Joel Mozersky Mined a Creative Couple’s Passions to Create Their Dream Home
“I always try to key into my clients’ instincts and what they love,” the designer says of the West Austin home
By Hannah J. Phillips
Photographs by Clay Grier and Jeff Jones
Our April Style Issue was conceived and produced before the coronavirus pandemic closed down Austin and much of the country. We hope this story and these images of a beautiful Austin home will provide some joy and inspiration during a difficult time. Please continue to visit Tribeza.com for ongoing coverage of how our city is coping, coming together and innovating during the crisis.
Joel Mozersky didn’t set out to change the landscape of Austin interior design…
…but that’s exactly what he did. Moving back to Austin after a brief stint in California, he started with stained concrete floors and furniture design before taking on a complete interior redesign for Jackson Ruiz Salon (now Ruiz Salon). This eventually led to another project in 2003 for a little sushi joint named Uchi. Helmed by chef Tyson Cole, the restaurant went on to earn Austin’s first-ever James Beard Award in 2011. Uchi changed the game for the city’s food scene, and Mozersky’s style set new standards for the intersection of local food and interior design.
Uchi also set the trajectory of Mozersky’s career. Since 2003, Mozersky’s portfolio has expanded to include a range of old and new Austin staples, from the Mattie’s Austin redesign to Midnight Cowboy and Native Hostel. If these three seem worlds apart, the difference is intentional: Rather than impose a personal style on each project, Mozersky derives inspiration from the setting and character of each individual client.
“My goal is to give spaces a soul instead of just décor,” he says. “My creative process is like a funnel: I start with a specific person or place in my memory and then define certain criteria from there.”
In both his commercial and residential projects, Mozersky aims to interpret his client’s lifestyles and passions, weaving them with architectural details to carry certain characteristics throughout the home.
“I always try to key into my clients’ interests and what they love,” says Mozersky. “It’s easy to just do what you do every time because it can become formulaic and make the decision process smoother, but you have to clue into their aesthetic and listen if they’re going to love living there.”
For this artistic West Austin couple, Noah and Laura Lit, Mozersky let his creativity roam free. Noah co-owns Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches in East Austin with his brother, Josh. He knew Mozersky through friends in the local music scene — specifically from playing in a Led Zeppelin cover band called Pudge Zeppelin with Mozersky’s brother. Laura is a local artist who has exhibited in galleries across Texas, New York and Los Angeles, and the pair also play in a surf band together.
Tucked into a quiet Tarrytown cul-de-sac, their home was built by Michael Deane Homes and designed by architect Ryan Street. In 2018, the Lits called Mozersky to help incorporate a more playful tone and color into the home’s beautiful, rustic neutrals. Mozersky didn’t change the architecture or surfaces, focusing instead on light fixtures and furniture.
“We basically got to live all our fun, weirdo dreams in this house,” says interior designer Scott Martin, Mozersky’s associate. “We loved starting with the premise of making it look like an artist and a musician live here.”
With colorful palettes and rock-and-roll vibes, the home is another Mozersky masterpiece — down to the last detail, like custom wallpaper in the guest bathroom.
The front entrance opens into the kitchen, where natural light streams onto white marble and white oak veneer from the window over the kitchen sink. Photos render the light oak cabinets an almost earthy pink, which plays well with Laura’s original charcoal sketch and a vase by Los Angeles artist Bari Ziperstein (Bzippy).
Looking for an unconventional dining table, Mozersky sourced this custom asymmetrical table from Collection Particulière in ebonized oak. The offset leg placement adds an organic element to an otherwise basic kitchen layout, while the apricot velvet chairs from Consort Home incorporate a fun texture into the clean lines of the cabinets and marble countertops.
Between Mozersky, Martin and the Lits, the lounge won a unanimous vote for favorite room in the house. Here, a sculptural De Sede couch takes center stage, sourced on a buying trip to Los Angeles. Where possible, Mozersky likes to take clients along with him on the hunt for unique pieces in California.
“Everything is there,” he says. “Some of the best vintage in the world — all within a mile of each other. You can find everything you could possibly want, and you can touch and feel it in person.” Often cost-prohibitive and difficult to source, a De Sede sofa adds an eccentric yet classic feel — perfect for that 1970s vintage rock vibe. The opposite sofa, in velvet mauve, sits beneath a floral painting by Texas artist Chapman Kelley, which belonged to Laura’s grandmother. With light pinks, purples and greens, the painting sets the color palette for much of the home, from the kitchen neutrals to bolder colors in the bedroom and dining room.
“I like the eye to travel across the room because it makes the room more interesting,” says Mozersky, pointing out how dark pillows on the lighter couch balance the lighter pillows on the leather De Sede.
Likewise, a towering fiddle-leaf fig tree balances the bright green Bari Ziperstein terra-cotta side table. For both couches, Martin commissioned custom round pillows to pair with the sculptural De Sede, circular mirror by Ben & Aja Blanc and cloud chandelier by Apparatus Studio.
From the kitchen, a small staircase leads through a bar area into the dining room, where a vibrant vintage canvas by Yoko Haru hangs above a white fireplace. The eye-catching, three-dimensional piece pulls in the pinks, greens and purples of the lounge while adding a pop of blue for extra pizzazz.
A kinetic chandelier by Rich Brilliant Willing matches the psychedelic vibe without obscuring the artwork. The light fixture, which can be molded into different shapes, hangs above a custom marble table made from cross sections of river rock geodes. The resulting “wackadoodle” shapes, as Martin calls them, align with the room’s geometric theme, while recovered vintage Ward Bennett chairs pull out the painting’s tonal blue.
Another small staircase leads into the master bedroom, which features gorgeous natural light flowing in from floor-to-ceiling windows. The bedroom is one of the best displays of Mozersky’s masterful mix of color, texture and shape in the home.
For color, Mozersky started by pairing the powder blue leather from the bed with the pink hues from the lounge pillows for a custom bolster. Olive green bed linens break up the pink and blue, coordinated with the grassy green of the nearby chaise in the window nook.
Next, Mozersky focused on light fixtures, sourcing sconces from Apparatus Studio to hang above custom side tables. The teardrop shapes make a pleasing visual counterpart to the round bolster pillow and circular wall hanging above the bed. Commissioned by local fiber artist Hallie Rae Ward, the hanging adds a soft, rich texture to the room’s velvet-and-leather combination. At the foot of the bed, a funky rug from Casa Perfect replicates a peacock pattern in a black-and-tan nod to the wall hanging’s neutrals.
“Sometimes as we start to build the narrative for a space, as pieces get collected, things just fall into place,” says Martin. “We usually like to push harder on texture versus pattern, so this usually rings true in all of our work.”
In the bedroom’s corner nook, Mozersky’s play on color and texture continues, pairing a Mario Bellini chaise lounge with a Kelly Wearstler marble table and a floor lamp from Entler Studio. The combination of shapes showcases Mozersky’s partiality to ’70s modernism, which he attributes to his personal nostalgia.
“My parents had a very high-glam seventies house that I grew up in, so it reminds me of my childhood, and I love that era stylistically in every way.”
“For these clients, the sense of play in terms of color and shape were heavily pushed,” says Martin. “We’re so happy with how it all came together.”