Clint and Kelsey Harp had purchased a home just Southwest of downtown Austin that checked off many boxes on their wishlist. It was located on a cul-de-sac allowing for more peace and privacy, offered views overlooking trees rather than buildings, and had a large back deck in a backyard sloping over a creek. Built in 1973, it hadn’t been updated in years and therefore wasn’t in the best shape – especially with its four different textures of wall on the ground floor – but it had plenty of potential. The couple hired both architect Chelsea Scharbach and interior designer Emily Seeds to redesign their newly purchased home.
“Prior to my first visit, Kelsey sent me a list, organized by room, of the changes they hoped to make,” Chelsea told us. “The homeowners worked closely with designer Emily Seeds to create a vision board for the overall aesthetic of the house that ended up being a reference point for future decisions.” At the top of their list was to create an open layout on the ground floor that offered a functional and beautiful space for entertaining. Originally, the ground floor was divided into four rooms – kitchen, dining room, breakfast nook, and sunroom – that made it all feel cramped and small. Chelsea created a new layout that eliminated separating walls and created one large space that had good flow.
To stick to the budget, though, they had to retain the existing floor-length windows in the kitchen. “The homeowners asked me to look at designing some open shelving across the existing windows, as they’d seen in some restaurant applications with bars extending past storefront windows,” Chelsea explained. “After working through the cabinet drawings and arriving at a design we all liked, we worked closely with the cabinet builder to get his input and ensure shelf heights were coordinated with the existing window sills and surrounding cabinetry. We also had wall brackets embedded behind the shelves to keep the area as visually open as possible.”
The island was a vintage piece sourced by the homeowners from Round Top, TX. “Knowing that they needed more kitchen storage, Clint and Kelsey were looking for a fairly large island,” the architect said. “I gave the homeowners some dimensions that would work well with the new layout, and they were able to find a piece that fit perfectly. Sanding the island down revealed a beautiful wood finish with the same neutral look as the white oak cabinetry that we were already considering.” Pairing perfectly with the island and the cabinetry were the Saltillo tiles from Clay Imports that Chelsea selected for the kitchen to create a continuation of the square tiles that were there originally. As a final touch, they chose two muted green pendants created by a Spanish ceramicist for over the island.
The second floor of the home, also had a significant transformation, where Cheslea found room from a large second bedroom to create an upstairs laundry room – much more practical than the original one located in the garage. In the main bedroom, the architect eliminated unnecessary divisions and walls as well as added three new windows to create a light-filled space for her clients. The en-suite bathroom features another vintage find for the vanity, adding a Spanish colonial touch to the space.
As two people who had grown up with many renovations, Clint and Kelsey were familiar with the process and the benefits of personalizing a home. Construction began in September of 2019 but slowed down in the following spring due to the pandemic. Luckily Chelsea and Emily were able to push through, delivering their clients’ completed home in June of 2020.