How a Fort Worth Lifestyle Influencer Renovated Her House Crush Into a Home — One Fabulous Piece at a Time
B.Radley Agather and Coley Means were only two months away from their wedding anniversary in 2013 when the starter house of their dreams hit the market. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect or stressful for Agather, a professional poison and lifestyle influencer whose popular Luella & June blog turned 10 last year. Means, an oil and gas attorney, had recently taken a job in Fort Worth when his real estate agent called about a house for sale there. Agather begged and explained that she was deep in wedding planning mode.
“No, you really have to come to see this house,” the agent insisted.
Located near the historic River Crest Country Club, the modern mid-century residence was designed by Dallas architect Glenn Allen Galloway in 1961. It was love at first sight when they stepped on the porch. “Coley and I looked at each other like, ‘You have to be kidding me,'” says Agather. “I’ve always wanted a house with an orange front door, and this house had one. I’ve also loved pineapples since I was little – and she had a pineapple door knocker. “Talk about serendipity.
Designed in 1961 by architect Glenn Allen Galloway, the house has a Benjamin Moore Rumba Orange front door. (Photo by Pär Bengtsson)
During the couple’s engagement, Agather had been looking for a simple, pre-made nest. “I didn’t want to renovate a kitchen or bathroom. I just didn’t need another project, ”she says. None of this mattered as soon as they went in. “Oh my god. That’s the house,” she remembers, “and I’m going to have to fix the whole damn thing.”
“Oh my god. This is the house,” says Agather, “and I’m going to have to renovate the whole damn thing.”
The kitchen and bathrooms certainly need updating, but the bones of the house were great. With huge glass walls and an open floor plan, it’s one of Galloway’s finest designs. The architect’s characteristic floating walnut bookshelves and cabinets, with which he shared the large living area, have been preserved. “Finding a mid-century house like this one is rare and we wouldn’t come across another one soon,” says Agather. “Coley and I went to have a glass of wine and think about it. Then we said, ‘Okay, let’s do this.’ “
There were already numerous offers on the table from other interested buyers, but Means found a way to appeal to the homeowner’s emotions. He enclosed a heartfelt letter with her best offer. In it, he mentioned the pencil lines he had seen on the wall that marked the height of the owner’s children and grandchildren over the years. Means had made a note of their names and had mentioned them in the letter. “Three days later we got a call – and we got the house,” says Agather.
ONEAfter a year of renovation, the couple moved into their new home in April 2014 – a month before it celebrated its first anniversary. Only two rooms have been set up: the master bedroom and the kitchen. The rest of the house was almost empty, and that’s exactly how Agather planned it. “The bedroom and kitchen were the two rooms we spend all of our time in, so I wanted them to be ready for use,” she says. “We slowly put the other rooms together. This is the advice I would give anyone: wait and find out how you are going to use the house before filling it with furniture and think about your choices. This way, you will get things that you really love. “
“That’s the advice I would give anyone: wait and find out how you are going to use the house before filling it with furniture and think about your choices.”
Agather worked with Kelley Parker Roberts of Beckley Design Studio in Fort Worth on the renovations and interiors. “I wanted someone my age in Fort Worth with a style similar to me,” says Agather. “Also, I learned a long time ago that in everything you do, you hire someone smarter than you. That was definitely true for Kelley. “
The admiration was mutual. “We didn’t have many 20-year-old customers at the time, and I was impressed with how mature Bradley was,” says Roberts. “She was confident of what she wanted, very clever and very knowledgeable.” As a former fashion editor for FD Luxe and daughter of the stylish power banker Elaine Agather, she has a keen eye for design. “Bradley could look at things and quickly say what she liked or disliked,” says Roberts. “We had customers in their fifties who couldn’t.”
Original bookshelves and cabinets designed by architect Glenn Allen Galloway in 1961. (Photo by Pär Bengtsson)
Agather’s strategy was simple yet methodical: find a great piece that she loved and slowly build the whole space around it. She opened the dining room with a vintage Milo Baughman table made of burl wood discovered at Sputnik Modern. Next came a Lindsey Adelman lamp that Agather had long sought after.
