The very talented interior designer, Francophile and authorâ€”Betty Lou Phillipsâ€”has recently released her new book, French Impressions. In the book we are treated to an abbreviated history of three Bourbon monarchs—the Louis—-whose passion for beauty has influenced hundreds of years of finely crafted furniture, regal woven textiles, gilded mirrors and crystal chandeliers. The French self assured approach to design, its old-world elegance and understated luxury is the approach taken by Betty Lou as she decorated her own house. French Impressions gives us an in depth look at her personal style and sophisticated taste.
This decidedly grand Renaissance chateau in the heart of Dallas is clad in Savigny Rabame limestone imported from France. It was a design collaboration between Betty Lou and the Dallas architect Larry Boerder. Together, they have created an important house consistent in all of its details that is a perfect reflection of the clients’ taste. Phillips has decorated the house with a subtle blend of new furniture, fine French antiques, luxurious fabrics and less precious textured ones, all from prestigious Italian mills. There are unexpected hints of glamour in the elegantly composed rooms.
The house has high beamed ceilings, rich wood paneling, ancient stone floors and hand crafted iron railings. The talented trades people who participated in creating the interior fireplaces, railings, stonework and woodwork represent the proud tradition of 21st century craftsmanship. The house becomes a warm home with the addition of elegant silks flowing from the tall windows, rich upholstery and very personal touches such as a special bed for the dog, Jackson, and a proper place to receive mail.
Betty Lou’s well equipped, extremely functional and beautiful kitchen is enough to inspire even the non-cooks amongst us to have a go at creating a great meal. The organization of the space is worthy of the finest chefs; starting with the LaCornue stove, similar to the one in Monet’s kitchen, to thick slabs of soapstone on the counters, baskets to hold informal linens, hotel silver in plain view, and a designated space for culinary tools. The warm gray cabinetry with deep molded panels becomes an elegant silhouette against the floor to ceiling Calcatta marble.
In addition to all of the glamorous rooms in the house (from family spaces to the grandchildren’s bedrooms, fabulous dining areas and his and her offices and dressing rooms) there are simply incredible bathrooms. Each bath is planned to perfection with glorious marble slabs, hand made ceramic tile, elegant wallpaper or delicious shades of paint. The architectural details are compatible with the rest of the house using beautifully sculpted chair rails and door frames fabricated from richly figured polished Calcatta marble. The careful placement of sinks, tubs, showers and water closets creates easy passages throughout the baths. Amenities and vintage accessories abound:Large sponges, beautiful prototypes of perfume bottles in large scale for decoration, aromatic soaps and bath salts, and antique chandeliers and sconces. Thick white monogrammed towels and appropriately scaled chairs upholstered with dressmaker details add softness and a gentle splash of color to the spaces.
Comfort, beauty, classical grandeur and haute elegance; Betty Lou has informed us in French Impressions of the lost art of an elegant life.