Russ Peters and Bill Cates started working together 15 years ago, about five years into their domestic partnership.
Peters wasn’t sure about the deal at first.
Cates had left a long career working for a package design company that suddenly went out of business.
“He said, ‘How about I go in with you, and we work together?’ ” Peters says. “I was like, uh, that’s a lot of together time.”
Fifteen years on, their business relationship still works. Their personal partnership survived too.
Peters and Cates live in Stevens Park Village, in a magazine-worthy house where they’ve been for 10 years.
Their most challenging project was a total gut and redesign of a house on Edgefield Avenue in the Winnetka Heights Historic District.
Now that house, as well as their own, is a centerpiece of their portfolio. And the owners, Barry and Karen French, are still friends of Peters and Cates.
“They still like us, so I guess we did OK,” Cates says.
The design firm’s work will be on display this month as part of Dwell with Dignity’s Thrift Studio.
Dwell with Dignity, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this spring, is a non-profit that partners with the interior design industry to provide furniture and outfit homes for those moving into permanent housing. Moore is one of nine designers participating in the organization’s annual fundraiser called Thrift Studio. The pop-up shop features vignettes from each designer as well as fine art from 34 artists, including Oak Cliff-based Melissa Ellis. All items can be purchased, and 100 percent of the proceeds benefit the organization’s mission.
An opening preview party April 4 includes cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and allows shoppers to get an early start. Pay $175 to check out the goods from 6-7 p.m. or $125 for access between 7-9 p.m. (Insider tip: Some enthusiasts start lining up at 4 p.m.) Otherwise, the pop-up shop is free until May 4, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
“We always try to go to the opening party because it’s so much fun,” Peters says. “Every year it gets bigger and better.”
This year their firm designed a living room. They found a sofa in the Dwell with Dignity warehouse and covered it in a dark green fabric with a contrasting welt. Kravet Inc. donated all of the fabrics in their display.
“We can do anything we want because we don’t have a client,” Peters says. “So we wanted to have a big wow factor.”
They went with a Santa Fe theme, pairing the sofa with two chairs upholstered in wide black-and-khaki stripes. They added an acrylic coffee table. And they covered a side table in shagreen. A dated, dark brown 1980s book case from the warehouse was painted “an unusual yellow-y green,” he says.
“You can take a shape that is pretty traditional and give it this unusual color, and that makes it modern in a way,” he says.
They pull it all together with a big sea-grass rug layered with an oriental rug, “so you get that layered, exotic look.”
Add a big chandelier and mounds of pillows — donated from Sabira Collection — plus accessories, and it’s party-ready.