Matt & Leah’s Modern Menagerie

published May 28, 2012
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Matt and Leah (and eight furry cat children)
Location: Austin, Texas
Size: 2055 square feet
Years lived in: Owned 2 years

Let’s just get this out of the way: Matt and Leah have eight cats. They also have a gorgeous modern Austin home and enviable tastes, but you’re about to experience a lot of adorable photos of cats perched on modern furniture. Luckily, you’re also going to see a smooth, clean style of furnishings that lets natural light, cool architecture and fun art shine.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Located in a small, newer condo development that’s full of lush landscaping, it’s hard to not notice first the views from the large windows. A cozy, narrow, vertical space, as you slowly wind from floor to floor (four technically, if you count the rooftop terrace) you enjoy a subtle move from public to private space, each more peaceful and relaxing than the one before it.

It’s impressive in not just the way Matt, a firefighter, and Leah, who works in marketing/operations, blended their furry family, but also how they’ve blended their styles. They each have distinct personalities but together create a cohesive, fresh space. I loved how they let the architecture really stand out, how they enjoy the natural elements, like rough-cut wood, and also all of the greenery (Leah has quite the green thumb, as evidenced by the amazing rooftop garden) sprinkled throughout the space.

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Since I know you all have cat questions: They didn’t set out to end up with eight cats total; they each had three before they were married, and Leah works with fostering cats (and as cat lovers they’ve just fallen in love with a few they’ve fostered over the years). Yes, all the cats get along (with all the vertical space in the home, each cat has a ton of space with which to retreat if needed). The kitties use the bathroom in a tucked away DIY space: a closet in the garage outfitted with three frequently-changed litter boxes that has a kitty door access from the first floor. (Stated for the record: this house looks and smells clean). Only six cats actually live inside: two of them are outdoor kitties that live on the rooftop terrace with a very luxurious, completely-protected-from-the-weather shelter (and are brought in when it gets too hot/wet/cold).

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Natural modern.

Inspiration: Found objects, classic design, Houzz, Pinterest and Apartment Therapy.

Favorite Element: That’s a hard one. Either our dining table or our anniversary numbers. The table is a future family heirloom. Designed by my mother and me, built by my uncles, made from the wood of an old pine tree from our property in La Grange, Texas.

The numbers we alternately give each other for our anniversary. Matt’s mom started it by giving us the 1 tile she had framed. We’ve kept it up and now have a meaningful way to remember just how long since we made it official.

Biggest Challenge: Getting the kitties to respect the furniture as much as we do.

What Friends Say: What can I bring?

Biggest Embarrassment: Less embarrassment and more just who we are; we have 3 couches but none of them are in the living room.

Favorite DIY element: The cat litter room: a mini room within the garage with a cat door that allows them to go in from the house and allows us to clean it from the garage.

Biggest Indulgence: How about biggest future indulgence…10 Spoleto chairs for our dining table. One day.

Best Advice: For cat lovers, limit soft surfaces to things that can be thrown in the washer, Flor tile is your friend, and accept that things will be scratched.

Dream Sources: DWR and family

Resources of Note:

• Fisher & Paykal
• Jenn Air
• LG appliances

• Ultracraft cabinets with CaesarStone counters
• Danze faucet series throughout
• South African leadwood sink in rooftop bar

• Family made table
• Family chest of drawers
• DWR Eames Lounge
• Room and Board Eames Aluminum Lounge
• DWR Barcelona table
• Family crates
• Pottery Barn couch and chair with Surefit slip covers, downstairs
• Family desks, downstairs
• Nelson bench from Craigslist, downstairs
• Family flat files, downstairs
• Family tree stumps in bedroom
• Antique armoire in bedroom

• Sally Maxwell
• Walter Shran
• Jennifer Balsar
• Art From the Streets
• Various street artists
• CB2 white planters in living room
• The Great Outdoors balcony planters in living room

• Flor tiles
• Concrete

• West Elm storage bed

• West Elm curtains

Thanks, Matt & Leah!!

(Images: Adrienne Breaux)

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