Dallas has become a very cosmopolitan city whose diverse residents bring their own brand of “haute” style to this city of flat land. The local Dallas that existed in the eponymous television series doesn’t really exist — maybe it never did — and the era of gun-toting cowboys disappeared a long time ago.
But while the Texas of today is a far more interesting mix than the old stereotypes, the state’s history creates a strong local Dallas flavor that combines the best of the old with some exciting new elements. If you live here, you’ll want your home to reflect that colorful mix.
Texas in the Home
When it comes to home decorating, Texas spirit prevails. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Texan born and bred, or if you’re a newly arrived citizen of this vast state. Showing your pride in being here and your “allegiance” is easy.
This state’s history might lend itself to an obvious “cowboy” theme in home decorating. But even if cowhides on the floor and distressed leather sofas are not to your taste, adding a little Texas flair to your decor may tell the message that you’re a Texan and proud of it. What do you need? Well, a Texas star, to be sure. Large or small, antique or a shiny, new, obvious reproduction, any kind of five-pointed star will do. Display it on the wall, in a bookcase, framed, or nail-punched into a copper lampshade. Use restraint, though; this is not a case of “if one is good, more are better.”
Books Tell the Story
Many books have been written about Texas; some are flattering — and others well, not so much. No matter. James A. Michener’s Texas is not only a good read and a fascinating history, it gives a condensed version of the Texas state history that your kids will likely study in school. It’s good to have on your shelf. The Lusty Texans of Dallas, published originally in 1965 by John William Rogers, offers interesting insights. It is being reprinted today, in paperback as well as hard cover.
The Big Rich by Bryan Burroughs is another good one, which will have you awed by the facts and clamoring to know more. There are other stories: ask a native about the “Chicken Ranch,” and wait for the reaction. And read about the women in Texas’ past — strong, resourceful women who got things done their way.
Fine art and rusted memorabilia are available in equal proportions in Dallas. Rustic metals and sleek sculpture can coexist in a display. Visit the gift shops at the Nasher Sculpture Center or the Dallas Museum of Art and bring home books, miniatures, or framed pieces you love. Display them proudly along with the bargains you pick up at McKinney Trade Days or the First Monday flea market in Canton. Scour McKinney Avenue design studios and galleries for textiles, “high funk,” and avant-garde art. Visit local art shows and collect works of a local artist. Craft some of your own.
The place of Texas in national and world history is another source, of course, for items to decorate your home. The state boasts three presidential libraries — one right here in Dallas — Space Center Houston, dinosaur tracks and skeletons, Big Bend National Park, and many miles of seashore. Memorabilia from all of those travels could fill many shelves.
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