Fern blends textures with an animal print, silk pillows, and roses.

Small notes of vibrant red complement the yellow walls of the living room. An angora rug covers the heart-pine floors, which were dredged from a river where they had been buried since before the Civil War.

Interior designer Fern Santini, a native Texan, respects tradition in her Austin home but isn’t afraid to take risks. “I’m my only client who lets me do whatever I want!” she declares.

A diptych by the late Mickey Mayfield is the dining room’s focal point. The long antique pine French farm table is graced by new rattan chairs. A shed-roof ceiling in beadboard keeps the feeling of a porch, which is how the space started.

The family room’s “egg” chairs are recliners even Fern can live with.

Boxwood shrubs in pea gravel add sculptural elegance to the home’s farmhouse-style exterior.

Based on early dogtrots, a gallery connects the front and back of the house.

Iridescent glass tiles cover the kitchen counters and backsplashes. “They were the perfect option for bringing in more light,” says Fern, who notes that there is only one small window above the sink. The island picks up the green of the tiles.

Fresh flowers and produce add to the kitchen’s cool palette.

Fern’s favorite room, the library, is filled with her design books. She painted it a “dark brownish-green to make it more intimate and less pedestrian,” then toned it down with a gold Tibetan wool rug.

“I could spend my last dime on art.”

Fern Santini doesn’t just “walk the talk,” filling her own home with the art she professes to love. She shares her passion, not so much proselytizing others to become collectors as encouraging the artists themselves. She is co-president of Women and Their Work, a nonprofit Austin art gallery that’s been giving women artists an opportunity to show their work for 25 years. “It’s a venue for women artists, and it’s the one place they can turn to actually seek help in learning how to do their shows,” explains Fern.

The nomenclature of Women and Their Work may be a bit misleading. The organization doesn’t wait until its target audience is a group of adult women. “We work with 18 schools in more disadvantaged neighborhoods in Austin to provide extracurricular art programs. All school art programs have been cut, but the PTAs in wealthier schools have picked up the slack. We’re trying to reach the poorer schools.” Click here to learn more about this organization.

Built above the new family room to create a second story, the master bedroom is filled with pieces Fern already owned.

Rosebud, a Brussels Griffon, peeks out of the bathtub; Myrtle the Scottie sinks her paws into the angora rug. The columns in the corners were salvaged from a Paris apartment.

You are here

Remodeled Austin Home: Traditional, Colorful, Artful

From the Editors of Traditional Home
Slide 1 Of Remodeled Austin Home: Traditional, Colorful, Artful
Slide 2 Of Remodeled Austin Home: Traditional, Colorful, Artful
Slide 3 Of Remodeled Austin Home: Traditional, Colorful, Artful
Slide 4 Of Remodeled Austin Home: Traditional, Colorful, Artful
Slide 5 Of Remodeled Austin Home: Traditional, Colorful, Artful
Slide 6 Of Remodeled Austin Home: Traditional, Colorful, Artful
Slide 7 Of Remodeled Austin Home: Traditional, Colorful, Artful
Slide 8 Of Remodeled Austin Home: Traditional, Colorful, Artful
Slide 9 Of Remodeled Austin Home: Traditional, Colorful, Artful
Slide 10 Of Remodeled Austin Home: Traditional, Colorful, Artful
Slide 11 Of Remodeled Austin Home: Traditional, Colorful, Artful
Slide 12 Of Remodeled Austin Home: Traditional, Colorful, Artful
Slide 13 Of Remodeled Austin Home: Traditional, Colorful, Artful
Slide 14 Of Remodeled Austin Home: Traditional, Colorful, Artful
Slide 15 Of Remodeled Austin Home: Traditional, Colorful, Artful

Fern blends textures with an animal print, silk pillows, and roses.