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Inside a Cozy, 100-Year-Old Pied à Terre in Highland Park by Dallas Designer Joseph Minton

The Layered Home is Lavished in Antiques

BY // 12.06.23
photography Emily Minton Redfield

“When I think of David Arrington, I think of somebody who’s a lot of fun,” designer Joseph Minton says of his longtime client, Midland oilman David H. Arrington, whose storied oil and gas exploits in the Permian Basin and the Barnett Shale have been widely chronicled. Arrington knows his way around the oil and gas fields — his middle initial is “H for hydraulics,” he jokes — but for matters of style, he relies entirely on Minton’s expertise. “I wanted to buy a new car, so I picked up Joe on the way to the Range Rover dealership,” Arrington told me. “He picked one out for me lock, stock, and barrel: a cool racing green with tan interior, walnut trim, and a black top. I get a lot of compliments on it. Joe has perfect taste — that says it all.”

joe minton dallas designer highland park house 187 EMR_5470 (Photo by Emily Minton Redfield)
The windows and cushions of this charming nook in a guest bedroom are covered in Quadrille Arbre de Matisse green linen fabric. Walls painted in Benjamin Moore Soft Fern. Global Views table. Visual Comfort sconces. (Photo by Emily Minton Redfield)

A few years ago, when Arrington and his wife, Shelley, purchased a 1915 house on a half-acre in Old Highland Park, one of the first calls they made was to Minton. The Arringtons’ go-to arbiter of taste, Minton first landed on the couple’s radar in the early 2000s after they admired (and later purchased) a house in Midland he’d done for legendary wildcatter Perkins D. Sams. In 2006, the Arringtons built a new Country French-style house — a grand showstopper with a four-story slide that bottoms out in a coat closet behind the stairs — and hired Minton to design the interiors with French and English antiques. The house is still one of the most talked about in Midland.

Since then, they’ve worked together on a half-dozen other projects, including offices for Arrington’s independent oil company, where he displays more than 650 Ansel Adams photographs — said to be the largest such collection in the world. The Arringtons’ adult children and grandchildren all live in Dallas, so their two-story 100-year-old pied à terre in Highland Park is a gathering spot for the family — a sophisticated and comfortable home-away-from-home.

joe minton dallas designer highland park house 177 EMR_5051 (Photo by Emily Minton Redfield)
Flanking the fireplace in the living room is a pair of custom banquettes by Kisabeth Furniture, upholstered in Perennials velvet. Custom Kisabeth ottoman. Antique Chinese coromandel screen and sconces from Joseph Minton Antiques. (Photo by Emily Minton Redfield)

Sometimes Joseph Minton dreams up rooms long before the job appears. One such room, conceived years earlier, involved painting walls and ceilings entirely in pink. “Not just any pink, but a soft gray pink,” he says. The Arringtons’ spacious living room was the right opportunity to float the idea. “I was worried it might be a hard sell, but I hit them with it, and they liked it.”

After trying out a lot of different paints, they settled on Benjamin Moore’s Old Country, a dusky pink hue with hints of peach and a nostalgic charm. The room is amply layered with similar pink tones, such as the banquettes flanking the fireplace, which wear a luscious yet durable Perennials velvet. A pair of raspberry tiger-stripe benches is a witty surprise when you open the front door, and the Knole-style sofa’s aqua hue is pulled from a historic 1926 hand-blocked floral linen design by the Canadian fabric company Hazelton House, which covers many of the room’s chairs. The same fabric was used in a different colorway in the clients’ Midland house. “It’s a beautiful fabric and one of my favorites; I try to use it whenever I can,” Minton says. Black makes an intentional bold appearance here and there in the living room to provide a bit of edge to the pink; a high-gloss front door and a streaked Belgian marble fireplace are two examples of noir at work.

joe minton dallas designer highland park house 180 EMR_5238 (Photo by Emily Minton Redfield)
The family room’s fireplace is made from 100-year-old walnut. Photograph by Ansel Adams from David Arrington’s collection. Minton-Corley Collection game table, made in Italy. Rattan chairs from David Sutherland Showroom. Quackenbush armchair. Eighteenth-century English antique chest. Visual Comfort chandelier. (Photo by Emily Minton Redfield)

A former Air Force first lieutenant, Minton spent the late ’50s stationed near Cambridge, England, where he fell for period English and Continental antiques. He also delved into a lifelong study of English country houses. The Arringtons’ Highland Park house exudes the charm and comfort of English country-house style, cleverly defined by the British magazine House & Garden in August 2022 as “a mix of antique furnishings, at least one capacious sofa with a generous serving of cushions, rugs, table lamps with fabric shades, and flowers both fresh and recreated in prints and paintings. Antique textiles, a dash of modernity, a flourish of the oriental…”

Elizabeth Anthony

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Many of the antiques hail from Shelley Arrington’s side of the family, including a tall secretary with a collection of unglazed white porcelain vases and pitchers. Other furnishings came from the couple’s previous houses and were refinished or recovered. It’s all mixed with custom Kisabeth seating and English and French antiques from Joseph Minton’s longtime store in the Dallas Design District, including an 18th-century butler’s chest the designer bought in Cornwall while stationed with the Air Force in England. A paneled Chinese Coromandel screen — a rare find with softer pink and green instead of the usual dark coloration — hangs over a banquette like an art piece. There are natural jute rugs and elegantly worn Oushak carpets, along with Shelley’s framed needlework fragments from the 18th and 19th centuries, to which Minton added others. Faux bois wallpaper from France envelops the dining room walls and ceiling, an unexpected detail that’s become one of Arrington’s favorites.

The family room is everyone’s hangout, with a fireplace paneled in 100-year-old walnut, Italian game table, and plump sofa and armchairs. “It’s warm and homey,” Arrington says. “When Joe Minton designs a house, I call it ‘instant living.’”

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