Location: Austin, Texas
Size: 2100 square feet
Years lived in: Owned for 10 1/2 years
Filled with sleek modern furniture, bold wall paint colors and a fun collection of art gathered over the years, Bernadette's style is cool, contemporary and inspiring. You feel a peaceful calm wash over you as you explore the colorful art on her walls or enjoy the natural light that pours in from ample windows.
Bernadette is a neighbor of another stylish lady
whose home we toured a few years ago. We loved that though this is a traditional-looking home from the street, upon walking inside, it feels more like an urban loft with Bernadette's collection of sleek modern furniture, tall plants and art gallery walls. She got to pick out certain design elements, like window placements, when this home was being built, and she did so to maximize light and wall space for her growing art collection. Wall color choices are shocking and allow for a minimal selection of furniture pieces.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Uncluttered — comfortable modern
Inspiration: Raising up the windows for a light source and allowing the walls to be used for hanging artwork.
Favorite Element: Lots of light — bright but indirect
Biggest Challenge: Keeping ‘stuff’ to a minimum
What Friends Say: It's peaceful and zen-like
Biggest Embarrassment: Peeling paint on cabinetry — oops! Need to notice and wipe up water spills quickly
Proudest DIY: elfa shelving in master closet and laundry room
Biggest Indulgence: Bought all new furnishings in living area and bedroom when I moved to this house
Best Advice: Never buy a sofa or chair without sitting in it — if it isn’t comfortable, pass on it. Look at lots of pictures and magazines to determine what you want. Hire a good decorator for advice and fabric. Bargain for everything: make an offer – you’ll be surprised how often it is accepted! Don’t settle – if you can’t find what you want, wait!
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
Builder’s white for walls, cabinetry — accent walls/hall ceiling/rear doors at recommendation of designer (Jeri Kunz, Austin). Paint from Breed and Co.
The deep blue bedroom wall was painted to match a Frette bedspread I found in Milan, Italy in Frette’s factory store. Those were the days before 9/11 when baggage on flights was not an issue — that trip I had a 29” suitcase plus two major-size bundles of linens from Frette as carry-ons coming back home.
The Moroso sofa, Living Divani chairs, TV center and bed frame are from Current, Seattle (privately owned — now gone). The dining room furniture from Spazio in Austin (now closed).
I first sat in the sofa in Chicago but didn’t want to pay retail; found it again in New York City and confirmed that the ‘sit’ was perfect. I found Current through a Metropolitan Home magazine feature and called them about bar stools in their article. Discovered they carried Moroso and other lines I loved. I booked a weekend trip there with all my room measurements, worked with one of their decorators, and we designed the rooms/picked fabrics and finishes/and I ordered everything on the spot.
It all came from Italy so it took 6 months until it arrived. The last item to be unpacked was the sofa – it had a big gash in the front fabric as if a loading dock cart had missed the bottom of the crate and tore into the sofa leg. The sofa went back with the delivery folks and the reorder took another 6 months to arrive, but it was perfect and worth waiting for.
I have two works each from two local artists. I served on the board of Conspirare, an Austin choral arts organization, with Cassandra James, a now-deceased well-know local artist and educator, as well as a beautiful person, and fell in love with the simplicity and flow of her work. I found Rebecca Bennett at an artist’s coop in downtown Austin and bought a fabulous green and blue forest piece from her on the spot. I left it there for some reason that now escapes me — two days later, the building burned to the ground with my artwork in it. Rebecca could never recreate the piece, even though I provided a picture of it (which I now use as my screen saver). However I have two other large pieces of hers which I love dearly and I’ve given my daughter some of Rebecca’s pieces for her house in Florida.
My other art pieces have mostly been found on my travels or at art fairs. I love to wander into art galleries, go to art fairs, and otherwise keep my eyes open for unusual pieces. I tend to be drawn to pieces with lots of color.
My latest piece is from a gallery in Santa Fe. I found the plate on the wall in the front bedroom at an art co-op in Philadelphia. It took two artisans working together to apply the metallic finish and top coat to create the burnished finish. I was impressed with that information but basically fell in love with the colors and images on the plate regardless of the complexity of its creation.
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(Image credits: Adrienne Breaux)