Claire Ratliff’s latest project is, in every way, one made for a growing family. First, there’s the home’s very origin: After starting their family in a small home in Dallas, Paige and Mark Sachs bought the lot across the street, where they custom-built the perfect home for their now five-person crew. Ratliff, a Design Partner at Cullman & Kravis who went to college with the Sachs, had helped outfit their first home, and the Sachs again looked to her to develop the next one—with a very clear mandate. “She wants her kids to be able to live in every room,” says Ratliff.

Behind the home’s elegant look, Ratliff employed a slew of clever techniques and materials to make it surprisingly kid-friendly. Outdoor rugs, vinyl wallpaper, and performance fabric live harmoniously alongside art and antiques; thoughtful seating arrangements invite the kids to eat, read, and converse everywhere the adults would.

A big part of making that happen was developing a layout custom-designed for the family. “They had very specific ways they wanted the house to function,” Ratliff says, noting they “love the idea of multi-purpose rooms.”

“In the old house, they had a formal living room, formal dining room, and family room. Paige was like, ‘we never go in the dining or living room.'” And what’s the point of that?

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