Collaboration was at the heart of this Austin home. It’s a new construction project in Travis Heights, the lot chosen for the area’s easy walkability. The owners, Mark and Rosemary Whaling, called on Furman + Keil Architects and interior designer Blair Burton. However, they also brought their own expertise to the table—as the CEO of Austin Concrete Development, Mark is in construction and was the builder on this project.
“Before moving here, the homeowners lived in a more sprawling suburban neighborhood of Austin,” Blair recalls. “Once their kids went off to college, officially making them empty nesters, the couple wanted to downsize to a more urban area.”
Furman + Keil kicked off the build, creating a majority of the spaces with the couple’s Toronto roots at the forefront of the aesthetic. (The brick facade was important—nothing too traditional, but not a big steel block either.) From an architectural perspective, the lot shape was significant: The front of the lot is a typical sixty feet, while the back of the lot shrinks to half that. It’s a unique trapezoid shape that called for creative solutions.
“By the time I came on board, it was just a matter of making the interiors warm and not too sterile,” Blair says, “and making sure all the furniture and finish choices felt intentional. As designers, our challenge was how to make a house with tight pinch points not feel tiny. This called for custom rug sizes, not too much contrast, and nothing too dark or heavy, loud, or bossy. We had to make sure the palette was neutral enough and that nothing was jarring.”
Blair painted a lot of the interior spaces in Benjamin Moore’s White Dove and added textural materials like Ann Sacks tile and plaster wall finishes. For furnishings, she looked to favorites like Cisco Home, Verellen, Thayer Coggin, and Lee Industries.
The complex project took two years to complete, all during the pandemic. “The homeowners love it,” Blair says. “Because they were so uniquely involved in the home’s construction and build, they were able to really cherish those little details and complexities throughout the project.”