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Modern Makeover

A Highland Park redo transforms a staid traditional into a sleek retreat for a dad and his kids.

The master bedroom features a custom bed in Pindler fabric, with Bellino bedding and an Hermès blanket. Leather bedside tables are by Made Goods. The wallpaper is by Thibaut, and the custom Roman shades are a David Hicks by Ashley Hicks print in Groundworks fabric. 

Designers Meredith Lamme and Brooke Wilbratte.  

The fireplace sitting area in the lounge features a pair of Hunter chairs by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams in Osborne & Little fabric. A custom steel fireplace holds fireballs from Churchill’s Fireplace & Patio. The stool—covered in Charlotte Moss for Fabricut fabric—is by Redford House, and the coffee table is by Mr. Brown. 

A multifunctional custom table with custom banquette in Osborne & Little fabric serves as the dining hub of the house.

Bright white quartzite countertops from Alkusari Stone command the working end of the kitchen, which features bar stools by Arteriors, pendants by Barbara Cosgrove, cabinetry by Richelieu Hardware and a backsplash in custom burnished brass by LM Fabrication.  

Dramatic Floral Graffiti wallpaper by Porter Teleo anchors the intimate music room.




In the lounge bar, a Cherner game table and chairs from Design Within Reach is a comfortable place to hang with family or guests. 

The den sports a casual, nautical vibe in classic blue and white, with a custom cowhide ottoman, woven stools by Palecek and a Lee Industries sectional navy sofa. 

A study attached to the master bedroom is a quiet place to get caught up. The desk and credenza are by Julian Chichester, and the chair is from Design Within Reach. A custom Roman shade provides a focal point and shield against the strong sunlight.  

The challenge: Design a stylish, family-friendly home for a newly divorced dad with three active children. Make it chic enough for a commercial real estate executive who likes to entertain and indestructible enough for the under-10 set. Oh, and make it fitting for a new puppy.

Meredith Lamme and Brooke Wilbratte of The Décor House, Austin designers with 20 years of combined experience, took on the project. The result: a 4,200-square-foot Highland Park makeover that transformed a traditional house into a fully updated showplace that is “kid-friendly with a masculine edge,” says Wilbratte. A Dallas native who relocated to Austin years ago, she is co-owner with Lamme of the Austin-based firm they launched two years ago. “We never sacrificed the kids’ or dog’s comfort to make a design choice,” says Lamme, noting their client made the project easy. “He is a dream client, an amazing father and wonderful to work with.”

The evolution starts with the modern concrete walkway to an all-glass front door flanked by large front windows. Inside, a floor-length custom mirror, bolted to the wall, adorns the entry. (Pedestals and sleek florals will have to wait until those tiny feet know how to sidestep breakables.) To the right of the entry, a music room reveals a grand piano (the homeowner loves to play), a custom daybed, a Kelly Wearstler chair and statement Floral Graffiti wallpaper by Porter Teleo. The combination is fresh and accessible, not hold-your-breath-and-hope-nothing-breaks formal.

Colors are navy, white and gray throughout, with touches of brown, warm woods and mixed metals for texture and contrast. “Brooke and I love neutrals,” Lamme says. “We thought blue was a fantastic color.” While the interior design accommodates the engaged dad and his energetic charges, it is by no means a place where you’re likely to stumble over kid paraphernalia. The living room to the left of the entry has been dubbed “the lounge” and is the homeowner’s space, with a massive sofa to fit his tall frame, a wall-to-wall marble-topped bar and a Design Within Reach Cherner game table and chairs. The room is sophisticated enough for grown-ups but equally approachable for sprawling kids challenging dad to poker or board games.

The heart of family life is the kitchen, where a certificate from Le Cordon Bleu acknowledges the homeowner’s cooking skills. Also featured are white quartzite counters, Arteriors bar stools and oversize white pendants by Barbara Cosgrove. A custom dining table is accompanied by a banquette covered in Osborne & Little fabric, flanked by Jonathan Adler dining chairs and illuminated by the Arrow fixture from Apparatus.

There is no formal dining room; the homeowner rents tables and chairs for entertaining, and they fit nicely into the combo kitchen, breakfast room and den. Outside, a fully stocked guest house provides comfort and luxury for visitors, and the homeowner is designing an outdoor suite that will extend the easy family life and entertaining spaces beyond the interior.

In the master bedroom, the custom bed with Pindler fabric is dressed in Bellino bedding, with an Hermès blanket completing the ensemble. Custom Roman shades in Groundworks fabric with a David Hicks by Ashley Hicks print cover windows in the master and the secluded adjoining office.

The children’s rooms, each including a private bath, provide ample space for active pursuits, study and just being kids. One of the boys’ rooms features a wall-sized map, and the girl’s bathroom has a floor-to-ceiling monogrammed shower curtain that many a grown-up girl would envy.

Throughout the house, carefully chosen art—much of it by local artists, including Megan Adams Brooks, Kelly O’Neal, Alex Remington, John Holt Smith and Joanie White—complements the interior design. The effect is elegant with a shot of playfulness. “We were going for fabulous, masculine, sexy and kid-friendly,” says Wilbratte. “We also wanted to provide a place where he could have some pep in his step.”

A man cave, indeed.


Single-family home

Highland Park

Clint Pearson
Symmetry Architects

Stuart McIlyar
McIlyar Construction

Meredith Lamme and Brooke Wilbratte
The Décor House


Allan Knight
Acrylic side tables in entry and music room

Light fixture in breakfast room

Bar stools in kitchen, fire screen and mirror in den

Grange Hall
Floral arrangements throughout

Paloma Creations
Custom pieces throughout

Restoration Hardware
Bedding in guest quarters, shelves in boy’s bedroom, rugs in office and master bedroom

Wallpaper in office and master bedroom

Truett Fine Carpet & Rugs
Custom rugs throughout

Visual Comfort
Lamps in office, sconces in master bedroom