An Austin Home with Clever Artwork and Punched-Up Neutrals
Interior designers Andree Chalaron and Amity Worrel took an intuitive approach when it came to this hip Texas renovation.
When graphic designer Jenn Perron and her fiancé, Andy Josuweit, purchased their Austin home—a two-bedroom, two-and-half-bath on the up-and-coming East side—they had already toured over 40 properties in the area. But they were drawn to this home's strong architectural presence, the abundance of natural light, and its connection to the outdoors. There was, however, work to be done: Several areas needed a facelift, including the oddly proportioned volumes on the first floor that kept the main living areas cold and disconnected; the master suite had been left unfinished by a previous homeowner. Designer Amity Worrel, who was hired alongside her colleague, Andree Chalaron, for the renovation, says the room felt dungeon-like, with dark finishes and a tiled shower. The space, overall, was a diamond in the rough—and it was clear that the "architect had a great vision, but didn't have access to an endless budget," Chalaron says.
Throughout the process, the couple hoped to brighten up their new home, reconfigure the layout, complete the depressing master suite, and include contemporary design details. "What we love about renovations is that they take more brainpower than a new build," says Worrel. Along the way, the design duo encouraged their clients to step outside their comfort zones: The homeowners had a wood coffee table in mind, which complemented the rest of the wood in the home, but Chalaron suggested a 1970s green marble Italian option instead, which was imported from the Netherlands. "It makes the room come to life and brings a really positive tension to the mix," she says. "You don't want to do it too much though because if everything is special, then nothing is special."
As for the final result? The designers built a new entryway, renovated the kitchen, sanded the concrete flooring, demoed the master, and added in new landscaping and a bocce ball court; the interior focus was to add organic, but elevated décor that really spoke to the homeowners' personalities. Perron had something soft, fresh, and light in mind, which the designers jumped on—and sought out further inspiration from some of her art books. Careful not to focus on too much of one material or any particular furniture style, the home is filled with a bevy of antiques, local artwork, and custom textiles. One of its best features? A colorful mural in the powder bath by Austin artist Emily Eisenhart.
Be Upfront with Texture
Texture abounds the second you walk into Perron and Josuweit's front door. The entryway's focal point is the grooved door, which offers mid-century vibes; a colorful rug, sleek bench, and wooden console pack visual intrigue.
Don't Sacrifice Form for Function
The original home came with a cramped foyer, but the couple really wanted an open place for storage that didn't look sloppy. "We always talk about function, layout, and proportions," says Worrel. "Our advice to someone looking to create a space that doesn't look like a dumping ground is to pull your personal style forward." The team added whimsical pegs (instead of traditional hooks) for coats and hats and positioned them asymmetrically against the wall; they also played with tonality and their materials, lining the wall with a lighter wood panel and punching it up with deeper-hued floating shelves.
A Max Wanger print brings beachy flair to the foyer—and complements the console, which holds a record player and several books.
Add a Library
Extra seating and storage all in one? Check. Worrel and Chalaron—who have both worked in New York City—are used to creating multifunctional homes, and had fun building the ultimate cozy reading space. "We turned the front wall sideways to create this L-shaped floating library wall," says Worrel. "Now you can have a working space, a gathering space, and a reading space all in the same room."
They then brought in art and décor to tie in the clients' personal styles and added several custom pillows into the mix for flair. "With a pillow, you can really go for it," says Worrel.
Open Up the Staircase
The original staircase was placed in a nice spot, but was heavy and sectioned off from the kitchen via slatted paneling. The couple wanted to play up the volume, but realized it would need refinishing to really sing. "Jenn had a very defined idea of what she wanted—a sleek modern staircase with floating treads—and we were able to give her that feel," says Chalaron. The new stairway includes a steel mono-stringer, oak treads, and a custom steel railing.
Get Continuous in the Kitchen
The sleek kitchen features many of the textures, wooden tones, and surfaces seen throughout the rest of the home, and acts as the connective tissue on the first floor.
Make a Statement in the Powder Room
One of the Chalaron and Worrel's favorite things about the home are the many murals. Perron loved the idea of working with a local artisan, and ultimately brought on muralist Emily Eisenhart to brighten up both the downstairs powder bathroom and dining room. "It's a subtle surprise and conversation starter," says Worrel.
This powder bath, on the far right of the kitchen, brings a welcome pop of color to the home.
Don't Let Art Take Over a Space
Perron commissioned Tom Jean Webb to create a painting for the dining room, which perfectly tied in the colors from the living room, kitchen, and nearby bathroom. "When you commission a piece of art to go with an existing room, or one already underway, it's important to balance the visual weight of the piece to make sure it doesn't take over the space," says Worrel. "It should not be matched to the other finishes—but it needs to feel as though it fits into the story of the person who commissioned it."
Stay Cool and Calm in the Master
"The master suite is the space where you begin and end your day," says Worrel. "Think about the energy you want in those moments—is it calming and soothing, dark and enveloping, or bright and fresh?" The first spot in the home the duo tackled, the master was the stepping off point for the rest of the palette. Earthy, textural tiles in a geometric pattern, Blink by Sabine Hill, were inspired by the feeling of West Texas. "It's modern and fresh," she says.