Show Me Your Dallas, Beth Dotolo
Continuing my journey deeper into the Dallas design community, I spent Friday morning with the lovely Beth Dotolo of Hello, Splendor. Instantly I was struck by her relaxed, easygoing vibe. But don't mistake her ease for lack of interest. Like most of my designer friends, she's lazer focused, well-informed and manages to balance her left-brain/right-brain traits with aplomb. Love a girl who can dish shoes as easily as she can dole out info on the legalities of being licensed to design in Texas.
Our first stop was the Garden Cafe tucked away in the East Dallas neighborhood of Junius Heights. Had it not been for my Google map, I'd have passed this sleepy little street. Once inside I knew with certainty that the lack of fanfare is by design: it's a special place the locals hope to keep to themselves. Beth and I dined on a beautiful outdoor patio overlooking the very garden that provided so many of the ingredients on our plates. Over our delicious meal we touched on the current state of design blogs, the merits of the NCIDQ and the differences of various Dallas neighbrohoods. I've no idea how long we stayed after our plates were cleared, but it was great to share a bite with another designer with so many of the same thoughts and opinions.
It's easy to see why D Magazine ranks her as one of the city's top designers. She and fellow registered designer Carolina Gentry run Pulp Design. Together they carefully craft incredibly stylish spaces. Rooms that have an inviting quality much like Beth's personality. They ask you to sit back, relax and live in the moment. What a terrific quality in our rush-rush/go-go world.
Her special blend of powerful-creative-force-meets-new-mom came full circle as we stepped next door to the adorable children's boutique, Little Bean. This incredible little boutique is a wonder in an of itself. Owner Christine Visneau expresses her stylish point of view with thoughtfully chosen items, personally sewn apparel (yes, a special line of Little Bean apparel resides amidst other impossibly hip brands) and imaginative local artwork on the walls. It is as much children's boutique as it is art gallery.
The true beauty of the shop, however is on the wall behind the register. Just behind Christine's counter is a massive collection of kid-created art that would melt even the coldest of hearts. Seriously, there's enough Crayola and construction paper back there to start up a craft store. Cutest thing ever. I'm not sure if they were drawn by her two children or were given to her by the children of loyal customers, but it added even more warmth to this already special little boutique. I'll have to ask Christine the story on my next stop into the shop.
Speaking of next time... looking forward to getting together again with my new designer friend at the Cafe (what can we say, the food is insanely good and we both love breakfast. Win-win!) so we can introduce our little ones to one another. Something tells me that morning won't be quite as chill as this one, but I suspect we'll find quite a bit to amuse us.
(By the way, Beth - you are totally right. Kim Catrall should absolutely play you in a movie!)