Aug 13

The Barbara Daseke Effect

Not long ago, our friend and client, Barbara Daseke, was in the showroom. As I watched her and Allan enjoying the fun of brainstorming about a new project, I realized how fortunate they are to have this kind of opportunity in our business. This expression of ideas bursts forth from those on fire with the love of beautiful things, and Barbara is one such designer.



Mrs. Daseke poses with friends at the 2014 Water Tower Gala. Flanking her are Terry Martin,

Managing Artistic Director, Water Tower Theatre (left) and Derek Blount, 

President of the Board of Directors, Water Tower Theatre


My first experience with Barbara was about 12 years ago at Allan Knight's original showroom at 1400 Hi Line. The purpose of her trip into the showroom was to scout items for one of numerous jobs she was orchestrating, but she quickly found something she couldn't live without. On a trip abroad, Allan and I had found a pristine collection of Chinese calligraphy brushes. We had just put them on the showroom floor when Mrs. Daseke found and purchased them for herself. That shared enthusiasm for beautiful things both old and new helped forge the relationship that we have with Mrs. Daseke.




Mrs. Daseke’s energy and giving spirit have instigated her involvement in many high-profile organizations here in Dallas. Her involvement with the arts led her to a position as a board member with The SMU School of the Arts. "I am happy to give my time to the university because the Meadows Museum is world renowned, and we are also very fortunate to have this level of program in Dallas."




In addition, as a long-time member of the board for the Water Tower Theatre in Addison, Barbara has organized the yearly gala for four years running. Anyone who has coordinated a large event like this knows the precision and planning that go into every detail. In terms of longevity, Barbara’s relationship with the Dallas Symphony has become one of enduring and consistent commitment. A former violinist, she believes in the powerful and complex connection that most of us have to music, plain and simple or complicated and symphonic. Whenever Barbara's passions turn to design, a recognizable pattern develops. A love of artifacts and connection to the past accentuates a professional attitude that is not only poised on the brink of contemporary but may easily relax into transitional or traditional settings.




Her current crucibles of design dedication may be found in the San Francisco Bay area and also a residence of note at Museum Tower. "I enjoy the process and have played almost every role in the design profession. Before I married and moved to Dallas, I used to have a large design firm in the San Francisco Bay area. I actually owned two semi-trucks with trailers. I drove those trucks on occasion, and you should have seen the looks I got on the road!" She pauses for a moment and then laughs at this memory.




Several years back, Barbara and her husband, businessman Don Daseke, decided to build their dream house. What developed is what Barbara likes to call "Allan Knight North," constructed from teak milled at one of Don's companies that focuses on exotic woods. "We wanted to stay where we were in Dallas.” A heavily wooded lot with a creek running through the lower portion of the property, it seems every homeowners' dream--at least for those who don’t want to feel as though they live in a large metropolis. Barbara admits that her working relationship with Allan has imbued the project with a connective tissue that is both serious and subtly vibrant. “We were lucky to be a part of this project from the very beginning. This modern structure is a jewel of contemporary design, and we can all take pride in her accomplishment,” said Allan as a postscript to my talk with Ms. Daseke.




As Barbara's ability to navigate design increases, so does her ability to navigate the globe. As a lover of animals, it was a no-brainer for her to take part in a trip in June to Tanzania and Rwanda in Africa that was organized by the Dallas Zoo. "The lions and elephants and any number of other wild animals were close enough to touch on occasion! The biggest treat came the day that we climbed a volcano in Rwanda to observe the silverback gorillas in their natural environment. There are very few left in the wild, so this is something I will always remember.”




We continued talking about her travels and settled into a conversation about a recent trip to Bhutan. "One morning we got an early start to hike a trail up to an important monastery accessible only by foot. Along the trail, we encountered some dogs, so being the animal lover I am, I of course called to one. Well, come to find out they were wild and one of them approached and bit me on my leg. Our guide was sure that the bite needed medical attention and gave me the option of going back down to the village to have my wound taken care of." Laughing, she recalled that she postponed the trip to the clinic in place of her pilgrimage. The monastery was amazing, and she wouldn't have missed seeing it for a dog bite or anything else.


Spoken like one who is on fire with the love of design!





photography courtesy of: Barbara Elliot Interiors. All rights reserved.


article by: Cearan Henley


Allan Knight and Associates / Allan Knight Luxury Blog ~ live beautifully


"live beautifully" is a registered trade tag line of Allan Knight & Associates. All rights reserved.

12 Comment(s)
  • James Newman said:

    WOW! What a gorgeous home! Great article and insight on this awesome client you have! =)

  • Carla Martinengo said:

    I love Barbara and her great personality. Her taste is absolutely impeccable in every aspect of her work.

  • Brianna McIntyre said:

    Cearan, you captured such a dynamic and philanthropic designer so well!

  • Marlene Martinez said:

    WOW! Teak home.....F A B U L O U S! AK collection is beautifully displayed!

  • Linda De Furia said:

    Fabulous home, elegant and sophisticated lady. We appreciate you!

  • Allan Knight said:

    What an inspiration for us, always fun, and always fresh and new, Thank you Barbara, our "Northern Exposure".........

  • Cearan Henley said:

    Wow, thanks everyone! And a note from Suzanne Tucker! So cool! But the biggest "thank you!" goes out to Barbara for lending her time to the process of collecting information and images and other details. Participation is what makes for a well produced design blog. Cearan

  • Suzanne Tucker said:

    What a wonderful write-up on Barbara! When I was fortunate to meet her in your showroom a few years ago, I could see how beautiful she is - on the outside as well as the inside! Talent, beauty, humor and a sense of adventure - everything we need in the design biz and in life! xo Suzanne

  • ben goldfarb said:

    Great background story on Barbara...fabulous home!!

  • Melissa O'Dowd said:

    Beautiful home! I love the exotic woodwork and AK Eda Ka chandelier shot!

  • Joey Robinson said:

    Barbara, We love you.

  • Keith May said:

    What a beautiful home! Very nice post, Cearan. One of my favorites.