Dallas Child Magazine – Nesting: Happy Medium

Dallas Child Magazine – April 2011


Happy Medium, Corinne Hufft

By Rita Cook

Photography: Kevin Dotolo


Much has changed since the 35-year-old assistant general counsel with Bank of America, Corinne Hufft, moved with her husband, Clay, from New Orleans to Dallas in 2006. Not only did they change the style of their home when moving—from a condominium in an old historic building in New Orleans’ art district to a mid-century modern style home just outside of Preston Hollow—but also Corinne gave birth to daughter Ella, now 3 years old.

The Huffts in the midst of interior designer Beth Dotolo’s revamped design of the living room. Dotolo helped the family of three update the rest of their home with a glammed-up, mid-century modern feel.

Both factors have had a huge impact on the home’s current design elements. In fact, Hufft says that since she and her husband are both (perennially busy) lawyers, they had a baby proofer come into their home to make sure that Ella and her playmates wouldn’t get hurt.

As a playroom for Ella, the sunroom proved a bit difficult to relinquish into a complete kid’s lair, so to speak. Hufft says, “For a while that room looked like a glorified daycare center, and it was horrifying for us.”

As Ella has gotten older however, Hufft admits she has been able to breathe a sigh of relief since there’s more freedom now to reclaim the space.

“We have made it into a mixed-use space for adults where we could also entertain. Not obviously a playroom, but still a place comfortable for kids to play,” she explains.

In addition to a credenza that holds Ella’s toys, books and puzzles, the sunroom boasts a mid-century inspired table and chairs that go with the rest of the furniture in the house and do not look like kid’s furniture.

“There are a few things we have to give [in to],” Hufft says, referring to some of her daughter’s favorite playtime wares that have become permanent fixtures in the space. Additionally, Hufft also incorporates a few other finishing touches: “fun pillows and little cocktail tables that are round with no sharp edges.”

Then there’s also the Hufft’s art collection, which they have been gatheri ng for years throughout their travels—pottery, funky sculptures and even paintings like the one they picked up in Sedona that now hangs over the fireplace. With a 3-year-old in the house, they have moved some of the glass pieces to higher ground, while incorporating new art pieces that Ella can appreciate.

“When we were looking for some art in the playroom I didn’t want to do kid art, but I wanted to [showcase] something that a child might appreciate, but that adults could too.”

Hufft decided to use photographs taken by her cousin, a professional photographer, of children from around the world.

“We added a photo of Ella in there and we had all the photos framed and floated, and I am hoping that subliminally, the images convey the message that kids come in all shapes and sizes and colors, and not everyone grows up the way you grew up or looks just like you.”

The other go-to room in the 2,400-square-foot home is the living room where a large, square fabric ottoman serves as a coffee table, and is the favorite place for the family’s Friday nights—ordering in, building puzzles and watching movies.

“With our furniture, it’s all about durability over beauty and fabric; and our couches—with a more modern twist—are also a little bit more low scale,” Hufft says. “It all ended up being perfect kid and family furniture.”

A neutral color scheme with pops of blue and green are incorporated into their dapper three-bedroom/three-bathroom dwelling. Fans of minimalist design, the couple admits that clutter isn’t something they favor. “It is calming for us to come home where everything is in its place,” says Hufft, though she also realizes that everything can’t always be in its proper place at all times. “When you have a child, a perfectly neat room can go from perfectly clean to a-tornado-has-struck within five seconds!”

The playroom with pint-sized, mid-century modern furniture for Ella and art with a past for the adults. On the right wall hangs a painting by artist (and good friend) Ricky Lemann that used to adorn the MTV Real World New Orleans house on St. Charles Avenue. /The family’s chic dining room, featuring a Saarinen marble-topped dining table and Bloom fresco high chair. / Graphic wallpaper enhances the guest bathroom.

Corinne’s Favorite …

Wine La Crema Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.  We order it in bulk from the winery.
Flower Don’t really have one, but Clay likes to send me tulips.
Designer Diane von Furstenberg.  Her wrap dresses are great for work or a night out—just change your accessories.
Shoes Tory Burch.  Her heels are perfect for work, and her flats and sandals are perfect for the weekend. I also love Michael Kors wedges.  They’re really comfortable, and they make me feel tall.
Source for home furnishings Dallas Design District
On your nightstand A photo of Clay and me from our honeymoon in Italy; my Kindle; Stress Free Potty Training (it’s a work in progress); and Walt Disney World with Kids because we’re taking Ella there for the first time in two weeks.
Way to spend an hour alone Doing Beyond Pilates. I am addicted.
Website Daily Beast—it is a one-stop site for all of the top news each day from various outlets; and Perez Hilton (guilty pleasure)!
Place to window shop Barneys
Ideal global destination Africa!
Book she’s reading Just read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It was fascinating. I really loved it. My favorite book is probably Charlotte’s Web, because it was the first “big” book I bought on my own and read on my own. Ella now has my copy, complete with my name written in eight-year-old cursive in the inside cover.
Music When I run, I love Pink. For around the house, I prefer alternative music—Rilo Kiley; She and Him; Arcade Fire; The National.
Color to design with Green and blue
Design blogs Apartment Therapy; Houzz; Design Sponge
Meal to cook for entertaining We usually grill filets when we have friends over for dinner.
Interior designer Beth Dotolo, of course!
Era of design 1950s and 60s—I love mid-century design.
Accent pieces to use in design Jonathan Adler pottery. His pieces are whimsical and add a touch of humor to a room.
Coffee table book Monkey Portraits by Jill Greenberg. Ella loves it too!
Fragrance to scent your home Don’t really use scents, but I love the way the house smells when we bake cookies!
Place to shop for home furnishings Smink for big pieces; Nest for accessories
Home furnishing splurge Missoni Rug
Magazine Vanity Fair; I loved Domino too … RIP
Place to find design inspiration TV, magazines, museums …