Helen Thompson
Helen Thompson
In PrintIn StyleIn BooksIn MediaIn the KnowIn House


A young couple never expected that they’d be living in a traditional house in the suburbs. In fact, they had just finished building their dream home–in the middle of town, modern, lots of windows, and with indoor-outdoor spaces that make living in Austin really nice. But fate intervened when the mother of two found out she had breast cancer. Suddenly her priorities changed: She wanted to be closer to her sister and to live in the neighborhood where her children were already going to school. And that’s where the suburbs seemed so right. The family found a limestone-and-stucco two story house with the square footage they needed, but the cookie cutter exterior failed to live up to the couple’s clean esthetic. The enterprising couple had a plan: they assembled a dream team consisting of interior designer Mark Ashby Design, builder and designer Randy and Viki Chupik, and landscape architect David Wilson to transform the brand-new tract home into a chic retreat where life could start anew.

A bulky grand staircase hogged space in the foyer, but Chupik moved it to the back of the house and freed up space for an extra-big entry. A study is to the right, the dining room is on the left, and straight ahead is the living room. Mies-style chaise from Urban Home. Thomas O’Brian lamps from Visual Comfort. Wood side tables, personal collection.

Chupik replaced the limestone flooring with prefinished low-toxic French white oak planks.

Designer Mark Ashby’s genius is multi-faceted, but one of those facets is his ability to mix vintage, high-style, and retail finds, which he does with much elan in this study. Cowhide rug from Jean Marc Fray Antiques. Fiberworks carpet from Schroeder Carpet & Drapery. Desk from Williams-Sonoma Home. Chandelier from Vieux Interiors. Vintage club chairs from e-Bay. Side table from Century Modern.

The Chupiks and Ashby all agreed that the arched doorways—so typical of faux Old World suburban houses—had to go. They opted for squared-off openings that accentuated a cleaner, more modern attitude. Tryptich by Malcolm Hill. Dining table and stools from Vintage Material Supply Company.

The goal was architectural consistency: the designers stripped the entire interior down to a clean, white palette. Sofa from the Verellen Home Collection. Vintage coffee table. Vintage chairs from Uptown Modern.

The homeowner’s pinhole photographs are a centerpiece of the living room. Vintage chairs from Uptown Modern. 

Cliff barstools from Contempo Designs. Vintage Saarinen chairs and table, personal collection.

Antrim USA rug from Schroeder Carpet & Drapery. Wyatt bed from Room and Board. Vintage side tables and lamps from Century Modern. Linens on the bed: Matteo Scroll coverlet in white; Bella Notte Peony duvet in Silvermist, Matteo Homespun Euro sham in white; Sferra Grand Hotel flat sheet in white; Sferra Grande Hotel king cases in white; Ann Gish Sparkle throw pillows in pewter; Sferra Bristol throw in Truffle; all from Feather Your Nest.

Rose Cummings silk curtains custom through Mark Ashby Design. Eames lounge chair and ottoman from Design Within Reach.

Master bath, with marble tub surround and countertops.

And, here’s the exterior–I told you it was traditional!



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