Real Estate / Houses

Romper Rooms

Inside the Playful Highland Park Home of a Fashionable Power Couple

BY Rebecca Sherman // 08.07.15
photography Molly Dickson

Like Eloise at the Plaza, 7-year-old Hadleigh — the charmer who inspired her family’s bespoke clothing store in Dallas’ Highland Park Village — rules at home. That is, when little sister GG (short for Gable Gillian) isn’t in charge. And both have been known to defer to 12-month-old Everleigh, who with a single cry sends the entire household scurrying to soothe. Romping in their modern Highland Park roost in matching dresses that were handmade and smocked in Italy from men’s shirting, these little girls are the progeny of retailing entrepreneurs Gable and Ed Shaikh, who opened the fashionable and discreet store named after their firstborn in 2009.

The men’s made-to-measure atelier is by appointment only, offering Neapolitan tailoring with an expression of Savile Row — powerful, with a bit of the boardroom, explains Ed, who is also Hadleigh’s creative director. A retail storefront downstairs, which opened in 2011, stocks limited-run attire for men and women made by the same Italian artisans who create the bespoke goods. A wholesale division — named after GG — sells Hadleigh’s colorful, handcrafted signature smoking slippers to clients such as Neiman Marcus. The company has also designed and created the suiting for the front desk staff at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek and the Crescent Court hotel.

A passion for beautiful clothes started early. Ed, who was born in Pakistan, grew up in London “with a father who had a good eye for gentleman’s clothing,” he says. After migrating to Austin to study at St. Edward’s University, Ed’s first job, in 1996, was as a shoe salesman. “One thing led to another, and I grew up in the industry,” he says. Gable’s family moved from Highland Park to Manhattan when she was 9, where she took Saturday classes throughout high school at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she also attended college. After graduation, she worked at Ralph Lauren’s first vintage concept store in Soho — Tom Cruise and Sheryl Crow were two of her clients. The events of 9/11 brought her back to Dallas and a sales job at Ralph Lauren in Highland Park Village.

“I met Ed on the first day on the stairs,” she recalls. “He was the top seller for Lauren, a very business-oriented person. He was like, ‘Oh, hey,’ and moved on. I had met so many people on my first day, but the only person I talked about when I got home was him.” They became fast friends, spending weekends antiquing together. “Three months later we started dating, and within nine months we were engaged. We eloped on New Year’s Eve.”

Color, attention to detail, order

Crawford Brock lured the pair to Stanley Korshak, where Ed opened a Ralph Lauren in-store shop and Gable worked in womenswear. On the day Gable gave birth to their first daughter, they decided to open a made-to-measure business from their former Kessler Park home.

“Hadleigh was such a dream, who would ever want to leave her?” says Gable. “We’d talked about opening our own store before, so this was a good time to do it. Ed went home from the hospital that night and wrote a beautiful letter to Haleigh, telling her we were going to name the store after her.”

Seven years — and two more babies later — Hadleigh’s is a multimillion-dollar enterprise that, like their daughters, is growing by leaps and bounds. Expansion plans for the store and the wholesale division are on the drawing boards, including talks of opening stores in other cities. This spring, their first home collection debuts and includes cashmere blankets, pillows, lamps and — soon to come — a fragrance.

There’s no mistaking that cobalt blue. Hadleigh’s is awash in it: From the lighting to the logo and packaging to select pieces every season, the hue has become their trademark. Inspired by the vibrant blue on a tiny Italian sparrow, the color has become a part of the DNA.

“Every season, we have a cobalt-blue collection,” says Gable. “People love it. Cobalt goes with everything and works in every season — gray flannel in winter, white in summer. And pink, which is my other favorite color. There’s a touch of it in everything we do — bracelets with a cobalt thread, the inside of a jacket, the underside of a lapel, the interior of a piece of luggage, shoe laces. For the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Saint Valentine’s Luncheon this year, Hadleigh’s designed a separate collection that included a cobalt blue bikini piped in yellow.

The striking color also makes a spirited statement at home. Dror Benshetrit’s iconic felt Peacock chair, designed in 2009 for Cappellini, unfurls its cerulean plumage in the entryway. It’s Ed’s favorite. In the front living room, a pair of oversized Edwardian-style silhouettes of Hadleigh and GG is rendered in cobalt by Dallas photographer Fredrik Brodén, who also shoots Hadleigh’s catalog. The portraits are a play on the brand’s logo, which depicts an Edwardian couple standing face to face with outstretched arms, to create the initial H. Traditional black silhouettes — on the logo or at home — would never do. There’s not a speck of black at home or a stitch of it in their clothing collection. “Black is too easy,”  says Ed. “It’s for everybody. I don’t do black tuxedos; I do blue. A chic navy dress always outdoes a black one.”

