HGTV Designer of the year, Ginger Curtis pulled from her childhood to create the small-town Texas retreat of her dreams.
Ginger Curtis had just given birth to her fifth child when she found a lump.
“I was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer. I went through 18 months of chemo, and as I was finishing and could start to think clearly again, I gut-remodeled my house and created a sanctuary,” she says. “You shouldn’t have to fight for your life in order for your home to be healing and nurturing. And I thought, ‘I’m going to do this for other people.’ I felt like I’d been given a gift.”
That was 13 years ago. Now, Curtis is the award-winning owner and principal designer of Urbanology Designs in North Richland Hills, Texas, in the Dallas–Forth Worth area. She’s also the innovator behind the Urbanology Cottage, a design-forward boutique getaway in Weatherford, Texas, about half an hour from Fort Worth.
She struck gold with an off-market, 100-year-old cottage she bought from a woman whose husband had recently passed away. “The kitchens and bathrooms needed a full gut, and it was extremely outdated, but it was perfect,” says Curtis. “I wanted a diamond in the rough, and I got one.”
Over the next six months, Curtis and her team transformed the space while preserving some of the original details, like the floors, millwork, molding, and doorknobs. Inspired in part by her childhood, the home is “very personal,” says Curtis. “Each room is named after a fictional character that’s inspired me. The primary bedroom is called Miss Longstocking, and it has all these nods to Pippi Longstocking.” The Colonel Mustard bedroom is named for the character in the board game Clue, which Curtis spent hours playing as a child. It has a moody, mysterious vibe—and five miniature game pawns hidden throughout the room.
The central idea driving the kitchen’s redesign was nostalgia, says Curtis. “I wanted to create a warm, welcoming and familiar kitchen that would make someone who has been alive for 100 years smile. But I also wanted to speak to a 22-year-old and be able to cross the gap between generations.”
One way Curtis achieved this was by tiling the backsplash behind the range with Ann Sacks Benton Mosaics Aletta With Carrara and Nero Marquina tile. “It’s black and white, and it feels like a tile that could have been around in the 20s or 30s,” she says. “It feels both modern and old, and it’s a little unexpected, that black-and-white pattern with the chocolatey-plum cabinets and green wallpaper.”
The primary bathroom also has a modern-meets-vintage vibe. “The wallpaper feels traditional, and then you have this very modern tile,” says Curtis, referring to the Ann Sacks Dolomite Corina Mosaics Split Hexagon tile on the floor and the Ann Sacks Savoy Swiss Cross Mosaic in Graphite (which Curtis was the first to install) on the shower walls. “It’s that mix of worlds proving this can not only be done, it can rock.”
In the hall bath, Curtis tiled the shower walls with Ann Sacks Savoy ceramic tile in Lantern and the shower floor and pan with Ann Sacks Kodra Mosaic in Cloud With Flint. “This was fun because we did a purple grout with that tile on the shower,” says Curtis. “You wouldn’t think of purple and black and white. There’s a lot happening, but the tile on the floor adds some warmth. It feels familiar in a really good way.”
What’s less familiar? The whole cottage is shoppable. As people enjoy this space that’s so different from what they might normally encounter, why not let them take it home with them? How many times in life do you get to try before they buy? Now they can interact with those products and our brand.” Curtis sees the cottage as a marketing tool to drive business back to Urbanology Designs. “But it’s also for everyday people who just want a beautiful getaway,” she says.
She has aspirations for more high-end short-term rentals in Texas, Florida, Colorado, and Miami. “I wanted to prove to myself that if I can put a designer Airbnb in this small town, what do you think I can do when we put one in the mountains or on a lake?”
May 12, 2023
Surrounded by nearly 100 trees, discover how actress Ashley Williams, with the help of designer Lauren Martin-Moro of Alchemy Collective, transformed a "huge disaster" into a contemporary space perfect for her family of four.
NYC power couple Brian Atwood and Jake Deutsch craft a weekend home in their own likeness with laidback, easygoing warmth and an unapologetic dose of glamour.