An Austin, Texas couple was looking for the perfect family vacation home and tasked local designer Erin Williamson with transforming a dated 1960s A-frame into a cozy, contemporary getaway. With its four sub-divided units, Okena Lodge’s owners Jill and J.R. Kraft envisioned the 4,000-square-foot home as a retreat for their large extended family, but also as an income property that they could rent out for special events, corporate retreats, and location shoots.
Located on Lake Austin in the Davenport Ranch neighborhood, the home is close to downtown, but feels worlds away with with towering cypress trees and picturesque lake views.
The classic A-frame had great bones, but was desperately outdated and in need of a full overhaul. “We wanted to preserve the funkiness and the identity of the property, but bring it up to modern standards,” says Williamson.
Architectural details like stone fireplaces and wooden beams were embraced. But the old carpet, mustard yellow walls, textured walls and outdated kitchens and bathrooms had to go. “There was nowhere to go but up, so we wanted to make it extra awesome and unique,” she says.
During the 18-month renovation, both structural and cosmetic work was done to give the four units a fresh, contemporary look and create more open, functional spaces. Staircases were rebuilt. Cabinetry was reconfigured. Windows and doors were replaced. Skylights were relocated. On the exterior, a new roof was installed, and hardscaping and landscaping spruced up the grounds.
“We were fortunate enough to select all the finishes from tile to paint colors, then furnish the units in ways that feel fresh and unique,” says Williamson. “The homeowners really wanted a complete vision, and every detail was carefully considered.”
The Krafts requested that the home have a casual and bohemian vibe that wasn’t overly finished or fussy. Williamson achieved this look by layering cozy textures, high-contrast motifs and colors, along with cherry-picking vintage art and decor from antique malls and online shops.
A mix of mid-century furniture, vintage rugs and the repetition of triangles throughout give subtle nods to the architecture and time period of the house without making you feel like you stepped back into the 1960s.
While each unit has its own distinct look, Williamson made sure that there was architectural similarities that held the whole structure together aesthetically. She added cohesion from unit to unit by using the same hickory wide plank engineered wood flooring throughout.
When choosing materials and furnishings, comfort and durability was taken into consideration to ensure that the home was family-friendly. “It was important that all the furnishings and textures invite you to kick up your heels and chill,” says Williamson. “It’s a lake house, so everything is hard-wearing yet cozy.”
Furnishings are upholstered in durable fabrics. Rugs are dark and textured or inexpensive jute. Patterns and colors were chosen with dirt in mind. Even the Eames lounge chair is covered in custom waterproof leather. “For the most part, it’s all very wipeable,” says Williamson. “It’s all kid-tested.”