A peek inside interior designer Jessica McIntyre’s family-focused home

The baby’s room has custom drapery in navy linen stripe and star-studded night sky wallpaper from Cole & Son.
The baby’s room has custom drapery in navy linen stripe and star-studded night sky wallpaper from Cole & Son.

It is always interesting to see how the home pros live.

Case in point: Jessica McIntyre’s west-side Fort Worth house. The owner of Jessica McIntyre Interiors on Camp Bowie Boulevard is serene as she swans about her charming workplace. At home she morphs into a hyperventilating mother of three small boys under age 5. Yet even as she wrangles squirming children, she has been able to transform her home into a place of beauty that is kid-friendly without sacrificing style.

Jessica and husband Dr. Bradley McIntyre, an ear, nose, throat and sinus surgeon, bought their house three years ago and moved into the Monticello neighborhood when Jessica was eight months pregnant with their second child.

The house, built in 2004, blends seamlessly into the old neighborhood. She immediately began stripping wallpaper. Choosing replacement paper and paint colors took longer.

The house is still a work in progress. As with the abodes of most interior designers, her own home will probably always be a work in progress.

In the hours before her home was photographed, she was fretting that the house wasn’t ready, but admits “I’m never going to feel ready.”

It took me a year to pick wallpaper for the powder room; the same with the dining room chandelier.

Jessica McIntyre

McIntyre says it is much more difficult to pick furnishings for her own home than it is for her clients. “I am always thinking about what if there is something better coming out in a month. It took me a year to pick wallpaper for the powder room; the same with the dining room chandelier. I looked and looked, but I always went back to my first pick,” she says. She is learning to be more comfortable with her initial gut reaction when making her choices.

If something proves unworkable, she rationalizes that she can put it in her shop. Most of the furnishings in her home were ordered from lines she carries. She is diligent about finding things that work with her young children and, although they have a huge playroom on the second floor, they are welcome in the formal living room, as a large basket of Lego bricks attests.

The two swivel chairs give the room a formal vibe, as does the large cabinet, but behind those doors are a flat-screen television and multiple baskets filled with toys for easy cleanup. The cabinet is from Zentique, as is the padded ottoman that serves as a coffee table. “It doesn’t have any sharp corners, so the kids learned to walk pulling up on that, and they can roll around on the top of it,” she says.

The large piece of abstract art worked in Venetian plaster is by local artist Scott Kerr. The rug from Loll is made of jute with a soft nap that is much kinder to bare feet than the woven jute rugs often seen in outdoor settings. While the living room looks like it was designed for adults, everything was chosen to be suitable for all ages.

The master bedroom is on the ground floor, as is Brad’s home office — a masculine, Lego-free zone. Jessica set up her home office in the second-floor playroom that she shares with her children, who are currently in a fort-building craze. Over her desk is a great display space for children’s artwork that was made with drapery rods and ring clips.

“This room was the golden ticket to buying this house,” Jessica says. It is part of an addition built to connect the house to the garage.

When the McIntyres were looking for a home to buy, Jessica’s mother convinced her that this room would be exactly what a growing family would need. “If you don’t have a room like this, the kid stuff will be all over your house,” Jessica was told.

She was hesitant; the house was very pink, with scads of wrought-iron fixtures and tapestry wall coverings. It was not her style at all. It was so far afield from what she imagined. She had trouble seeing the benefits of how a kid-designated space would outweigh all the style issues that could be changed.

Now that the McIntyres have lived here for three years, the playroom and the huge laundry room underneath it on the ground floor have proved to be the two most useful rooms in the house. Originally there was a small laundry closet and a breezeway between the house and the garage. The McIntyres incorporated the breezeway and turned it into a luxurious laundry room.

It is almost embarrassing to find that the details of the laundry room elicit more outpourings of appreciation than the tastefully appointed formal rooms or the cute bedrooms of the boys. But it is the copious amount of storage in the laundry room — the hidden ironing board, the large laundry sink, and a wall of coat hooks and cubbies for the boys to dump their stuff — that are the envy of visiting parents.

The construction crew customized Elfa drawers into a shelving unit next to the clothes dryer to hold all the freshly washed socks, T-shirts and towels generated by grubby munchkins, and they are easily removed for transportation upstairs to the bedrooms.

While all this moving and construction, plus opening up her shop, took place while Jessica and Brad were growing their family, the uproar of change seems to have quieted. Although the kitchen is not quite up to Jessica’s standards (she is quick to disclaim its design), this area is still old-home. Apparently the construction projects are not finished, and there are still choices to be made.