LEARN FROM A LEGEND

BY CHASE WADE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

Nestled within a nondescript business park due north of downtown Dallas is Loyd-Paxton, an antiques showroom unlike anything else in the city, as announced by a sign on the easel at the main gallery entry: “…what do you see? Things, Wonderful Things!”

At its helm is Loyd Taylor, a storied designer and decorator with more than 50 years of experience. On one particular morning in his expansive showroom, Taylor gestures to a vibrant yellow Chinese antique once used by the country’s nobility to collect morning dew. His description of the antique goes beyond simply what the eye can see. Instead, he dives into its history, explaining exactly how the object migrated from 18th-century Beijing to 21st-century Dallas.

Upon graduating from the University of North Texas in 1959, Taylor and his late partner, Paxton Gremillion, set out to tackle the Dallas design world. With a small shop the two designers soon became known for their impeccable ability to acquire some of the world’s most beautiful antiques.

“I always knew that I wanted to be a part of this world,” Taylor says. “We really learned along the way. Some of our very first clients would simply learn with us, even some that we still work with today.”

Today, Taylor is a legend in his own right. With a design portfolio that includes a handful of North Texas’ most notable homes—some of which have graced the covers of Architectural Digest—Taylor finds balance between his dual roles as an in-demand decorator and an on-the-move antiques dealer.

“My decorating projects are so much different than my work at the store,” Taylor says. “I’ve always been busy, and I don’t see why I should stop now.”

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Visiting Loyd-Paxton is equal parts visually and intellectually stimulating. Thanks to Taylor’s massive personal library of more than 8,500 books, the designer and decorator is able to provide nearly complete histories of each striking object.

Take, for instance, a stunning pair of Italian console tables seemingly plucked from a formal Florentine dining room. As if they’re not impressive enough, Taylor knows exactly who the previous owners were. In this case, the tables made their way from Italy’s Strozzi Palace before finally landing in Dallas.

Of course, as the design world evolves, so does Loyd- Paxton’s inventory. New acquisitions skew toward the mid-century crowd, including a number of pieces from famed American furniture designer Adrian Pearsall.

Pearsall’s statement-making high-back lounge chair is the epitome of mid-century sophistication. Cozied up to timeless antiques from near and far, the white leather chair is the perfect example of Taylor’s move toward the modern.

“A house or apartment can be minimal, but it still has to have that person’s signature, something that tells you who that person is just by looking at it,” Taylor says. “What’s the point in decorating a room if it doesn’t tell us who you are?”

While the who’s who of Dallas may be his primary clientele, people from around the world come to Taylor for advice and expertise. Everyone from Saudi Arabian royalty to Chinese entrepreneurs has jetted to Dallas in search of Loyd-Paxton’s unrivaled collection.

“A lot of dealers like to focus on one type of antique, but I don’t want to be limited by a region or a time period,” Taylor says. “I buy from all over because I truly find each piece so fascinating. And I think that’s what is so special about the gallery— you can just stumble upon something great.”

From electric blue French chandeliers to antique doors from Afghanistan and India, there’s an entire world of antiques waiting to be marveled at in the Loyd-Paxton showroom. And remember, with Taylor as your guide, the history lesson comes free.

Chase Wade is a Texas-based freelance writer. Leave him a note at chasewadewrites.com.