s layered — like how she dresses.” The dark walls in Behr’s Cracked Pepper combine with rich materials such as brass, marble, live-edged wood, and leather to “make it all a little more sexy,” says Reitmayer Sano. “It also gave it more of a masculine vibe that Van loves.”
Their house has been finished for almost a year, but the specialness hasn’t worn off yet and isn’t likely to anytime soon.
“It’s so far beyond what we could have done on our own, yet it feels exactly like us,” Hayes says. “Everything has history and meaning. To me, that’s the best thing you can ask for in a house.”
Interior design by Swoon, The Studio