Family Room

When empty nest homeowners were consolidating their Lake Travis property and downtown condo into a single residence in Central Austin to be close to their children and grandchildren, they needed a place that was clean and modern yet warm and inviting for adults, kids and dogs alike.

The couple were longtime clients of interior designer Chelsea Kloss, owner of Chelsea Kloss Interiors in Austin. “The primary scope of this project was the spacious open floor plan of the living, dining and kitchen area,” says Kloss. That represented about half of the 2,892-square-foot, two-story, four-bedroom, three-bath house built in 2012. The space had to be sturdy but sophisticated, up to the rigors of lots of foot (and paw) traffic but easy on the eyes and soothing to the spirit. The design/build team consisted of Kloss; architect Douglas E. Frey, AIA, of FREY Architects Inc.; and builder Todd Dearth of Dearth Design and Construction.

The first step was to neutralize the existing palette. “It was a pretty bright canvas,” says Kloss. “Fire engine red and cobalt blue. We wanted to give it a refresh on a more sophisticated level.” Grays, creams and whites were implemented to complement the polished concrete floor and abundant glass of the picture windows. The gray wall paint is Sherwin-Williams® 7019 Gauntlet Gray; white paint is Sherwin-Williams® 7006 Extra White.

By taking down the palette a notch (or ten), visual interest was created through materials rather than color. This necessitated the addition of a fireplace/feature wall created by the architect that would serve as an anchor for the soaring space. Gray Leuders limestone fabricated by Materials Marketing surrounds the fireplace on the lower third of the wall. Gray is echoed in the large, comfy Clifton Sectional sofa in Gargoyle from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, and in the draperies by David Dunn Co. in Robert Allen Fabric in Syndara Platinum.

The black walnut paneling fabricated by Robert Shaw Designs on the fireplace wall was designed to be a focal point juxtaposed with painted custom millwork. “We wanted to brighten the walnut and marry it to the display shelf on the right by layering it with art and tying in the lighter background with the color of painted millwork,” says Kloss. The paneling presented one of the rare design challenges of the project. “The builder had to hand select the walnut so that the grain would match across the whole surface and across the raised brushed steel dividers.”

The striking paneling provides the perfect complement to the black walnut table in the dining area, but it was in fact created after the dining table. “This is an important part of the design story,” says Kloss. “The table is made of black walnut that came from family property in Kansas. We had the slab shipped here and it was made into a table by Clayton Katsch Woodworking.” The one-of-a-kind table then became the inspiration and the catalyst for the paneled part of the fireplace wall. Knicker dining chairs are by Blu Dot. The dining chandelier is Quill Pendant in Vintage Platinum by Hubbardton Forge from Legend Lighting in Austin. Wool and silk area rugs both here and in the living area are by Black Sheep Unique.

The work in the kitchen was minimal, says Kloss. Appliances, countertops, pantry and bamboo cabinetry were all in good shape and left as is in a nod to sustainability and reducing construction material in landfills. “All we did was take out the bright red backsplash,” says Kloss. It was replaced with Mood Glass Mosaic Series by Eleganza in Calm from ProSource of Austin. “It was a pretty cost-effective way to make a huge impact,” says Kloss. Barstools are from Collectic Home. Overhead, a portion of the catwalk that joins the upstairs rooms became a cozy reading nook and storage for the owners’ sizable book collection.

When downsizing from two previous residences and minimizing clutter in an open floor plan designed for active family gatherings, Kloss had to get creative when it came to personalizing the space with the couple’s collectibles like assorted pottery from Jonathan Adler™. One of her favorite solutions is the Fritz Low Bookcase console table in glass and steel from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. “It’s actually two tables,” she says. “One that runs along the left side of the sofa and one along the back.” The slim, efficient piece, she adds, “gives us that lateral surface to bring in collectibles without taking up a lot of space.” The retail-style display unit on the fireplace wall was another ingenious device to keep treasured items out in the open yet out of the fray.

Big fans and supporters of the arts, the homeowners commissioned the watercolor and iridescence on clayboard over the fireplace by Austin artist Maria Martin. “Everything on that wall was very linear,” says Kloss. “We wanted to incorporate something with softer movement.” 

The freestanding wall behind the server in the dining area serves double duty as a privacy barrier from the street and a place for more art. Guests are greeted by a triptych on the entry wall while Haiku Eco-Resin semi-opaque panels by 3form rest inside glass on either side of the front door.

As for the television, it resides in the guest room/study/playroom on the other side of the fireplace wall. “The couple wanted to make sure that this space was more about conversation and family time than TV time,” says Kloss. There’s also another combo room upstairs — an art studio/model train room for the grandparents and kids both big and small.

Kloss says the owners have been pleasantly surprised at how family friendly the space is while still being polished and sophisticated. “They added a pool in the backyard, kids and pets are constantly coming and going, and the design and furnishings are holding up beautifully,” she says. “They all know that there’s always room for family.”


Chelsea Kloss Interiors

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