Kayla and Amir live in Austin with their two dogs, Rusty “Pants” and Bo Jackson. To make a long story short, they basically left their long-time home in Los Angeles for Austin because they fell in love with a house, a city, and its people.
Kayla is a life stylist, host, and speaker in LA, NYC, and Austin. She works with women to help them uncover, discover, and create passion- and purpose-filled careers. You can also find her on college campuses speaking and working with students. After seeing so many clients in their 30s with jobs they hate, she decided to see if she could help change the pattern earlier by helping students go after their dreams sooner rather than later.
She also still has a thriving wardrobe consulting business in which she helps her personal clients look and feel their absolute best. Her husband, Amir, is a director and writer.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Mid-Century Modern meets Marfa meets Ironic Art
Inspiration: Ah, inspiration. It can hit you at any moment, but I [Kayla] most often find myself reaching for my camera at boutique hotels and restaurants. I’ve called so many restaurants and hotels to ask where they sourced a chair or a vase or a rug. Rarely is it something I can still find, but I try.
Then, of course, there is plenty of inspiration to be found on the internet. I love the blog A House in the Hills and share a very similar aesthetic to Sarah Mora. However, I spend very little time looking for inspiration on the internet because I often end up feeling anxious and like I have to have this picture-perfect house. It’s overwhelming!
Oh wait, I just realized you probably meant the inspiration for our house. So let’s start this again:
I want more than anything for our house to feel like a home. We bought a Mid-century modern house in Texas so I was perfectly happy to let those two things be the main inspiration: Mid-century meets Marfa. And our art and furniture already reflected this, which is why I think we were so drawn to the house.
Favorite Element: My husband loves to buy “funny” art or objects, for example, Wu-Tang’s RZA Crossing the Delaware painting. We also have small little objects like a break-dancing man, a meerkat, small vintage guns, a boombox, remixed tapes from the '80s and '90s, eight vintage tennis rackets, an emergency clown nose, a “presidential” photo of our dog, etc., scattered throughout the house. We also have some great things from his dad’s country-western bar that he ran for 40+ years.
It should also be mentioned that while I have lovingly incorporated all of these things into our house, when I hung the Nannie Inez “wall art,” he said, “Why do we have yarn hanging from our walls?” He still insists it should be moved. I say it stays!
I think all of these things help to make our house feel like a home because they are so personal to us.
Biggest Challenge: Without a doubt, the concrete walls!! If there’s a tornado, we’re good. If I’m trying to hang a shelf, well, that required three trips to the Home Depot to find the right drill bit and then nails. And then I still ended up calling someone to do it because I hit cinder block or a rock, I think, I still really don’t know what impenetrable item exists behind my walls. I love hanging things and moving them and once I realized the concrete situation I really had to commit to where things were going.
What Friends Say: Well, we moved to Austin in August, so all of our friends were loving the pool and big shaded yard. We have a great house for entertaining and that’s exactly what we want, people over as much as possible.
Biggest Embarrassment: I really wish I took a photo to share with you, but this goes back to the concrete walls. I was having a girls' night at my house which always inspires me to tackle a project. This one was to hang shelves in the living room. I hung one bracket of a shelf with no problem at all. Then I go to hang the other one and can’t get through the wall/concrete. Since I can’t use a stud finder, I just keep going along the length of where the shelf will be drilling holes. I figure, no one will see them once the shelf is hung. Eight holes later, I ended up putting a plant on the random bracket in the wall and hung a photo over the 8 holes. And then I called my handyman the next day.
Proudest DIY: Hanging a 7’ vintage Persian rug/tapestry that was a gift from my mother-in-law. She gave it to me a couple of years ago. It’s this gorgeous butterfly tapestry. But it’s 7’ long and at the time I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it. When we moved here I wanted to hang it in the stairway on a large (surprise, surprise) concrete wall, but was stumped how to do it. After calls to rug stores, seamstresses, handyman, I finally came up with the solution that would work. I bought a long wooden curtain pole from Bed Bath & Beyond. Cut it down to the right size. Drilled holes in the end of it and tied it to the wall using some rope I found at Target. (Again, not totally DIY because my superhero handyman had to help with the drilling!).
Biggest Indulgence: Chairs!!! If I look around our house, the most expensive items are our chairs. My husband bought an Eames before I met him which was his biggest indulgence. And then we both fell in love with Garza Marfa chairs and he went out and surprised me and bought one! Meanwhile, I had fallen in love with the Copper Lucy chair from Bend that was back-ordered for four months, but well worth the wait!
Best Advice: Decorating your house is a marathon, not a race! My neighbor told me this when moving in and I couldn’t agree more. When you first move in, you want everything to be perfect right away but if you did that you’d make rush decisions just to fill a space as opposed to finding those special pieces on your travels, in vintage stores, etc. that really speak to you.
- Chair: Garza Marfa
- Cactus in hanging planter: Mockingbird Design
- Holla door mat: Reed Wilson via Houzz
- Coffee table: West Elm
- End table: West Elm
- Throw blanket: JM Dry Goods
- Blue wool wall hanging: Nannie Inez
- Photograph: Peter Carapetian—Peter was our neighbor when we lived in Venice. He has since passed away, so it’s a nice memory of a very talented and lovely neighbor.
- Dining table: Cooper from Weego Home
- Dining chairs: Lucy from Bend Goods
- Vintage Moroccan pillow: Round Top Antique Fair
- "Scout" art: painted for trade by Hannah Mayestrand, a model I styled—it was a gift for my husband for our wedding.
- Picture of girl: Shepard Fairey via Obey Giant
- Vintage Persian rug: Amir's parents
- Bedspread: JM Dry Goods
- X pillows: CB2
- Long pillow: Coral & Tusk
- Vintage 8x10s of country music legends: Amir's dad ran a country music bar, The Maverick, for 40+ years in Tucson, AZ. During that time, a lot of famous country western musicians would come in and perform. This was long before big stadium tours, when musicians would go from bar to bar to perform. He has some pretty amazing stories!
- Wallpaper: I'm obsessed with the wallpaper, but can take no credit for it. The previous owners chose it.
- Wu-Tang Crossing the Delaware art: The RZA
- Picture of girl: vintage, found at store for $30
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