Art Appreciation

Lisa and Geoffrey Webster and family were very happy to have found a home in a highly desired Austin neighborhood — An area in which homes available for sale are extremely limited. Originally built in 2009 in a rather traditional hill country and dark Mediterranean style, the house's aesthetic didn't quite match the family's style, however they decided a remodel was needed to make the home fell entirely theirs.

Lisa turned to Heidi Feliz-Grimm, senior designer of Martha O’Hara Interiors, to revamp the home’s interiors. By making the decision to remodel and furnish to the homeowners’ standards, Heidi was able to tie elements of their style with some of the key features they adored about the home, successfully merging their dramatic and modern flair within the traditional Hill Country home.

The home had some interesting original elements which were kept intact, such as arched details, ceiling beams, an accent stone wall in the kitchen and travertine tile, limestone and rich, highly distressed, wide-plank cherry-finished hardwood flooring. Certain favorite pieces of furniture such as a desk, nightstands, lounge chairs and chaise lounges were reimagined and repurposed to fit the new style. Window casings were modernized with refreshed paint, the entire home was brightened with light paint colors and a high-end ambiance was conceived with elegant lighting and luxurious furnishings.

Most importantly, Heidi worked closely with Lisa to make sure their prized art collection was showcased properly within the home. To better highlight the artworks, Heidi chose to paint the walls with Benjamin Moore White Dove OC-17 with an eggshell finish.

“Geoffrey and Lisa have been collecting art for many years, and working with them was a dream,” said Heidi. “We transitioned their contemporary art with an updated home design by embracing traditional high-end finishes like her beautiful hardwood flooring and stone accent walls, but did so in a way where it feels current and timeless. With such a large house and many blank walls, we found multiple opportunities to hang stunning, large pieces, mimicking the walls of a gallery showcase.”

To begin, Heidi selected and placed all the furnishings before focusing on art placement. “It felt so natural because Lisa’s taste in art is sophisticated. She likes geometrics and solids, so her style in art worked well with all the furnishings and patterns we selected for her. I really enjoyed finding inspiration from her artwork when picking out colors and patterns within the furnishings.”

Geoffrey and Lisa enjoy visiting reputable galleries, always looking for something that first and foremost makes an emotional connection, “though often we’re not able to define that connection until long after the piece graces our home. But any collector knows that feeling that consumes your sensory attention,” she said. “We have no defined criteria, such as only abstract or post-impressionist or whatever. We consider color, shape, material and treatments to be important for selection.”

Once while in a gallery in Chicago, the couple discovered an oil and chalk piece, named “Olga” by the artist. Lisa recalls, “We liked the simplicity of the image that drew us deeper into the figure’s features. We talked about her for days, went back to see her several times, then went home leaving her there. About six years later while internet browsing a gallery’s work several states away from Chicago, we saw her tucked back in a corner. We phoned the gallery and learned they were crating her up to go back to the artist. She came to our home and has been at the end of a central hallway ever since. We think Olga waited patiently for us to find her and we are very happy she joined our collection.”

Having identified a potential selection, practical things come to the fore such as price, but most importantly, whether it fits in two ways. First, is there a place for it to sit or hang and second, will it clash or harmonize with its surround. “Two stunning pieces may not be able to rest near each other,” said Lisa.

“Lisa was very open to moving things as needed, there weren’t any pieces that needed to stay in a specific spot,” explained Heidi. “We walked around the house to decide together which pieces would work in each place. Lisa has a very good eye for this as well. It made the process a breeze because there was much in which we agreed upon. She knew how much we appreciated her artwork, and we worked hard to make it shine throughout the home.” Heidi provided some important suggestions for homeowners who are not sure where to start incorporating art into their homes. 

SCALE. Consider all dimensions of your space in comparison to your art pieces because when it comes to the scale of a piece, art is terribly conspicuous when too small or too big.

DON'T OVERWHELM. There is such a thing as too much art. It’s important to not overwhelm your spaces so they feel cluttered and thoughtless. Art cannot be appreciated this way. Trust in your designer and they will help in letting your art shine throughout your home.

CATALOG. By cataloging your art with photos and sizes, your designer can plan your art placement accordingly.

SHOPPING. For those who are still adding to their art collection, plan on shopping with your designer when possible. They can help you select pieces that will complement your home design.” 

Martha O’Hara Interiors
512-222-3201  |