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


A completely reimagined urban enclave just steps from Austin’s trendy South Congress was the subject of a refreshing update by architect Elizabeth Baird, interior designer Sara Oswalt of Purveyor Design and landscape artist Shaney Clemmons of Shademaker Studio. The renovation required tearing the house down to its studs, which allowed architect Baird the freedom to shift the traditional front windows to new placement that brings in more natural light to the once-gloomy bungalow.

The client has quirky collections, and the three designers created places for him to display his prize possessions, such as this cubbyhole desk in the entry.

The color green provides a constant theme in the house, from the mint trim in the living room, to forest green faux toile in the conservatory, to the kitchen’s pop of color.

The green cabinetry in the kitchen finds a subtle match in some of the vintage sunglasses displayed in a built-in shelf.

Detail of sunglasses.

In the bright green kitchen, sliding glass doors lead to a lush backyard; the new glass breezeway is distinguished by a geometric pattern black-and-white flooring that draws attention to the dining room extension.

The new dining room opens out onto the back yard.

The shiplap is original to the home, but was charred charcoal black using the Japanese Shou sugi ban technique.

The wallpaper in the conservatory incorporates the client’s humor and style. In the style of French toile—a linen fabric with a traditional scene repeated at intervals—a second look reveals that the usually bucolic theme has been replaced by unromantic urban scenes  such as an old woman on a park bench and a man getting mugged.

Access from the living room to the upstairs master suite (which Baird made light and bright with the addition of two dormers) is by way of stairs painted terra-cotta, a reference to the backyard’s crushed granite gravel path.

The bedroom looks mellow but above the bed a Russian poster extolling industrial pollution suggests that the client likes irony.

The new master bath with a view of the trees.



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