It was a diamond in the rough just waiting to be discovered—or, in this case, rediscovered. Located amongst a mix of new builds and remodels, the 1970s ranch-style house stood as a rare architectural gem destined to shine again in the hands of its new owners, a couple with an appreciation for its cozy West Coast bungalow vibe. “We believe it’s our job to find the true essence and style of our clients, elevate it and make their home reflect them rather than us,” says interior designer Jana Erwin. With that in mind, Erwin and co-interior designer Audrey Tehauno collaborated to transform the abode with clean, modern spaces filled with boho and vintage elements for a warm and inviting feel.
Despite multiple renovations over the decades, the sprawling single-story structure retained much of its original charm, including brick floors and a two-faced wood-burning fireplace bracing the corner between the living room and kitchen. The layout, a U-shaped configuration wrapping around a courtyard, also remained untouched. For the owners, that easy, breezy indoor-outdoor connection made the house unique and, more importantly, made them feel at ease. “They hoped to recreate the kind of ‘al fresco’ lifestyle they enjoyed while living on the West Coast, but the Texas heat doesn’t exactly accommodate one,” explains Erwin. “We compensated for that by placing a set of 10-foot metal accordion doors across the back of the house that fully retract to offer a seamless transition from the kitchen to the outdoor dining and living areas.”
The duo also designed interior walls in the dining room, hallway and main bedroom with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the lush courtyard. For an air of authenticity, the courtyard is encased by vertical beds containing a wide variety of succulents, grasses and other plantings similar to those native to California. “You’re surrounded by green, which allows you to experience the beauty and tranquility of the outdoors without needing to leave the comfort of air conditioning,” chimes Erwin.
In fact, Mother Nature played a role in many of the selections. “We considered the environmental impact of our design decisions,” recalls Tehauno. From the framework to the furnishings to the finishing touches, eco-friendly elements abound and enrich the crisp, white-walled interior with layers of visual and tactile interest. Segreto Finishes hand-applied Tadelakt plaster to the back wall in the powder bathroom as well as the tub and shower area in the main bathroom. Rooted in the ancient Moroccan decorative arts tradition, the lime soap-based plaster is recyclable and biodegradable with a finish that is both watertight and anti-microbial. The powder bathroom countertop is comprised of simple concrete, as is the built-in bench seat running the length of the living room. Natural grass cloth wraps the walls of the main bedroom to create a cocoon-like effect softened by piles of organic linen and cotton bedding. Even the mattress is organic. “We thoughtfully sourced products made from honest, durable materials that also convey a luxurious, high-end sensibility,” Tehauno adds.
Where possible, the duo also either purchased items nearby or reused pieces from the owners’ existing collection. “Shopping local allows us to support small businesses in our community while limiting waste from shipping materials and cutting down on gas consumption and emissions,” Tehauno notes. To that end, many of the new acquisitions came from close-by favorites—select floor lamps from Found, side tables from Area and seating from Kuhl-Linscomb, just to name a few—and the dining table is a family heirloom. Meanwhile, reviving and repurposing vintage and antique pieces further contributed to the sustainability efforts, with Murano-glass lighting, an African Senufo stool and a coffee table made from an Indian wooden ox cart lending the interiors a bespoke flair and worldly aesthetic. Grounding each space, vintage rugs deliver warmth, depth and a hint of color, including a vintage Moroccan Azilal rug in the Zen-like entry and a Turkish Kilim one in the main bedroom.
“The combination of boho accessories, natural textures and live greens infuse the residence with a sense of personality and whimsy,” Erwin explains. “But, overall, the quiet monochrome palette, clean-lined furnishings and contemporary forms keep the ambience hip and sleek.” And for their clients, it simply feels like home.