Text: Tiffany Adams
Photos: Michael Hunter
Sit down with Carla Fonts, and you’ll quickly see her passion for design is rooted in two things: family and destinations dear to her. “My parents grew up in Cuba and fled to Palm Beach, Florida, in 1958,” she says. “When my mother’s family arrived, they rented a house on Dunbar Road. She always said it was the worst time but also the best time because they were together,” Fonts says.
After raising a family of her own, Fonts went to work for a designer in her native Dallas before catching the bug to go out on her own in 2016. “My kids were leaving for college, and I was at a crossroads,” she says. Inspired by all things Palm Beach and drawing from the strength of her family, Fonts opened her aptly named interior design firm, Dunbar Road. “There was nothing like this in Dallas,” she says, referencing her love of Bohemian pieces, rattan furniture, and bamboo motifs. “For me, things need to have meaning. Plus, Palm Beach makes me happy,” she says of the aesthetic she has created, adding that a lot of people reach out to her because of her use of color.
These were the reasons that prompted Sarah and Gary Charles to call on Fonts and her team to update their family’s home in Dallas’s Lakeside area. “Sarah is so enthusiastic about her projects,” the designer says. “She is very sophisticated, so she wants the look to be a little moody and sexy, even though the style is traditional.” Perhaps the best example of this mix comes in the living room, where the Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel inspired the palette. “I wanted it to feel like nature was coming inside the house—like a very dramatic green garden,” Fonts says. The look is one that conveys throughout the rest of the home’s common spaces, translating to a mossy green with cosmopolitan accents in the dining room and a cheerful, clean interpretation in the entry and kitchen.
For the season, Fonts accented the family home with pieces from her recently launched holiday collection. “I was inspired by Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I was thinking very regal, timeless decorations,” Fonts says. After completing renovations, she found clients often felt their Christmas decor no longer matched the look. “I thought there should be faux decor pieces that are not only beautiful but can also last long enough to hand down to your children,” the designer says. Just as her interiors firm was inspired by a beloved place, each of the five holiday collections she created take their name from iconic destinations, including Charleston, South Carolina, Oxford, England, and—yes, Palm Beach. “I named them after towns so you can immediately get a feel for the look,” she says of the garlands and wreaths that are available through her website and Dallas storefront.
Her sense of lighthearted timelessness is one Fonts wants her clients to embrace. “You should never be sad in your home. My goal is that you will love the design we give you for 30 years. I want the sofa to be worn out from your grandkids jumping on it.”