Twhere charming and original new concepts of Duro Hospitality have opened on Lower Greenville Avenue: coffee shop duro, an Italian wine and coffee bar, features boldly patterned interiors inspired by the great Milanese architect and designer Renzo Mongiardino. The café is embedded a house duro, a trio of stylish short-term rental apartments overflowing with exquisite furnishings, antiques and art. The apartments can be booked directly through the website or through Airbnb, and guests can have food and drinks sent upstairs from the cafe, while a private dining room is set aside in one of the apartments for catered dinners sisterDuros Trattoria next door which opened last year.
Hotelier Benji Homsey is one of four co-founders of Duro Hospitality, whose portfolio also includes The Charles and Bar Charles hotspots in the Dallas Design District. The new Casa concepts are a first for Dallas. “The ability to offer Sister and Café Duro amenities is unique for an Airbnb,” says Homsey. “We feel like this is an incredible collection of uses in a vibrant neighborhood with a great demographic and significant traffic density.”
Italian food and design are the common threads running through all Duro Hospitality concepts. Homsey and restaurateur Chas Martin, another Duro co-founder, traveled extensively to the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, Florence and Rome for inspiration and their passion for Italy is woven into the DNA of everything they do. Café Duro features a walk-in espresso bar and standing bars. The menu features Italian wines and beers along with paninis, small pizzas and pastas – all freshly interpreted for Duro and handcrafted in Sister’s kitchen.
Interior designer Corbin See, co-founder of Duro Hospitality, studied while at university in Florence, where he received a heavy dose of Italian culture and lifestyle, he says. “Be it cars, suits or antiques, the Italian approach to design is a bit rebellious. I’m obsessed with it.” Corbin and his brother Ross See, another Duro Hospitality co-founder, design all of Duro Hospitality’s interiors through their family-run business, Sees Design.
Cafe Duro’s muted yellow-and-green palette and patterned tile floors were inspired by Giacomo, the Milanese ristorante designed by Mongiardino, who often painted his interiors to imitate marble details. For the café, Corbin used umber and gray marbled wallpaper and patterned porcelain stoneware floors, a nod to antique floors across Italy.
A strikingly patterned banquette has a seat upholstered in a Deco-inspired geometric fabric by Pierre Frey, with a backrest covered in a classic landscape pattern designed by Timothy Corrigan for Perennials. The overall effect of so many different patterns is intoxicating. “In terms of design,” says Corbin, “Café Duro is so unconventional — but it works.”
Casa Duro, a one-of-a-kind Dallas retreat
uOn the ground floor, Casa Duro’s one- and two-bedroom apartments are named after the mothers of Duro’s founders — Susanna, Marcia, and Priscilla — and come equipped with espresso machines and kitchens ideal for cooking freshly made pasta and sauces that Pre-packaged are available in the cafe.
“I designed the apartments to feel like a pied-à-terre in Italy,” says Corbin, who infused each space with history and soul with classic furnishings that feel collected and inherited. “My journey with Duro has led me to spotlight traditional design because it is both timeless and easy to combine with contemporary pieces.”
Much of the furniture in the apartments comes from American furniture maker Dessin Fournir, who faithfully reproduce European antiques by hand, often finishing them with 22-carat gold and rare wood veneers. The company – once a favorite of top designers like Michael S. Smith, Mark D. Sikes and Steven Gambrel – left behind a wealth of exquisite inventory after its closure in 2019.
Corbin bought the furniture last year at a sale that included Dessin Fournir founder Chuck Comeau’s own collection of antiques and original prototypes. A scenic panel screen in one of the apartments is a prototype from Comeau’s personal collection.
Other furniture comes from sources like Obsolete, an online favorite for design-obsessed people, where Corbin found a mid-20th-century green sofa. A beautiful Hästens daybed, made in Sweden, was spotted in Dallas at Vinya.
Stark Aubusson rugs add to the heirloom feel, and vibrantly patterned linen drapes were designed by Jeffrey Bilhuber for Le Gracieux. The headboards in the bedrooms are by The Inside, which has partnered with European fabric houses Old World Weavers and Scalamandré. The linens are from Parachute Home and much of the art is from Corbin’s personal collection gathered at vintage and antique shops over the years.
The new Casa concepts have turned the wheels of imagination at Duro Hospitality. “It guides larger projects that we work on and becomes the building blocks of future ideas,” says Homsey. Upcoming projects include a new 4,800-square-foot concept down the street from The Charles, details of which Homsey is keeping secret for now. Duro is also working on concepts at the corner of Knox Street and Travis Street in the historic former site of the Highland Park Pharmacy, which is slated to open late fall or early next year.
Casa Duro, $375 to $450 per night, 2806 Greenville Ave., casa-duro.com; Cafe Duro, 2804 Greenville Ave., cafe-duro.com; Sister, 2808 Greenville Ave., 214.888.8660, sempresister.com.