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Emily Waldmann: Bringing Style to Hotel Saint Cecilia

From Seattle to the Saint Cecilia, this Washington native brings her effortlessly cool style to everything she does.


On a hot August afternoon, Emily Waldmann sits on a dark tufted sofa at the Hotel Saint Cecilia. Outfitted in a white dress with black booties, her cropped blonde hair is pinned revealing dimpled cheeks and bright blue eyes. Before moving to Austin in 2012 and becoming the famed hotel’s Special Events Director, Waldmann lived in Seattle and worked in hospitality and events.

“I love making people happy,” she said of her job, which includes planning everything from weddings to SXSW parties. No matter the occasion, events at the Saint Cecilia are always intimate and personal thanks to the hotel’s lush surroundings and Waldmann’s knack for creating personal yet elegant affairs. The self proclaimed, “people pleaser” enjoys discovering her clients’ wishes and incorporating special details whenever possible, such as wrapping a bride’s bouquet in a family handkerchief.

Much like the Saint Cecilia, Waldmann’s style is eclectic and effortless, but where the hotel is rich in color, she leans monochromatic. “Everything I wear is black, white or grey,” she said of her neutral closet.

At Waldmann’s home in East Austin, clean lines and white walls are offset by brushstrokes of color, from the living room’s clementine-colored sofa to the scarlet rug beneath the dining table and the kitchen shelves mixed with copper mugs, silver flutes and glasses wrapped in gold. “The hunt is half the fun,” she said of her affinity for collecting things.

Here and there, parallels between her home and the hotel reveal themselves, from the bathroom penny tile to caches of vintage vinyl. “You take pieces of the things you’re constantly surrounded with,” she said.

And like the Saint Cecilia, Waldmann’s house inspires curiosity through its wide-ranging, mix-matched décor, be it an old Army cot, a bookshelf organized by bind colors, or a wall hanging of clustered butterflies found in Thailand. Hanging over her bed is a 1950s naval map of Puget Sound, the faint lines of which remind one of the rings and whorls used to age trees. All these collected treasures evoke a sense of whimsy in Waldmann, whose style has been shaped by the people and places she’s met thus far on her journey from north to south, from Seattle to the Hotel Saint Cecilia.

Read more from the People Issue | September 2015