Feature: Austin Style

windsor mckenna graphic design austin

House Music
An Austin bungalow with its own stylish beat

by Margaret Williams
Photographs by Kate Zimmerman Turpin

Windsor McKenna has a style all her own, and the home she shares with her husband, Austin, and two daughters, Jane and Mary Austin, immediately reflects her distinct point of view. A space that works equally well for both entertaining and family, the 1917 Deep Eddy bungalow is warm and bursting with a wide-ranging art collection, family heirlooms, and even a vintage jukebox.

McKenna, a freelance graphic designer [The Windsor McKenna], and Austin, who works in advertising, bought the home seven years ago a”er moving from New York. At the time, they both had hectic work schedules and Jane was only a year old, so when Austin was offered a job in Austin at McGarrah Jessee, the young family packed up and moved to Texas. McKenna immediately fell in love with the century-old Cra”sman, and the whole family enjoys living in the Deep Eddy neighborhood. “We can walk to the trail, and the girls can take the bus home from school. We walked to dinner at Fabi + Rosi last night.”

A native North Carolinian, McKenna grew up visiting flea markets, especially the Metrolina Tradeshow Expo, outside Charlotte. She credits those visits and her mom’s own vibrant style as a big influence. “Over the years, I have gladly taken pieces from my mom and grandmothers and had them reupholstered or painted. My style is a bit more colorful or eclectic, but comfort is also so important to me … I love being surrounded by beautiful things, but no part of the house is off-limits to kids or guests.”

The couple was delighted to have found a home they not only loved but also one that didn’t involve a huge construction project, thanks to the “thoughtful updates” made by the previous owners. “We have really only made aesthetic changes, mostly with paint and hardware. We did have the wall of bookshelves built in the living room to house books and Austin’s very large record collection.” And that same wall frames the family’s beloved jukebox, originally in McKenna’s parents’ house. A staple of her childhood — “My friends and I would dance to it,” she says — the jukebox captures McKenna’s vintage and offbeat style perfectly. It’s a happy addition to a home that is as fun as its owner.

windsor mckenna graphic design austin
“My dad kept [the jukebox] filled with mostly Motown and Carolina beach music. When my parents downsized a few years ago, they offered it to me. Austin flew to Charlotte, rented a Penske, and drove it to Austin with my dad. We switch out the records often, even filling it with old Christmas music during the holidays. It has brought us so much fun and enjoyment. I can’t imagine our home without it!”
windsor mckenna graphic design austin
“My mom used to own an accessories store in Charlotte, and she sold a lot of turquoise — and kept a lot for herself. My collection started back then with a few special pieces designed by her favorite artist, Federico Jimenez ... I found my very favorite pair of earrings just a few years ago at an art dealer’s booth in Round Top ... I always look for pieces that are signed by the artist, and I definitely have a shade of turquoise I’m most drawn to.”
windsor mckenna graphic design austin
“I love sitting on the front porch while the girls are swinging from the tree swing. A good front porch was an absolute prerequisite when we were house-hunting.”
windsor mckenna graphic design austin
“The six Josef Albers prints in our living room came from Austin’s aunt Mary Jane. She was working at an auction house in Connecticut and bought the whole set, already framed, for $30 and gave them to us.”
windsor mckenna graphic design austin
“We love southern outsider art and have collected a few pieces by Mose Tolliver, R.A. Miller, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, and Howard Finster. We also love collecting folk art from wherever we travel and pieces made by our friends. We have painting, drawings, silk screens, and photography by Andrew Paynter, Harrison Haynes, Buster Black, Ashley Woodson Bailey, Dave Eggers, and Hunter Kennedy.”
windsor mckenna graphic design austin
windsor mckenna graphic design austin
“When we got here, I found I really enjoyed being home with Jane, so I started doing a little freelance graphic design work at home. Each year, as the girls have gotten older, I’ve worked more and grown my business.Most of my clients have their own small businesses, and I help them with branding, website design, print and product design, and interior renderings. I work from my ofce at home while my girls are at school. Many of my clients are moms working the same way, so our schedules usually match up nicely.”
windsor mckenna graphic design austin
“We really love art. There is barely a blank wall space in the whole house. One of our favorite artists is Steve Keene, a friend from Brooklyn ... He even painted more than 300 custom paintings for our wedding favors. We especially love the ‘Eat In or Take Out’ chinoiserie-inspired triptych he did for our dining room.”

Read more from the Spring Style Issue | April 2018


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