By Babs Rodriguez
Coppell’s original post office is small in size but big on design thanks to owner Dana Pugh, who is expanding her treasure island — and her mother’s legacy
Dana Pugh has been a treasure hunter for as long as she can remember. It’s one of many facets of her personality that she credits to her mama. Pansee Fern Pickens Cox was the owner of a vintage shop in Grand Prairie when Pugh was growing up, and it is her eye for the collectible that fills her daughter’s shop, Tattered Style Home, with things both unexpected and covetable. “She is my hero,” Pugh says. “Everything you see is her influence. In the ’60s, after my dad and grandparents died, she struggled to raise four young children on her own. Thrifting was a necessity that she made into an adventure.”
Adapting and making do meant surviving. But at Pugh’s tiny retail space in old town Coppell, her mother’s mantra fills her days with grace and her life with meaning.
Tidy and organized by nature, Pugh embraces lean, clean design and neutral colors, and curiosities that fall into both categories. A collector with a curator’s soul, the interior designer-turned-shopkeeper has a keen eye for one-of-a-kind vintage pieces and artisan-made wares that make Tattered Style Home an antiques store-gallery-gift shop hybrid. The inventory of new, rustic, collectible and desirable things — from furnishings and housewares to jewelry and artwork — turns over rapidly thanks to dedicated fans. Which is to say that, like a river, the shop you step into today is not the one you will wade into tomorrow. There’s always a box of something awaiting its turn in the limelight of the 500-square-foot former post office in the historic heart of the small town. And now, after four successful years, Pugh’s wares are flowing into the space next door, too.
A ’40s-era laundromat-turned-gas station will become Tattered Style Too, a showroom/sales space for larger pieces including more furniture. An opening is planned for early November. And as temps cool, a green space behind the two stores — a historic community gathering place shaded by century-old trees — will again host events. Beginning in November, expect Saturday appearances and wares from local artisans ranging from ceramicists to woodworkers.
Pugh, who grew up in Grand Prairie and has lived in St. Louis and West Texas, says she and her husband migrated to Coppell when looking for a place to raise their three sons. The schools appealed to her, as did the historic downtown where the couple eventually bought the parcel of land that included the old post office, the adjacent green space and a midcentury house that she has plans to restore. But it’s the renovation of the vintage filling station that will allow Pugh to channel even more of the can-do spirit of her mother, who passed away in 2020.
“I’ve always had a vision for what Tattered Style could be, and as my husband and I acquired the other properties, it became clear how we’d tie it all together.” But while there will be more space and events, hours of business remain limited to Thursday through Saturday (she does take appointments for other days). “The rest of the week I am sourcing, restoring, styling, staging and running the back office.” Pre-pandemic, she was out and about shopping every couple of weeks. Pugh hopes to return to that soon, as well as take a couple of far-flung buying trips every year. While she enjoys good flea markets here and abroad, she notes, “I don’t go to estate sales or garage sales.”
Her finds often show up on Instagram. “I don’t really market myself,” Pugh says. “But I do get a lot of interest off of my Insta account, selling to customers in Fort Worth, Denton, Flower Mound, Dallas; and I ship to both coasts. That interest encourages me.” Return visitors tell her where purchases from Tattered Style have landed in their homes. More than once during our visit, Pugh breaks away to hug client-friends or to answer questions about the diverse collection of offerings.
“You are in my apartment in California,” a young female shopper tells her. “You are popping in LA.”
The onetime interior designer doesn’t have time for full-on interior renovations and remodels anymore, but she does have clients who share her joy in upcycling, reuse and sustainable products. Everything has a story, and visiting with Pugh is as delightful as the shopping. “I tell people all the time that they are welcome to stay, drop by, decompress and not buy a thing.”
“I love what I do,” the self-described “picker” says. She swivels between boxes of new offerings waiting to be unpacked, gestures toward the perfectly arranged shelves and laughs. “I work 80 hours a week to avoid a 40-hour job.”
Tattered Style: What’s In Store
“If it’s not old, it is handcrafted,” says shopkeeper Dana Pugh of her constantly rotating inventory. A sample of the one-off, sustainable and nontoxic products gathered by the mindful curator:
- Hand-loomed towels made by women at a Tunisian fair-trade shop
- Plush pillow covers, right, upcycled from Eastern European rugs
- An antique 10-foot wood kitchen table from France, gracefully aged from years of service; a rustic pie safe and cupboard; and a chinoiserie coffee table
- Enamel surgical trays and vintage glazed pottery
- Leather fly swatters, designed by Pugh in collaboration with local artisan Odin Clack
- Locally made kirigami (folded and cut paper) artwork, below
- San Diego jewelry designer Tara Gasparian’s one-of-a-kind necklaces, featuring antique bits and bobs such as sterling watch fobs and charms to African glass beads
- Small-batch artisan soaps sourced from Marseille, France, and Caldwell, Texas
- Sydney Hale soy candles with a giveback to support animal rescue efforts