Name: Lindsay Nakashima and son Hugo
Location: Hyde Park — Austin, Texas
Size: 1400 square feet
Years lived in: Owned, 10 years
Beauty permeates every inch of the Austin home of Lindsay Nakashima, the grandniece of famed Mid-Century Modern furniture maker George Nakashima. His modern and warm wood furniture designs mix with Lindsay's refreshingly simple and honest approach to design, to create a home that's entirely welcoming. And though the house has recently been sold to a new (obviously style-loving) family, we got to speak with Lindsay about her home, her great-uncle's furniture and her calming, understated style.
Don't be afraid to touch anything
Lindsay tells a story of one of her son's friends taking to carving his initials in a Nakashima chair when they were younger. You recoil a little in horror when you hear, but she doesn't recount it to warn you to not touch anything. Spending her youth playing in and around George's furniture on the family compound and workshop in New Hope, Pennsylvania taught her that his furniture should be respected, but also enjoyed. Lindsay invites guests to sit, lean and eat on these pieces of immeasurable beauty, which are a mix of George Nakashima vintage originals or commissioned pieces by Mira Nakashima-Yarnall, George's daughter and head of the family business.
Japanese-inspired, modernly executed
The whole home is a perfect study of the essence and simplicity of Japanese-inspired design, but squeezed delicately through a sensible, modern filter. Subtle and elegant features to this home — implemented by Lindsay who is a design consultant, book binder and Pilates instructor — create an uncluttered, balanced mix of architecture and furniture, with a soft color palette inspired by nature. She folded in art (much of it by her father, artist Tom Nakashima, nephew of George Nakashima) and other accessories expertly. Lindsay is a master of the detail, of filling a space with a few good-quality elements. But she's also one to be frugal — she's just as likely to incorporate a clever idea like a plumbing pipe for a curtain rod as she is to splurge on high-end wallpaper, saving money by installing it carefully herself.
Located in the Hyde Park neighborhood, the Craftsman Style bungalow has good bones, and the renovations from Lindsay over the years have been necessary, smart and affordable. She highly recommends saving for built-ins so that you can tuck away your possessions neatly and easily. She used California Closets in her and her son's rooms and storage closets, and she designed and had built the huge media wall in the back office.
The kitchen received a facelift to bring it into character with the rest of the home. Previously Spanish-inspired, she took all the terra cotta tiles out, exposing the original shiplap on a few walls and painting them a deep gray, then added long-leaf pine in a gorgeous honey tone with gray veins to the sink wall back splash. Working with local woodworker Michael Yates, they studied the wood to find a pattern of the grain that would be most dynamic. She also replaced the countertops with economical gray Caesarstone and painted one wall with black chalkboard paint. All of these elements, combined with the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the private side yard filled with bamboo, make for a peaceful, modern kitchen, which complements a wholly relaxing house.
A list of the Nakashima furniture pieces
• Nakashima Four-foot Settee
, a George original upholstered in a warm gray modern fabric.
• Greenrock Coffee Table and Ottomans
, replicas made by Mira Nakashima
• Right-Armed Lounge Chair
• Frenchmen's Cove Round-cluster Base Table (resembles the one she remembers her grandparents having in their home.)
• Mira Chairs
• Mira Chairs
• A desk designed for Hugo by Mira, with a lower shelf that Hugo can tuck his technology into when not in use.
Partial art list
• Roger Shimomura
• Framed old Japanese flags that have been restored
• Dale Nichols
• Luis Jimenez
For more information about George Nakashima, his work, and the continuing legacy of his designs and his daughter Mira's work, visit the Nakashima website. For more history about George and his life, read the great interview Maxwell had with Mira last year: Apartment Therapy Design Evenings: Mira Nakashima-Yarnall.
(Images: Adrienne Breaux)
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