There is a big difference, I think, between so-called “relaxing” interiors and interiors that are “relaxed.” “Relaxing” interiors tend to be the purview of specialists, their soothing qualities (muted colors, soft textures, harmonious symmetry) meticulously orchestrated down to a T. Contrived with deliberation and purpose, these spaces are sort of like the Hannibal Lecters of interiors—well-coiffed, cool, and collected on the surface, but tightly-wound and more than a little off-kilter underneath. Think the intense tidiness of a luxury hotel or the clinical serenity of a hospital. Relaxed interiors, on the other hand, are ones that seem to exude calmness from a deeper level, from the inside-out, if you will. Allowed to evolve gradually over time, they are guided by impulse rather than overthinking, their sense of “rightness” a little more hard to pin down or define.
This is what I think I love most about designer Kelly DeWitt’s Webberville, Texas home. When she and her boyfriend, Travis, moved to this small town on the outskirts of Austin, they were looking for a place that would allow them to unwind after working at their respective businesses (Kelly builds furniture under the name KKDW and Travis works as a steel fabricator under the name TA Norman). “We wanted a space that felt like an escape after a full day of work,” Kelly says, “ostensibly after feeling very stimulated by design, and/or coming home sweaty, dusty, and tired.”
Built from the ground-up by their landlords five years ago, the home was pretty much move-in ready when they signed the lease, little more than a coat of paint needed in order to make it livable. This smooth transition is something that seems to have aided the couple in the long-run, allowing them to approach their homemaking with ease instead of urgency. Thus far, “it has been a pretty organic process,” Kelly says. “The house continues to take on different designs and moods, and every couple weeks, things will start to slightly shift around.” This organicism plays out in beautiful ways across the space, from a large-scale drawing tacked on the wall to a cluster of plants with leaves that spill languidly over their containers. The space is certainly considered, but in a way that allows for effortless change—it’s charming without being precious, beautiful without being ostentatious. “I wanted to create a retreat where I could let my mind wander, where I wouldn’t feel stifled, and where we could both let inspiration filter in naturally,” Kelly says. “I love being in my home.”