Kate Payne’s Warm East Austin Home

published Feb 11, 2013
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(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Name: Kate Payne, educator and author of “The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking”, her documentary photographer wife Jo Ann Santangelo, pup Isobel (and the occasional Airbnb guest, including Husky Ada).
Location: East Austin, Texas
Size: 1100 square feet
Years lived in: Rented almost 1 year

We first took note of Kate Payne’s hypnotizing and down-to-earth brand of home style when we covered her cheery and colorful kitchen last year. One look at the warm and welcoming home she shares with her wife and it’s obvious Kate loves the lost of art of homemaking (and luckily for everyone, she teaches those skills as an author and educator).

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

Kate and Jo Ann are avid thrift store shoppers, and nearly everything — from furniture, to accessories, to clothes — is vintage in this house. This gives the entire space a wonderful feeling of authenticity. This is a one-of-a-kind kind of home. With vignettes sprinkled in corners and on tabletops, you want to walk through each space learning the story behind every item.

Anchored by a number of bold and colorful elements, like the big red curtains in the living room, the blue vintage sofa and that unforgettably bright kitchen pegboard, the rest of the home has a pleasantly unstudied charm. There’s always some kind of food project going on, from pickling to canning and more, and jars full of colorful foods are a surprising and constant accessory. A true renaissance woman (she works as a freelance writer, canning instructor, gives workshops and much, much more), Kate’s recently branched out to selling home items, like flour sack kitchen towels and aprons with her saying “Step away from the take out menu.” Good advice and cute stuff.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Treasured — there’s hardly anything in my house that doesn’t have a story. I may not know its original story, but that just makes it more intriguing.

Inspiration: Found objects and old wood things. We are always on the look out for antique and vintage finds, like those you might see in Anthropologie-esque home store displays. — I love looking through all the designs of fabrics and selecting a few to incorporate into various rooms, usually just a throw pillow or curtain, but it’s a good place to start until you can buy larger design-y pieces.

Favorite Element: Our basement. I’m a fermenter and basements are generally unheard of in Austin because of our limestone and caliche soils. What a treasure we have — I have foraged wild plums soaking in gin down there right now. Plumtopf!

Biggest Challenge: It’s tricky getting to the backyard during parties where we entertain back there. The house’s original owner sealed the back door that formerly led back there through the workshop/office room.

What Friends Say: We often hear, “It’s so homey!”

Biggest Embarrassment: I’d like to repaint the bedrooms, but we’ve been too busy and aren’t sure how long our next lease will extend {sigh}.

Favorite DIY element: The kitchen pegboard.

Biggest Indulgence: Organic bed linens. Luckily we’ve been able find them on sale online or locally, but it’s important to us to not skimp on comfy and pesticide-free sheets. Oh, and I will own a Hoosier cabinet one day, which can be pricey if they’re in good shape. I adore them for their look and functionality.

Best Advice: Localize your décor (area by area or room by room) until you can afford to do larger, extending themes throughout your house. Create a space you love to be in.

Dream Sources: A blank check and being let loose on an antique market and estate sale spree!

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Resources of Note:
• Just about everything is vintage! But check out Kate’s kitchen tour for info on kitchen gear.

Find Kate’s incredible homemaking tips and ideas on her website, Facebook and her blog, The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking. Kate’s “Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen” (tentatively titled) book is slated for April 2014 release.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Kate!

(Images: Adrienne Breaux)

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