Mergers and Acquisitions

A Dallas couple blends families, tastes and design styles to great effect.

The brass shade of this new Venetian glass lamp helps tie in the gilt antiques that Shelly and Barry inherited. Mixing metals (chrome, brass, gold) energizes a room, says Shelly. A computer in a formal living room instantly turns it into a gathering place, says Shelly, who glammed things up with a Lucite desk and sexy zebra-print French chair. 

Shelly Rosenberg 

A new Lucite console is a perfect foil for Barry’s inherited gilt mirror. Barry’s fave comfy chair and ottoman were recovered. 

In a small room with a low ceiling, an arc floor lamp works like a chandelier. Tub chairs echo the arc lamp and are the right size for a small room. 

Barry’s inherited pieces mix with newer purchases with similar colorations.  

Like many blended families, Dallas residents Shelly and Barry Rosenberg started married life with kids and two separate households full of furniture. Barry, a real estate developer, and Shelly, an interior designer, came to the union with different tastes and styles. But they had one thing in common. “Barry’s mother was an interior designer and so is mine,” says Shelly, “so we inherited wonderful pieces.” (Shelly’s mother is Austin showroom owner and designer Donna Stockton Hicks.) Three years ago, the couple and Shelly’s two preteen daughters moved into a modestly sized, ’60s modern in Dallas’ Greenway Parks neighborhood (the couple recently had a child together).

Making two households work together meant careful editing, and only the pieces with the most potential won out. They kept a gilded French mirror that had belonged to Barry’s mother, along with his father’s mustard linen lounge chair and ottoman, a large sofa from Restoration Hardware, and his king-size, brown leather “bachelor bed.” “Barry was 40 when we married, so it was important that some of his life remain. He came with a lot of great things and I had to make them work,” she says. Her secret was to play up the contrasts. “I’ve always loved a mix. The blend of opposites makes things so exciting,” she says. In the Rosenberg house, antique and vintage are on equal terms with modern and new. “What’s so cool about mixing is that you’re reusing and taking care of things, not throwing them out. It’s green,” she says.

When you have different periods and styles in a room, use color and pattern to provide cohesion, says Shelly, who pulled red and black from modern artwork in the entry and used them in the upholstery of French chairs in the living room. A patterned Schumacher wallpaper in the dining room was the jumping-off point for the reds, greens and oranges she used in every room throughout the house. “Anyone can decorate,” she says. “Pore over high-end magazines. The more studied your eye is, the more you can break the rules!”