Who: Liz MacPhail of Liz MacPhail Interiors
Where: Austin, Texas
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Style: Eclectic Comfort
When the owner of Roost Custom Homes built his dream house in Austin with the help of architect Matt Garcia, his family needed someone to make it feel more like the cozy bungalow they were used to. Enter Liz MacPhail, founder of Liz MacPhail Interiors, who helped add warmth to the new build.
"While a gorgeous new home, the spaces felt expansive and lacking in charm for the clients used to living in an older home," says MacPhail. "And while they loved the house, it didn't feel like a home. Our goal was to layer in texture, pattern, patina, and color to help create a feeling of warmth and comfort."
The designer worked to incorporate the family's furniture in a way that would fit the scale of the home; she also added pieces that would make the home feel complete.
"We also prioritized recovering chairs and adding vintage finds where we could, and instead splurg[ed] on pieces like original artwork, rugs, and the dining table," she says. "They're all special elements we hope remain lifelong pieces for the homeowners and their family."
In the front entry, MacPhail created a warm first impression with a vintage runner, Ethnicraft bench, and a framed photograph by Cathlin McCullough.
The family had a leather sofa from RH that was perfectly worn in, but felt too small for the new, larger living room. "Rather than abandon a perfectly good piece, we decided to add another one and challenged them to sit on it as much as possible, wearing it in like that other sofa," says MacPhail.
"We had significant budget constraints, but we allotted a portion to invest in high-quality art prints from a local artist, Alyson Fox," says MacPhail of the display above the vintage credenza in the living room. "We loved the simple, graphic nature of her work and were excited to support a local artist. Though a goal of the homeowners' is to one day invest in her original work, one thing we stress with clients is that your house doesn't need to reach the finish line right away. Some of the fun comes from adding pieces over time as your budget allows. Plus, it makes those pieces that much more meaningful."
Plenty of seating, including chairs from Moss Studio and an ottoman by Highland House from Reiss Studio, makes the open living area perfect for entertaining. "This family loves gathering together around the TV to watch movies and sporting events, often inviting their large extended family and friends to join (pre-COVID)," says MacPhail. "Our challenge was to make the living room feel like more than just a sports viewing venue, prioritizing both durability and comfort."
MacPhail designed the dining table, which was fabricated by Mockingbird Made and can seat a crowd. Chairs from Industry West surround the table and the designer crowned the space with a chandelier by Circa Lighting.
In the family office, the designer painted the walls in Sherwin-Williams' Hunt Club. "We decided on a green and blue color palette to really allow this room to stand on its own as the key note of color in an otherwise white-walled house," says MacPhail. The rug, sofa, and table lamp are from Reiss Studio, and MacPhail reupholstered the client's existing chairs in a Suzanne Tucker fabric.
The designer also chose an eye-catching wall covering by Abnormals Anonymous for the stairwell. "The interior of this home was all white, so our efforts in the family office and stairwell were to inject personality and a strong dose of color and pattern, effectively mixing things up," says MacPhail. "Though we loved the white walls throughout most of the spaces — instead looking to furnishings and art to add depth to those rooms — we wanted to preserve a couple of key moments of color-infused impact."
Warm hues and soft textures helped turn the primary bedroom into a calming retreat for the parents. The custom white oak canopy bed is topped with Annie Selke linens and Clay McLaurin pillows and the vintage Japanese tansu chests were found on 1stDibs.
MacPhail added personality to the sleek primary bathroom with a vintage rug from Old New House and vintage art found on eBay.
By taking inspiration from her clients and mixing vintage and existing pieces, MacPhail was able to make the new house feel like it's been with the family for years.