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The Life and Times of a Star Designer Who Never Lost His Love for Texas

Joseph Minton’s True Towering Legacy

BY // 12.01.17

This fall, the Texas Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art presented designer Joseph Minton with its prestigious Board of Directors Award at a luncheon in downtown Fort Worth. The honor is bestowed every two years on an individual who exemplifies the lasting design vision of John Staub, the legendary architect whose traditionally styled houses proliferated throughout Texas during the first half of the 20th century.

Minton’s influence in the Southwest has been constant for more than 30 years, and he continues to garner awards, magazine covers, and deep-pocketed, blueblood clients.

Few designers have been published in Architectural Digest more than Minton. Since 1971, his projects have graced the pages of 12 issues — along with two covers. Minton splits his time between offices in Fort Worth and Joseph Minton Antiques in Dallas and has homes in both cities. He has entertained Fleur Cowles, Mark Hampton, and Desmond Guinness in his Fort Worth home, and squired Jerry Hall to the Hermès store opening in Highland Park Village, and Mary Martin to dinner in London. (His father, an obstetrician, delivered Martin’s son, Larry Hagman.)

His decorating clients are among some of the most recognizable names in Fort Worth — Tandy, Fortson, Scheiffer, Carter — and he’s done interiors for houses by some of the most legendary architects of our era, including David Adler and John Staub.

From left, Kevin Peavy, Joseph Minton at their home in Highland Park.

Minton’s roots go back more than 150 years in Fort Worth, where his great, great grandparents were early settlers, establishing the first homes on the former Army fort in the mid-1800s. His great, great grandfather, Julian Feild, became the town’s first postmaster, and his great grandfather owned the first telephone in Fort Worth — his phone number was the single digit 1, which Minton’s own family kept through the 1920s.

His family legacy in tow, Minton headed off to college at William & Mary in Virginia, where he planned to study architecture. His parents discouraged him from such a profession; instead, he focused on history. But the historic 1693 Georgian-era buildings designed by Sir Christopher Wren delighted him, and when he returned to Texas, he went to law school at SMU, where he fell in love with the beautiful Georgian-syle architecture.

In the 1950s, Minton was commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant in the Air Force, and stationed in England. While there, he immersed himself in the country’s architecture, touring grand old houses in the area on weekends such as Woburn Abbey and Hinchingbrooke House.

For more than 30 years, he’s been a member of the Irish Georgian Society, founded in 1958 by Desmond and Mariga Guinness to protect buildings of architectural merit in Ireland. Minton and Desmond Guinness have become great friends, and through the organization, he met the late Diana Mitford (Lady Mosely), and lunched with the Queen of Sweden. Thus, the ties that bind.

Next, read about the incredible story of Joseph Minton’s stunning Highland Park home and its ties to the lost English houses. 

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