Retreat, Remodel, Renew: Austin Interior Design
Originally Designed in 1992 by David Shiflet, the site itself is what drove inspiration on this extensive two -year Westlake remodel, a collaborative effort between Shiflet Group Architects, Dalgleish Construction Company and Mark Ashby Design.
“It’s a gated estate on eight acres,” explains Mark Ashby of Mark Ashby Design, who was responsible for the interiors. Ashby was inspired by the land around the home. “How can we capitalize on the great light, great expansions of windows?”
The answer was to keep it (relatively) simple. “We did a lot of editing,” explains Ashby. The family wanted a house that felt comfortable but also fresh, and so he, along with Michele Lorenz of Mark Ashby Design, made sure each piece in the home was able to speak for itself. Says Ashby, “The pieces are finely constructed, but they don’t scream for attention.”
One of those pieces is the stunning light fixture above the dining room table, which Lorenz designed in collaboration with Warbach Lighting and Design (featured on our cover). “We wanted it to be the focal point,” she explains, which is why they chose not to put any art over the fireplace. “We wanted it to stand on its own as a structural piece… this was the first thing we presented . Everything else was built off of that.”
The goal of the entire project, explains Ashby, was to “take a very handsome architecture footprint and make it modern day.” A lot of that work began with the architectural and construction details. The three — Mark Ashby Design, Shiflet Group Architects and Dalgleish Construction Company — worked together to make the remodel a reality. “There’s a mutual respect and interest in each other’s work that really drives the project,” says Ashby. “I’m driven by the architecture, they love what we do with the interior spaces. They really engage us.”
“We wanted to retain the exterior quality of the home,” says Sam Burch of Shiflet, “just update and freshen it up.” Taking out most of the walls to open the house up was a key step, as was careful attention to all of the finishings and construction details — from the unique color stain of the floor (“smoked honey stone”) to the polished look of the stone walls throughout the house. Originally rough cut limestone, the team wanted all the stone smoothed. “David Dalgleish tried to sand it all down, we brought in these giant grinders,” remembers Ashby, “but it ended up being more economical just to take it out and put it back in.”
It’s that level of detail and care “that makes these jobs exceptional,” explains Ashby. “There’s a lot of time and care and craftsmen that went into this place.” Says Burch: “It takes all of us to make that house what it is in the end.”