Traci Darden, owner and chief design wiz at Elements of Design, is taking on her second Fort Worth Magazine Dream Street project. Teaming with Brian Demma of Brian Michael Distinctive Homes, the duo is in the midst of tackling a 6,800-square-foot Tuscan palace, one of three multimillion-dollar homes being built for the Dream Street in the Oak Alley development in Colleyville.
We caught up with the veteran interior designer to discuss her latest project with the magazine, how to keep a long popular style like Tuscan fresh, and how livability is the common thread in all of her designs.
FW: This being your second Dream Street project, you’re becoming a pro at this. What excites you about this year’s home?
Traci Darden: So, this year, the style of the home is a modern Tuscan. What I love about [Tuscan] is the natural elements that the style itself embodies — the stone, the wood, the different textures for walls and finishes. And we got to implement quite a few of those into the project itself and, at the same time, taking, not something I would call a tired style, but updating the Tuscan style by cleaning up the lines and doing some smoother finishes on interior walls. We pretty much just got to have a lot of fun in all the areas of the house.
FW: Right. It’s not tired, but it is a style that’s been popular for some time, so it is kind of, like, how do you put your stamp on that, right? How do you make it a little different?
TD: Right. Well, that’s the beauty of a Dream Street home: We really get to go outside of the box a little bit. For example, in our kitchen, we really mixed finishes and textures and profiles style for doors and drawers. You get to play with that a little more. And, when clients are walking through these homes, you see that they get a little bit more confident in how [these elements] would come off for their own project. Instead of a designer just sitting across the table and saying, “You know what would look great is if we mix this and that,” but rather being able to show it to them in-person allows them to really envision it.
FW: Because, normally, you are doing something for a client who has very specific demands, right? But in this case, you have a blank canvas.
TD: Exactly. We’re working with the builder to make sure he’s comfortable, of course, with what’s going on, but there’s no other client, per se. We’re really leaning into trends, if you want to use that word, and showing people what’s new and upcoming.
FW: While, of course, you work for a client and adhere to their demands and can design in any number of styles, I’ve always thought that interior designers put their own stamp on things. While a house may be a Tuscan design, there’s also a little bit of Traci Darden in it. What would you say is your stamp?
TD: I think that is a very true statement. We really tote that livable lifestyle and making a client feel comfortable when they enter their home. It’s accessorizing to the point of livability, where they feel welcome to put their feet up, curl up on a sofa with a book and glass of wine, or just live their lifestyle, whatever it may be. It needs to be livable for them for the foreseeable future.
FW: Is there a specific design or style that you see as a current preference or a preference of the market?
TD: I think the market is continuing to toe that clean-line, modern vibe but not to the point where you get overly contemporary or cold — so minimalist to the point where’s there’s nothing to it besides straight lines and shiny finishes. But, really, our clients, even those who are on the board right now, their project scopes cover each end of the spectrum. And we really have fun with that.
You can see Traci Darden’s work on the Fort Worth Magazine Dream Street this October when the homes will be open for touring. For more information and to purchase tickets for the month-long tour, visit dream.fwtx.com.