Otis, a lovable lab, was the first to greet us when we visited Ami and Sean's cozy home in Central Austin, but it didn't take long (like, 2.5 seconds) to turn our attentions from an adorable dog to the bold and bright colors of a stunning piece of modern art. Thankfully for us, the gorgeous local art finds and stylish color choices didn't stop just at the entryway.
Ami and Sean's story of how they turned their house into the home of their dreams just might be my favorite I've heard yet. When Sean moved in, they knew the house didn't suit either of their tastes and briefly flirted with the idea of starting over and moving into a bigger house. Instead, they decided to take the project on together as a creative outlet in contrast to their jobs (him, medicine and her, law) — and it became an incredibly rewarding experience. They worked together to find a style that each one loved, and turned a charming older home from the 1930s into a modern, vintage, contemporary, fresh and fun home for two people who love design.
Walking around the house, you can really sense how much Ami and Sean love and are proud of the work they have put in. Pointing out amazing finds (they graciously provide a lot of their resources down below, too), each piece has a story and intense meaning for them, making the space incredibly interesting to be in as a guest. Something passionate for both Ami and Sean as well as this post writer is local Austin art, and the house is filled with amazing pieces that reflect both a cohesive home style but also a lot of individual taste in art. One of our favorite pieces and the one that certainly draws a lot of attention is the photograph of a mounted deer and the perfect location they found for it-- an example of how Ami and Sean take art and design seriously, but not too seriously.
Our Style: Our style could be described as a playful mix of modern classic, contemporary, antique and art. We love the open and airy feel of floating furniture, clean contemporary lines, and white walls as a kind of blank canvas. Then we like to add pops of color from art, cushions and accessories to really wake things up and bring the rooms to life.
Inspiration: We love Scandinavian design and contemporary art. We also got some great ideas from our good friend, amazing architect David Webber. At the end of the day though, we each have our own sense of style and strong opinions. The trick is finding where they intersect!
Favorite Element: We enjoy the flow from one room to the next, the efficient use of space, and the great light. We use every room every day!
Biggest Challenge: Trying to make the small rooms comfortable, functional, unique and uncluttered.
What Friends Say: They seem to like it. But Otis always draws the most attention.
Biggest Embarrassment: The broken window pane in our kitchen from a hail storm three years ago. We'll fix it someday.
Proudest DIY: It's always satisfying to figure out how to do something and do it on our own. But a favorite project, and the one that took the most work, was the brick patio in back. It required starting from scratch, digging up the patchy lawn that was there, adding sand, wetting, leveling and tamping it over and over again before finally laying the bricks. There was a long hiatus in the work after just enough bricks had been laid to accommodate a grill and a chair. But perseverance paid off and we really enjoy that outdoor space now. The bricks came from old demolished buildings in Chicago, so they work well with the old house.
Biggest Indulgence: Our living room furniture and certain pieces of art were our biggest indulgences. But they will last forever and give the rooms a look and feel that we enjoy every day.
Biggest Advice:Be patient and allow your ideas to evolve over time. Don't settle for something that doesn't wow you even if your partner loves it, especially for big ticket items or focal pieces. Keep looking until you find the pieces that both of you are crazy about. Looking is at least half the fun; enjoy the whole process!
Dream Source: Danish Design Store, Suite NY, Champion Contemporary, Gagosian Gallery (or anywhere we could get a De Kooning, Soutine, Hockney, Sally Mann, Burtynsky -- this dream list could go on and on...)
Resources of Note:
- • De La Espada sectional from Threshhold (Austin)
• Fabricius/Kastholm FK82X chair
• FK90 coffee table from DK Vogue
• Antique bench
- • Cherner table and chairs from Craigslist
• Verner Panton ball lamp from DK Vogue
• Rolly Table from Velocity Art and Design
- • Knoll Womb chair with ottoman and Saarinen tulip tables from DWR
• Neo two-seat sofa by Bensen from Hive
- • Restoration Hardware dresser and nightstands
- • West Elm desk
• Vintage Steelcase desk chair
• Antique dresser and dry sink
• CB2 File Cabinets
•Tollix side chair
• Ikea rug
• Ikea wardrobe
• CB2 bookshelves
- • Vintage table and chairs from Uptown Modern (Austin)
• Ikea chaises
• Pottery Barn nesting tables
- • Living room and bedroom cushions by Charlene Mullen for De La Espada
• Sunroom cushions from Trina Turk Residential and West Elm
• Throw from West Elm
• Office cushions from Trina Turk Residential
• Entry mirror by Harry Allen
• Various bowls from local artists, mostly from Austin's Empty Bowl Project
RUGS & CARPETS
- • Dining room and bedroom rugs antique Persian
• Sunroom rug by Angela Adams
• Living room rug cowhidesinternational.com
• Office rug from Ikea
- • Original oak hardwoods
• VCT tiles in kitchen and bathroom
- • Pittsburgh Paint (zero VOC) in Gypsum
- • Office: Window films by Emma Jeffs from 2Jane.com
• Bedroom: Pottery Barn panels
• Living room and sunroom antique stained glass
Thanks, Ami, Sean and Otis!
Images: Adrienne Breaux
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