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Joseph Minton: Fort Worth’s Most Iconic Designer

Joseph Minton: Fort Worth’s Most Iconic Designer

Renowned designer Joseph Minton discovered his knack for decorating at a young age. 

The 90-year-old recalled how his mom would get onto him for rearranging the furniture around his family home when he was still a child.

Design was always one of Minton’s greatest passions, although he didn’t necessarily expect it to become his full-time career — previously working as the city attorney for Fort Worth and a personnel officer in the U.S. Air Force. In fact, his exceptional career began as a fluke, really.

“When I worked with the trust department of the Continental Bank, the chairman, who was a friend and neighbor, knew that I had design ability from just seeing my house and being my friend,” Minton says. “So, he asked me to design the two top floors of the bank, which at the time was the tallest building in Fort Worth. And I got David Corley to help, and it turned out to be a fabulous job.

“When we finished the construction and design work, the bank asked what they could do for us, and I said I wanted to have the first party in that space. So, we invited a bunch of people for this big party. And that very night, David and I decided to go into business together and start our design firm.”

Now, for more than 40 years, Minton’s design vision has influenced thousands, garnering national attention in highly prestigious publications and numerous awards for his work.

Within two years of the design firm’s launch, Minton’s work was published in Architectural Digest — an honor very few designers have received as frequently as Minton. 

Appearing in the magazine 12 times over, Minton twice landed on the cover and twice in Architectural Digest’s “AD 100” edition, which the magazine describes as “an exclusive guide to the World’s Finest Interior Designers.” The edition provides a comprehensive list of the world’s top design, décor, and architecture talents.

Minton’s work has also received praise in The New York Times, and in one excerpt, journalist Rita Reif said his clients “delight in the unexpected.” 

“If you don’t take some chances, you’ll end up with boring rooms,” Minton told The Times in 1976.

More recently in 2017, the Texas Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art presented Minton with its Board of Directors Award — a prestigious award bestowed every two years to designers who embody the spirit of John Staub, a legendary designer and architect whose talents were widely recognized around the nation in the early 1900s.

Family Roots

Born and raised in Fort Worth, Minton is a fifth-generation resident, whose roots go back to the mid-1800s when his great-great-grandparents moved westward from Mansfield — the town that they co-founded in the mid-1800s — to become some of the earliest settlers in the former Army fort. 

His great-great-grandfather, Julian Feild, was the town’s first postmaster and signed the bond for the construction of Fort Worth’s first courthouse.

“And my great-grandfather put the phone system in Fort Worth,” Minton says. “We had the first phone, and it was ‘1,’ and they kept that number through the 1920s, even when my mom went to college down in Austin at the University of Texas.” 

Upon leaving home to attend the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, Minton hoped to study architecture, but this steered him in another direction, and he, instead, studied history before returning to North Texas to attend the Southern Methodist University for his doctorate of jurisprudence.

Engrossed in his studies, Minton didn’t have much time to think about architecture while in college. But the passion reemerged when he was first lieutenant in the Air Force and traveled overseas to England.

“I was really influenced by the architecture over there and loved the antiques and décor inside the English homes,” Minton says.

He realized, then, that he wanted to grace people in the place he called home — Dallas-Fort Worth — with the same design aesthetics.

While Minton prefers contemporary and traditional works, his hands have dabbled in just about every style. Among his favorite places to design: log cabins in the mountains.

Minton currently houses his design studio in Dallas, along with his antique shop, splitting most of his time between his workplace and his two homes — one in Highland Park and the other, a condominium in the Forest Park tower.

Still to this day, design is a passion that Minton hopes to continue for several years more. 

“I’m 90. I’m still working. And I’m in perfect health,” Minton says. “I want to go past 100.”  

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