Taylor and Alisha Murphy have lived in Austin since they both graduated from the University of Texas. It was a happy medium for being close to family, but also being in the middle of all the exciting things a city can offer, such as outdoor activities — hiking, swimming, camping, music — and a great design and restaurant scene. Both Taylor and Alisha gather keepsakes on trips, inherit collectibles from family members, and know a good piece when they see one at an antique store. Taylor runs his own design firm and calls his style, "lived in-contemporary." They love to mix modern pieces with vintage, and want their home to be comfortable and inviting. They've succeeded!
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Always an interesting question because so many different things influence me, and style is always changing. There are certain ideals I tend to default to. The phrase sounds odd, but I like to call my sensibility "lived in-contemporary." I love mixing contemporary pieces with what was modern in the 60s/70s/80s. The space and the objects within the space have to feel like they have a story and history. The room must reflect the personality of the owner. I like my spaces to feel relaxed and functional, but challenging to the eye.
Inspiration: Photography, Sculpture, Painting, Fashion-Product Designers, Travel, Friends/Family, and various individual personal styles. Style is ever changing, and how a person adapts to that change and expresses it in their everyday life is where I find inspiration.
Favorite Element: We love having a large dining table. Entertaining is a big part of our lives. We think it is important to have somewhere where friends and family can get together to share their lives with one another, and that table has been our place for the past couple of years. Some of my favorite few objects though are a basket of rocks my grandfather collected from all over the world that I inherited recently.
Biggest Challenge: Space. I am a gigantic accessories hoarder and my wife has a problem with clothing. We both seem to gather those things on different trips so it makes it more difficult to get rid of them. Being organized is really important if you want to keep a lot of stuff. For instance, we have a pillow closet that houses some of my favorites. However, I love a good purge process so every couple years I get rid of a lot of stuff. If you do that it keeps you always thinking about what you really can't live without and what can find a new home.
What Friends Say: Recently a friend told us that he loved being at our house because it reminded him of being at his grandmother's and hanging out in the living room after a big wonderful meal. I took that as a huge compliment because what else could you want your house to feel like than that? It's important to my wife and I, and my personal design aesthetic, that guests feel welcome and comfortable when spending time in our space.
Get the look! → Relaxed Colorful Contemporary Style
Biggest Embarrassment: The fact that we put our cat on a leash tethered to the front door knob so he can get a feel for the outdoors without technically being an outside cat. We get strange looks from the neighbors but he enjoys himself out there — spends hours, and plenty of people come and sit on the porch to keep him company.
Proudest DIY: Well, I'm not the biggest DIY person in the world. I'm an art major so you would think I'm crafty but I'm not really. I love setting the table and creating tablescapes if that counts. I like arranging flowers and setting up for various events. Last year for Halloween my wife and I went as Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears in those ridiculous jean outfits. I made both of our costumes out of jean and hot glue. That was pretty impressive I will say.
Biggest Indulgence: We love going to new restaurants around town, and in Austin there is no shortage of discovering something new. I'm a huge fan of hospitality in general and love hotels and hotel bars specifically. They have a great vibe, generally people from different areas, drinks are always good, and never crazy packed where you can't breathe.
Best Advice: Buy art (just in general), show up when asked, and entertain even when you're not ready. No one cares as much as you think they do.
Dream Sources: The Future Perfect, Lawson Fenning, 1st Dibs, Egg Collective