Mark’s Mid-Century Austin Abode
Name: Mark Meyer, principal of designSTUDIO, and Justice the dog
Location: Austin, Texas
Size: 840 square feet
Years lived in: 6 years
Rented or Owned: Rent
We first came across architect Mark Meyer’s work with Austin’s La Boîte, a fabulous coffee and pastry shop in a shipping container. After viewing his other work, we knew he’d probably live in a gorgeous home. Bowled over by the awesome outdoor space, the Mid-Century Modern details and Mark’s own simple yet stunning style, you’ll find plenty of inspiration (and some Texas details) in this architect’s apartment.
Set behind bustling downtown in the hilly neighborhood of Clarksville, Mark’s apartment building, built in 1968, has an interesting layout: each of the 9 units has its own courtyard protected by tall brick walls and you immediately notice all the gorgeous floor to ceiling windows. The apartment itself is arranged in a horseshoe shape around the courtyard; to your right is the living room/dining room, straight ahead is the kitchen and bathroom, and to your left are two small yet airy bedrooms. Mark’s personal tastes gel perfectly with the apartment’s look, and he’s filled the space with vintage Mid-Century Modern finds, a bright and bold color palette and much of his own art, accessories and furnishings.
The kitchen and bathroom show signs of a 1980’s renovation, and sport bright red faucets by—we’re not kidding — Ferrari. The shiny black tiled countertops were also a surprise, but work toward giving the small spaces interest. We love how Mark kept his bedroom simple and only included a bed, side table, chair and a couple of lights. We also get a kick out of all of the packing hanging lights by Mark made out of polystyrene. Our second favorite part has to be the actual tombstone in the courtyard (Shelton C. Dowell Jan 24, 1853 – Dec 2, 1885, if you were curious) — not even the landlord knows where it came from!
We enjoyed hearing from Mark about how the apartment has affected his architecture practice and vice versa:
“I think the biggest thing is how living here has impacted and informed my design sense. The compact spaces and the overall indoor/outdoor interaction really show up in a lot of my designs. Also the desire to maximize efficiency in tighter spaces has grown out of being intimately informed by living in the compact floor plan (that amazingly enough doesn’t feel compact). While there are a lot of examples of this ethos in classic Mid-Century Modern design (Neutra, Eames, Koenig et al in California, and Fehr & Granger and Stenger in Austin), and while I’ve devoted considerable time and effort to internalizing their lessons, living in this particular example has been a much more visceral learning experience.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My style: A mix of classics, anonymous vintage finds and my own designs and handiwork
Inspiration: Having long been a fan of Mid-Century Modernism and being blessed to live in such a great 60’s modern apartment, the thing that inspires me most is the light quality afforded by such direct connection to the outdoors that floor to ceiling glass provides.
Favorite Element: Laying in bed and being able to see up into the trees, the moon and the starry night sky.
Biggest Challenge: When entertaining trying to keep everyone out of the TINY kitchen so that the cook can actually work!
What Friends Say: All my friends love it, and I don’t think it is just because I ply them with good food and drinks when they are here.
Biggest Embarrassment: The glass walls leak almost everytime it rains. But it is a small price to pay for that glorious light!
Proudest DIY: All the art and most of the furniture, but I think everyone else is most impressed with the big beam bench.
Biggest Indulgence: Adopting forlorn vintage finds and fixing them up to provide them a loving new home. That and the chair fetish..
Best advice: Live with what you love. Surround yourself with pieces that give you joy. And as Charles Eames said, “Who ever said that pleasure wasn’t functional?”
Furniture: Eames LCM (Herman Miller, DWR), Bertoia Diamond Lounge (Knoll, Craigslist), anonymous 50’s couch (estate sale), Jacobsen #7 Chair in red cloth (Texas Office Supply), Eames DSX Side Chair (Herman Miller, thrift store), Eames DSS Side Chairs (Herman Miller, Craigslist), Eames DSR Side Chair (Herman Miller, garage sale), Eames LTR occasional table (Herman Miller, DWR), Morrison Cork table, (Moooi, DWR), Mason table in various woods and cement board (designSTUDIO), YakiSugi bench in cedar beam and painted steel base (designSTUDIO), Vintage Danish convertible dining table DUX (estate sale), Vintage Danish wall unit (Craigslist), Rolling medical cabinet (garage sale) and a metal bookcase (dumpster find).
Accessories: Winter cowhide (Tandy Leather), Eames Leg Splint, Evans Plywood Company (estate sale), Eames Hang-it-All from Herman Miller (DWR).
Lighting: Plywood hanging lamp of baltic birch (designSTUDIO), gymnasium torchier, vintage gym pendant and cast iron base (all by designSTUDIO) and packing lamps made of polystyrene (designSTUDIO).
Artwork: Painting, prints and sculptures (designSTUDIO)
Paint: Benjamin Moore Orange, Benjamin Moore Surf Blue (from Clement’s Paint) and Ralph Lauren Rust (from Home Depot)
Images: Adrienne Breaux