House Tour: Karen's Cozy and Cheery Cherrywood Home

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Name: Karen LaShelle, Executive and Artistic Director of Austin's Theatre Action Project, River the dog and Elijah the cat
Location: Austin, Texas
Size: 1100 sq/ft
Years lived in: Owned 4.5 years

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The first thing you notice when you walk inside Karen's quaint Cherrywood neighborhood house is the amazing flood of light from the big, original windows located in every room. Almost wall-sized and framed in simple, sheer curtains, the windows shed beautiful sunlight on all of Karen's thoughtfully arranged furniture pieces, surprising details and fun accessories. Karen has done a fabulous job creating a cozy and stylish home by combining family antiques, old vintage pieces and affordable new finds in a way that represents her fun personality---and is inspiring!

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Her living room and connected dining room are airy, light-colored and filled with a perfect mix of new furniture finds and older family pieces like her dining room set. Placed on top of an exotic rug and surrounded with simple, modern accessories, the old-fashioned table seems charming, and the circular size compliments the open floor plan nicely. Her rennovated (albeit teeny) kitchen features thoughtful materials and the original stove. Mixing modern elements (like stainless steel drawer hardware) and vintage pieces, Karen created the perfect combination of the two styles. The unexpected light-blue floor tile and the bright green accent corner add excitment and a modern look. Taking advice from an architect friend, Karen painted every bit of the accent corner---molding, doors and all---to create a seamless look and help expand the look of the space.

Her bedroom showcases bold color again with a bright blue wall. More antique family hand-me-downs (like her bed and dresser) and exotic accessories (like tribal masks and a kilim rug) lend a young and exotic feel to the space. The only bathroom in the house is small like the kitchen, but she splurged on items that make a big impact, like the gorgeous pedestal sink. Smartly placed shelving adds style and storage, and an oversized plant in a colorful planter creates excitement. Rounding out her house is a small and simple office decorated in light blues and just off the office is our favorite spot in the house: the gorgeous, sunlit screen porch. Filled with bright furniture pieces, knick knacks and collectibles, the porch is the perfect place to relax on a warm Austin night.

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AT Survey:

My style: Eclectic, old meets new, colorful

Inspiration: Old rugs, artifacts and objects

Favorite Element: I love the giant windows.

Biggest Challenge: The windows are great, but OLD so they don't stay closed! So my house is not energy efficient at all. That's the next project!

What Friends Say: People generally comment that they feel really comfortable and that they like the brightness. It is cheerful.

Biggest Embarrassment: My closets are pretty messy.

Proudest DIY: Well, it's not all me, but the stocktank bathtub on the deck is pretty cool and a really low-cost way to have a nice outdoor tub.

Biggest Indulgence: My refrigerator was ridiculous. But, I figured that since my kitchen is so small it was going to be a major focal point. I couldn't help that I fell in love with it.

Best advice: Get rid of clutter! Find beauty in random things and feature them. Don't be afraid of color. Pick a few major things to invest in and do the rest for really cheap.

Dream source: I used to look at Dwell but I had to stop because it gave me anxiety, as I knew I could never really have a house like that. Everything is too perfect in there. I like going into the country to antique stores and seeing what pieces could be used and then mixed in with clean, modern and simple things.

Other Inspiration: Austin in general. There is a nice old meets new modern thing here. Places like the hotel San Jose are inspiring.

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Resources:

Appliances: Jennair fridge, original stove, Toto sink in bathroom

Hardware: Original 1940'a glass doorknobs

Furniture: Thrift stores, Crate and Barrel, Ikea, family acquisitions

Accessories: Antique stores, family acquisitions, garage sales, side of the road

Lighting: Ikea and antique stores and inexpensive simple industrial things from Lowe's

Rugs and Carpets: Most rugs are kilims I have acquired, and family rugs. I have one giant Sisal rug that is great as it's neutral and really easy to keep clean.

Tiles and Stone: All from Travis tile on Airport blvd. Mix of the cheapest slate and a fairly pricey Italian stone in the kitchen

Window Treatments: Ikea

Beds: Antique from family, futon from Craig's List

Artwork: Random prints from old magazines, antique stores, family

Paint: No VOC paints from Eco-wise

Flooring: Refinished hardwood floors with Velvit Oil from Eco-wise

(Thanks, Karen!)

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Images: Adrienne Breaux

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Adrienne photographs beautiful homes in and around her home base of Austin, Texas. She's a contributor to UPPERCASE Magazine and spends all her free time exploring small town Texas. She watches a lot of Star Trek.

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