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And so it follows at home. Shades of deep blue ground the clean white space, where a palette of grays and whites echoes their clothing collections. In the more private rooms, pink and yellow carry out a colorful preppy vibe, inspired perhaps by the Shaikhs’ years of working for Ralph Lauren.

The 1980s modern house was spotted on Easter weekend while Gable was driving through the neighborhood — she grew up around the corner on Euclid, and her parents still live in the area. It underwent a quick three-month renovation, with Ed overseeing every detail. They moved in the month Everleigh was born. “I have such good memories of growing up here, and I wanted the kids to be able to ride their bikes to school like I did,” she says. It didn’t take much to make the house ready — multiple large windows surrounding a central courtyard and a light-loving skylight were already in place. A few walls came down, along with the heavy plantation shutters. “Now you can see through the entire house,” Gable says. “My mom was worried about that, but what will people see if they look in? All of us in our matching pajamas?”

Bleached wood floors replaced carpeting, and the walls were plastered and sanded three times before giving them a brilliant museum-white finish. The whole place glows because of it. Formerly a warren of small rooms, the back of the house was opened up to make room for a large kitchen, laundry and playrooms. An unused dining room was turned into a chic den for Ed. Make no mistake: Three very active girls live here. But that doesn’t affect the choice of furnishings. “We have two small Ghost chairs in every room for Hadleigh and GG (Everleigh is just now starting to toddle), and the girls have learned to live in a house where there’s a space just for their toys,” Gable says. “They have respect for the furniture in the other rooms. My parents were like that, and so were Ed’s. That’s why we take the girls to a nice restaurant every Friday — so they dress appropriately, learn conversation and how to use the right knife and fork. We were raised old-school.”

Their manners might be delightfully old-fashioned, but the furnishings, executed by Gable, exude playful youthfulness. “I’d call it modern with a nod to the ’60s and ’70s,” she says of the look she created for their home, which incorporates a Mongolian fur-covered bench with chrome legs; a really, really  long, custom pink sofa paired with wallpaper made up of gigantic pink and gray polka dots hand-painted on the playroom wall; and a sunflower-yellow Jonathan Adler chair and pillows in the den, which freshen up a sea of gray. There’s also classic menswear tailoring, as you’d expect: A pair of curved vintage chaises in the front living area were discovered in Palm Springs and upholstered in gray flannel suiting from Hadleigh’s. The same suiting fabric covers a classic Arne Jacobsen Egg chair and ottoman in the sitting area.

Clean lines, light, uncluttered environment
Clean lines, light, uncluttered environment

Ask them what their favorite spot in the house is, and their answer is the same: the master bedroom.  For Ed, the blue sky beckons from outside the room’s nine windows so that “you always feel like you’re outside when you’re in there,” he says. For Gable, it’s all about the clouds. “I can lie in bed and see the wispy clouds in the morning as the sky’s changing,” she says. “All my life, I’ve drawn clouds. I’d draw gowns with clouds on them when I was little. I’d draw clouds on everything.” Photographer Jeff Scott’s Santa Fe clouds hangs over the bed, and photographer Steve Wrubel’s palm trees with clouds is positioned on another wall. “I’m always surrounded by clouds,” she says, smiling.

A grownup sitting area in the master bedroom makes the room a comfortable place to relax, with its vintage-inspired gray Jonathan Adler sofa, vintage Lucite-and-glass coffee table and woven leather lounge chairs from Scott + Cooner. Oatmeal and gray herringbone carpet squares from Flor keep things looking good “between the dogs, the kids and my husband drinking espresso,” Gable says. “If something spills, I just pull up a square and replace it.” She’s used sturdy Flor carpet squares to great effect throughout the house in various shades and combinations of gray, and in pink and white in Everleigh’s bedroom. “For houses with kids, it’s amazing,” she says.

Even at such tender ages, Hadleigh and GG have definite opinions about carpeting. “Right now the playroom has gray shag carpet, but they are completely opposed to it,” Gable says. “They want pink and purple, but I haven’t been able to find the right shade. They won’t let me put any more gray in the playroom at all.” On some level, however, she must know she’s outnumbered, if not out-willed.

“At school, they teach you to draw a traditional house,” Gable says. “ I’ve had to teach our girls to see our house, so now they draw a white box.” And they’re already questioning the status quo. “They want to know: ‘Why does it have to be a white house?’” she says. “’Why not pink?’” And why not? After all, as Eloise would say, being bored is not allowed.

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