A Free-Spirited Haven for Art and Treasures

A Free-Spirited Haven for Art and Treasures

Misty Adair
Dec 18, 2009

Name: Curlin Reed Sullivan
Location: Austin, TX
Size: 2,500 square feet
Years lived in: 7 years
Rented or Owned: Owned
Who else lives here? Hubby, Two sons, Two labradors

One pair of clown shoes should be enough for any household, but this one will take two please (sized extra large). Curlin Sullivan of Austin is amused by the idea of a clown kicking off his shoes and strolling around her house, as if he could peek around the corner at any moment. Humor is a decorating element that she does not hesitate to use and if IT strikes her fancy, she will find a place for it. Every shelf and table top is host to a charming assortment of objects and art that kept us intrigued for hours. Join the clown and take a peek into Curlin's world…

Curlin (a family name, we knew you'd ask) is a collector of all things old and new, sentimental and ironic, handmade and found in nature. She would be happy spending every last penny on artwork and vintage treasures. She owns art from local artists and also has several folk art pieces by California artist Shari Elf. Our favorite vintage items (besides the clown shoes) are the wire laundry basket that Curlin repurposed as a coffee table and the Hollywood background tapestry hanging over the desk. We also adore the black and white mosaic Lego portrait of her son. (By the way, Lego does not offer these anymore as for as we know.)

When Curlin and her family bought this house, she says it was a "builder's special" with lots of space and very little character. She has spent the last seven years imbuing her home with creativity, warmth and whimsy. We realize that this home is far from fitting the small space mold, but the ideas that Curlin used to transform her plainer house into a stunning home are applicable in any sized space. She achieved this highly customized look by fearlessly mixing color and texture, modern and folk art, antiques and found objects. Curlin thrives on "wonky symmetry" and seeing the "hand of the artist" present around her. For example, she has a delightful drawing done by her son as an anniversary gift that features an imperfect wedding couple. Curlin commissioned a local artist to sculpt the same image in stone and it now graces her garden.

An addition to the home is a studio apartment where Curlin crafts her own artwork under the name Pipping Tooth Studios. She creates unique, fanciful figures that seem to spring straight from her garden onto the cards, calendars, shadow boxes, and fine art prints. Curlin designed all the modern, minimalist built-in storage units to accommodate her bounty of books and art supplies. Although the studio is meant to be a work space, it is such a joyful, airy apartment that it attracts many visitors. Friends will often borrow Curlin's studio, or Fort Fallopian as her husband refers to it, for much needed breaks or overnight retreats. We understand completely.

AT Survey:

My/Our style: Scandinantique Loopy-eclectic

Inspiration: Flora & Fauna

Favorite Element: It's welcoming.

Biggest Challenge: My broken self-cleaning mechanism.

Friends Say: They love the unpretentious random design & artwork.

Proudest DIY: I designed my studio space myself.

Biggest Indulgence: Original art, art and more original art.

Best advice: Decorate your home with things that make you happy & joyful.

Dream source: Love for now Uncommon Objects in Austin, but if I win the lottery it will be 1st Dibs.

Other Inspiration: Illustrations, wonky patterns, folk art, humor. I also adore anything by 50's Swedish ceramicist Stig Lindberg.


Appliances: Thermador, Cusinart, Williams-Sonoma, Target.

Hardware: Restoration Hardware, Home Depot, Ace Hardware.

Furniture: Baker, Mitchell Gold, antiques,

Accessories: Antiques, original art, Crate & Barrel, Target, Etsy, E-bay, Uncommon Objects, City Wide Garage Sale in Austin.

Lighting: Various home design centers.

Window Treatments: There is only one, hand-blocked fabric panels in kitchen.

Artwork: Original artwork by Shari Elf, Satch Grimley, Cherie Weaver, Andrea Uren, Reed and Preston Sullivan. Curlin's own artwork is featured throughout the house in the quirky white ceramic figurines and the wall montage of "garden gals".

Paint: Benjamin Moore

Flooring: Resin-concrete overlay on pre-existing floors, oak wood floors.

Rugs and carpets: Flor, standard Stainmaster.

Tiles and Stone: The kitchen countertops are stained limestone and the kitchen island is made from planks of African mahogony. The fireplace is a custom design carved from stone and the Sullivan's placed a time capsule in the hearth. All stonework is by Bertoldt Haas and all woodwork, including custom built-ins in the living room, are by local musician Christian Braflaadt.

(Thanks for the hospitality, Curlin!)

Photos by Misty Adair

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