The Renner Project: Design Lab Meets Showroom
Step inside the stunning design lab meets showroom of an innovative Austin designer.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Kimberly Renner brings the whole world to the heart of Texas. The rooms on display in her North Lamar retail space, The Renner Project are ever-changing, seriously inspiring and globally sourced. On a recent visit, one room held an Old English Chesterfield, an Asian ancestral painting, etchings from Mexico City, a Chinese altarpiece, and a Milo Baughman table.
The idea, Renner explains, is to bring together the kind of mix you might actually want in your own home. “Often times you’ll see in a traditional antique store that it’s really full and abundant, and the store looks great, but it’s really hard to visualize the scale of the pieces,” Renner says. “We try to place things like they might be in a real living room.”
Renner spent twenty years restoring and furnishing homes in Austin, so she’s known for a long time that the city was hungry for something like The Renner Project. Back then, at the helm of a design-focused construction company, she would often design both a house and its interiors. Now, she is part interior designer, part storeowner. Leveraging her long-time relationships with dealers all over the world, she offers a mix of high-end, iconic 20th century designers alongside vintage, custom-crafted items and fine antiques. “I hope we can be a source of inspiration to people who love great design but don’t want to be married to one look or point-of-view in their home,” Renner says. “This is the real inspiration behind The Renner Project.”
Renner, who lives above the store with her family, adds that she sees The Renner Project as an active design lab, rather than a traditional retail space. Part of that activity is a collaboration with her brother, welder and craftsman Cole Thompson, who will start creating custom furniture to compliment Renner’s found inventory in early 2015. Often found tucked in the sunlit corner of the studio, Thompson is starting with large-scale brass and steel lighting fixtures.
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