Kathleen Kathleen Anderson, Principal Designer of Material Design, was tasked with transforming a brand new condo in a Texas high-rise into an inviting, comfortable, and relaxing space. As an added challenge, everything needed to be “lifestyle friendly” for family, pets, and entertaining friends. Her full-service design included selection, procurement, and install of all furnishings. In a recent chat, the designer told us all about the process, including some of the sustainable decisions she made along the way:
We’d love to know a bit more about your clients. Who lives here?
The clients are Laura and Kyndel Bennett. They have a teenage daughter, Barkley; a teenage son, Johnny; and an adorable fur baby, Ella Pearl. Kyndel is a businessman and the CEO of a Texas real estate development company. Laura is busy philanthropist who has served on several boards in and around Austin. They are dynamic members of the community, active participants in all that Austin has to offer–from hiking, biking, paddle-boarding, scootering, and running to SxSW and ACL, and avid travelers. They were relocating from a lovely historic home in the Pemberton neighborhood to a modern high-rise perched right downtown. One of their specific requests was that their new home felt warm, welcoming, and cozy. They didn’t want a sterile, modern museum. They requested that everything have a story, and feel collected and evolved.
Tell us a little bit about the condo. Where is it located? What condition was it in at the start, and what were some of the main things you needed to change?
The condo is on the 54th floor of the Independent building in downtown Austin. The Independent was the tallest residential building west of the Mississippi at the time of its construction in 2019, and this condo commands views of both the renowned Texas Capital Building, Zilker Park (where South by Southwest and Austin City Limits festivals are held), and Lady Bird Lake. The clients purchased the condo before the building’s construction, and we planned and ordered all of the furnishings during the construction process. One of the trickier aspects of the design process was that we were not able to access the space until the closing, and the clients wanted to roll from closing right into a white-glove move-in. Of course with custom furniture lead times, this meant ordering everything based on plans only.
Sustainability played a big part in the design. We’d love to know about some of the sustainable choices you made in this project?
Sustainability plays a major role in all of my decisions as a designer. Sourcing vintage and antiques is a major way I add personality and character to each project while helping my clients step off of the waste treadmill. All of my clients love having one-of-a-kind pieces in their home, and the Bennetts especially enjoy the stories behind their vintage pieces. In this project, the rugs and the English bar stools are some of my favorite vintage finds.
For new pieces, I also source really carefully with an emphasis on factory working conditions. Hand-crafted or custom pieces coming from vendors with whom I have a personal relationship are my very favorite. The concrete bridge table, handmade by my friends at Set-in-Stone Fabricators, is probably one of my favorite selections for the Bennetts, or the oversized custom sofa made in North Carolina.
What did the Bennetts say when they saw the completed space?
They were beyond excited and pleased. They said it was everything they had hoped for in their new home. They loved how storied and cozy everything feels.