Martha O’Hara Interiors Embraces Homeowners’ Personality in Rollingwood Remodel
Senior designer Heidi Feliz-Grimm redesigns a West Lake Hills home to feature an open-space living area and cozy reading nook
By Bryan C. Parker
Photos by Andrea Calo
Heidi Feliz-Grimm, a senior designer at Martha O’Hara Interiors, boasts an impressive range of experiences that have shaped her sense of aesthetics and knowledge of the design industry. Over a span of 11 years, she worked at the largest stone distributor in the Midwest, sharpened her technical prowess at a design-build firm, and learned about cabinetry by working at a manufacturer’s showroom. She began her career with O’Hara in 2015 and now heads the Austin office of the company, which also has an office in Minneapolis.
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Feliz-Grimm’s diverse skill set came in handy for a recent project remodeling a 4,900-square-foot home in Austin’s West Lake Hills neighborhood. After buying the property, the homeowners knew they wanted extensive updates throughout, so they took the interior down to the studs, and retained O’Hara Interiors to redesign almost every aspect of the home’s interior.
Most notably, the homeowners removed walls from a formerly closed off breakfast nook and kitchen to create a large, open-concept space for the living and dining rooms as well as the kitchen. Feliz-Grimm says that when transitioning to an open concept, it requires an even more careful approach to ensure that the space is functional.
“The furniture layout makes a huge difference,” she says. “It’s about knowing what kind of items you can tie together — it all needs to speak to each other.” Feliz-Grimm used a sofa to create some distinction between the living room and the kitchen. However, she made sure to leave the living room open to the entryway, so that arriving guests’ eyes are drawn into the home with a line of sight that leads all the way back to the stunning double doors that reveal a view of the pool.
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Creating a casual, comfortable space to welcome and spend time with guests topped the homeowners’ list of priorities. To that end, Feliz-Grimm acquired a large solid wood cocktail table built by Lords Manufacturing to serve as the centerpiece of the residence’s new open area. The table took six people to bring into the room, but with its dark, rich stain and grounding presence, it was well worth the effort. Since the homeowners love entertaining, the piece provides a perfect space to gather with friends and share drinks.
As a counterpart to the bright and airy living room, the residence’s family room offers a cozy retreat. Anchored by Feliz-Grimm’s deep blue paint selection (Sherwin Williams’ Moscow Midnight), the room also features a pop of green leather on the ottoman at the center of the room and a hearth adjacent to a stylish recliner. Sourced from Thayer Coggin, the sophisticated recliner’s mid-century nod is one of the residences most modern touches. The room feels intimate and pensive, perfect for dimming the lights to watch a movie or curling up by the fire with a book.
To embrace one of the homeowners’ love of reading, Feliz-Grimm designed a vestibule — a small nook furnished with a sofa surrounded by built-in bookshelves — directly outside of the master bedroom. A classic, frosted glass pendant light from Visual Comfort hangs overhead, providing the feel of a studious yet relaxing space to read before heading to bed.
Throughout the home, Feliz-Grimm maintained a transitional design aesthetic. She wanted to ensure that the home’s interior flowed with the home’s traditional exterior elements such as the stone siding and large Tuscan columns — an aim achieved by a delicate balance of updated looks and classic design choices. For example, many rooms feature wainscoting on the walls, but Feliz-Grimm chose to go with the clean lines of flat panel wainscoting. This created a look that felt traditional yet stylish and refined.
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If you look closely at a home, it tells a story. From color selections to textures and finishes, careful choices in the design process accentuate the characteristics of the people who live inside it. And a great designer helps create a story that a homeowner sees themselves living in happily. With cozy reading corners and a layout that warmly receives guests, Feliz-Grimm and O’Hara Interiors imagined for their clients an environment that reflects their passions and personalities, allowing the homeowners to begin a new chapter in a gorgeously remodeled residence.