Dallas’ Most Powerful Up-and-Coming Design Couple: You Have to See Their Style to Believe It
Sara and Corbin See in the Sees Design office space above David Sutherland Showroom
Custom kitchen by Sees Design. Niermann Weeks light from Laura Lee Clark. Donghia stools.
Living room by Sees Design. Christian Liaigre sofa and slipcovered chair. Donghia chairs. Corbin bronze coffee table from David Sutherland Showroom.
Sara and Corbin See hit the ground running when they relocated last year from Oklahoma City to Dallas — with Sara taking on the title of design director at Ann Sutherland’s Perennials and Corbin launching a satellite office for his thriving interior design business, Sees Design. Corbin’s biz is ensconced in a leased space above David Sutherland Showroom, while Sara works out of the Perennials’ Regal Row offices.
Together and apart, the Sees are putting their stylish stamp on our city.
With her first Perennials collection under her belt, Sara is finalizing Spring 2017, which debuts next month. Look for performance velvets beautiful enough for indoor use. “I’m loving velvet right now,” she says. “It’s an effortless way to make a space chic and comfortable at the same time. Last season, we launched a rich emerald velvet. Next season, keep your eyes peeled for beautiful mélange neutrals.”
Corbin’s residential projects are in various stages of completion, ranging from a historic remodel in Lakewood to a newly built contemporary in Highland Park and an Italianate villa in Austin. He just closed on a warehouse in the Dallas Design District, which he and two partners will gut and re-imagine as an intimate Italian restaurant opening this summer.
Corbin first became smitten with Italy when he spent a semester in Florence during college. For the restaurant?
“My jump-off point starts with Alessandro Michele, because what’s more Italian than Gucci?” he says of the fashion house’s buzzy new creative director. “It’s what he might do if he got hold of Julian Schnabel’s apartment-palazzo in Greenwich Village. We’re using antique architectural elements, like an 18th-century Italian door surround we found at Pittet Architecturals, and layering in furnishings from our favorite modern Italian design heroes from the ’60s to the ’80s.”
Lighting will come by way of Piero Castiglioni; fabric prints will appear as if they were drawn by Ettore Sottsass; and tile work will be reminiscent of the city of Sienna. “I hope it’s going to be fun and sexy,” he says. “Sensual, but with an attitude.”
Sara will oversee the restaurant’s textile choices, but it’s not the first time the couple has teamed. They first met in 2001 while working at Holly Hunt showroom in Chicago, where Corbin was production manager and Sara was samples manager for Hunt’s Great Plains line.
After tying the knot, they spent the next 12 years working together at Corbin’s family business in Oklahoma, Sees Design, founded by his father Carson See in 1975. While their design styles are different (“He says black, I say white” is the way Sara describes it), Corbin says they always manage to find common ground among their favorite designers and collections.
Sara’s design influences range from Jack Lenor Larsen’s individualistic textiles (a modern quilt her mother made from remnants hangs in their living room at home) to their 8-year-old daughter’s artwork. Corbin, who has been collecting colorful Memphis Group furniture, is also inspired by John Dickinson, Rose Tarlow, Michael Eastman, Albert Hadley, Bobby McAlpine, and Jacques Garcia.
At home in their Kessler Park contemporary, which they built with architect Eddie Maestri and moved into six months ago, the couple settled on a modern farmhouse look with lots of white and clean lines — the perfect compromise for their divergent styles.
“Corbin led the charge,” Sara says, “but we’re tweaking the design together.”
Portrait by Rachael Wise. Interior photos by Karlisch Photography, Inc.