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Good Golly, Ms. Holly

San Angelo native Holly Hunt makes a triumphant Texas return with freestanding showrooms in Dallas and Houston.

Designer Holly Hunt

Even after two divorces, rearing three sons and the challenges of building an international luxury furniture powerhouse, designer Holly Hunt never gave up on romance. It came in February. “You know I always felt I would be rescued by a tall, strong, handsome man,” she says. Instead, “I never thought I’d be doing this for 30 years. My proposal came from a tall, strong, handsome company.”

That would be Knoll Inc., which acquired Hunt’s company for $95 million in an industry lovefest in which Knoll CEO Andrew Cogan described Hunt as an icon and “arbiter of refined taste.”

Hunt’s journey from a Texas Tech English lit and clothing and textiles major to the rarefied heir of Florence Knoll’s legacy has been a study of graceful rebounds. As an aspiring young designer, Hunt realized that Lubbock “was not the Milan of the West,” so she set sail for the executive training program at Houston’s now defunct Foley’s. Next stop: New York. Two marriages later, the resilient mom knew she needed to make her way in the world alone.

“I didn’t have a business plan—I had an escape plan,” she says. “Nothing on paper. I saw this little showroom in Chicago and thought, I can do it better.”

Hunt’s empire of designer collaborations, along with a slew of collections under her own name, now extends to seven eponymous U.S. showrooms, in addition to Sao Paolo, Brazil, with London opening this fall. She has long been represented in the George Cameron Nash showrooms in Dallas and Houston, and David Sutherland as well. Hunt soon returns to the state where it all began—with new showrooms in the Dallas and Houston design centers. She’s gearing up for an early summer opening, and feeling not a little restless. “My only problem is that it’s taking too long,” she says. We couldn’t agree more.

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