Karen's Delicious Downtown Apartment

House Tour

Name: Karen Morgan, gluten-free chef and author, and 8-year-old son Leo
Location: Downtown — Austin, Texas
Size: 996 square feet
Years lived in: Owned, 3 years

Karen Morgan has made a name for herself in the gluten-free baking world as the owner of virtual bakeshop Blackbird Bakery, the author of a cookbook of the same name, and the host of tons of gluten-free events and workshops. Her gluten-free treats and comfort foods are sure to make your mouth water, but her gorgeous, compact apartment she shares with her son Leo will too!

Karen's personality is kind and friendly, immediately making you feel at home and welcome, quite similar to her apartment's cozy style. A perfect mix of casual and interesting, her apartment sports plenty of sassy, cool details, from fun punches of art to unique light fixtures and comfy but sleek furniture pieces.

When Karen moved in three years ago, the space already had great bones and beautiful, urban-feeling materials. She got rid of the claustrophobic drop ceiling and painted the floors a fresh white. Though she laments her choice of paint — it has chipped heavily through the years — we didn't notice the chips so much as how soft and grounded the entire space felt. Other smart choices were futuristic light fixtures and doors that save a lot of space by opening in two directions. Flooded with light from a wall of windows that overlooks downtown, this place really feels so wonderfully urban and homey.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Eclectic Modern.

Inspiration: I love to mix antiques with modern pieces to add a little warm sensuality to the otherwise stark austerity that the modernist movement is so known for. Works of art and color are also a huge inspiration for me. From paintings to photographs to sculptures. No space is complete without some sort of art.

Favorite Element: I love my doors! I have a barn door and two pocket doors, and the rest of the doors are on hinges that allow the doors to open in both directions; every single one of them is a huge space saver.

Biggest Challenge: The white painted floors; they weren't properly sealed when I finished the remodel, so anytime I drop a hairpin, it chips. Talk about a lesson in patience.

What Friends Say: Everyone is surprised when they walk in the door, because the building I live in is very non-descript. The hallways look like they are right out of "Being John Malkovich," so I always imagine that they are expecting to see drop ceilings, drab carpet, and really bad office furniture.

Biggest Embarrassment: Hmm, that's a tough one. Am I boring if I say my white painted floors again? I honestly can't think of anything else that I find embarrassing. Actually, come to think of it, my condo is right next to the building's trash chute, so whenever someone from the tenth floor throws out a big bag of trash, it sounds like a body is falling through the walls. I've had more than a few guests jump when it happens.

Favorite DIY element: Organizing my pantry! Since I'm a gluten-free pastry chef, I have to have enough room for the 10+ flours that I bake with, on top of the usual fare, so my pantry is bigger than the closet in my bedroom, and it's still a tight squeeze. And oh my god I have more pans than shoes!

Biggest Indulgence: My bed, my couch and my kitchen table.

Best Advice: Find a mattress you don't want to get out of, a couch that calls your name and a kitchen table that echoes your ideas about gatherings.

Dream Sources: Natura Comfort, Christian Liaigre, Design Within Reach

Resources of Note:

APPLIANCES
• Kitchen Aid mixer
• Nespresso Cube

HARDWARE
• I honestly can't remember, but Restoration Hardware is ringing a bell.

FURNITURE
• A few Eames pieces
• A Paul Mc Cobb console
• Some vintage chairs from the 20's

ART
• Marilyn Monroe Bus Stop Movie Poster
• An E. Hierny collage
• A Sarah Wilson photo
• An Il Guercino
• A concrete torso I adore.

ACCESSORIES
• Art books galore
• Oddities from uncommon objects

LIGHTING
• Sputnik chandelier
• Chrome light blubs
• Glow cube from Nest

RUGS & CARPETS
• Michaelian & Kohlberg
• Tibetano

TILES & STONES
• Subway tiles in various shapes and sizes
• Stained leuter's limestone

WINDOW TREATMENTS
• Old School blinds

BED
• Ikea
• Wildflower

FLOORING
• Painted concrete

Thanks, Karen!!

(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.