Darla Bankston May

The Houston-based interior designer responsible for the soothing tones inside Rancho Sin Nombre shares her expert advice on working with neutrals, mixing rustic and contemporary styles, and crafting timeless spaces.

Since 1999, Darla Bankston May and her design staff at Bankston May Associates have blended luxury with functionality for clients internationally and throughout the United States. The Houston-based firm, of which Bankston May is the Principal Designer, is known for mastering styles that vary from classic and contemporary to rustic and traditional. Recently, Bankston May designed the interiors of Rancho Sin Nombre, a Houston-family's getaway ranch house located just outside the city limits. With its comfortable-but-not-too-country interiors, Rancho Sin Nombre exemplifies the art of timeless design. We asked Bankston May to elaborate on how she does it.

Darla Bankston May

Cowboys & Indians: How do you create a neutral design that isn’t boring?
Darla Bankston May: I find that mixing different textures and finishes gives a neutral space interest. A good example would be combining polished concrete floors with rustic stone walls. Also, using various shades of a neutral color palette and adding bold accents with a rug, pillows, or art.

Darla Bankston May

C&I: What’s your number one rule when it comes to interior design?
DBM: Not to follow trends. I want my interiors to be classic and timeless; staying true to what the client loves. If a client wants something trendy, then I encourage small scale so it’s easy to change when they grow tired of it.

Darla Bankston May

C&I: How do you find balance with contemporary style in a rustic, ranch setting?
DBM: I think about what elements can be chosen from the beginning to marry both styles and still fit the needs of the space. Stone walls combined with modern iron and glass doors or cabinets are a good example of balancing the two styles. When choosing the furnishings, contemporary statement pieces are fabulous in rooms with rustic materials and finishes.

Darla Bankston May

C&I: What are your favorite neutral textures to combine?
DBM: Rustic wood floors and smooth neutral walls combined with antique and modern furniture upholstered in mohair, velvet, or leather. I love combining the old with the new.

Darla Bankston May

C&I: Do you have a go-to neutral paint color?
DBM: I work hard to implore original color palettes with each new design. However, Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee and White Dove are two of my favorites.

Darla Bankston May

Read more about Bankston May in Wide Open Spaces, from our February/March 2018 issue. Photography (All images): Courtesy Bankston May Associates


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