The first time Sarah Sammis' oldest daughter, Perri, saw this house (which would eventually become her family's home) in the Highland Park neighborhood of Dallas, she balked, saying "It's gross!" And then she retreated to the car and waited for her mother to finish the tour with the real estate agent.
Luckily, on a second-chance visit to the house, this time with husband Bruce in tow, Sarah saw beyond the warped floors and overgrown landscaping and admired the ample outdoor space, sky-high ceilings, and fairly open layout—all quite rare for a home built in the early 1900s. They were sold.
Twelve years later, when the home was due for a major refresh, Perri proved to be much more involved in the process. She was responsible for finding Amy Berry on Instagram and recommending the designer to her parents. Then, at Berry's first meeting with the Sammises, they discovered that they had actually met before at the Dallas hospital where both Berry and Perri were born—on the exact same day.
With kismet on their side, they began working on the home's expansive backyard, hoping to create a poolside outdoor living area that felt as cozy as a living room but with the glamour quotient of a fabulous hotel's cabana. Once Berry finished transforming the space into a heaven-on-earth veranda that's 100% pet- and wet swimsuit-proof, Sarah invited her inside.
While the outdoor living room had been composed mainly of new pieces, Berry's interiors took a different, less shop-heavy route. First, she emptied the house to paint it and then shopped the family's own possessions. From there, she moved pieces into different rooms to play around with scale and reupholstered furniture to create a sunny take on traditional style.
Berry's signs of success came from hearing the veranda had turned into the family's outdoor living area, accommodating everything from morning coffee dates to a baby shower for 20- plus guests, with enough seating for all. See how she pulled it all together.