Judy Aldridge’s knack for discovering vintage gems began in the 1990s, when she was in her 20s. “I found a pair of chrome Curtis Jere lamps for $120 at a secondhand shop,” Aldridge tells PaperCity. “I brought them home, and my husband Bryan thought they were horrible. I had no idea who Curtis Jere was, but I was obsessed with chrome, so I kept them. They’re worth about $6,000 now.” The former model and fashion designer has a million such stories of treasures unearthed at estate sales, flea markets, garage sales, and thrift stores. She buys what she likes, and she’s patient — a plus for when design trends inevitably circle back.
For instance, 30 years ago she spotted a pair of 1966 chairs by Warren Platner for Knoll, salvaged in the ’80s from the lobby of the Diamond Shamrock oil company in Dallas. The modernist icon’s work was unfamiliar to her and had been out of the limelight for years. “I thought they looked like mushrooms,” she says. Yet, there was something intriguing about their organic shape, and she couldn’t stop thinking about them. “I went back and bought them for almost nothing.” The chairs are still in her living room, and the upswing in mid-century furnishings has turned them into another valuable investment.
Over the decades, Judy Aldridge’s thrifting has garnered an enviable trove of classic mid-century furnishings, African artifacts, vintage art, and sculpture. The hunt is a big part of the fun, and her interiors are constantly in flux as new acquisitions are brought home. “My brain is always spinning with the things I love and discover,” she says. “I never focus on any one genre.” Her travels have added a profusion of vintage textiles picked up in Guatemala and antique doors and rugs found in Morocco.
She rarely lets go of anything and has plenty to furnish the three homes she shares with her husband, attorney Bryan Aldridge: a casita in San Miguel and two 1970s-era houses in Trophy Club, just northeast of Fort Worth. Hundreds more objects, chandeliers, rugs, and furnishings are kept in garages and storage units, and rooms are refreshed several times a year from her inventory. Aldridge’s Instagram page — she has around 83,000 followers — is packed with shots of her bohemian interiors, bargain finds, and inspirations. Her loyal fan base goes back to 2008, when she founded her interiors-focused blog, Atlantis Home, which she still runs.
The Aldridges have lived in the same Trophy Club house for more than 30 years. “It’s where we raised our two girls,” she says. “It’s home.” Daughter Carol Aldridge now works in the legal world, and Jane Aldridge Dashley is an international lifestyle influencer whose blog, Sea of Shoes, has garnered collaborations with Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, and Stuart Weitzman.
Sea of Shoes was born out of Jane’s childhood room in the upstairs loft, where the closet was filled with her own designer shoes and clothing. Aldridge was the Sea of Shoes photographer for 10 years and was inspired to start her own blog because of it. Mother and daughter still collaborate on projects. Judy and Bryan now share the house with five Chihuahuas, which have their own fan base on her Instagram page.
“People are always sending me paintings of my dogs,” Aldridge says. “I put one on my bedroom wall, but wouldn’t it be fun to do a whole wall of Chihuahua paintings?”
In 2004, the Aldridges bought a second house on the same street a few doors down. Bryan uses it as his offices, and it doubles for entertaining and as a guesthouse. “I highly recommend doing this if you can,” she says. “It’s nice to have a place to retreat.” In both houses, white walls, high ceilings, and vast windows create an airy backdrop for rooms amply layered with woven baskets, Moroccan and zebra-print rugs, floral and Indian textiles, and vintage modern furniture.
I’m not concerned about whether colors and patterns go together — it’s innate. – Judy Aldridge
“There are a lot of different styles, but I never think about that,” she says. “I’m not concerned about whether colors and patterns go together — it’s innate. I remember my mother saying, ‘Don’t wear paisleys and plaids together,’ but that’s what my taste has always been. I buy things I like, and rooms evolve as I go. Everything seems happy together.”
The pink living room in the main family house pays homage to Lee Radziwill, who loved the hue and often decorated with Indian textiles and global flourishes. Here, slipper chairs, ottomans, the sofa, and even the draperies are cleverly upholstered in pink tablecloths from Wisteria. Aldridge originally created the room’s high-meets-low furnishings for a vignette at last year’s Thrift Studio fundraiser in Dallas for Dwell with Dignity. “I told Bryan how much I loved that vignette, so he bought the whole thing and we brought it home,” she says.
When the house with Bryan’s offices was damaged in a fire four years ago, Judy Aldridge renovated and refurnished with her own inventory. “I shopped my garage,” she says. The look is crisp and tailored, furnished with modern classics by Florence Knoll, Adrian Pearsall, and Paul Evans, and layered with Moroccan rugs and brass lanterns brought back from trips to North Africa. The Elephant Room, one of the house’s three living areas, got its name from a pair of massive antique doors from India that dominate a wall. The door’s long spikes threaten to poke anyone who gets too close — a striking design element that originally kept elephants from charging the building. A 1970s faux-elephant-tusk table attributed to Carl Springer stands guard in front and holds a life-size figure used by Asian acupuncturists as a teaching aid.
On the opposite wall, an oversized modernist painting by artist David Bierk came from the lobby of a nearby Marriott hotel. “I had admired it for 20 years,” she says. “I told them if they ever decided to sell it, to call me.” The hotel remodeled, and the call finally came, but it took two more years of negotiating with corporate before she could bring it home. In Aldridge’s world, patience pays off.