Hospitality Design - July 2011 - 106
Turner Duncan and Kimberley Miller
Design Duncan Miller Ullmann, Dallas
When Turner Duncan and Kimberley Miller aren’t on the road, the husband and wife walk their dogs every morning and take turns making coffee in their North Dallas home. “Starting the day right is key,” shares Duncan. For Duncan and Miller, spending time together often takes the form of throwing dinner scouring parties antiques for friends, in stores
Connecticut for striking ﬁnds, or poring over design plans. Since 1986, the partners of Design Duncan Miller Ullmann (originally Duncan & Miller Design) have been working side by side, and according to Miller, “it’s a continual joy.” The couple ﬁrst met when Miller started working at Duncan’s former company, Duncan Interiors, Inc. Before long, the two started dating, paving the way for an ambitious professional partnership to boot. What makes it so comfortable for them to have such intertwined lives, explains Duncan, “is that we both highly respect each other’s design talents and business values. As a couple, neither one is sensitive to the other’s evaluation or critique of a design statement, and the result is a very powerful and creative solution to design. We play off of each other very well and the interchange and how we build concepts is fantastic. The ﬁrm has continued to grow successfully because of our combined strengths and mutual goals.” To ensure a clear line of communication for both staff and clients, either Duncan or Miller is designated “principal” in charge of a speciﬁc project, with support coming from the other. Currently, the duo, known for the Hotel ZaZa properties in Dallas and Houston, have their hands full working on a JW Marriott, two resorts, and a series of custom private villas in China, as well as Hotel Éilan in San Antonio, the renovation of a Dallas Marriott, and a restaurant for the Culinary Institute of America. Talk of, say, company ﬁnances is reserved strictly for the ofﬁce arena. However, Duncan and Miller often bounce off design ideas and inspirations in and out of the ofﬁce. Says Miller: “It really helps that we have 25 years of our shared experiences and travels; we will reference a place or design from a vacation 10 years ago and we immediately get it.” hd
From top: The Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City; a renovated guestroom at the Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach, California.