Get to Know Hair House ATX’s Power Duo Tyler Cochran and Toni Jennings
Learn how this husband and wife stylist team is shaping Austin's hair landscape
When you drive up to Hair House ATX, it looks exactly as the name states — it’s a house. The 2,296-square-foot pale blue wooden structure built on West Avenue in 1961 used to function as someone’s home, but thanks to the work of husband and wife hair stylist duo, Tyler Cochran and Toni Jennings, the house now allows for a unique and cozy hair salon experience.
Everything from a vintage Harley Davidson, to artwork from countries around the world, showcases Cochran’s appreciation for design, architecture and the arts. Inspired at a young age by hairstyles of the 80s and 90s, including Madonna, the Beastie Boys and Nirvana, Cochran’s mom suggested that he study cosmetology after high school. Now a graduate from the Aveda school headquarters in Minneapolis, Cochran has 19 years of experience as a hair stylist, including a decade of work in Austin.
Gaining media traction and starring in ‘Queer Eye’
Incredibly modest about his achievements, Cochran’s growing list of customers include Grammy winners, Paris and New York fashion week models, and people he describes as “making huge decisions for the world, not just Austin, Texas.” Allure magazine also named Cochran Best Hairdresser in Austin in 2017. “I’m from the Midwest — bragging is very hard for me to do. I’ve had to figure out how to do that humbly. I’m super blessed,” says Cochran, who has also been featured on “Queer Eye’s” Season 6 in Austin.
“What you see is what you get. If you watch the show, you know exactly what you are getting. It’s really not an act,” says Cochran. “That’s JVN (Jonathan Van Ness). I felt like he’s never really filming a character — he’s just filming himself. As soon as the cameras go off, you feel like you really know this person because (if you watch the show) you kind of do.”
Construction to renovate and open the salon began shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic with work that should have taken a month to complete taking an entire nine months. After those setbacks, when the salon caught the attention of “Queer Eye,” which was filming down the street, it really helped to accelerate the popularity of Hair House ATX.
“The opportunity to film with “Queer Eye” came out of nowhere and almost didn’t happen. I feel like someone graced us. It was like a kiss from God,” says Cochran. “They ended up doing two episodes with us, which was amazing. I cannot thank the whole crew enough. It really put us on the map really quick.”
Finding inspiration in different art mediums
Cochran’s love for architecture, design and hospitality helps inspire his work as a hair stylist.
“Like architecture and design, a haircut needs to be balanced and congruent— and when it’s not, there still needs to be a point where everything interconnects,” says Cochran. “As for the architecture of a haircut, if you want it to last six months and you don’t see your client before then, you need to know that architecture and how to set the foundation. Once you set the foundation in the layers and how it’s framed, you can remove and texturize and make the haircut more tailored and more unique to that person’s face shape or lifestyle.”
Looking at trends, yet still bridging the gap of what timeliness and classic trends in hair bring out luxurious hair, is another focus for Cochran who is currently into modernizing looks from the 60s and 90s — and even some 80s with modernized layers. His favorite hairdresser is Oribe Canales, who once did hair for the Versace brand.
“My toxic trait as a hairdresser is I don’t want to cut my clients’ hair, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to cut all the layers,” says Cochran. “I want to leave the length and hardly cut the bottom of the hair, and I want to layer it in such a way that most people don’t get when they go to a hair salon.”
Cochran says it’s common for people to leave with only one inch taken off the bottom of their hair, but up to six inches from the top of their head. He and Jennings currently have around 10 additional stylists on staff and are open for new bookings.