Real Estate / Home + Design

The Anti-Kardashians

Dallas’ Beautiful, Intelligent and Driven Power Sisters Turn Down Reality TV, Make Their Own News

BY // 09.08.15
photography Mindy Byrd

Gathered at a table one recent morning at Ascension Coffee inside the Dallas Design District, the 20-something Hutchinson sisters — Holly, Rachel and Tess — are taking a break from work, where they handle marketing and leasing at Dunhill Partners, the commercial brokerage and investments company owned by their father, Bill Hutchinson. It’s been a big year for the family. Dunhill recently purchased a large swath of the Dallas Design District, and the Hutchinson girls now spend many of their days at their Design District offices, getting to know showroom owners.

Tess’ upcoming wedding to Edward Merriman in December at the One & Only Palmilla in Cabo San Lucas has the whole clan in a whirl of excitement — her sisters and her dad recently helped choose her wedding dress, which she’s keeping a secret, she says. If they weren’t already busy enough, Holly is on the production committee for the Cattle Baron’s Ball at Gilley’s headlining Tim McGraw, to be held on Saturday, October 3. Rachel, who graduated from the French Culinary Institute in New York City and apprenticed at Stephan Pyles’ restaurant, is focused on perfecting recipes for her blog, Food Life Love by Rachel, which she tries out on her siblings and father several times a week. “My goal is to get a cooking show one day,” she says.

Bill Hutchinson with daughters, from left, Tess, Holly and Rachel Hutchinson
Bill Hutchinson stands with his daughters (from left) Tess, Holly and Rachel Hutchinson in Anila Quayyum Agha’s “Intersections” exhibit at the Dallas Contemporary.

The sisters are like best friends on one long sleepover: They all live in the Drexel Highlander, a high-rise on the edge of Highland Park. Holly shares a unit there with their mother, Kathleen, who spends half the year in Aspen, while Rachel lives next door with two friends, and Tess and her fiancé have just moved into the building a floor away. All three live across the street from their father, his wife, Kandis, and their 11-year-old step-sister and 6-year-old half-brother. Every Sunday, the entire extended family heads to worship at Highland Park United Methodist Church — a reverence for God is in their bloodline; their father grew up with missionary parents in Mexico. Afterwards, the sisters gather at Mi Cocina in Highland Park Village, where they sit and talk for hours. Holly and Rachel love a frozen Margarita or two, they say, while Tess sticks with iced tea. “It’ll start out with just the three of us, then grow to about 25 people,” says Rachel. “Whenever dad wants to find us, that’s where he looks first.” They all belong to the same gym, Equinox, which is within walking distance of their homes.

Bill Hutchinson is a lanky 6-foot-5 with shoulder-grazing locks, a perennial smile and a penchant for ripped white jeans and bespoke jackets, all of which give him more than passing resemblance to Virgin billionaire Sir Richard Branson. Holly, 27, Rachel, 25, and Tess, 23, inherited their dad’s whippet-like physique and their mother’s striking looks. Lucky gene pool. Polite and congenial, they exude an authenticity that’s all their own.

“The only thing we ever argue about is clothes,” says Holly, laughing. “We all wear the same size, even the same shoe size, as our mom.” To keep her sisters out, Tess recently had a lock installed on her closet door. Asset protection aside, big plans for the Dallas Design District have the entire family on high alert — already there have been comparisons to the ultra-hot Miami Design District, with its maze of retail (Prada, Rick Owens, Tom Ford), galleries and site-specific art (Buckminster Fuller, Zaha Hadid, Matthew Ritchie, Mark Newsom), international design showrooms and top-tier restaurants. The gauntlet has been thrown. Along with a push to sign exciting new showrooms — Ellouise Abbott, Texas’ oldest design showroom, will open inside the district in October — plans for a vibrant tenant mix are already under way, including a late-night lounge, new restaurants, three boutique hotels, including Branson’s first Virgin Hotel in Dallas, slated to open in 2018, and the acquisition of public art.

While they might get into a heated tiff over a purloined pair of Jimmy Choos, nothing — not even fame — can come between this sisterhood. In 2011 when Branson’s Santa Monica production company Virgin Produced was two weeks into filming the reality show about their family, Hanging with the Hutchinsons, the sisters exercised their option to cancel after realizing the show had been edited to play up a nonexistent conflict angle between the blended families.

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“We told our parents it just wasn’t who we were at all,” says Holly. There were no hard feelings when the show was canceled, they assure, and the producers are still good friends of the family. “It was a good lesson to never burn a bridge,” says Holly. The connection later helped Dunhill snag the city’s first Virgin Hotel. The rest, as they say, is history in the making. Here’s what’s on their minds:

Tess, Holly and Rachel Hutchinson. Anila Quayyum Agah’s “Intersections” exhibit at the Dallas Contemporary.
Tess, Holly and Rachel Hutchinson in Anila Quayyum Agha’s “Intersections” exhibit

