Nikou & Travis’ Modern, Minimal Marfa-Inspired Apartment
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Name: Nikou and Travis McCarra, their sons, Kian and Zayn, and WIFI the Dog
Location: Houston, Texas
Size: 1,550 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years; Owned
Nikou and Travis met in architecture school at the University of Houston many years ago—first came love of design, then came marriage. Now they co-own McCarra Creative, a “multi-disciplinary design studio focused on branding, web, print, and 3D.” The couple married in 2012 in Marfa, Texas, and quickly put their lofty knowledge to use by investing in property in Midtown Houston and building a four-unit (two duplexes) apartment complex designed to house anyone from the new nuclear family to the perfect roommate situation.
The apartments in the intimate complex are practically identical and perfectly designed because they were made with the McCarras’ own needs and tastes in mind: minimalism, openness, ample amounts of natural light, and supreme functionality. In addition to all of those key elements, a shrewd budget also played a major role in getting the most out of their property.
When Nikou and Travis were building their complex, they knew they would soon be starting a family. Since building Ruthven Place, as they so lovingly dubbed it, they have had two sons: Kian, almost two, and Zayn, just three months old. Their apartment has held true to their design goals: a home big and open enough to house a whole family but also just compartmentalized enough to give that oh-so-needed space at the end of the day.
The entire living, dining and kitchen area is open, so most of the goings-on in their household are done in this open space. The bedrooms are cleverly spaced apart, with the master bedroom on the opposite end of the apartment from the second and third bedrooms. In between each room is an ample amount of wall space, a laundry closet, and a backyard balcony that leads down into a common outdoor area that all the units share—the perfect combination of community and privacy.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Minimalist
Inspiration: The inspiration for the building came from the surrounding neighborhood. We purchased two lots in the historic Fourth Ward. The project consists of two duplexes located in Houston’s historic Fourth Ward on Ruthven Street, therefore nicknamed Ruthven Place.
The Fourth Ward emerged as Houston’s most prominent African-American neighborhood when thousands of freed slaves built homes there after emancipation. The core of the community remains dominated by historic Victorian, bungalow, and shotgun style homes. Ruthven Place honors these historic forms of architecture.
Alternatively, Ruthven Place offers a rental option set apart from the traditional large-unit rental model that so many Houstonians are used to seeing. You get the best of both worlds: downtown chic and a palpable sense of history at the same time.
Favorite Element: The ceilings
Biggest Challenge: The construction
What Friends Say: Dang.
Proudest DIY: The entire construction process.
Biggest Indulgence: Garza Marfa Chair
Dream Sources: Marfa Minimalism
PAINT & COLORS
- All walls: Sherwin-Williams Rhinestone
- Credenza: found at jewelry store closing for $100
- Steer skull: Fredericksburg, Texas
- Table: Macy’s
- Chairs: Herman Miller
- Bench: Macy’s
- Kitchen: IKEA
- Mirror: IKEA
- Yellow rocker: Herman Miller
- Bed: Crate & Barrel
- Nightstands: West Elm
- Lamps: West Elm
- Wall hanging: from trip to India
- Baby furniture: IKEA
- Mobile: a gift from Paris
- Wall pegs: Amanda Medsger
- Floor pouf: Crate & Barrel
- Tiles: IKEA
- Installments: IKEA
- Furniture: mostly vintage
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