Family Memories and Personal Details in Texas

It’s the unique little stories which produce a home more than just wood and nails. The first home of Austin, Texas, newlyweds Nick Moore and Stephanie Wright is a fitting example of this. They ditched their college music posters to get a homier approach, including old family photos, painting and building furniture themselves, and working with local artists and designers to open up their space and add details which reflect their personalities. But it’s the moments along the way that added even more character to the home.

For example, a photograph that Wright thought was her great-grandmother turned out to not be a relative at all. It was just a girl in a frame. But rather than down it, Wright left it up. “So now she is only a woman that sits on top of my cabinets,” she says. Next, while renovating the kitchen, Wright needed to come up with “a solution to prevent my tall Viking of a husband from hitting his head on hanging pots and pans,” she says. That led to a smart way to hang skillets under a large open island.

The home would be a great space only by itself, but Moore and Wright have left it one of a kind.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Nick Moore, Stephanie Wright and their beagle, Sherman
Location: Foster Heights area of Austin, Texas
Size: 1,080 square feet; 2 bedrooms, 1 bath

Sarah Natsumi Moore

The exterior of the bungalow was originally manila colored with brown trim. “It made the home seem like a leisure suit,” says Wright. The couple gave it fresh white paint. Moore built and painted grey shutters to match the ones he built for inside.

Wright hand lettered the home numbers on the front porch, a DIY project that “went too long,” she says. She picked a font, made a stencil and used an X-Acto knife to split the letters out.

Sarah Natsumi Moore

Moore and Wright have fun with their four-legged roommate, Sherman.

“Our design aesthetic is a traditional look, but I like things to be a tad more edgy, not always contemporary but a little dim,” says Wright.

Before Photo

The kitchen had closed cabinets made by the homeowner. There was also an awkward divider between the living room and the kitchen. Moore worked at a kitchen in college and wanted a skillful cooking area with a great deal of steel; Wright liked open-style kitchens and desired a space that was not too feminine.

Sarah Natsumi Moore

AFTER: Working with Jack Sander of Design Build Adventure, they enjoy a spacious, industrial-style kitchen. The entire project took only a week and a half, and the couple managed to cook and utilize the distance almost entirely throughout the renovation.

The designer created a custom case for the fridge. “I really don’t know anyone that believes a refrigerator is beautiful, so we got a steel encircle built to make storage space and shelving while concealing the refrigerator,” says Wright.

Sarah Natsumi Moore

Wright and Moore stained and stripped the previously white Windsor dining chairs and bench in their spacious dining area. “We painted them the exact same grey we used about the accent wall in the living room to offer contrast,” says Wright. The tablecloth is a linen blanket from Spartan, a shop belonging to the couple’s friend Currie Person. The images framing the window are family photos which were used as wedding decorations.

Sarah Natsumi Moore

“We both do not like cabinetry. We figured if you do not need other folks to see it, it should not be from the kitchen,” says Wright. Mason jars are used to store pantry items like pasta and rice. From this view you can see where the couple removed the previous divider to make a more open layout.

Sarah Natsumi Moore

The most time-consuming project was this slatted wall. Zach Larkin, their handyman extraordinaire, painstakingly put each slice. The design team at Design Build Adventure built the butcher block island. Below it you can see the skillet storage which Wright came up with so her tall husband would not hit his mind.

The antique sink comes from Old Home Supply House at Fort Worth, Texas; it is a warehouse which carries only cast iron baths and sinks bought from old houses.

Sarah Natsumi Moore

Each of the open wood shelves at the kitchen are made from the truck beds of 18-wheelers. The designers welded custom iron stands for each piece of timber to make a simple open unit.

Sarah Natsumi Moore

The couple found the matching chair and couch on Craigslist for $300; the round trip to transfer them shot four hours. It then took them to decide on the neutral fabric. “The sofa was beautiful and tufted, but we made a decision to reupholster it to make it a little sleeker,” says Wright.

The credenza is also a Craigslist find. The couple repainted it, along with the corner secretary desk, and additional fresh gold knobs.

Moore built and added the inside shutters, painting them the exact same grey as the accent wall. The hardwood floors are original; he stained and sanded them darker to pair nicely with the walnut cut the furniture.

The couple commissioned their friend Mason McFee at Crummy House to make the “Slow” art piece. “McFee thought ‘slow’ was amusing, since it had been moving above our sofa. But it really reflects our lifestyle. We only take life one day at a time,” says Wright.

Gray paint: Knight’s Armor, Olympic; upholstery: Long Upholstery Service, Austin; black and white collages: Crummy House

Sarah Natsumi Moore

This china cabinet came from Wright’s great-grandmother’s home in Norway. Wright thought the portrait at the gold frame was of her great-grandmother, so that she put it on top, only to find out later revealed that the girl wasn’t a relative.

Sarah Natsumi Moore

These old family photos were used as decorations at the couple’s wedding day. Wright’s all-time favorite picture is of her parents on their honeymoon in New Orleans, dressed up as Bonnie and Clyde (first column, third down).

Both Moore and Wright have strong family ties. “Both of us are excited about our legacy, and we both have a very strong Norwegian heritage. Looking at the images is really nostalgic, and it is fun to always be reminded of where we come from,” says Wright.

More adds, “We really, really love our family and are superclose to our families, so it just made sense to surround ourselves with our legacy.”

Sarah Natsumi Moore

The centerpiece above the couple’s bed is a 1920s framed picture that once hung in Wright’s great-grandmother’s home. “It’s been around so long that now the piece is part of the family,” Wright says.

Bed: French Académie Iron Bed, Restoration Hardware

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