Making ‘a lot of stuff’ look good

The alligator purse and gloves belonged to her grandmother. Photos by Can Türkyilmaz

The alligator purse and gloves belonged to her grandmother. Photos by Can Türkyilmaz


Buzzwords such as “minimal,” “stark” and “contemporary” clutter the pages of home design magazines, but Lake Highlands resident Sid Snively is resisting the interior-decorating rule makers and filling her 3,300-square-foot two-story home with things that make her feel good.

Each piece of furniture has a story. Every keepsake holds a memory.

“Am I nostalgic?” Sid asks her husband, Brad, passing off a question just posed to her. He pauses and answers, “We both enjoy history and have a respect for the past.”

The couple commissioned Henry Walker to build the pine china cabinet in the breakfast area. The artisan once owned a Dallas store called Henry Walker Old English Pine, they explain. “Years ago, we bought bedroom furniture from him. When I was looking for a piece for this space, I found that people don’t do pine anymore,” Sid says. When you do find it, on eBay, for example, it is outrageously expensive, she adds. So they tracked down Walker, who lives near White Rock Lake and had retired, and he built the piece.

The cabinet is specifically intended to store a collection of 1940s-era French trays hand-painted in fruit and floral designs.

“My mother started collecting these — they are called Tole trays — and I finished the collection after she died,” Sid says.

To the left, a wall-mounted antique medicine cabinet holds a great-uncle’s Civil War buttons, Sid’s dad’s high school class ring, her grandmother’s watch, a five-cent stamp, mom’s good scissors (“you know, the ones she always told you you couldn’t touch,” Sid says with a smile), and a carved statuette of a lederhosen-clad boy, a souvenir from her Lake Highlands High School senior trip to Germany (“It was the first time I rode in an airplane or even left Lake Highlands,” she recalls).

Geometric-patterned stained-glass windows, when the light is right, project Sid’s preferred colors—red, yellow, green—onto the living room.

The living room art consists of pieces collected from travels — a map from Paris, for example, and an oil painting of a path Brad and Sid walked on their Pebble Beach honeymoon.

The wall over the staircase showcases framed war posters — it creates a cool antique-y feel that is echoed in woven red-and-rust-colored rugs, rich upholstery and showstopping vintage-chic chandeliers. Dona Rosene, the Lake Highlands-based owner of Dona Rosene Interiors, is responsible for tying things together with most of the aforementioned accouterments. Rustic flower arrangements by Kathy McCabe are repeated around the ground floor.

Beside the formal dining table, which is under one magnificent chandelier, is another display case containing more memorabilia — a silver dollar from 1881 (grandfather’s first dollar), grandmother’s dice, a Limoges collection. The other walls in this room bear paintings — one, a deep woodscape that feels like something you could step inside — by Sid’s mom, who, like Sid’s grandmother before her, was an artist (and a talented one).

A piano-room bookshelf displays an antique alligator purse and an old camera. Alongside it, an oil painting of Sid and Brad’s daughter Caroline dries. It must dry for weeks, Sid explains. Caroline and her sister, Grace, both attend the University of Texas in Austin.

The girls’ rooms upstairs are cozy, with high, pillow-packed canopy beds, custom-made lamps — a cute ivory fabric one crafted by McCabe stands out — and soft limes and pastels on the walls.

The family moved to this Lanshire home in 2009, a year after it was built. Sid says she had trouble letting her parents go after they died, and Caroline told her she needed this house to keep her busy. It would be a good project to work on, the girl told her mother. Sid laughs about it now.

The keepsakes on display bring Sid’s good memories to life, she says. “These things make me feel my family’s — the ones who are gone and the ones who are still here — presence in my life every day.”