Austin Carrier and Alex Mutter-Rottmayer on Launching Their Interior Design Firm and Refining Maximalism
Together, they are masters of color—and just about every element of the design process, from architecture ideation and construction to design. Here, they share how they got their start and some of their favorite projects to date.
For Austin Carrier and Alex Mutter-Rottmayer, their firm Hommeboys originated as a "playground design space" for their wildest interior dreams. The now-married couple had their feet securely in the door of the design world—they were working for Rottmayer Design + Build, their family business, at the time—and their toolbox was full; Mutter-Rottmayer grew up in a family of builders and designers (his eye for cool, forward-thinking design is innate) and Carrier boasts architecture degrees from Pratt Institute and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2016, they found their outlet for their joint aesthetic, which they describe as "refined maximalism."
Hommeboys' first project was an inside job: They did a "deep dive" into their own space when they realized they first needed to translate some of their ideas without the pressures of a client. "At this point, we have remodeled our home four or five times in the last five years. It's how we try new things—we see what sticks and push those ideas into our current projects."
Operating out of Sonoma, California, right in the heart of wine country, the pair has since turned their attention to residential spaces in Sonoma County. "It's our bread and butter; we do everything from design work and remodels to new home builds," they explain, noting that they have broadened their repertoire further. "In the last few years, we expanded into commercial projects, which are extremely different and really fun. We completed a restaurant [in the area] last year—Valley Bar & Bottle—and are currently working on the Marine Layers Wines tasting room in downtown Healdsburg, as well as Zia Tile's new studio space in Los Angeles."
The pair may be maximalists, but they know the necessity of restraint and accessibility ("We love to make a space interesting, but more importantly we want it to be functional," they say). This ethos has informed their soon-to-launch furniture line. "We've been experimenting with furniture for years and have really fine-tuned what we've loved and needed to work on," they explain. "Our most recent project, the Cliff House, will be part of that launch—showcasing seven unique pieces that will jumpstart several collections."
The Cliff House is their pièce de résistance; the 6,000 square-foot Wine Country estate (see living room above), complete with breathtaking views of the surrounding Bay Area, reflects what they do best. It's a phoenix reborn from ash: "It has been a beast of a project to complete, and we have put so much love and time into every detail of this home," they say. "It was destroyed in the 2017 fires, so we rebuilt it from the ground up to take advantage of the unique setting. We got to pull all the stops—and the details are endless."
When their furniture series hits the market, Hommeboys will become a one-stop shop; the couple designs, builds, and fills homes to the brim, seeing projects from start to close. Rottmayer Design + Build, which began with Mutter-Rottmayer's father—he has been building houses in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years—focuses on project management and construction. The Hommeboys sector completes the job. "We essentially melded the two together to create a unique design studio experience for our clients, " they say.
Carrier prefers to execute kitchens ("Playing with layouts and unorthodox materials always gets the gears turning," he says), while Mutter-Rottmayer enjoys watching a bathroom take shape ("We have a knack for creating spa-like spaces," he adds)—but they tackle every nook and cranny together. As married partners, they have reveled in this constant collaboration, which requires a fair share of communication. "The pro is that we are really in tune with each other," they note. "We can recognize when the other is stressed out and rather than add to it, we can figure out ways to alleviate the stress. We can also critique each other's work without taking it personally, which has come with years and year of practice."