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Inspired by a Parisian Apartment, Palm Beach and Tangiers — Inside Merry and Chad Vose’s Vibrant Haven in Dallas

Designer Julie Hayes Conjures Shimmering Objets Trouves and Glorious Gracie Wallcoverings

BY // 06.18.24
photography Richard Powers

As a retailer, Merry Vose travels frequently to buy for her trio of stylish clothing boutiques, Cabana, Canary, and Clover. She’s in Paris at least four times a year, often accompanied by her close friend, interior designer Julie Hayes, who shops the flea markets and antiques stores for clients. “Julie goes off and does her thing, and I do mine,” Vose says. At the end of the day, they regroup at the clubby Bar 228 at Le Meurice, the iconic 19th-century hotel on the rue de Rivoli, where they always stay. Over cocktails, the phones come out. “We go through our pictures, and I show her all the beautiful clothing I saw that day. And she shows me the beautiful furniture she found,” Vose says. “We have a little show-and-tell.”

Occasionally, Hayes tags along to Vose’s appointments with some of the designers whose labels she carries at her stores, such as Emilia Wickstead, Erdem, Roksanda, and Mira Mikati. “During Fashion Week, the designers rent extraordinary Parisian apartments and create these beautiful atmospheres,” Vose says. Many of the dreamy apartments are located on the Right Bank, famous for its Napoleon III-era traditional Haussmann-style architecture with interiors that feature high ceilings, intricate moldings and millwork, and hardwood herringbone pattern floors. “Julie was so inspired by the architecture and the scale of those rooms,” Vose says. “She was always telling me, ‘We need to build you a Paris apartment in Dallas.’” 

The two became friends 20 years ago, about the same time Vose was unofficially running a boutique out of the backyard cabana of her house near University Park. Hayes says, “Merry hired me to do her house, and our working relationship became a great friendship.” The city eventually shut down her shop for zoning violations, but in 2006, Vose reopened Cabana in a small house on West Lovers Lane, which Hayes also decorated. Since then, she’s done the interiors for Vose’s other stores, along with her vacation homes in East Texas and Montauk. 

Julie Hayes and Merry Vose (Photo by Richard Powers)
In a hallway off the entry, walls are painted Benjamin Moore Love Story pink. Ceiling fixture from John Gregory Studios. Mid- century brass palm tree from Ceylon et Cie. (Photo by Richard Powers)

In 2019, Merry Vose purchased a new house with her husband, real estate investor Chad Vose. Julie Hayes dropped by to take a look. The one-story contemporary in Preston Hollow might be centuries removed from Haussmann’s grand 19th-century residences, but Hayes was delighted by the fine millwork, beautifully scaled rooms, and high ceilings. As French designer Jacques Grange once said of interiors that boast enormous volume, “Le luxe is the space” — space is luxury — and this house has plenty of both. Vose recalls, “Julie walked in and said, ‘Oh, my word, this is your Paris apartment.’ ” 

Built for previous clients in 2004 by noted Mississippi architect Lewis Graeber III, the house is set on two secluded acres with a creek running through the property. “The yard checked all of Chad’s boxes, and the interiors checked all of mine,” Vose says.

Julie Hayes and Merry Vose (Photo by Richard Powers)
A dining area in the living room with Gracie’s New World panoramic landscape wallpaper and chairs in the style of Maison Jansen from Muse on Slocum. Italian glass side tables from Nick Brock Antiques. Custom BDDW sofa. Dining table from Balsamo, NY. (Photo by Richard Powers)

The couple has three grown sons, so the house really just needed to function for entertaining. Architect Weldon Turner and builder Rusty Goff were enlisted to carry out a handful of renovations including the kitchen, now a light and airy space with the charm of a French patisserie. They raised and vaulted the ceiling, painted wood beams white, and laid parquet wood floors based on designs Hayes had admired in Paris. The City of Light is known for its many domed buildings, and the stylized flower pattern of the plaster range hood is based on a cupola from Printemps Haussmann, the famous 19th-century department store on Boulevard Haussmann; the hood was created by 94-year-old Dallas artisan company Casci Ornamental Plaster. 

