Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Live in high style without blowing the family budget -

Live in high style without blowing the family budget:

July 22, 2008 12:15 am


High style doesn't have to cost a fortune--just ask designer Bonnee Sharp. lf0722design2a.jpg

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Textile designer Bonnee Sharp's house would be right at home in a magazine, but Sharp, like a lot of us, shops flea markets, Ikea and relatives' basements and attics.


The Dallas Morning News

Bonnee Sharp has a secret. Her house, a glamorous showcase of high style, is just a facade. Turns out the entire house was decorated on a budget with family hand-me-downs, flea market finds and a hefty amount of help from Ikea.

"If you have something that is dowdy and yucky from your family, it can be reborn with paint and fabric," Sharp says.

"And then it's given new life when you place it next to a modern piece. That's kind of what my house is about."

Her home is full of finds: the kidney-shape coffee table she snapped up at a New York City flea market and the matching side table she found a year later at another; a Danish-modern dining set she scooped up at an estate sale; and the black-and-white photographs of East Dallas sweetgum trees that she shot herself.

finding her passion

Most of her ideas popped up on her lunch breaks when she was an intern, then a staff designer, at the Dallas interior-design firm of Emily Summers.

"In fact, I started my business on a lunch break. I was driving by an old knitting mill and I knocked on the door, and it turns out there was a man inside who printed fabrics. That was three years ago, it was pretty fortuitous."

The idea of recycling vintage furnishings into mellow masterpieces is what inspired Sharp's business, Studio Bon Textiles.

She designs hand-printed upholstery-weight fabrics that are crisp and contemporary while still nodding to retro style.

"It seems nearly every other woman in my family is, or was, an artist, so art has always been a part of my life," she says, explaining her passion for design.

"I think about it in my sleep. I think there's something wrong with me," she says. "I'll have an idea in my head, and I'll get up out of bed and draw."

Because her fabrics are printed locally, an early morning idea can be made into reality the next day, which is the reason why Sharp offers 30 patterns to choose from, plus the capability to create custom fabrics for individual jobs at a moment's notice.

"It allows me to respond to the needs of the market. I can draw a new pattern and do it tomorrow," she says. "It lets me be impulsive."


Now, the French slipper chairs in the living room--pink-velvet hand-me-downs from her beloved grandmother and namesake, Bonnee, a fashion illustrator and gallery owner in her day--are covered in Sharp's Bellows pattern.

The kitchen features Roman shades in her bold, polka-dot Fuzz pattern just above the Ikea table and chairs and the aloe plant tended by her husband, Marc.

The dining room has panels in her Oodles design that flank the family hand-me-down buffet tables and mirror.

And in her master bedroom, a side chair and foot stool covered in her Ellen pattern (named after her sister) sit alongside a bed donated by her parents under paintings by her grandmother.

"I feel very lucky to have so many beautiful things from people I loved. They give me perspective on the sweetness and shortness of life," Sharp says.

"I'm comforted by the fact that my daughter and her children will enjoy some of the things that I enjoyed and that my grandmother enjoyed and that her mother enjoyed, even if they keep only one special thing. And that makes me very happy."

Studio Bon Textiles:

Copyright 2008 The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company.

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