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

YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN

When an Austin writer inherited her parents’ home the decision she faced was difficult: Love it or leave it. Clouding the decision was the fact that she had never liked the 1940’s-era house, although her husband was an admirer. There were good points: The three-bedroom, three-bath house, clad in wood and rock, was designed to live well in a pre-air-conditioned world–a good idea that has come full circle. Its L-shaped layout ensured that all rooms caught the breezes. Each of the four parts of the house—the bedroom wing, living and dining wing, garage and studio, and an entry courtyard—were capped by its own hipped roof, so that the 2700-square-foot house looked like a neat cluster of four pavilions. All added up to the decision to gut the house and make it a family home again with the help of interior designer Fern Santini, architects Pam Chandler and Patrick Ousey of FAB Architecture, and builder Jerre Santini. Landscape designer Patrick Kirwin also joined the team to insure that serious drainage issues would be transformed into a meaningful landscape that looked beautiful, created good views and blocked bad ones, and also had a vegetable garden.

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A basket weave metal screen and gate separate the entry courtyard from the front yard. The sconces are by Two Hills Studio.

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The wood paneling in the living room was painted with Farrow & Ball “Shaded White;” the Leucos Sarasar TR lamps flank a custom daybed upholstered in charcoal velvet. The shell mirror is by Emily Tracy Haas and overlooks two vintage club chairs found through 1stDibs.

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Floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room overlook a courtyard. Sofa custom through Fern Santini.

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A drawing by Robert Levers hangs above a Spanish-style chest where the homeowners display two of their kachinas.

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The old dining room became a library/dining area; french doors open onto a deck that extends the length of the house. The Saarinen Tulip table belonged to the homeowner’s aunt.

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The kitchen opens onto the old breezeway and onto the deck. The kitchen is painted with Farrow & Ball’s “Hardwick White,” one of the best colors ever but which you can see isn’t at all white.

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A nook in the kitchen provided the perfect space for a bar, handy to the dining hall that’s adjacent. Hardware from Restoration Hardware. The counters are Caesarstone.

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The old breezeway became a dining hall and entry because it also opens onto the front courtyard; the 18th-century French table seats eight. The shield paintings are by Kiowa writer and artist and Pulitzer Prize-winner N. Scott Momaday.

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The former piano studio is now the master bedroom with french doors onto the deck. Art from the homeowner’s late mother’s collection hangs on the wall.

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The wallpaper in the master bath and dressing area is Colefax and Fowler’s lustrous “Darcy.”

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The side yard: Patrick Kirwin designed eight raised beds, some for Zoysia and others for smaller gardens. Two are for vegetables and lavender. The walkway between the house and raised beds is a pleasant path for strolling but also channels water around the house and into a French drain.

CONTRACTOR: Jerre Santini (512-751-2191)

INTERIORS BY Fern Santini

LANDSCAPE BY Kirwin Horticulture Services

ARCHITECTURE BY FAB Architecture

PHOTOGRAPHY BY Casey Dunn

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