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The Next Era of Culp Associates — A Venerable Design Company with 50 Years of History Looks to the Future

The Dallas and Houston Showrooms Feature More Than 45 Prestigious Brands

BY // 09.30.22

With showrooms in the Dallas Design District and Decorative Center Houston featuring more than 45 prestigious brands, Culp Associates is just getting started, say partners Cammie Marrs, Jessica Salmons and Karen Rogers-Still. The showroom is known for longstanding relationships with such venerable European and American brands as Cowtan & Tout, Pierre Frey, Clarence House, Sanderson Design Group, Samuel & Sons, de Gournay, Formations, Boyd Lighting, Gregorius Pineo and many others.

Culp Associates’ stored 50-year history began in 1972 when Miami interior designer Walter Lee Culp opened a showroom in Dallas at the urging of up-and-coming textile designers Jack Lenor Larsen and Angelo Donghia, along with Robin Roberts, founder of Clarence House fabrics. Showrooms were almost nonexistent in Texas at the time, and the men wanted their lines to be more accessible to interior designers.

Culp became a pioneer of the multi-line showroom model, soon adding other top textile brands to the company’s portfolio. In 1974, the firm opened a second showroom in Decorative Center Houston. Culp found assistance and friendship in Kelly Hardage, then a college student, who helped navigate the Houston showroom opening. In 1992, Hardage became president of Walter Lee Culp Associates, where he was instrumental in growing the business. He purchased the business in 2004 and changes the name to its brand today: Culp Associates.

In 2006, the firm expanded to include additional furniture and accessory lines, further growing its prestigious presence.

Cammie Marrs joined Culp Associates in 1994, working in the sample room as she completed her degree from the University of North Texas. She was promoted to VP/ general manager in 2011 and was name president/partner in 2017.

“Since the day I began at Culp Associates, it’s been the perfect fit,” Marrs says. “It’s the best combination of both the left brain and right brain, as I get to both crunch numbers and interact with clients.” Salmons joined the company in 2012 and in 2017 was promoted to Vice President/ Partner. Under Salmons’ leadership in Houston, the firm has quadrupled its business.

Screen Shot 2022-09-28 at 4.32.34 PM
de Gournay handprinted wallpaper.

A new grandfather, Hardage retired in 2021. Designer Karen Rogers-Still, Hardage’s friend, purchased his shares and became the third member of the powerful trio, and third generation steering Culp Associates into the next half century, building upon Culp’s and Hardage’s rich legacies.

“As a designer and previous client of Culp Associates, joining the team was very special,” Rogers-Still says. “Culp was always my first stop when I was specifying items for a project. Now I’m able to join forces with two remarkable women. Women who trust each other make great teams, and we can’t wait for the future.”

At the heart of Culp Associates are its exceptional products and team members. The showroom has had many of its lines — and employees — for more than 20 years.

“Culture is extremely important to us,” Marrs says, “and while egos can run big in this business, we’re a no-ego firm.”

The company also credits success to its expansive outside team, which spans the region from Texas and Oklahoma to Louisiana and beyond providing concierge service to designers who may not have the resources of Dallas or Houston at their fingertips.

“We have the most comprehensive outside program in the region,” Salmons says. “Through this team, we’re able to get our products into new hands, expand our showrooms, and further our presence.”

As for what’s next, Culp Associates is poised for rapid growth over the next 50 years. The values that guided Culp Associates in 1972 — showcasing exceptional design, quality, and customer service — are the company’s compass today. The partners are laser-focused on growth, building upon existing brands while also launching new ones. A new private-label line exclusive to Culp Associates, Novare (“fresh”) is also in the works, which will focus on well-prices textiles with rich textures, wide-width sheers and coveted faux leathers.

For more information on Culp Associates, visit CulpAssociates.com.