As a homesick Texan, I always enjoy connecting with talent in the Lone Star State, particularly with fellow Southern Methodist University alumna! Today I am happy to introduce Johnson Hunt Interiors, a full service interior design firm based in Dallas, Texas. Designers Sara Johnson and Morgan Hunt became friends through their sorority at SMU. Upon graduation, Sara pursued a career in real estate, and Morgan went into private equity, yet neither could deny their creative spirit. So they joined forces and pursued their dreams through the creation of Johnson Hunt Interiors. Traditionalists at heart, Morgan’s aesthetic is pretty and feminine, while Sara likes color and modern elements. Together, they offer beautifully customized interiors that blend seasoned heirlooms with contemporary style. Welcome Sara and Morgan!
TGP: Please tell me a little about yourselves and how Johnson Hunt Interiors began.
M: I was raised in South Carolina where bare feet are the choice footwear and the tea is sweet. While I had an affinity for keeping up with the boys, my love for design and all things feminine showed its roots at a young age. From rearranging my room weekly, to requesting the best seamstress I knew, my late grandmother, to fashion my prom dress from my design, I cannot remember a time when I have not been designing. Filled with wanderlust and ambition, I hopped a flight to Texas to attend college at SMU. I graduated with a degree in finance and worked as an analyst at a private equity firm, and filled my free time with travel, scouring antique shops and creating artwork. I met my husband on vacation in Sea Island, GA and he proposed three months later. Fast forward seven years and we have four kiddos.
S: I was born and raised in West Texas and headed to the big city of Dallas to attend SMU. I met my husband there, and after graduation I had high hopes of becoming the next Katie Couric. Alas, a real estate opportunity arose to flip some condos near SMU, and I fell in love again with decorating and design. I remember choosing the wallpaper in my childhood bedroom (which I still dream about), attending design meetings with my mom’s designer and flipping through the fabric samples for hours. The list goes on…. I was also very much inspired by my summers in New England and scouring tag sales at gorgeous homes on the Connecticut coast. My grandmother taught me how to spot a valuable antique by looking at the construction of case goods and weight of silver.
M: Sara and I have known one another for years. She got my name from the Pi Phi babysitting list and I spent my early twenties oogling her life – cue the handsome husband and beyond precious children. Her youngest son and my oldest child are the same age, so we have always kept in touch. This fall we got together and started planting the seeds for a joint venture. It quickly parlayed into the opening of our design firm.
TGP: How would you describe your design aesthetic, and do your individual styles differ?
S: We have the deepest respect for each other’s aesthetic. While we have the same vision for a space, Morgan has a very pretty, feminine flair, while I like to work with color and modern elements. Together we create interesting, unique and gorgeous spaces. We are truly lucky to have one another and we hope our clients can feel our synergy.
TGP: What made you decide to trade in careers in real estate and private equity for interior design, and how did you decide to combine forces?
S: Interior design actually got me into real estate, as I was “flipping” homes after college. It seemed to make sense to become a licensed Realtor, and I sold homes for twelve years. I came upon this quote a couple of years ago, “There are people less qualified than you, doing the things you want to do, simply because they decided to believe in themselves. Period,” source unknown. It rang true with me after years of thinking about jumping into the interior design business. As the big 4-0 approached, it was time to fully pursue my passion of interior design, and I still hold a Texas real estate license with Mustang Realty.
M: I am an entrepreneur at heart, so I knew having a business background would be invaluable to any future pursuit. I launched a clothing line in the fall my second son was born, and while I loved every single aspect of clothing design, I decided to focus on designing my family. I paused my fashion blog and clothing line and went on to have two more children. My baby just turned one in December so I am back!
TGP: Who are your favorite interior designers, past and present?
M: Oh my, the list is endless. My grandmother and aunt. Miles Redd. Gil Schafer. Ashley Whittaker. My talented friends, Amy Berry and Clary Bosbyshell.
S: Ashley Whittaker and Alessandra Branca. Local designers, Carrie Hatfield, Avrea Wagner and Lindley Arthur.
TGP: Where do you find inspiration?
M: Everywhere. Travel especially. Other designers. Fashion. Since Sara and I both were born with it, designing comes naturally and we literally eat, sleep, and breathe design.
S: Our text chain could be a novel of its own.
TGP: What are five luxuries you cannot live without?
S: Face Time with family, a turfed backyard so no more muddy shoes from my boys, Nest thermostat, and Amazon.
M: Ditto Sara! And Cle de Peau concealer, high heels, summers in the southeast, and my children.
TGP: Do you have any favorite or “signature” touches you like to incorporate within your designs? Patterns, antiques, details, linens, etc?
M: We are both traditionalist at heart. While the market is inundated with new product everywhere you look, we feel there is nothing that can match the physical hunt for the perfect piece. Antiques are part of our blood so naturally that is where our minds go at the beginning of a project. D. Porthault will find a spot in most of our projects so beware future clients! And lacquer. Oh, how it makes us weak in the knees. But really the most influential, signature pieces in a design are personal to each client. We are mix masters at highlighting personal elements that tell a story like a collection of ironstone or sterling silver.
TGP: When embarking upon a new project, what is your design process?
S: It is all about the client. We always begin with an in-home consultation where we ask a bazillion questions and really get to know the needs, desires and taste of the client. Your home is where you begin and end your day, so while we all love a beautifully designed space, our philosophy goes one step further to ensure the client can also fully live their best life in the space.
TGP: When you aren’t busy decorating, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
M: I am playing with Calico Critters and braiding hair while simultaneously throwing the football and unjamming nerf bullets. And when the kids are asleep, I am rearranging my entire house and checking the new listings in Charlottesville, VA where I hope to one day have a home.
S: Attending my boys’ various sporting events, volunteering at the boys’ schools, long lunches with my bestie, enjoying nature in New Mexico, soaking up the sun in Southern California
TGP: Anything else you would like to add?
M + S: Thank you for this fun, amazing opportunity to be featured. We cannot wait to see where this journey takes us.
S: Oh, and since she does not like to acknowledge how insanely creative she is, Morgan authored a children’s book which will be available in the spring! And I have a little something creative up my sleeve, maybe a vintage lamp line…keep in touch!
Thank you Morgan and Sara for joining us today, I cannot wait to follow your exciting new career path! For additional information, please visit Johnson Hunt Interiors and follow @johnsonhuntinteriors on Instagram.
Photography by Emery Davis Bastable.