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Unconventional Charm

Amy Gibbs isn’t ordinary. The petite blond, dressed in a cobalt-blue dress and brown  Louboutin sling-backs, lives in Highland Park in a traditional two-story home with husband Ford, 3-year-old son Hank and their beloved black Lab, Jack. From the outside, the manse looks as picturesque as the house featured in the Hollywood hit Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Yet it’s not where, but how she lives that makes this working mom unconventional.

The busy mom holds two jobs —as a personal shopper and interior designer. “I’m such a worker,” explains Gibbs, “I’m tired every day, but it makes me happy.” Self-taught in both disciplines, she has no formal training (although she does hold a degree in sociology from Dallas Baptist University, which she started and completed after getting married), just a keen sense of style that is obvious upon entering her home.

When it comes to the “rules,” Gibbs designs as she sees fit, as evidenced by the art pieces hanging on the wall under the stairs leading to her second floor. Meant by the artist to be displayed horizontally, Gibbs decided to turn them on their sides, which draws the eye upward and shows great perspective from several different angles. If the veteran interior designer sees something she likes, she says, “I grab it and try to squeeze it in.” And those must haves would most likely be bright shocks of color to accent the cream interior, to make the vibrant colors “pop” more. In addition to showing less dirt than a bright white (a major plus with a 3-year-old in residence), the classic cream walls and neutral seating give the style longevity.

However, what’s most intriguing about Gibbs’ neutral nest is the art and the stories that accompany each piece. For the collector, it’s a map of where she’s been and the memories surrounding each situation and purchase. Some were found at the local Cottonwood Festival, while others were collected on trips to Santa Fe, Watercolor, and Michigan. Even more intriguing, the woman with an eye for design also has an eye for art. The big piece that hangs in her informal dining area is Gibbs’ own work, framed with a wide matte and simple black frame. Gibbs attributes her love for framing art to its ability to transform any piece of work into something “shabby or fantastic.”

Another, more unconventional, outlet for purchasing art for the aficionado: eBay. The most notable eBay art purchases are the multicolored striped plexiglass panels that hang under the staircase in the entryway.  

Leaving the house, you’re left with a sense of serenity and style. A unique style—one that’s Gibbs’ very own. Even though it’s a work in progress, the house that Gibbs made a home is a place anyone would be intrigued by and, at the same time, feel at ease.