Julie Hayes and Merry Vose (Photo by Richard Powers)
The gallery’s French settees are from Casa Gusto in Palm Beach with Serena Dugan upholstery from James. Marble bird sculpture from JED Interior Design and Antiques in East Hampton. (Photo by Richard Powers)

The gallery — a sunny hallway that connects the entry with the main living spaces — sets the tone for the rest of the house with potted palm trees punctuated by vintage Louis XVI-style settees they picked up in Palm Beach at Casa Gusto. The gallery’s furnishings take inspiration from a gallery at Le Bristol Paris, the famed hotel along rue du Faubourg Saint- Honoré. The long space turns out to be a rather chic spot to entertain, so Hayes has set it up with tables for dining, which came in handy for a luncheon Vose hosted last Christmas for 20 people.

“One thing that’s notable about this house is there is no dining room,” Hayes says. “I’m doing that more and more in houses — even my own in Fort Worth — where I’m putting dining spaces in almost all of the rooms, including living rooms and hallways.”

Julie Hayes and Merry Vose (Photo by Richard Powers)
In the entryway, a circa-1900 Anglo-Indian bench from Obsolete, L.A., upholstered in Kerry Joyce fabric from George Cameron Nash. Umbrella stand from Orange, L.A. Marble bird from JED Interior Design and Antiques, East Hampton. Liz Ward painting from Talley Dunn Gallery. (Photo by Richard Powers)

The large living room with its atmospheric Gracie wallpaper, tall ceilings, and multiple seating areas is ideal for both formal and impromptu dining. It’s the kind of glamorous room one might imagine finding in a hôtel particulier. An intimate seating corner, framed by massive windows looking out to greenery, is furnished with a 1950s Italian rosewood banquette in its original white bouclé, a treasure Hayes discovered at Paul Bert Serpette antiques market at Puces de Paris Saint-Ouen. A pair of vintage metal grotto chairs from Ceylon et Cie surround a rare mid-century brass table by Philip and Kelvin LaVerne, acquired at Collage in Dallas. “The table works for dining and it’s also great for games — Merry likes to invite friends over to play Rummikub or mah-jongg,” Hayes says. 

Julie Hayes and Merry Vose (Photo by Richard Powers)
Designer Julie Hayes and Merry Vose. (Photo by Tony Krash)

Nearby, a tiger velvet sofa is set off by luminous blue pillows and Venetian glass lamps — a combination that tweaks the style of French designer Madeleine Castaing, whose eccentric antiques shop on rue Jacob once brimmed with leopard prints and turquoise-blue objets. On the opposite side of the living room, Hayes has created a formal dining opportunity with a sculptural table topped in green marble from Balsamo in New York City. A quartet of slender blue leather chairs — quite possibly by Maison Jansen — was bought years ago in Dallas for Vose’s previous house. The tufted velvet sofa was made by BDDW in New York.

“There’s just something about a sofa at a dining table that is really appealing,” Hayes says. “It’s warmer and cozier, and makes people want to gather around.” The custom rug by Interior Resources was inspired by a rug in Yves Saint Laurent’s house in Tangiers. “This is a highly decorative house, but it’s not fancy,” Hayes says. “There’s a casualness to it that’s comfortable.” 

Julie Hayes and Merry Vose (Photo by Richard Powers)
The kitchen’s custom range hood is by Casci Ornamental Plaster. Swedish 1940s Orrefors light pendants. Caned barstools from Burke Decor. (Photo by Richard Powers)

Merry Vose clearly loves color and patterns — her boutiques positively overflow with them. “We employed a lot of color and pattern in Merry’s interiors because she’s so comfortable with it all,” Julie Hayes says. “There’s a lot of pretty sea colors like blues and watery greens. We both love pink, and it was just the right color for the bedroom — the grasscloth walls, draperies, and rug all have variations of pink. The color makes the Jim Thompson palm fabric on the bed the shining star of the room.”

The library’s daring combination of green-lacquered walls layered with hits of lavender is Vose’s favorite new pairing. In a stroke of luck, a set of four Italian rosewood chairs from the 1950s, purchased from Jan Showers years ago for Vose’s previous house, came with the original lavender leather upholstery and were a perfect fit. They’re pulled up to a sleek Italian desk that doubles as a game table — and, when desired, a dining nook. 

For Vose, travel has often meant work rather than leisure. Here, she can feel transported without leaving home, an experience others have commented on.

“I had people over to play mah-jongg on Sunday and it was a mix of young and older friends,” Vose says. “Everyone walked in the living room with all the greenery outside the windows and the Gracie wallpaper, and they said, ‘Oh my gosh, I feel like I’m on vacation.’ ” 

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