ACCESSIBLE INTERIOR DESIGN

BY LESLIE J. THOMPSON | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

When she first launched her business, interior designer Barbara Owens worked almost exclusively with high-end clientele in Heath, an affluent lakeside community 25 miles east of Dallas. Then HGTV came along, and everything changed.

“I think designers were always considered only for the elite or people with means, and these shows brought interior design into everybody’s home and made it more accessible,” says Owens, whose Rockwall showroom, Owens Interiors at Home, has seen a dramatic increase in foot traffic over the past several years. Thanks to shows like Fixer Upper and The High Low Project, people have realized that interior design can be fun and collaborative, “and it doesn’t have to be expensive,” she says.

Owens particularly enjoys helping clients create a vision for their home during construction, to create their ideal living space from the very start. “Building is stressful, so we really try to help make that process easier and more enjoyable,” says the New York native, who moved to Dallas with her husband 30 years ago. She and two associate designers who work with her at Owens Interiors happily guide customers through the process, from selecting paint colors, countertops, tile and flooring to planning furniture layouts that create a sense of flow.

For clients with a smaller budget or those who simply want to give their current space a fresh look, the showroom offers affordable packages to help them explore their options. “It offers them our services for a small amount of time,” she explains. “Sometimes, it’s to help them lay out a remodel or just freshen up their space with paint and new furniture.”

Owens’ brightly lit, 4000- square-foot showroom in Rockwall Ridge Road Center also provides ample sources of inspiration, with a wide collection of transitional to contemporary furniture, upholstery, artwork and home accessories. New inventory comes in weekly and is available for same-day delivery.

Inspired by her frequent travels to Europe and Asia, Owens keeps an eclectic mix to show that there are no rules to design. Although most of her work is project-based, walk-in customers often choose statement pieces, like an oversize abstract painting or a pair of bold accent chairs, to update their living space without undertaking a complete overhaul. Weaving her way through the showroom maze of sectional sofas, glass sculptures and live-edge dining tables, made of parota wood imported from Mexico, the designer emphasizes her commitment to quality. Says Owens, “I’m very careful about what we do sell on the floor—companies that stand behind what they make.”

The retail location also hosts after-hours events, and in September will feature artwork by contemporary painter Kelly O’Neal. Earlier this year, a group of luxury realtors gathered at Owens’ space for a special cocktail reception, and the showroom also held a private party for residents of a local high-end subdivision. “We are reaching out to other designers and builders to discuss how we can collaborate and help them with their businesses,” notes Owens. The showroom offers special pricing to the trade, as well, saving designers based near Rockwall the drive into Dallas. “We’d like them to see us as a resource,” Owens says, adding, “If we don’t have [something], we can order it for them.”

As the population of the DFW metroplex continues to expand east to cities like Wylie and Lavon, Owens is happy to help her growing clientele create unique living spaces that reflect their personal style. “Having a client for life, where we have completed multiple homes for them, is the ultimate goal,” says the spirited designer, who aims to make the process easy and fun for customers. Whether they need help choosing finishes for a new home or just want to redecorate their current abode, Owens invites people to stop by the showroom and get excited about the possibilities.

Leslie J. Thompson is a Dallas-based freelance writer with a passion for interior design and international travel.