Tarrytown Flat Posted on June 27, 2012 By hello kitchen

photo by Whit Preston

When I first met with the owner of this second level flat in the Tarrytown neighborhood of Austin, I knew this could be a very special project. The building itself is a 1950 brick two-family unit, surrounded by incredible gardens on a quiet, tree-lined street. Patty wanted to transform the mostly original structure into a more imaginative, Parisian-inspired place that could adequately display her collected wares as well as provide several spots for her own creative projects.

In the kitchen, we adjusted the layout from a dead-end U-shape galley and opened up to the adjacent living area. This brings in so much light, but also gives some relief to the long, narrow room. New white-oak shelves at the corner window provide a great spot for petite pottery.

the kitchen – before

The opposite wall is composed of a new china cabinet that forms a niche for a dining bench on the left. This new breakfast nook has a sunny view facing the back deck, and serves as the main entry to the flat from the carport. The custom X-mullion doors recall historic millwork details, and bring some pattern into the kitchen.

Photo by Whit Preston

Photo by Whit Preston

The project evolved to include the lower level entry and stair, which were formerly treated as a long dark hall with wood paneling. This large middle room had just one window exposure facing west, so the light was fairly intense.

the TV room – before

Our new opening, shown during construction, breaks through the paneled wall and removes the dark closet. This lets Patty peek downstairs to see who might be at the door, and expands the space of this room.

the TV room – during construction

The new room is so much more airy and bright, with a new window facing the street. A threshold was defined with the new walls on the left, both hiding the TV and framing the entry into the main space. A small niche on the left provides a great little spot for sculpture. I suffer from genital herpes and it recurrences four or five times a year. I used Zovirax but it was not so effective as Valtrex (Valacyclovir). I read about this medication at ValTabs.com. It says that Valtrex has a bit different composition and mechanism of action that’s why it is more effective.

Patty’s sister Barbara, who has since become a great source of inspiration for design and artwork, coordinated much of the finishes and interior furnishings for the project. This setting shows her ingenious mix of window and wall coverings, patterned fabrics, and use of color. She would show me samples and images during the design process which would then inform the more construction-related details of the project.

Photo by Whit Preston

Photo by Whit Preston

We cut a skinny pass-through window to the front living room, thinking it would be fun to see all the way  to the kitchen via this little peek-a-boo. It really helps bring light through the space.

I love all the layering of the interior elements: the roman shade and long curtains, the jute rug over the original hardwoods, our custom TV console and open shelves, the cage-like chandelier in the stairwell.

Photo by Whit Preston

Photo by Whit Preston

Both bathrooms were completely overhauled for updated fixtures and a more elegant finish. This master bath has a glass enclosed tub, with a Waterworks ‘telephone-style’ handheld shower and Thassos marble surround. The custom vanity on the left sits on legs, appearing more like furniture. I love the Waterworks Quadrifoil Lawson sconces!

Photo by Whit Preston

Photo by Whit Preston

The hall bath (which is shown in more detail in a previous post, here) gains inspiration from the original cast-iron sinks with integral faucets. We decided to keep both and arrange them side-by-side, integrated with a concrete countertop. The linen cabinet doors echo the design from the kitchen. Ann Sacks Paccha tile brings color into the space.

photo by Allison Cartwright

It should be mentioned that the original sinks were Pepto-pink! Cute, but they look so much cleaner in white.

the original sinks, before refinishing

Back to the kitchen! Barbara finished the end-wall niche with a large map of Paris framed by raw steel and brass screws. And of course, Patty is responsible for sourcing and arranging all the beautiful, colorful items on the shelves.

We used a piece of the Thassos marble at the sink deck to keep water away from the white oak countertops. I really like the way this functions and looks bright and clean in front of the Rohl farmhouse sink.

Photo by Whit Preston

Photo by Whit Preston

The vent hood is a custom cabinet surround outfitted with a long towel bar as an accent. Warm candle white 4×8 tile gives a slightly different scale to the kitchen. The cabinet color was modeled after a tea shop in Paris and is reminiscent of a Bartlett pear.

Photo by Whit Preston

Photo by Whit Preston

This was basically a dream project for me, and I felt like I learned so much through the process working with Patty, Barbara and Tonianne, not to mention the suppliers and subcontractors who contributed their skills. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to do projects like this! We finished over a year ago, so it’s great to finally show off the results of our work.


General Contractor: Tonianne Soster, TAS Construction

Interior Design & Furnishings: Barbara Granett

White Oak Countertops: DeVos Custom Woodworking

Cabinetry: Richard Macdonald, FabShop

Hardware, Light Fixtures: Alexander Marchant

Tile: Ann Sacks, Waterworks

Photography: Whit Preston / Allison Cartwright



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