Feature: Austin Interiors
A 100-year-old bungalow gets a much-needed face-lift, courtesy of one design-savvy Austinite
by Emma Banks
Photographs by Molly Winters
There’s an old adage that Austin blogger and lifestyle luminary Camille Styles knows all too well: Good things come to those who wait. In the case of her newly renovated office studio, two years of searching proved to be a winning timeline, plus one more year of head-to-toe gut renovations to boot. Clearly, Styles was committed to her mission of transforming a neglected home into one full of life, no matter the investment. And now, three years after her initial aha moment, the bungalow is ready for business.
“When I walked in the front door, I knew that this house was something special,” she says. “On the surface, there was a lot going against it: zero updates in its 100-year history and the kitchen was basically nonexistent. But even though my friends probably thought I’d lost it, it really was love at first sight.”
Happily nestled in the heart of downtown Austin, the Camille Styles Bungalow is now home to a bustling crew of bloggers, producers, and content creators who make up the team behind the Camille Styles blog, an uber popular entertaining and lifestyle website with thousands of fans across the globe (with Styles herself at the helm, of course). Wrapped in a fresh coat of bright-white paint, with a sage-green door as garnish, it’s impossible to miss. Inside, the theme of refreshing minimalism continues (an aesthetic the team dubbed “beachy Scandinavian” from the beginning of their design process), and neutral-toned furniture and accessories accent each space with a light, lived-in character that both invites and inspires.
Undoubtedly, the bungalow has come a long way since Styles first signed on the dotted line. And if transforming a 100-year-old home that had no renovations prior sounds like a daunting task, that’s because it was. The foundation was in need of repairs, and the roof, plumbing, and electrical all needed an overhaul. But Styles and her team were nothing if not committed, and with a stacked roster of architects like Low Design Office and builders like Monte Goertz on board.
“Everyone will tell you that it’s going to take longer and be more expensive than you thought possible — and they’re usually right,” she says. “But the process of being able to take a space and really make it your own is so worth it. It does take a strong vision to be able to see past the initial eyesores, but so often, those cosmetic changes are actually the easiest to change. Call me crazy, but I actually wanted to find something that needed a ton of work so that my team and I could put our personal stamp on the space and create something truly unique.”
Styles’ penchant for crisp, clean design is evenly matched by the home’s insistence on being just that — homey. Thus, with features like a cozy fireplace, a spacious front porch, an expansive kitchen, and dividing archways, the bungalow masters both modern and minimalist sentiment alike. The result? A space that genuinely welcomes its visitors no matter their perspective or preference. Whether you’re sitting on the porch swing, walking through the front door, cooking up a storm in the kitchen, or lounging in the living space, it’s clear from the get-go: This home is meant to be lived in just as much as it’s meant to be worked in.
“I want everyone who walks into our bungalow doors to feel welcome and comfortable — like they can kick off their shoes and stay a while,” Styles says. “My dream for the space is that it’s an environment that inspires all kinds of beautiful, innovative work and that the simple design is a breath of fresh air that allows us to think creatively and take a new approach to everything we do.”
Practically speaking, the Camille Styles Bungalow has its work cut out for it. Now that renovations are complete, Styles and her team have set up shop, and almost every project that comes to fruition on the blog finds its origin inside these walls. And with work comes play; the blogger also plans to host many a party before the year’s end.
If nothing else, the bungalow has taught Styles and her team one thing for certain: patience. Add to that hard work, impeccable design, and a flawless aesthetic, and you’ve got a recipe for success. Simply put, Styles had a vision that enabled her to see past imperfection and onto an ideal space that will, here’s hoping, serve as a creative meeting place for years to come.
“My hope is that the bungalow can be a gathering place for the creative community in Austin to collaborate and form new friendships,” she says. “For me, the most beautiful interiors are the ones that are filled with good conversation, lots of laughter, and truly meaningful connections.”
Read more from the Interiors Issue | January 2018