Briana & Dominic’s Beautiful Bungalow

published Jun 27, 2013
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Briana Babani and Dominic Cancilla
Location: North Loop; Austin, Texas
Size: 1050 square feet
Years lived in: Rented 1.5 years

Artist Briana Babani and her husband Dominic had to tackle two of the biggest challenges renters face. One: how to combine the homes of two furniture lovers (recently married) and two: how to make a home with a stylish previous owner and very distinctive bones look like you. Friendly, welcoming, and with wonderful personalities, Briana and Dominic have turned this house in Austin’s North Loop neighborhood into a full, creative, and beautiful home.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Briana, an amazing fine artist who creates large-scale, abstract, woven art pieces as well as upholstering silk patchwork seat cushion covers, pillows and quilts, definitely brings a softness to this house’s strong architectural features, like a tall, vaulted ceiling with painted wood beams and an open kitchen with custom shelving. 

Though combining households when they got married meant the couple parted with some items, they didn’t ignore the practical. Not everyone can throw out every item they own to create a minimal look, so yes, shelves are full, and one end of the living room pulls double duty as an office for Dominic, a movie producer. 

Having found a well-maintained and stylish home to rent, they didn’t make huge changes to the space, rather focusing on personalizing details. The pair added an affordable kitchen island for more work space. They made the open kitchen shelving their own. A soft, oversized sectional sets the tone for comfort in the living room. A spare bedroom was turned into a tidy studio complete with a room-sized loom for Briana (the room also acts as storage). Their bedroom, though small, has a lot of light, and practical shelves mingle with a dominant four-poster bed to create intimacy. Briana’s gorgeous quilt tops the bed and splashes color throughout the room.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Eclectic! We’ve found that the things we’re attracted to rarely have a consistent style. While the house itself is decidedly Mid-Century, we believe in surrounding ourselves with objects that we love, and those things don’t always fit neatly into the same design aesthetic. 

Dom and I married and merged belongings only a year ago. Building our life and home together as a couple has involved a natural process of accumulation and purging. Most likely our current and future homes will never be ‘finished’, but will constantly evolve as our tastes and needs change. 

Inspiration: I love looking through design mags, and over the past decade I have been amassing quite a collection of images torn from magazines.

Favorite Element: The kitchen! It’s easily the largest space in the house, and since Dom and I both love to cook, we spend most of our time there.

Biggest Challenge: Renting is extremely challenging, particularly for someone who is an artist, designer, and builder. Fortunately, we found a house with spectacular bones and we’re very happy here.

What Friends Say: We get wonderful compliments from friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers. Almost everyone is drawn to the dramatic front porch — it’s very inviting.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our biggest embarrassment is probably that we have so much stuff, it can be hard to find places to put it all!

Proudest DIY: Since we’re renting, we haven’t made any significant changes to the house. The chalkboard wall has been a handy place to scribble, doodle, jot down reminders, and make to-do lists.

Best Advice: When remodeling, designing, collecting furniture — have fun with it!

Dream Sources: I’ve discovered terrific things at flea markets, garage sales, and on Craigslist.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


  • Vintage cameras
  • Lamp: Kartell
  • Photograph of cat: By Dominic
  • Chair: Flea market


  • Sofa: Build-a-Sofa
  • Hand-dyed silk pillows: By Briana
  • Mid-century desk: Consignment store
  • Navajo rug: E-bay
  • Photographs in niche: by Dominic
  • Wood & metal foundry molds: Found on Craigslist


  • Bottles & glass spheres: By Briana
  • Table: Furniture in the Raw
  • Wine rack & baskets: Ikea
  • Bar: Flea market
  • On top of bar: Internal parts of an old piano
  • Woven wall hanging: By Briana
  • Ladder-back chair: Flea market
  • Hand-dyed silk upholstered chair: By Briana
  • 2 Eames chairs upholstered in cowhide: Consignment store


  • Hand-dyed silk upholstered chair: By Briana
  • French riddling rack re-purposed as pot rack
  • Cabinets & island: Ikea


  • Bed: World Market
  • Shelves: Ikea
  • Flower decal: Pier 1
  • Hand-dyed silk quilt: By Briana


  • Pair of hand-dyed silk chairs: By Briana
  • Artwork: By Briana


  • Tables: Steel & cedar w/ glass top
  • Red chairs & bench: Ikea
  • Soundboard of an upright piano
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Briana & Dominic!

(Images: Adrienne Breaux)

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