Alicia’s Papi, Gonzalo Bueno (left) and Daddy, Michael McCray.
In Alicia’s bedroom, the Stokke crib converts into a twin bed. John Dickenson plaster table was a gift from David and Ann Sutherland. Lucrecia Waggoner’s custom-created Clouds artwork in porcelain and gold. Hermès rocking horse was a gift from Alicia’s godfather, Robert Hallam Jr.
Hermès robe and plush toys are at Alicia's fingertips.
When Alicia Bueno-McCray was born, in October 2015, she entered a brave, supremely stylish new world. She is, after all, the daughter of very fashionable fathers: Mexico native Gonzalo Bueno, a Dallas–based interior designer of note, and Michael McCray, a manager for a firm that sells national TV airtime.
While Alicia blazed into life just two months after her parents legally wed, Gonzalo and McCray (who have been together 17 years) had made the decision to have a baby several years ago.
“We’d already traveled and built our careers,” McCray says. “Then we took a step back, realizing that we had a lot to offer someone else.”
With the cultural and political climates surrounding same-sex marriage simultaneously progressing, the timing to have a child also seemed right.
“I don’t want to call us trailblazers,” says Bueno, “but we are certainly part of a generation where it’s now accepted to be married and have a child if you’re gay. It was a big decision, and we wanted to make sure she came into a fun world.”
Alicia, named after Bueno’s maternal grandmother, was born via surrogacy two days early. Enough to set any soon-to-be parent into a tailspin, Alicia’s arrival proved eye-opening for Bueno — the dawn of a new era for a man who keeps a busy social schedule. His and McCray’s plans that night included attending a book signing for supermodel Cindy Crawford at Forty Five Ten. Instead, they made their way to the hospital. At 5 pm, the baby still hadn’t arrived, and Bueno asked the doctor if he could sneak out and go to the party for a few minutes. The answer was no; there was only enough time for a quick dinner in the cafeteria.
“Quick” was an understatement. “By the time we got downstairs, our phones were buzzing like crazy,” says Bueno. “They told us to run! We almost missed her being born. That’s when I realized I’d better get used to how things were going to be.”
Alas, Bueno and McCray never made it to Forty Five Ten that night, but Alicia’s godfather, Robert Hallam Jr., later presented the new dads with a copy of Crawford’s book, Becoming, which she signed and inscribed to the newborn.
Chez Bueno-McCray, baby Alicia has it made in the shade. The dads, who live in a renovated 1950s ranch in West Highland Park, custom-designed her chic nursery and bathroom, selecting furnishings that would grow with their daughter. A Stokke crib will convert into a bed when she’s older, while a custom daybed and particularly comfortable BabyBliss rocking chair are sleek enough for any room.
McCray talked his husband out of covering the walls in silver tea leaf — a more durable vinyl paper by Innovations was chosen instead — but there are still plenty of aristocratic touches, including draperies and pillows made from fine Coraggio fabrics.
“We’ll probably have to replace them all eventually,” says Bueno with a smile, “but I wanted the room to look good until then.”
One of John Dickinson’s iconic footed plaster tables, which they snagged at auction during the Dallas Museum of Art’s Art Ball, serves as a whimsical side table topped with a Venetian glass Donghia lamp. Dallas design power couple Ann and David Sutherland gifted Alicia a second Dickinson table — this one a bit smaller and cinched at the waist with a plaster rope. There is also plenty of Hermès: Hallam bought her an Hermès rocking horse, and other friends and family showered her with a trove of accouterments.
The new dads — Bueno goes by Papi and McCray goes by Daddy — are excited about the future.
“That’s one thing we’ve talked about from the beginning,” says Bueno, “is how to integrate her into our lives.”
No doubt, says Bueno, Alicia will join him on trips to international art and furniture fairs. McCray, who loves cartoons and Disneyland, will take her to the movies and to theme parks.
For now, though, little Alicia’s agenda is packed with other things: a fun class at The da Vinci School and weekends in the park.
Still, says Bueno, it’s never too early to cultivate her eye for style: “I always make sure she has fresh Gerbera daisies or an orchid on her desk.”