Color and pattern enthusiast
Maureen Stevens recently designed this eclectic home for a successful woman in her 30s. Turned off by gray couches and bland decor, the client turned to Maureen to bring attitude to her 3,000-square-foot newly built house in South Central Austin, Texas, a hip neighborhood the locals call “SoFi.” Scroll down to meet the New Orleans-based designer and see more of this creative space!
Long before Maureen fussed over the perfect sofa arm for a project, she was a physical therapist mending actual arms. “I got burned out,” says the designer. She left the industry in 2009 to focus on her first loves: styling and design. “From a young age, I was always creative,” she says. “I love antiquing and beautiful things. I don’t like super-simple stuff. I’ll add tassels to something or tweak furniture with playful hardware.”
Maureen’s work has been featured in
House Beautiful and the Wall Street Journal. Drawn to an updated classic aesthetic (“I like drama, with a nod to history”), Maureen also embraces muted maximalism (read: energetic spaces with wondrously upbeat art, pattern and colors that are still livable). “The trick with muted maximalism is to achieve a yin-yang effect,” says Maureen. Such bravado is on show in this marvellous makeover.
In this striking vignette off of the foyer, a moody, smudged decoupage dresser from Modshop is perfect foil for the modern art from Pixel Farms. Maureen had it blown up and framed — a great tip to keep the art budget in check!
This sumptuous velvet Bordeaux sofa was the starting point for the home’s design. “My client said ‘I want to go bold,’” says Maureen, who delivered in the living room with equally lively pieces like the cheetah-print ottoman and the bird-patterned ottoman. Pale walls and concrete floors create a simple backdrop, while a wrought iron staircase with floating oak treads is sculptural on its own.
Instinct drove this gallery wall. “It’s hard to explain,” says Maureen “I grabbed this, I grabbed that. Then I eyeballed it and put everything up.” The client only had three pieces of artwork from her travels; the rest are new, framed pieces interspersed with vintage finds, including the redheaded woman’s head that adds whimsy to the display. The ottoman is from One Kings Lane and the quirky palm tree lamp is from CB2.
Eclecticism reigns in the open-concept dining room. “The client loves animal print, but I didn’t want it to scream Safari,” she says. So Maureen chose a modern, graphic cheetah wallpaper,
Les Touches by Brunschwig & Fils. A mix of chairs keeps things fun — the striped pair is from Anthropologie. Maureen snagged the vintage chandelier from Modified Home.
The tactile kitchen backsplash and chunky floating shelves were already installed when Maureen came on board, so the designer punched up the scene with accessories such as vintage drinking glasses, vases and framed art. “They’re the icing on the cake and should be cohesive” she says.
Teal is a motif throughout the home, including this daybed in the client’s office. “When you walk from one room to the next, there should be flow,” says Maureen. Colorful pillows and playful geometric paint patches are eye-catching moments.
Plush teal velvet curtains soften the principal bedroom and add depth and drama. The custom blackout curtains are motorized. For added oomph, Maureen deployed a mix of patterns, carrying the velvet teal to the bed from High Fashion Home. “I wanted the room to feel sophisticated and, with the patterns and colors of the rug, bold and intense,” she says.
A seasoned hunter of vintage finds, Maureen regularly hits up Chairish, 1stdibs and auction sites such as LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable. Old pieces are character-builders, such as this ’70s dresser with the raised detailing. The Hotel Monte Vista painting is from Pixel Farmers (another piece she had blown up).
Hanging hats on the wall has been done before, laughs Maureen, but this is actually “functional and decorative — it’s just an eighth of the client’s hats,” she says.
Author: Iris Benaroia
Lauren Logan (interiors); Jenny Fu (headshot)