Sarah & Clay’s Playful Yet Elegant Home

published May 24, 2011
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Clay Ferguson (aka FERG), vinyl toy designer and owner of toy companies Playge and Jamungo, his wife, artist Sarah Ferguson, their daughter, Georgia and delightful dog, Blackie.
Location: Hyde Park — Austin, Texas
Size: 1200 square feet
Years lived in: Owned 2 years

We love a sleek, modern-looking home, but don’t love a space that seems too serious to be enjoyed. Sarah and Clay Ferguson, a modern artist and toy designer respectively, have a sweet 1920s bungalow in the popular Austin neighborhood of Hyde Park that they’ve used as a canvas for their art, their toys and their simple, modern sensibilities.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Sarah and Clay’s house is a study in elegant simplicity — with a lot of touches of fun and casual playfulness. Their furnishings are sparse and carefully chosen for comfort. Walls are kept white to allow the great bones of the place to shine and to give a fresh, open feel to the entire place. Soft textiles with fun patterns mingle with sophisticated and neutral furniture choices. Art is a mix between Sarah’s great, controlled, modern pieces and Clay’s more whimsical, youthful picks. And of course, the house is sprinkled with Clay’s toy design work — but not overwhelmingly so.

With not a lot of space or storage they didn’t have to come up with a lot of storage-maximizing ideas — they just try to keep stuff to a minimum. They did do a great job with creating spaces: in the master bedroom they had a bookshelf/room divider built to divide the large, open space into a cozy sleeping nook and office, with plenty of storage for clothes and all of Clay’s toy designs and toy collection. With their friendly Boston Terrier Blackie following us as I shot the house, I just loved how clean, open and inviting everything thing felt. Their house illustrates perfectly that a home’s best accessory is a good, clean style and residents who love where they live.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Simple, clean, fun

Inspiration: Our daughter’s endless energy.

Favorite Elements: The master bedroom was just one huge room and we designed a double-sided, built-in cabinet/bookshelf to break up the space. We now have two smaller, but well-defined and fully functional spaces; a cozy little sleeping nook and the office. Also, we created some much needed storage space!

Biggest Challenge: Ancient plumbing, lack of storage space inside the house, one bathroom with a girl who will be a teenager in no time at all!

What Friends Say: Clean, cozy and cute, and they love the blue front door. People also enjoy discovering the quirky things they find around the house; from the massive toy collection hidden in the office to the small “fortune” bowl in the living room.

Biggest Embarrassment: The lack of landscaping. Both the front and back yards suffer from neglect and need A LOT of work. We’ll tackle that eventually.

Proudest DIY: Painting the nasty linoleum floors in our master closet. Wow, what a difference a little blue paint makes!

Biggest Indulgence: Hasn’t happened yet, but it will be new window treatments throughout the house.

Biggest Advice: Be patient and fill your home with items you absolutely love. Don’t worry about things matching; if you love it, you will find a way to incorporate it into your home.

Dream Source: Wherever we stumble upon something we love.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:

Living Room:

    • FERG Sqube side tables
    • Della Robbia Monti sofa
    • Eames molded plywood coffee table and chair
    • Antique Edison record player

Dining Room:

    • 17th Century Irish Wake table
    • Antique dining chairs
    • Antique chest-of-drawers
    • Emeco Brushed Aluminum Barstools by Phillippe Starck

Master Bedroom:

    • John Kelly Bamboo Bed
    • Nelson Bench by Herman Miller


    • DIY desks made out Ikea leg frames and MDF
    • Eames Aluminun Group chairs
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


    • Toys designed by Clay and other various toy designers
    • souveniers from travels
    • vintage and antique finds from stores, garage and estate sales
    • family heirlooms
    • handmade gifts
    • wedding presents
    • objects from nature


    • Nelson Saucer Bubble Lamp in dining room
    • hallway wall sconces by Restoration Hardware


    Sarah Ferguson
    • Clay Ferguson
    • Georgia Ferguson
    • Jay Ryan
    • Dalek
    • Jeff Soto
    • Frank Kozik
    • Kaws
    • Brandt Peters
    • Ashley Wood
    • Aaron Horkey
    • Jesse LeDoux
    • Aesthetic Apparatus
    • Johnathan Bergeron
    • Darrell Roberts
    • Eliza Thomas
    • E.O.Golbeck
    • Wil Klem
    • Monty Carter

We painted the front door Sherwin Williams color, Cloudless, and a section of our daughter’s bedroom wall with Benjamin Moore Chalkboard paint. Other than that, we haven’t painted at all. Not that we are completely content with the color of our walls, but we haven’t felt the overwhelming urge to change the paint color yet. We have our sights set on wallpaper designed by friend, neighbor and textile designer, Nancy Mims, owner of Mod Green Pod.

Thanks, Clay and Sarah!

Images: Adrienne Breaux

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