Deborah’s Modern Shabby Chic Home

published Nov 10, 2010
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Name: Deborah Strauss, Lizzie the bird and Bentley the dog
Location: North Hyde Park — Austin, Texas
Size: 1,570 square feet
Years lived in: 5 — owned

Who says you have to fill a modern architecture home with contemporary or Mid-Century Modern furnishings? We found an Austin resident who furnished her modern house with a medley of shabby chic, French-inspired decor and eclectic items in a careful mix that seems both exciting, relaxing and just perfect.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Maybe the best part of being a contributor for Apartment Therapy is getting to see not just gorgeous interiors, but how someone takes the shell of a house and infuses it with their own personality to create a home. This is especially apparent in Deborah’s home. Airy, bright, open yet cozy — everywhere you look are old photos or vintage finds that soften the stark edges of modernism, creating a warm and cozy home in every corner.

One of our favorite things about this home was all the sunshine that streamed through the windows. Creating fun shadows as the sunlight changes throughout the day, the whole home was very cheery. Another fun element to this house? Tucked around every corner of this modern home are a surprising number of delightful outdoor spaces: a cozy bedroom porch nestled in a tree top, a screened-in porch perfect for tea, a breakfast nook area overlooking a magazine photo shoot-worthy front yard and a narrow, “secret” garden perfect for an afternoon nap.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: To use a careworn but appropriate word: eclectic. Probably best said that it is comfortable, monochromatic, vintage, shabby chic, some sort of French influence, all against a backdrop of industrial and contemporary architecture.

Inspiration: Nature, design books, Europe, beautiful stores like Anthropologie, Wildflower Organics, Back Home, etc. England, France, Rachel Ashwell, Jane Cumberbatch and Atlanta Bartlett.

Favorite Element: The windows, particularly in my bedroom where they are floor to ceiling and give the most amazing view of the sky — I call it the Sky Theatre.

Biggest Challenge: The windows — keeping them as clean and fresh as I love them to be.

What Friends Say: That it is happy, light and airy, comfortable to be in and creates a feeling of intimacy.

Biggest Embarrassment: If I told you I would really be embarrassed!

Proudest DIY: There are two actually. 1) the builder “sneaked behind my back” with the best intentions and filled the garden spaces with white gravel, bamboo and cactus (interesting but not my style). I have converted them into my version of “the secret garden,” filled with blooms, vines, birds and a feeling of peace. 2) The window treatments for the floor to ceiling windows in the bedroom. I came up with an idea of taking plywood, wrapping it in thin foam and covering with muslin fabric. The pieces fit separately into each window and are removable. The top piece is about shoulder high so there is still plenty of light and sky, but complete privacy. They are great in so many ways but mainly because they take up no room space and the neutral color of the muslin provides a nice soft touch to the room.

Biggest Indulgence: Bedding and linens by far and away!

Best advice: Be yourself! Don’t feel you have to adapt your style into a particular kind of architecture. Live in the space and gradually integrate yourself into it with who you are. Also, my favorite quote for living in a home: William Morris – “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

Dream source: Anything that puts together spaces that feel right to me — it can be books, catalogs, blogs, beautiful stores, people’s homes, even bathrooms in nice restaurants. My eyes are always looking.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


Appliances: Best Buy

Hardware: Anthropologie, Best Buy

Furniture: Wildflower Organics, Back Home, Pottery Barn, IKEA, Shabby Chic

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Accessories: Completely random

Lighting: Crate & Barrel, Shabby Chic, Anthropologie

Paint: Kelly Moore — the whole house is painted in a color called Quiet, except for the downstairs bathroom, that is called Flagstone.

Flooring: Concrete floors were laid when the house was built and the birch flooring upstairs is from Liquidated Flooring

Rugs and Carpets: West Elm, Pier One

Window Treatments: Shabby Slips

Beds: Wildflower Organics

Artwork: My daughter Emily’s photography, found negatives from flea markets that I developed in my darkroom (a Buddha from who knows when or where), random framed botanic prints from London flea markets, old postcards framed.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks Deborah!

Images: Adrienne Breaux

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