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The Selby House

Designer Cat Carothers is merging past and present through a collection of furniture and art in her Design District studio.

A well-educated professional with years of experience, Cat Carothers received her college degree in Art History at the University of Kansas, and an MFA from the prestigious New York School of Interior Design. After graduation, she went to work in 2016 at a new company just ramping up called WeWork. “It was a good experience, starting at a small company and seeing how it scaled,” she explains. Cat worked as a commercial designer and in construction and project management.

After Covid struck, Cat and her husband moved to Dallas. She transitioned from commercial to residential design. But, her greatest passion was furniture and objects. “How could I stay in design and go back to what I really loved, art history and the historical context behind pieces?” she reasoned. That’s when The Selby House was born, starting in the couple’s home before eventually opening a space in the Design District in 2022.

Working as a residential designer showed Cat the ropes in Dallas. “I didn’t want this to be a thing I did four hours a week and called it a ‘business,’” she explains. She quickly got to know the showrooms, and the layouts establishing a Selby House distinction of reliance on area craftsmen, while supporting local artisans and trades. “There are so many talented upholsters and refinishers, cabinetmakers, and millworkers that are never in the spotlight.”

Originally Cat’s emphasis was exclusively on vintage pieces. “Now I’m bringing in more contemporary artists, and artisans, like ceramicists.” The focus remains on vintage, but it ranges from collector’s pieces to anonymous rare finds.

She says some of what sets The Selby House apart is her expertise in combining pieces from different times, styles, and origins, rather than collecting items from a single period. “We range from mid-century modern to American, Scandinavian, Italian, French,” an eclectic combination. Cat likes blending pieces and helping modernize the outlook people have when buying and collecting, making it a personalized, engaging, and collaborative experience for customers.

Global colleagues are continually sourcing for Cat. Plus, there are many tools available to modernize the process. “We don’t have to go to Europe to find a piece for a client.” She’s also focused on custom sourcing. “Just because I may not have it in studio, doesn’t mean I can’t find it.” There are exclusives at The Selby House, quality pieces, and one-of-a-kinds. “I want to find uniques with significant provenances that clients can have for a lifetime, not just a piece that looks like something from a large furniture retailer.”

Park Cities residents are deeply invested in their homes. Cat wants consumers to know that she’s a good resource for finding one-of-a-kind objects or pieces of furniture for their home, big or small. When looking for a unique gift, or something special for an event, she is a resource.

“My studio can be a source of inspiration, a space for clients to come and collaborate. Maybe they’re stuck and don’t know what they want a room to look like. Or what piece they want. We’re here for sourcing needs as well as inspiration.”

One of the reasons Cat started The Selby House is the repetitiveness she observed in Dallas, different from what she calls a “New York mentality.” This local pattern of “follow the leader” consumerism presented a colossal opportunity. “Why does everyone have to own the same chair?” In New York consumers said, “How can I find the coolest chair … that no one else has?” Nowadays you can get a sofa in a week. Or online in three days. An appreciation of quality design and craftsmanship can get lost in the shuffle of today’s furniture market. The Selby House is embracing originality, individuality, authenticity, and the rich stories behind furniture and works of art. “I want to bring that back to life,” she says.

“We range from mid-century modern to American, Scandinavian, Italian, French."

“My studio can be a source of inspiration."