This Downtown Condo Turns Utilitarian Home Fixtures into Conversation Pieces

On the 53rd floor of a towering residential building in the city center, you won’t find any interior that is partially inspired by nature. For Kelle Contine, however, the concept makes perfect sense.

“They’re so high in the sky that we wanted to reinforce that feeling by giving the interior an airy, timeless look by incorporating textured earth tones,” says the founder of Kelle Contine Interior Design, LLC. “The palette doesn’t detract from the floor-to-ceiling views of East Austin, but I also found it important to contrast it by incorporating urban influences.”

The luxury condominium renovation was a collaboration between the home builders, David Wilkes Builders, and Contine and their lead designer, Erin Judge. The team worked on remodeling and installing a bespoke kitchen and plumbing fixtures for a long-time client, and also curated distinctive furniture, decorations, and artwork for the three and a half square feet, three and a half bedroom, three bedroom bathroom.

While the design was largely an organic process, the client – a lover of living, structured art – wanted some of her favorite pieces to be the driving force for specific spaces. For example, the entry was intentionally left blank to present a fascinating contemPorous 3D painting by Stallman Studio. The nearby powder room is also inspired by art: in this case the client’s framed Gucci silk scarf. “She wanted the room to reflect the artwork,” says Judge.

The designers chose hand-painted, stormy-tinted Porter Teleo paper for the walls and a shallow cast iron sink for the backdrop, while the other focal point of the powder room – an oversized pendant light that resembles water droplets – was chosen for its dramatic role in shadow play as well as its thematic connection to the natural world, notes Contine.

In the kitchen, the interior designer was so in love with Ann Sack’s broken, glazed porcelain tiles that she used them on both the island and the counters and backsplash. “You really have to see it in person to appreciate the slightly metallic 3D effect,” says Judge. “I liked the fractal elements combined with the shiny Wilsonart quartz countertops. We balanced this out with soft, slim bar stools made of artificial leather in dove gray. “

A mid-century modern-inspired bocci chandelier hovers above the 10-foot dining table, made of glass spheres selected to match the earth-colored backdrop of the room. “Since the windows didn’t allow for a lot of artwork, we saw the panoramic views and the sculptural furnishings as the art that elevates the entire space,” says Judge. Adds Contine, “It’s like seeing little jewelry boxes all over the place.”

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