Leasing associate at Dunhill Partners

As leasing associate at Dunhill, your dream tenants in Dallas Design District.
Hollywood at Home from L.A. and John Rosselli from New York.
Your vision for the District?
As different Design Districts around the country have evolved, some have become more relevant and others have lost their significance to the industry. I want the Dallas Design District to stay relevant, and everything we do here at Dunhill Partners is done with the goal of making it better for the city. Because of the geographic location of the Design District, it was inevitable that it would become a hot urban infill location because of its proximity to the Park Cities, Uptown and downtown.
Growing up, you thought you would be …
Married, with a toddler and pregnant at this period of my life. But I think my life has been perfect just the way it’s been thus far.
Favorite labels.
Roland Mouret or Alexander McQueen for black tie, Camilla for an easy/casual maxi, Frame, Rag & Bone for jeans and casual T-shirts and Stella McCartney for all of the above.
Go-to shoe.
I know the Aquazzura name has been out and about, but I haven’t found another shoe that pairs as well with a black-tie dress or a tee and jeans. Not to mention, I could walk for miles in them.
Céline Phantom for traveling or YSL clutches. I could own every color and still not have enough.
Last trip.
We were just in Maui with my dad. Generally we aren’t the most adventurous, but Tess convinced us to get up at 2 am and bike down the Haleakala Crater at sunrise. It was incredible, and you really felt a spiritual presence.
Favorite restaurant in Dallas.
You’ll find my sisters and me at Toulouse for dinner most weekdays. I love Javier’s for a fun girls’ night or Hibiscus for a Friday date night. Ascension and Mercat Bistro are favorite breakfast places. We are a breakfast family and love to meet in the mornings to discuss what’s going on in the day/week. And anything at East Hampton.
Old-fashioned skinny at Mico or a Mexican martini at Javier’s.
I admire …
My sisters. Rachel for acknowledging her passion and running with it, and Tess for finding her soul mate so young. I feel like they both have a good grasp on where they are going in life.
Anyone is lying if they don’t like Taylor Swift, and George Strait is pretty much the only thing that plays in my car. I’m truly a country girl at heart.
On working with family.
It makes work fun! I have also gained a new sense of respect for my dad. Watching him work has shown me how much passion he truly has for real estate and what he does. He loves every aspect of his job, and you can see it. My least favorite thing about working at Dunhill with my family is that work never truly ends. It can easily be carried over to a vacation or just a casual family dinner.
When you’re not at the office, we’ll find you…
Traveling. I can’t remember the last time I was in Dallas on a weekend. My mom raised us on a plane. She believed we learned more from seeing and experiencing than reading in a textbook.
Reading now.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.

Rachel Hutchinson
Rachel Hutchinson

Design District marketing coordinator at Dunhill Partners

What’s your vision for the Dallas Design District?
There are already tons of showrooms, amazing galleries and excellent restaurants. We want to build on what already makes it special so that it’s even more of an artsy, cool area where young people can come to hang out, eat and explore.
Style icon.
Kate Middleton. I think she always looks so classic and has a timeless style.
On your obsession with the culinary life.
When I was in high school, I started watching Giada De Laurentiis’ Everyday Italian and got addicted. She made cooking look so fun and effortless. But it’s both extremely challenging and satisfying all at once, which is a great combo.
Chef hero.
Ina Garten. Her whole story is fascinating. I go to every book signing she has.
Growing up, you thought you would be …
A Food Network TV host.
In the sisterhood, you were the one who …
Always acted as the peacemaker.
Go-to shoes.
I can’t live without my nude suede cutout booties by Aquazzura. They’re comfortable, classic and add instant polish to any outfit.
Last trip.
I spent last weekend in Montauk with college friends and we went to Navy Beach, The Surf Lodge and LUNCH (lobster roll). We also ran into social-media phenomenon “The Fat Jew” at a launch party for his new wine, White Girls Rosé. He didn’t disappoint!
Belvedere martini, up, extra dirty, with blue cheese-stuffed olives, of course. Mambo taxi from Mi Cocina is a close second.
I admire …
My dad. He built his company from the ground up and is the most positive, generous person I know. He is an inspiration for my sisters and me.
On working with family.
There’s never a dull moment. And it’s nice to work with people you trust. We are all very opinionated … Arguments happen.
Reading now.
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll — I am hooked. The main character is super witty and entertaining, plus Reese Witherspoon is making it into a movie.

Tess Hutchinson
Tess Hutchinson

Design District marketing coordinator at Dunhill Partners

This fall, you’re excited about …
I’m really looking forward to the first annual Dallas Design Awards in October, which will showcase and highlight Dallas designers’ work.
Growing up, you thought you would be …
A fashion designer. In September, I’m launching the Wonder Waist Liner, which I patented. It’s something I invented when I was in high school to cinch in the waist of a loose dress. It’s a staple, like Spanx.
In the sister lineup, you were the one who …
Always had chocolate on my face. My favorite dessert would have to be the peanut butter, chocolate and banana cream pie at Al Biernat’s.
Pet charity.
American Cancer Society. I lost my grandfather and grandmother to cancer, so it really hits close to home.
Style icon.
I really admire it-girl Gigi Hadid. Gigi’s style is California cool, a perfect mix of bohemian and preppiness.
On shopping.
Brian Bolke’s Forty Five Ten is amazing whether I’m searching for a cocktail dress, a tall stiletto or just want to grab a bite to eat at the T Room.
Right now, it’s my Valentino trapeze bag. It’s like a mini carry-on for everyday errands.
Favorite lipstick.
I am addicted to Chanel lip gloss. I gave my bridesmaids my favorite shade: Glaze #03. It’s subtle yet elegant, and it looks great with every complexion.
You’ll find me dining at ….
Yutaka Yamato’s Yutaka Sushi Bistro on McKinney. It’s our date spot.
At the office, you are the one who is always …
Asking my dad for his opinion. I have looked up to my dad a lot in the last year for work advice. He has really helped me grow and pushed me to take risks.
When you’re not working, you’re likely …
Taking a class at The Pilates Barre or walking the Katy Trail with my sisters.
Reading now.
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Danae Yankoski and Francis Chan.

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