Morgan Cox thought his move into The Ashton was temporary. When he set up house in the upscale apartment high-rise eight years ago, he figured his stay would be short-lived. “I moved in with the expectation that I would buy a house in Dallas,” he says. And Morgan did buy a house—it just wasn’t within the Dallas city limits. “I ended up buying a lake house,” he explains.
It was at that very Cedar Creek lake house that he met Doniphan Moore at a Fourth of July bash he hosted a few years ago. The two became fast friends, and by the fall, Morgan asked Doniphan for some help transforming his bachelor pad into a sophisticated pied-à-terre. “I had things in there from my grandparents—antiques—mixed with Cantoni furniture. It was a hodgepodge of things. It was nice, and it worked well, but it was lacking a certain level of sophistication,” Morgan says.
Doniphan began bringing in things from showrooms such as George Cameron Nash and David Sutherland. “We knew that Morgan wouldn’t be here forever, so we chose pieces that would translate to a future home,” Doniphan says. “There wasn’t a lot we could do architecturally here, so our intention was to build a foundation of beautiful things.”
The designer started with the living room and then moved into the adjoining dining room. And then from there, he set his sights on the master bedroom and the “man cave”—a term that Doniphan hates, by the way. Lighting was one of the most important elements throughout. Doniphan changed it all out, bringing in bubble lights from Scott + Cooner, for example. “I love candlelight and really dim lighting. All the lighting now is really warm,” Morgan says.
Both designer and client agree that they enjoyed the collaborative nature of the process. “Don focused on what I wanted and took it to a higher level,” Morgan says. Doniphan agrees. “I took his personal taste into account. A lot of what I showed him, he sort of immediately loved,” he says. “I feel like if I’m with the right client, one of my favorite things to do is decorate for that person. I like to interpret who they are and who they want to be. We find that beautiful space in between, and that really gives Morgan a setting for the life that he wants to live.”
To that end, it was important to bring some elements from Morgan’s Johnson City, Tennessee, upbringing into his Uptown apartment. So he hired photographer Tom Raymond to shoot buildings his family has owned for generations in his hometown. “Some of the buildings are retro-looking. Some of them are historic,” Morgan says. “I really wanted some pieces from home.” The photographs now hang above his bed.
Also above the bed is a beautiful crest, which Doniphan collaborated on with Fort Worth artist Helen Altman. “Morgan loves the idea of heritage and family, so we reinterpreted some things and created this crest—a coat of arms. Helen ordered books and did research, and then we handpicked each element,” Doniphan says.
Now Morgan feels like he’s living the best of both worlds—weekends at the lake house and weekdays at the city apartment. “When I’m here, I feel like I’m really living in a city,” he says. “I can entertain in my living room—with great views of the city. People come over for drinks before we walk to dinner.”
Styled by Jenny O’Connor
Flowers by Haile Wossen