HOME AWAY FROM HOME

by ALAENA HOSTETTER photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

The design district showroom that now serves as headquarters for Gary Riggs Home is such a head-turner that local photographers often ask Riggs if they can stage photo shoots inside.

The good-natured Riggs welcomes them with open arms and doesn’t even charge a fee. LeeAnne Locken of The Real Housewives of Dallas was the subject of a recent photo shoot, Riggs mentions.

His standout aesthetic has obviously gotten noticed. “I’m outside of the box and have a unique aesthetic as to the way we present things,” Riggs explains “The way I buy is different – I’m not afraid of expensive fabrics and color.”

All of which abound in his 20,000-square-foot showroom. The massive space is sectioned off into individual areas, each with their own style. “Our showroom is finished out like a home would be,” says Riggs. Ceilings are intentionally varied from 9 to 20 feet so customers can visualize the furnishings in a variety of home-like atmospheres.

Another standout room features a contemporary black-and-white aesthetic with accents of yellow and teal. A citron yellow sofa takes center stage while the walls are adorned with a series of bold horizontal stripes encircling the room. Original artwork in a black-and-white motif anchors the look. “I absolutely love that room,” says Riggs. “That bright yellow with a hint of green is just amazing.”

Other rooms aren’t quite as contemporary. Gary Riggs Home has a strong contingent of traditional furniture and even Italianate antique reproductions. Because his eye traverses genres so easily, Riggs has been called upon to outfit houses in Honolulu, San Francisco, Boston and everywhere in between.

For a house in Honolulu, the homeowner wanted a simple, warm and inviting atmosphere. “She kept using the term “aloha” – a sense of welcome, where people really feel comfortable,” Riggs says. He started with a neutral palette and introduced rich colors. Textures and the types of wood used were in keeping with the island feel.

Consider one bed dressed in a glamorous fuchsia duvet and throw. Pillows in cobalt blue, fuchsia and a tribal print make the composition pop. Opposite the bed sits a plum-colored chair striped with shades of pink and red. A bamboo-embossed mirror hangs over the dresser. To say the room is striking would be an understatement.

Riggs’ background as a painter informs his designer’s eye. “They employ the same elements—line and texture, color and shape. All of the things that enter into an oil painting are in a room, except it’s three-dimensional instead of two,” he says.

His love of art is apparent when you step inside. Original paintings, giclées and prints adorn the walls in each of the showroom’s many individual spaces. There’s also an art gallery within the showroom that’s devoted to original fine art from artists around the country. “There’s Western, representational and abstract art,” Riggs says, naming a few styles. “We have so much diversity in the gallery space.”

When Gary Riggs Home opened its new Design District showroom in late spring 2019, it had been a long time coming. He began the business 15 years ago in a warehouse in Allen, Texas, then he moved to the Galleria area in a spot facing Nordstrom. “A lot of change has happened for the business,” Riggs says.

Bill Hutchinson, who owns much of the Design District with his firm Dunhill Partners, is a client and had been making a case for Riggs to move there for some time, according to Riggs.

The move proved worth it. “We started building in October of 2018, and opened in May,” he says. In that time, Riggs was able to design and build out the showroom of his dreams, exactly the way he wanted it. “We built something totally unique in the marketplace and got back to what we intended: To have a business that was friendly to customers and to those in the trade.”

After creating inviting and striking home atmospheres for clients for more than a decade, Gary Riggs Home finally has its own perfect home. *

Alaena Hostetter is a content strategist, editor and journalist who writes about art, design, culture, music, entertainment and food.