Dallas Child Magazine – Nesting: A Humble Home


Dallas Child Magazine – February 2010

By Lauren Niebes

Photography by Stephen Karlisch for Karlisch Kids

There’s a first time for everything in our lives: first car, first date, first kiss—the list is endless. And included on that infinite list of firsts is a first home—not to mention the first child. First-time mom Beth Dotolo, along with husband Kevin and their newborn baby boy Maxton, chose East Dallas to establish their very first abode. Built circa 1961, the home is furnished with pieces they both accumulated prior to becoming husband and wife. The home is accented with art (including some by Kevin, a photographer and art director at Neiman Marcus) and mementos they’ve collected together. The collaboration is impressive, momentous and personal—not surprising for a couple heavily entrenched in the local creative industry. And like the Dotolos, the home is a complementary union, a harmony of styles. But in this start-up home where “bang for the buck” is of the utmost importance, Beth, a 29-year-old interior designer for Nest Interior Design, has the eye to make designing on a dime work for this family of three. While the three-bedroom, two-bath home is mostly swathed in neutral tones, the Dotolos count on their art to introduce color and character. Case in point, three screen-printed Wilco gig posters hang above the camel-colored couch, adding pops of color to the otherwise neutral living room. Yes, the posters make a bold statement, but they also hold sentimental value. According to the new mom, “We’ve made it a point to surround ourselves with objects that mean something to our story together.” Kevin (a member of the local band El Gato) walked down the aisle at their 2008 wedding to the tune “Either Way” from Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky album. But when we asked the interior designer about her favorite aspect of the room, she says it’s the greeting cards they discovered at Uncommon Objects in Austin. Dotolo cut out the backgrounds of the Dick and Jane-style greeting cards and had them custom framed in shadow boxes that now hang next to the fireplace.

The neutral living room aside, the Dotolos’ home isn’t all decorated in neutral tones. Enter Maxton’s turquoise nursery and you instantly know the creative duo isn’t afraid of color. Accented with white and decorated with inexpensive art by Dallas company Bee Things, the room has a sophisticated yet surprisingly calm atmosphere. As a coincidence, the film Where the Wild Things Are hit theaters as Dotolo was in her final months of pregnancy. The couple had already chosen the name Maxton (Max for short), so friends began gifting the couple with figurines of the characters from the movie, and a nursery theme was born! Walk into the kitchen, and the first thing you notice is the writing on the walls. Literally. The previous homeowners painted the walls with chalkboard paint. It fit the Dotolos’ own personalities so well that it remains untouched. Now the walls are scribbled with everything from menus to artwork—a mistletoe sketch “hangs” above the doorway. And to make the kitchen more functional, they added a rolling island from IKEA for storage and counter space. Connected to the kitchen is an eclectic dining room, with a mix of contrasting styles and textures—even the chairs have unique finishes. Dark grey walls are accented by the natural wood of a sunburst mirror, along with the mismatched side chairs, white Verner Panton end chairs and a work-table style dining table. The ensemble is perfectly complemented by the original hardwood floors. This room also shows off the witty Jonathan Adler ceramic pieces that Beth collects—the mustached vase being her favorite. Overall, what really makes this house a home to envy is the family’s dedication to making their living space reflect who they are. Asked what she loves most about her home, Beth says, hands down, is its warmth. “Our home is comfortable, humble and, most important, personal,” says the stylish new mom. We think it’s quite the accomplishment for a first home.

Music to play when entertaining: Indie rock with ambiance. The Shins, Fleet Foxes, El Gato, My Morning Jacket
Color to design with: Turquoise has always been a favorite and it happens to be the Pantone color of 2010
Flowers to put out around the house: I’m partial to succulents and cactus. I can’t seem to keep flowers alive!
Quick design tip: Paint, paint, paint! Don’t be afraid to go dark or bold.
Design blog: Well, the Nest Interior Design blog, of course!
Era of design: The current design era is my favorite! It’s eclectic, personal and doesn’t have strict rules.
Coffee table book: Not for the faint at heart … The LaChapelle Trilogy: LaChapelle Land, Hotel LaChapelle and LaChapelle Heaven to Hell