Alex and Austin, a power-duo also known as Homme Boys, are interior design and architecture experts with several projects on their plate. They're working on a podcast, designing full-time, and just finished a redesign of their very own Sonoma, California pad. One look at their newly-updated home is a window into their personalities — exciting, cutting-edge, and of course, design-minded.
If I only explained the space without showing a picture, you might wonder how on earth the textures, patterns, and colors of this home don't clash. Could marigold pillows and midnight blue furniture against patterned wallpaper make for a relaxing California escape? Not only does the design duo make unlikely combinations work, but they manage to create a compelling scene of aesthetic complements. In other words, these two are interior visionaries.
The design curiosities and interests of this couple are ever-changing. So inevitably, the details of their home are always evolving, too. Recently, Alex and Austin brought in gold-painted wallpaper, installed relaxing roller shade curtains by Barn & Willow, and even mastered a black bedroom with a burnt-wood accent wall. Read ahead to find out about where they find inspiration, their favorite pieces, and how after piecing everything together, it can simply work.
Lonny: What were your main sources of inspiration for this space?
Austin Carrier: "Let's just say our inspiration is a psychedelic trip in Palm Springs right after brunch. Maybe the '80s are back or maybe there was LSD in my Mimosa. Either way we are totally digging this neon blue, deco-pop feel. But, we also are are trying not to rock the boat too hard and go overboard with it.
We used to have this maximalist perspective that more is more (idioms included), but lately, we've been embracing a more simplistic version that’s a.) easier to live in and b.) helps accentuate the best of what you have from the rest."
Lonny: You and Alex are both designers. Are your styles different? How do you merge them in one project?
AC: "Yes, we are both designers of specifically of homes and remodels, but we dabble in furniture design and construction, too. We always have various other art projects going on at any given time. The saying ‘two heads are better then one’ has specific pertinence to us.
My style once had a more funky, rock-and-roll-meets-the south vibe. I love bold colors and eccentric furniture. Alex has a more naturalist tone heavily influenced by California landscape and an early fascination with the wilderness — earthy colors and natural woods were more his jive. The combination of styles clashed in unexpectedly pleasant ways, and working together has really gotten our creative juices flowing. We especially love the challenge of working with existing architecture and making it into a cohesive, inspiring space."
Lonny: What were your non-negotiables in the home — the things you HAD to have?
AC: "Hands down, the bathroom needs to be up to snuff! Our must-have was two separate shower heads. It was the thing we splurged on and HAD to have. We've never, ever regretted that decision. Never."
Lonny: We love the way you managed to mix prints without it feeling overwhelming. How would you advise mastering the maximalist home without going overboard?
AC: "Our apartment is small but has a pretty open floor plan, so we knew that we wanted to pick wallpapers that wouldn’t overwhelm. We settled on this really cool, repeating geometric pattern that has soft, hand-drawn edges. It’s kind of like the glue that holds the whole living room together; it cocoons you in this blue undertone. Honestly, we went from there and edited things in our apartment to either match the blue pallet or pop out in contrast with gold and yellow complimentary colors — a magical color combo if we do say so ourselves!
The wallpaper in the living room is the Escher Print from Relativity Textiles. Erin is a good friend of ours and we've known her since the days we hiked with her in Morocco. Inspired by her travels, she also created this divine Kilim Print Wallpaper in black and gold which we are lucky to have as an accent in our bedroom."
Lonny: Let’s talk about the kitchen and its black cabinetry. Where did you source this? Was there inspiration behind it?
AC: "Believe it or not, we all designed the cabinetry in our apartment, and custom built it ourselves! Instagram is not our day job — we actually design and build homes at Rottmayer Design + Build in Sonoma, CA where we specialize in custom kitchens and bathrooms — hence the custom cabinetry. We are talking full cabinet shop!
When we first started our apartment remodel back in 2015, we had very little furniture. We went with this really white and black minimalist look. The ebony-stained oak cabinetry fit this theme really well but also had a very practical benefit. Black might be the easiest color to work with, and if you're constantly adding shelves or other built-ins to your home, then it's super convenient! Our countertops are maple butcher block — it's affordable and adds a soft tone to the white and black, but the downside is the upkeep it requires. The Heath Ceramic tiles were the final element that pulled the whole space together, and of course it was blue to match our living room wallpaper.
Lonny: Did you stain the dark wooden walls in your bedroom? How did you manage to create a dark room that still feels alive with light?
AC: "This was our first accent wall in our apartment! Even before the wallpaper and eccentric textiles, we had settled on this bold statement to make up our bedroom. The wall is actually a Japanese wood burning technique called Shou Sugi Ban. We were so enamored by how the wood looked after it burned that we knew it had to be incorporated somehow. Once we finished the burnt wood, the colors on the wall went though a bad experimental phase. From kermit frog green to sad sickly blue, the black Shou Sugi Ban wall would still just swallow up the room like a big black hole. We finally combated the effect with more black walls so that instead of being overwhelming it became complementary. The black-on-black look allows for other items in the rooms to pop out to greater effect, illuminating the furniture rather than darkening the space."
Lonny: You have so many plants in your home (and we love that). From where do you source your plants?
AC: "WE LOVE PLANTS! Our plants are sourced from everywhere, but if we have to let you in on our little secret — Craigslist. Honestly, we scan Craigslist four to five times a week for cacti, especially in our area. Cacti grow like weeds in our climate and make such a big statement piece indoors. Otherwise the prettiest plants in town are at Flora Grubb Gardens and Cactus Jungle.
I also feel like I’m selling my soul without getting paid for it, BUT Home Depot has these nuclear-fed plants that are basic but gigantic and can really fill a space for little money."
Lonny: What are your favorite parts of the home?
AC: "Everyone asks us this question, and we don't think we have ever settled on one answer. Our apartment is constantly changing on the inside, but one constant in our lives is the location. California is beautiful in every season! We have a panoramic view from our two-story barn apartment and greet the sun in the morning from our bed, while we say goodnight to it from our kitchen window as we cook dinner. Ever since we moved to California, our whole perspective on design changed. Over all of the pillows and nooks and paint colors, I guess our favorite part of our home is living in Sonoma, CA. #caliboys."
For more home tours, check out Our Favorite Rugmaker's Cool Queens Flat and The Plant-Filled Home Of The Woman Elevating Cannabis.