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Designer Traci Connell Delivers Her Signature "Ease of Glamour" with Hardworking Rugs

Designer Traci Connell has carved a niche for her eponymous studio, Traci Connell Interiors, with a unique decorating philosophy she's dubbed "Ease of Glamour."

By Jessica Harlan
Traci Connell photo
DALLAS -- Consumers seeking to simplify their lives with performance home products are typically do-it-yourselfers purchasing online. But one interior design firm is proving that glamorous, magazine-worthy rooms and hardworking furnishings are not mutually exclusive.

Dallas-based designer Traci Connell has carved a niche for her namesake company, Traci Connell Interiors, with a unique decorating philosophy she's dubbed "Ease of Glamour" -- an aesthetic she embraced long before the concept of livable luxury began to emerge.

"It's about encouraging families to make memories in their homes, not having to worry about the maintenance and the upkeep," she told RugNews.com in an exclusive interview. "We have armed ourselves with a lot of research and knowledge about finishes and fabrics that will still look like a million bucks, but will wear well."


By choosing high performance furnishings, Traci Connell Interiors delivers livable luxury with a white Feizy rug anchoring a glamorous open plan family room, above, adjacent to a stunning all-white white kitchen, below.

The company specializes in multi-room, full-scope projects, rather than individual rooms. "Because of the processes we have in place, we can go in and complete a full home in the blink of an eye," says Connell. 


Soft modern looks are what the company does best, and Connell says the designers go to great lengths to listen to their clients' stories, so they can incorporate elements from their interests and their past "to enhance their personality in the home."


One element that's always present is an area rug. Connell says in most cases, the area rug gets chosen and incorporated roughly three-quarters of the way into the design process -- typically fabrics or a piece of art are the starting point for the look of a room. 

A client's beloved heirloom rug becomes the starting point for a living room makeover by Traci Connell Interiors that rejuvenates traditional design with clean, uncluttered lines and a completely new look.


"But some of my best projects have been when we start with the area rug," says Connell. "I feel like it brings more personality to the rooms when we do that. Usually when we start with the rug, there's something about it that I love, usually there's a lot more color to them. Then we'll play off that - the upholstery will be more solid and we can tie the artwork back to it. Those rooms often end up being a little more whimsical and have more flair to them."


In keeping with her "Ease of Glamour" directive, performance/indoor-outdoor rugs are often used in Connell's projects. She prefers contemporary in-out looks, and loves their practicality. "You can just hose them off," she says. And she also likes how some new offerings made with the performance fibers have that requisite plushness. "That is so great when I'm trying to sell it for under breakfast tables or even in family rooms," notes Connell.


Designer Traci Connell espouses a soft modern aesthetic with area rugs a key element of her designs, here complementing solid fabrics and leathers with a defining Feizy rug pattern.


Besides the indoor/outdoor rugs, Connell tends to gravitate towards 100 percent wool, which she touts to her customers as being easy to maintain and clean (she'll also offer fabric protection services to ensure the rugs stay pristine), or broadloom rugs that are sized to order. "I stay away from viscose because of the upkeep," she says.


Another option that she uses whenever she has the opportunity: hair-on-hides or leather. She likes to point out to her customers that if it was durable enough to be on an animal, it's durable enough to be in a busy home.


Crisp lines and the absence of color in this off-white interior accented with bold touches of black exemplify the understated luxury achieved by Traci Connell Interiors with performance fabrics, finishes and rugs. 


In terms of area rugs trends, Connell says she's seeing a lot of texture, which ties in neatly with the relaxed-home look and feel. However, she's not always a fan of fringe and tassels: "you can't use those in, say, a dining room because you can't scoot your chair back."


She does love tone-on-tone organic patterns and washed antique-looking rugs. 




The creative space at Traci Connell Interiors is outfitted with marker board top tables once again illustrating the firm's penchant for combining glamor and practicality in its designs.


Clients can peruse all the available offerings for area rugs, upholstery fabrics, draperies, and finishes in Traci Connell Interiors' 4,000-square-foot studio, a comfortably residential-look space that boasts a kitchen for serving up drinks and snacks, a fully functioning conference room with a display TV for meetings and presentations, and a resource library for all the samples and swatches.


Inside the studio, Connell displays rugs she has on consignment. "I do this so I can educate my customers, showing them the feel of an indoor/outdoor rug, or how a 100 percent wool rug will shed at first but then will stop," says Connell. "Right now we have a beautiful emerald-green hide [on display], and it's great. We can show clients how you can just throw it down in a room."


The new Design Studio gives the Traci Connell team a space for teamwork, collaboration and brainstorming while reflecting the firm's Ease of Glamour design philosophy.


The area rugs are incorporated into vignette sitting areas, in individual designers' offices, and scattered throughout the studio. There are usually at least six at any given time, and the design company tries to switch them out a couple of times a year. 


With area rugs that combine great looks, luxurious hand, and durability, Connell says she and her design team are able to incorporate her signature "Ease of Glamour" into just about every project they undertake.  




It's hard to believe that Traci Connell wasn't always an interior designer.  In fact, she earned her college degree in elementary education and was a teacher for six years before retiring to be a stay-at-home mom. In her spare time, she dabbled by going to home shows and doing design projects with her mom, following a long-held passion for beautiful spaces.


Traci Connell Interiors brings varying textures, colors and area rugs together in a purposeful way that exemplifies the easy-care glamour the designer espouses.


When a friend remarked, "Wouldn't it be cool to do something for work that you actually loved?" it struck a chord with her, and Traci decided to take her passion seriously by starting a business as an interior designer about 21 years ago. She ran her business as a side career until she became a single mom and realized she truly needed the firm to succeed in order to support her family with the income. "I built my company from there, and now we are a firm of five," says Connell.


With numerous awards, and a growing presence as a panelist and speaker in High Point and Dallas Markets, the designer and her team often share how they have streamlined the process of building a home by fostering partnerships with builders and architects, and how they have amassed a portfolio that exudes luxury in every room with materials and furnishings that stand up to everyday life, giving clients "bulletproof" homes for kids, pets, and entertaining.


CAD floor plans and product choices are presented to Traci Connell Interiors' clients in tandem with fabric samples at presentations that engage the homeowner throughout the design process.

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