“I have always loved architecture and interiors since I was a little girl,” Bailey Austin says with a smile. “My parents built the house I grew up in when I was 4/5 years old and it was an incredibly memorable experience.” The architect, a family friend, worked closely with Bailey’s style-conscious mother on the house — shaping the career path of the young observer along the way.
Fast forward a few years. Bailey had put in her time at various architecture firms when she serendipitously connected with Mel Bean, a budding interior designer with a similar upbringing — spending her youth rearranging furniture and forever on the hunt for the perfect living room layout. After swapping stories, the duo realized that architecture and interiors rarely exist as a collaborative experience. That was a problem they were willing to tackle, and Austin Bean Design Studio was born. Bailey takes on the architectural side while Mel leads the interior design group, and their integrated approach carries clients through an efficient and holistic design process.
Today, the pair shares their latest project — an artful and eclectic bungalow in Tulsa, OK. Built in 2010, the home already had great bones, but the client hoped to bring her personality to the forefront while accommodating her collections, artwork, and quirky knick-knacks. Throughout the space, antique furniture takes center stage, while inspiration pulled from coast to coast — Martha’s Vineyard, San Antonio, and Beverly Hills — is hard to miss.
Of course, with a space like this, editing is key. “It’s like adding jewelry to finish off an outfit. If you have too much of anything, it overwhelms you and you can’t appreciate the person behind the glitz,” Bailey says. “This is similar to a house, a room and even a vignette within a room. You need to edit out the peripheral items so that you can appreciate the unique pieces you want to highlight.” Never has it been more apparent than in this project, as the result is a memorable home with endless character.
Start the slideshow for a closer look and insight from the designers themselves.