It took more than a year for the set of 10 Lawson-Fenning chairs to arrive, so temporary seating was introduced. Agather never let an unfinished dining room stop her from setting a nice table with china and linens, and it still has priority when it’s just the two who have pizza for dinner. “I have a deep love for dishes,” says Agather. She often mixes other looks from her wedding porcelain, including plates designed by Parisian interior designer Alberto Pinto for Limoges and Hermès’ eye-catching Bleus d’Ailleurs pattern. It also contains special pieces such as Marie Daâge’s “work of art on a plate” and Laboratorio Paravicini’s hand-painted Italian ceramics, which she discovered in a blog post while researching.
The living room had no furniture for two years. It’s not that Agather didn’t buy anything; Everything was stored piece by piece and suddenly waited for the big reveal, says her designer. Agather built the room around a blue and pink vinyl work by Derrick Velasquez found by art advisor Illa Gaunt. It hung on the wall forever. “At first I thought I’d go crazy with a big empty room for so long,” says Agather. “But then we figured out how to use it as an extra party room.” They used rented tables and chairs to host large family Thanksgiving parties and dinner parties for 35. “We even had dance parties there,” she says. “It was so much fun.” The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. “I got the idea from my mother without thinking about it,” says Agather. “I grew up in our house on Desco [in Dallas]There was a time when there was no furniture in the living room and my mother used to have parties there. “
The Warren Platner table in the breakfast room was a wedding present. Eero Saarinen executive chair by Knoll. Kartell light pendant from Scott + Cooner. (Photo by Pär Bengtsson)
Slow and thoughtful are the keywords here. Agather and Means took the time to build a collection of contemporary artwork by Kaari Upson, Robert Voit, Joel Ross, and Anja Niemi. It took Agather five years to fill the bookshelves in the living room with meaningful books on art, design, fashion, gardening and photography. It is still a work in progress. “My dream is to always be surrounded by books,” she says. “I always read. I pull them out all the time for inspiration, even at the dining table. “
F.ashion is a huge influence and Agather doesn’t have to look further than her own closet for a stylish mix of classic Hermès, vintage Chanel, colorful La Double J dresses, Khaite jeans and bespoke Blazé Milano jackets. “I decorate my house the same way I decorate my wardrobe,” she says. “I like classic, well-designed pieces with an unexpected color or an interesting mix of prints. The bottom line is that I only buy things that I really love. I find that I never regret these purchases. Plus, it makes me happy to surround myself with the things I love. “
The home’s modern architecture was a point of reference, but Roberts says their client wasn’t slavishly trying to reproduce an era. “She loved the mid-century style but didn’t want a lot of vintage furniture. We have had some knoll pieces made to order so it feels fresh. There was definitely a mix of old and new. “Warren Platner’s dining table in the breakfast room was a wedding present that she combined with newly manufactured Eero Saarinen armchairs from Knoll. In the living room, a pair of vintage chairs that Agather had owned for years was covered with a blue-spotted Brunschwig & Fils fabric. The blue Shine by SHO sofa, Stark rug and blue benches have been customized for her. The buffet in the dining room was bespoke so that Agather could easily access her heavy box of Tiffany & Co. Sterling silverware.
Bradley Agather (Photo by Pär Bengtsson)
Color was also non-negotiable. “The only color I don’t like is purple,” says Agather. And getting the right colors in her home is just as important to her as it is to her wardrobe. There were times when she would pull clothes out of the closet to show to her interior designer and they would compare them to the fabric samples. Marco Zanuso’s vintage chair and the custom-made stool in the living room had to be red rather than pink. and the Knoll chairs in the breakfast room should be marigolds, not yellow.
“I held up a Hermès shopping bag with all of those color chips to decide which color orange to repaint my front door,” says Agather. The winner? Benjamin Moore’s Rumba Orange.
As for the symbolic tropical fruits that agathers first noticed? She had a larger brass pineapple door knocker made to replace the original one she had saved and encased in Lucite. It’s on her bookshelf now and makes for a cute story when someone asks for it.
“The house is everything I wanted and more,” says Agather. “The wait was absolutely worth it.”