Feature Article: Austin Interiors
by Tribeza Staff
Portraits by Leah Muse, Madeline Harper and Molly Winters at Urbanspace Interiors
Working together with some of Austin’s top designers, we curated nine of the most stylish homes in the city. Look back at the stellar homes that were featured on Tribeza’s Fourth Annual Interiors Tour, presented by TreeHouse. A special thank you to all of our sponsors for another successful year, including Urbanspace Interiors, Texas Construction Company, NEST Modern, High Cotton Home & Design, and Seventy Rainy.
Allison Burke Interior Design
As a UT freshman enrolled in the School of Engineering, a young Allison Burke read a quote by Auguste Rodin that changed the course of her professional life—“Love your calling with passion, it is the meaning of your life.” She applied for a transfer to the interior design program in the School of Architecture the next day and never looked back. Now, she designs homes across the city in the classic modern style she loves, always recognizing trends, but trying to avoid them to keep her interiors timeless. This remodel in Travis Heights was built in 2003 and features what Burke calls a beautiful array of art and objects from her clients’ travels.
Christine Turknett Interiors
When designer Christine Turknett purchased her Michael Hsu-designed home in the Mueller development, it was billed as modern farmhouse. She decided to go for an all-around Scandinavian vibe to enhance the house’s modern architecture. Turknett incorporated special design details, like a feature wall with a hidden bathroom covered in shiplap because it reminded her of her husband’s grandparents’ farm in Georgia. “It was important to me to keep the home balanced and consistent to reflect clean lines and subtle rustic details to create a calm sanctuary,” she shared. It was after selecting all the fixtures and finishes for this home that Turknett decided to pursue a career in design. Prior to a design career, she worked in a doctorate program at an Ivy League school. “I would describe my design style as modern eclecticism, which mixes periods, styles, prices and unexpected elements in a single space. As a natural-born researcher, I’ve mastered multiple design genres and love combining them in an original way,” she said. “I’m a curator at heart and believe that every piece should function well, even if that function is to bring you joy every time you look at it.”
Soon after moving to Austin from New York City, Kristin Gish, one of the owners of local interiors emporium, Supply, found the dream home for her family of five in Tarrytown. She enlisted her friends, Anne Maxwell Foster and Suysel dePedro Cunnningham, the New York-based award-winning design duo behind Tilton Fenwick, to design her home. The partners are masters of “traditional with a twist.” They worked in close collaboration with Gish to honor the homeowner’s love of color and pattern. They achieved this look throughout the space with layers of fabric for an end result that is both youthful and chic. If the Tilton Fenwick designers had to pick a favorite aspect of the home, it would be a toss up between the back-to-back green velvet sofas in the living room and the overall layout of the main room. “Because the Gish family loves to entertain, we created numerous seating areas for guests to mingle while simultaneously congregating around the heart of the home, the kitchen,” Foster shared.
Photos by Molly Winters Photography
Mark Ashby Design
Designing a home for a family with four kids under the age of nine (and their large dog), lead designer for Mark Ashby Design, Anne Grandineti, had to balance fashion with function. She chose sturdy fabrics that also expressed the fun and whimsical side of her clients. Grandineti summarized her design style, saying “Without sounding cliché, I really just love a good, collected and interesting mix. I can tire of things easily, so a good mix keeps my interest over time. I love to blend a modern, streamlined sofa with an ornate, antique chest or mirror. Through the years, I have learned that the most important part of the design process is the edit.” The children’s wing of this project in Westlake uses fun wallpapers and colors throughout the space and it’s also Ashby’s favorite space in the house. “It’s inspiring to see parents take such care to create a thoughtful environment for their children,” he noted.
The shipping containers in the backyard of this Tarrytown property influenced the traditional architecture of the main house: the home is designed to impart the idea of stacked containers. Patrice Rios of Troo Designs summed up the living stage she sought to set: “My goal was to give the new home-owners a place to be at peace. The large windows bring in a ton of natural light, so the entire home and containers feel light and airy, peaceful and energetic.” Throughout the house a balance of reclaimed and industrial is achieved, along with the use of particularly interesting mix of textures like brick floors, wood tile walls, geometric glass tile, hand painted cement tile. Troo typically uses steel in her projects and mixes that with reclaimed woods, cement tiles with punches of color, super white walls and brass cabinet hardware.
Photos by Scott Gordon
Page Home Design
Suzie Page of Page Home Design aimed to update this 1980s Tarrytown home with a sophisticated light-heartedness. She succeeded with an end result that allows her empty-nester clients to have all their living space on one level. Page talked about her process: “It’s fluid, not stagnant, and that changes as lifestyles change and families grow and move and need some flexibility. I usually have to work for two pretty distinct personalities. One might relate to clean lines, and one might relate to traditional. I seek to create something that gets them outside their comfort zones, but still feels like home. My goal is always to interpret their tastes but do better than what they could have done on their own.”
Merrilee McGehee Design
“The creative life is my purpose. It’s a necessity for me, like air or water,” says interior designer Merrilee McGehee. That passion has taken many forms as she went from UT art student to NYC/LA actress and then to interior designer soon after she and her husband bought their first home in Austin. The project featured on the tour is her personal residence in Brykerwoods, and in it you will see her eclectic style come to life. “I don’t like it when you can pinpoint someone’s style,” she confessed. “There ought to be a little mystery involved, a good keep-’em-guessing kind of feel. But to be honest, I love it all—mid-century modern, traditional, desert chic, kitsch and contemporary.” Look out for some special features like a painted mural wall that the designer herself created, the vintage Italian toile sconce in the master bedroom, and a Craigslist gem—a perfect travertine marble pedestal table.
Photos by Molly Winters Photography and wardrobe styling by Kristan Glass of ByGeorge
Bunker Lee Residential
Business partners Caroline Haley and Andrea Hamilton set out to build houses with a woman’s touch—clean, elegant, practical designs with storage in every nook and cranny. This is their first completed project and was executed in collaboration with Forgecraft Architects, Sway Studio and Bird Home Staging. “I believe that less is more, while Andrea ascribes more to a less-is-a-bore philosophy, so we happily meet somewhere in the middle with homes that can be lived in, in a variety of ways,” Haley noted. “We started Bunker Lee Residential because we want to build houses that are stages for the clients’ most perfect life.” Haley and Hamilton rely heavily on contractor, Ned Heiser of HDC, to bring their visions to life. Look for special touches throughout the home, like warm Saltillo tile on the porch floor and clever use of shelving to carry out their clutter-should-live-behind-closed-doors philosophy.
N.Y. Harte Designs
The key words that kept coming up as Nancy Harte designed the Travis Heights home of Michael Torres were creative, colorful and unique, and that is just what they achieved with home that follows Feng Shui BaGua and Chakra layouts throughout the space. A former office space was transformed into a gold-tented meditation room, and the living room was transformed into what Harte calls an “experiential velvet lounge.”
We want to thank our 2017 Tour’s Presenting Sponsor, TreeHouse.
TreeHouse believes in making homes thoughtful, sustainable and healthy. For everyone. TreeHouse is a first-of-its-kind home improvement store. It specializes in curated products and services that promote healthy and sustainable spaces, with an emphasis on high performance and design. Not your standard big box retailer, TreeHouse has become a 25,000-square-foot hub for everything tied to thoughtful building. Customers can find supplies and services that range from nontoxic paints and flooring to home solar systems and kitchen remodels.
4477 S. Lamar Blvd., Suite 600 | 512.861.0712 | tree.house
Read more from the Interiors Issue | January 2017