A Traditional 1937 Georgian-Style Austin Abode with Glam Interiors


Neoclassic French-style Master Bedroom

Venetian plaster walls and silk velvet in a pale purple hue create a luxurious envelope in the master bedroom. Touches of white break up its palette, including a custom hide rug by Kyle Bunting, custom-tufted headboard in Coraggio’s royal silk mohair and a vintage Louis-style bench.

Neoclassic French-style Reading Nook

A reading nook in the husband’s study includes a 1950s lacquered goatskin drinks cart and a trio of antique French cigarette tables. The ’40s stone sculpture in front of the window is by Austin artist Charles Umlauf; it was a gift from the homeowner’s wife.

Neoclassic Cream Study

In the husband’s first-floor study, a 1930s rosewood credenza and a 19th-century desk give the room a masculine heft, while a sleek Antibes chair from the Jan Showers Collection and a French mid-century modern mirror lighten the look.

Neoclassic Side Entry

The side entry salon’s hand-tooled platinum leather Rebecca demilune from the Jan Showers Collection, Louis XVI-style fauteuils, circa 1880, 1940s cut-glass mirror, and J.H. Minassian & Co. rug provide an elegant yet understated passage.

Navy Blue Neo-Classical Dining Room

The dining room’s navy Venetian plaster walls are softened with light-reflecting glass and crystal, including a collection of turquoise Murano vases, a Marvin Alexander chandelier, a 1940s églomisé mirror and a Venetian glass floor lamp. Custom draperies feature Rogers & Goffigon silk.

Classical French White Kitchen

Statuary marble-clad countertops and walls, a gleaming Waterworks sink and fixtures, custom white cabinetry, and a French-made La Cornue cooktop and oven—both in a shiny, light-reflecting chrome finish—keep the kitchen crisp and bright.

Neoclassic French-style Living Room Fireplace

On one side of the living room, a tufted Billy Haines-style chair from Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman and a screen from John Lyle make a stylish statement by the fireplace. The painting is by Françoise Gilot

Neutral Neo-Classical Living Room

The living room’s furnishings include a Louis XVI-style bergère and ottoman, a 1960s gold leaf coffee table and a pair of ‘70s mirrors, all found in Paris. The Palazzo banquette is from the Jan Showers Collection. The large painting is by Rimi Yang,

Traditional Georgian Front Patio

French iron furniture from the 1940s, found by designer Jan Showers in Paris and covered in pale yellow Perennials fabric, is a charming accompaniment to the house’s original Georgian architecture.

Neoclassic White Traditional Front Exterior

The front façade remained virtually untouched except for the addition of two discrete dormer windows on the roof.

Stephen Kubenka knows a thing or two about restoring and renovating old houses. In his 30 years as an architect in Austin, Texas, he has worked on dozens of homes in the city’s historic Pemberton Heights neighborhood, five in particular on the same stretch of road where Travis West and his wife, Sherri, purchased their two-story, 1937 white brick Georgian.

“No house in that area is alike,” says Kubenka. “They’re all neoclassic versions of periods such as neo-Tudor and Greek Revival, so we’re constantly channeling a different architectural period when we work there.” The Wests, who were introduced to Kubenka and builder Robert Howard through neighbors, were anxious to return their 75-year-old house to its original beauty. Its structure and original oak flooring were in great shape, but a bad addition erected in the ’60s had to go. And with three children, the couple needed more room. The challenge, says Kubenka, was bringing the house up-to-date without compromising its integrity.

Thus, the front façade remained virtually untouched except for the addition of two discrete dormer windows on the roof. The windows allow light into a small study created in the attic for Sherri. A separate staircase was built to access a new master bedroom suite, including a covered porch, upstairs. Downstairs, a separate guest suite, study for Travis, family room and screened-in porch were added. To create a seamless transition from old to new, Kubenka and Howard took their cues from many of the architectural details in the living room, including the hand-carved moldings, pediments and original windows. “That space is a prototype of the period and really sets the tone for the entire house,” Kubenka says.

But while the architecture may be restrained Georgian, inside the Wests sought neo-glamour all the way. To give the interiors the spark she was after, Sherri looked to Dallas designer Jan Showers, whose book, Glamorous Rooms, she had been poring over. “I’ve always loved the Old Hollywood style, and I felt like it was what the house might have originally looked like inside,” says Sherri. Inspired by the living room’s existing platinum blue Venetian plaster walls, previously done by Austin interior designer Roy Materanek of RWM Design, Showers created a palette for the house comprising Sherri’s favorite colors—blue, green and cream—in pale, muted tones.

The Wests’ collection of modern art then became the backdrop for fine French antiques from a medley of periods, including Louis XVI and the 1940s, many of which Showers found during buying trips to Paris. “It’s all about the mix,” she says. “Modern art keeps rooms from looking too stodgy. I also added bronze and Lucite pieces from the ’60s and ’70s; they’re all the rage in Paris now. I get so inspired every time I go there.”

The dining room, with its striking midnight blue Venetian plaster walls and ceiling, became a dramatic cocoon with navy silk draperies trimmed in gold. To further the brightening effect, Showers selected a pale gold and cream Oushak rug and covered the chairs in platinum leather accented with gold and cream sateen. A collection of turquoise Venetian glass reflects light beautifully from atop a gleaming pale wood dining table of Showers’ own design.

Pale lavender Venetian plaster walls and yards of lavender panne velvet were the muses for the master suite, says Showers, who is known for creating bewitchingly seductive bedrooms for her clients. A custommade, quilted sateen bedspread was inspired by a photograph of Drew Barrymore lounging on a bed covered in a similar quilted spread that Sherri loved. White lacquer nightstands framing the bed are set off by a pair of 19th-century opaline lamps and two large antique soleil mirrors, all from Paris. “I can’t deny I get a big kick out of that bedroom,” says Showers. “I love glamour.”

—Rebecca Sherman