It’s full steam ahead on the Austin Tudor House, as our contractor, Austin’s Home Renovation, started demo right after we closed, but I’ve been neck deep in design decisions since we first saw the house. The house is pretty different from our Townhome, with lower ceilings and a less-open floor plan and my design style is evolving along with it. Our hope is that one day we will bring children home to this house, so I’m fully leaning into a cozier, more layered look that’s evocative of a nostalgic family home, but with my signature edited, sculptural style.
Photo: Madeline Harper
The house itself is not old (it was built in the 1980s) but I am fully leaning into the Tudor-inspired architecture and embracing the lower ceilings and smaller rooms to create cozy destinations, rather than one open space. I’ll be using more color on the walls (though keeping with my favorite muted, dusty palette) and choosing plenty of living finishes like unlacquered brass and marble that will age gracefully over time. The house feels symbolic of us putting down roots in Austin, and I want the materials to reflect that — a major reason we are keeping the existing Texas limestone on the exterior.
Don’t worry, I haven’t gone full maximalist-English-country-house, so everything will still feel tightly edited and really elevated. But I do want the materials and finishes to lend texture and character. Most of the work will be focused on the interior as we rework the layout on the first floor to work better for our family, and breathe a new life into the existing spaces.
Seattle-based designer Heidi Caillier is a big source of inspiration for this house. Her designs are layered with pattern and color, and feel both relaxed and sophisticated. When I started a deep dive into what exactly draws me to her work, I realized just how much wallpaper she uses. Not necessarily bold, statement patterns, but subtle textures or small patterns that read like a texture. In our Austin Townhome, we used millwork to add timelessness to the walls, and this time around we are excited to create warmth through wallpaper and other old-world finishes like lime wash.
A mock-up of “the Snug”
I’d also really like to use a plaid wallpaper — I love the slightly masculine edge that it can add to a room that has more feminine details like pleated lampshades or furniture with barley-twist legs. I have my eye on a plaid paper from a French retailer, Elitis, for “the Snug,” which is what we are calling the family room off the kitchen. I’m also hoping to use a deep, saturated color grasscloth in the dining room, and another plaid and a textured paper in other bedrooms.
For more interior design inspiration, have a look at these posts: