When Julie Dodson brought her own well-worn glove to the softball tournament at the Round Top Inn-dependence Day Jamboree, she tipped her hand. As I watched her play, it struck me that Dodson is a trendsetting designer with a tomboy’s soul. By the time she was a high school sophomore, she had earned a spot on the varsity basketball squad as the starting point guard at Houston’s then 5-A Memorial High School. She’s only 5’ 2” tall and compensates for her relative lack of height with a determination to be the best, a quality that she took from the gym and now applies in her interior design studio on behalf of her clients.
She founded Dodson Interiors (originally Dodson and Daughter) in 2002, when she was just 26, after working with Lucas/Eilers Design Associates and Kickerillo Companies. Her accolades include being named as one of the nation’s top 20 young designers to watch by Traditional Home magazine and a design star on the rise by the Houston Design Center.
For the record, she has enough personal style to make a baseball cap and softball-induced perspiration seem glamorous.
Designing a Career:
“My mom is an interior designer, so I grew up in that world, but initially I wasn’t interested. Sports were my passion, and I always planned to be in that world, either as a sports broadcaster or sports attorney. I got to Ole Miss and took an accounting class and an interior design class in the same semester. I failed accounting miserably and made top marks in my design class. My fate was sealed, thank goodness. Sometimes our path is determined for us.”
Road to Round Top:
“My mom shopped Round Top forever, but I didn’t join her until I became a professional designer. In my early years, I preferred to ride my bike and play ball. She couldn’t convince me to go along, but once I started coming to the show, I fell in love with the thrill of the treasure hunt.”
“Casual glamour. I focus on functional elegance that’s not stuffy.”
“My favorite Round Top finds are featured prominently in my home. There’s the architectural fragment that I purchased from Aquilla Little, a vendor who transforms these exceptional fragments into one-of-a-kind statement pieces; a tiny console that’s only about 28-inches wide and was the first thing of real value I purchased for my house; and my dining room chairs. I love these pieces because they are the things that give my home character.
“Most recently, I found a wonderful urn at Marburger Farm’s spring show, and it has become the most photographed piece of all. It sits atop a console in the Bunk Room I designed at Traditional Home’s Hampton Designer Showhouse in Sag Harbor.”
“My never misses are Marburger Farm, Big Red Barn, Arbor and Blue Hills. I also love shopping the fields at Warrenton for the sheer fun of finding things that I may not even be able to identify but I know can be transformed into something exceptional for my clients. With that said, there are all these great places in between where you just walk in, look around and may stumble across something fabulous.
“And don’t miss Burton. Check out Flown the Coop and Bayberry. I found several things in Burton that I used in the showcase project I just did in the Hamptons.”
Favorite Shopping Strategy:
“Wine. It is wonderful to end the day hanging out at Prost! with a glass of wine, a cheese plate, friends and some of their fabulous chocolates. Oops, I’m not sure anyone is supposed to know about the chocolates.”
Favorite Field Advice:
“Wear comfortable shoes. Bring a raincoat. Get here early. Be prepared for anything. It’s nice to have a list, but be prepared to nab something that just grabs you. I promise you’ll find a place to use something you love.”
Dodson Interiors • Houston
Round Top Regular: since 1999
Regardless of their individual aesthetic, designers succeed because they know a good thing when they see it. The consensus among our panel of professionals is that the Round Top Antiques Show is a good thing—a very good thing—for trendsetters, taste makers, collectors and “civilians” who yearn to add pops of personality to their homes with one-of-a-kind finds.
In a move that’s akin to asking a mother to choose her favorite child, we boldly asked the experts to identify their favorite finds, foods, shopping strategies, stories and more.
by Lorie Woodward Cantu
photos courtesy of Julie Dodson