Interiorssneak peeks

A Texas Home Infused With Organic Style

by Maxwell Tielman

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 bit harder to pin down or define.

This is what I think I love most about designer Kelly DeWitt’s Webberville, TX 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.” —Max

SOURCE LIST

Living Room:

  • Plant stands: Low, Tall, and Hanging from KKDW
  • Red and yellow XO flag from Folk Fibers
  • Deer cross stitch: gift from friend
  • Leather chair from KKDW/Canoe
  • Armoire: vintage,
  • Paint color: “Gravel Gray” from Benjamin Moore
  • Record player stand from KKDW
  • Couch: IKEA
  • Bench behind couch: solid poplar from KKDW

Sitting Room:

  • Pillow on chair made by a friend
  • Chair is an Eames replica from the 1970s
  • Tall plant stand prototype from KKDW
  • Table from Travis
  • Walnut & brass stand from KKDW
  • Mug: vintage from flea market in DC
  • Board that books and candle are on is from KKDW

Bedroom:

  • WS Stool from KKDW
  • WS Counter Stool from KKDW
  • Small bowl from KKDW
  • Drawing by Kelly DeWitt
  • Bed frame: vintage
  • Throw pillows: Folk Fibers
  • European shams: IKEA
  • Bedcover is a canvas drop cloth from Home Depot

Washroom

  • “Living on the Earth” from used bookshop
  • Walnut tray and cherry bowl from KKDW
  • Bath salts from Folklorica
  • WS Mirror, WS Counter Stool, and walnut utility box from KKDW
  • Print is vintage French teaching poster

Studio:

  • Cedar pendants from KKDW
  • Brown glass vase is vintage
  • Fan is a vintage Hunter Fan
  • Steel stands from KKDW
  • Top postcard from Folklorica
  • All workbenches and tables from KKDW
  • WS Counter Stool from KKDW
  • Stained glass in the corner made by Travis’s mom

Backporch:

  • Serape is from a roadside shop in New Mexico
  • Bench is a prototype from TA Norman
1/18
"If we didn't have to get up," Kelly says, "we would never leave the living room. All three of us [including pup, Ellie] pile on that couch, listening to records, drinking coffee, watching the sun set and rise. Behind the couch is a solid poplar bench with sliding dovetail joints, one of three I built in this room."
2/18
"The corner of the living room has a chair I did with leatherworker Canoe," Kelly says. "It's built from welded steel and hand-stitched vegetable-tanned leather. Above it is my very happy staghorn fern, whom I personify endlessly!"
3/18
"Our favorite appliance in the house is the record player," Kelly says. "Above it are framed butterflies my friend Arden found in a junk shop here in town when she was visiting. Almost everything we have on our walls is from someone we love, which makes this room really special."
4/18
A peacock fern sits on top of a vintage dresser. "Its finish was in rough shape," Kelly says, "so we decided to give it a facelift with Benjamin Moore's 'Gravel Gray.'"
5/18
6/18
The sitting room on the second floor of the house. Kelly and Travis' dog, Ellie sits on the floor. "Travis' dad gave us the chair," Kelly says, "and the guitar was Travis' mom's when she was young. It's an acoustic Fender from the 1970s that both Travis and I play regularly."
7/18
Opposite wall of the sitting room. "This is a table that Travis built for me from scrap smoked birch and walnut when I graduated from college so we could have a table for a party in our backyard (back then we had hardly any furniture)," Kelly says. A prototype of Kelly's tall plant stand is on the left.
8/18
9/18
The "bedroom" is in the back corner of the sitting room. "The pillows are special to me because they were a trade from my dear friend Maura of Folk Fibers," Kelly says. "I did the drawing behind the bed - it's a blown-up version of the cover my favorite book, 'Desiderata,' which is a prose poem filled with positive, simple credos."
10/18
"I painted those mountains for Travis a couple years ago on a trip out to West Texas with some friends," Kelly says. "And that's the family Wrangler hat—we each claim custody of it—on top of one of my walnut barstools-turned-nightstand."
11/18
"I picked up that mug from a flea market in New Mexico," Kelly says. "It looks like it was someone's creation from a ceramics class, and I adore it. It's tiny; perfect for those late-night nips."
12/18
The bedroom opens out onto the second-floor porch. "Every single morning, without fail, Ellie wakes up and goes to lay out on the back porch to survey her kingdom from above," Kelly says. "It overlooks several farms and faces southwest, so we have a perfect front-row seat every night to see killer sunsets. If the clouds cooperate, you even get a glimpse of the Austin skyline to the west."
13/18
The bathroom. "This print is a vintage French teaching poster given to me by a friend, explaining how a combustion engine works," Kelly says. "I absolutely love it, and it has actually come in quite handy a few times." The mirror is Kelly's WS mirror, constructed from walnut and welded steel.
14/18
"This book, 'Living on the Earth' is a first-edition copy I found in a used book shop a few months ago," Kelly says. "It is an amazing, fully hand-illustrated reference book on how to, well, live on the Earth, in all senses of the phrase. It's by Alicia Bay Laurel (not her real name, but it is her favorite tree)."
15/18
Kelly's at-home studio on the home's first floor. "I am endlessly inspired by plants," she says. "I don't think I'd be able to work well without those pops of green or the excuse to take a break to tend to them."
16/18
"The painting is from my parents' house," Kelly says. "My dad's the sort of person who will give you the shirt off his back if you said you liked it, so he sent the painting home with me. It's my favorite part of this room."
17/18
18/18

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