A Tropical Austin Bungalow by Designer Maureen Stevens

By Matilda Davies

In 2009 Maureen Stevens moved to Austin, Texas. The move was not only physical, it was one that removed her away from a career and provided a sabbatical that led to Stevens opening an online store for home decor. During the height of the recession, this was certainly safer than venturing into brick-and-mortar, but it turns out it was advantageous as well. That online store introduced her to bloggers and creatives indeed of a stylist for shoots. One shoot led to another, followed by styling a room or two and then an entire house. And from there, Stevens new career began.

One of the first things you’ll notice about Maureen’s work is how different each project feels. Stevens’ portfolio is hardly limited to a single palette or style. Her niche is that she doesn’t necessarily have one. You can tell by her projects that Stevens’ signature is the ability to listen to clients’ tastes. Some designs feel bold and sexy, with jewel-colored velvet and Art Deco touches. Others are sleek and modern–traditional, and you may even seen Caribbean influences or nods to Cuba and Key West.

“The satisfaction of my clients is what really keeps me going,” says Stevens. “I have been blessed with amazing clients and their kind words really motivate me and remind me that I’m doing the right thing—doing my part to make happy homes and spaces, one client at a time.”

Stevens let us tour a recent project in Hyde Park (that’s Austin’s Hyde Park). The project started with the homeowners, a young professional couple, asking for design in just two rooms. They expanded the project one room at a time and soon the whole house was decked in geometrics, velvety seafoam greens, and ocean blues.

Each room seems to have its own soul. How did you blend materials in this project?

Thank you. Design is really all about mixing materials and textures that give the space a lot of depth. The decision to blend the different materials came from the style and feel that the clients conveyed, as well as the general feel of the home, the neighborhood, and Austin—laid back, approachable, and multi-faceted.

Tell us about working with the homeowners on this project.

They are one of my favorite clients—always happy, responsive, organized, and decisive. Working with them was a breeze—they let me know right away when something was working / not working and when I asked for something, they got it done. They were also open to a lot of ideas and trusted my direction.

Trust is really crucial with the designer-client relationship, however that doesn’t mean saying “yes” to everything we say. We like being challenged when there are questions about our choices, but not when it borders in distrust.

What was the biggest challenge of this design?

The striped mod green sofa was from the previous owner—they really liked it. I wasn’t into it at first, but then it became a focal point after adding everything else in the space. Additionally, the area adjoining the space with the hanging zinc planters was a bit of a challenge. It needed to be a conservation area and feel separate from the main seating area yet easy enough to make it a part of that main area as well.

Favorite part of this home?

I really adore this home, especially because it’s in such in a great neighborhood in Austin. But, my favorite part of the home would probably be the buffet area in the dining room. It’s also the transition between the master bedroom, the dining room and their backyard. It floods the area with a lot of natural light. The buffet is an antique piece that both the clients and I adore.

Any fantastic details that some might not notice?

The living room used to have bookcases where the TV area and a console table now are. Those were taken down and the floors had to be refinished before the decorating began. By eliminating them, it made the space work so much better for this young, modern couple.

Again, the long, striped, green sofa is a leftover from the previous owner, which the current owners loved.

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