Austin designer Sara Malek Barney has made a name for herself as the principal and founder of BANDD DESIGN, creating dream homes from her clients in Texas and beyond. Recently, the tables turned when she embarked on a remodel in her own home. 

“The main reason for the remodel kicking off was because our stair railing was breaking, and that was a big concern with our young kids always running around,” she says. “Once we knew that we had to have the railing fixed, we came to the realization that it was finally time to create the home we’ve been dreaming of and make some updates here and there.” She wanted to renovate the space to be more functional, personalized, and updated—as a designer, she loves texture, pops of color, and glamourous, funky twists, so having a “clean slate” to start would give her a lot of free range to incorporate those surprise and delight elements throughout the home.

As you enter the home, the foyer greets you with a cheerful pop of pink on some accent chairs, which are juxtaposed by a bold, contemporary console table by Blaxsand. Moving to the living room, the large windows allow the Texas sun to blanket the space. Here, a a custom blush pink sofa by CR Lane and plush swivel chairs offer ample seating. “For a funky twist, we added a brass snake light fixture that hangs in the center of the room,” Sara says. To keep the kitchen feeling fresh, bright, and clean, they incorporated a subtle pop of color with Fireclay Tile on the backsplash. 

Moving to the bedrooms, the designer infused each space with personality. “The primary bedroom really homes in on my design style by mixing vintage, California Casual vibes with an edgy touch,” she says. “The bed and bench are custom made by BuildLane to give the room a more personal feel and keep the space focused on texture, natural materials, and cozy elements.” For her children, Sara brought in a lot of fun, custom details that she knew they’d love.  “My oldest daughter’s room features a super unique platform bed and built-in desk that she absolutely fell in love with as soon as she saw it. My youngest daughter’s room reflects her firecracker personality, complete with bold wall art, lots of color and a tasseled chandelier from Anthropologie.”

The guest room and powder bath both got bold refreshes as well. In the former, a Marmar wallpaper from Osborne and Little’s Pasha collection and a new mirror bring a more modern, luxurious look. The latter is destination-inspired, with a lot of tones and textural elements. “We really want our guests to feel like they’re on their own little vacation when they stay here.”

Sara’s husband uses the home office, so she wanted the space to feel masculine but with a few chic details in case she also found herself working there. “Dana is a writer, so we wanted to choose a desk that would make a statement but still exude elegance,” she explains. “He also has a large collection of books, so storage was key here. We went with the Portuguese Desk in hand rubbed black from Noir Furniture and the B Logic Bookcases from Bassett Furniture to tie it all together.”

When it comes to designing for herself versus a client, she doesn’t think it’s necessarily easier or harder…just an entirely different beast. “What I love about designing for myself and my family is that I can really lean into everyone’s personality, so they’re all represented throughout the home. I joke that I am my own worst client because I have seen it all and I love it all, so narrowing down choices takes so much longer. That being said, I feel more confident taking risks in designing for myself, because there are fewer parties that need to buy into the final design.”


Window Treatments: Fabricut

Paint: Benjamin Moore

Primary Bathroom: Plumbing Fixtures by California Faucets and Custom Mirror by BuildLane 

Primary Bedroom: Bed and Bench by BuildLane and bedside lamps by Paul Schneider Ceramics

Girls’ Bathroom: Tile by Clay Imports x The Tile Press and Bathtub by Ferguson

Powder Bathroom: Sink by Ferguson

Kitchen: Backsplash by Fireclay Tile