“I’m a north-of-the-river girl,” says Annette Patterson, who moved to Austin 20 years ago, in 1984, and has lived in the Hyde Park and North Loop neighborhoods ever since. Patterson is a collector of things, and she has an eye for putting disparate pieces together. Her house is a 2,200-square-foot box of treasures in North Loop, originally a 900-square-foot bungalow that Patterson renovated herself. Every room features surprising juxtapositions of old and new layered together in creative and delightful ways.
Nearby secondhand stores feed Patterson's appetite for all things vintage. She cites Blue Velvet and Room Service among her go-to local retail outlets. Of the found objects she has integrated into her decor, one of Patterson's favorites (mine, too) is the door that leads to her family's game room, a wood-and-glass piece that reads "Private" at eye level, a relic from another era.
Several of Patterson's found-object displays are worthy of a gallery. At the top of the stairs hangs a grid of white boxes protruding from the wall, each topped with a different bird’s nest that Patterson (her friends call her Nettie) has found while walking around the neighborhood. Each one is intricate and beautiful and worthy of study. By elevating them in this way, Patterson brings attention to these often-overlooked wonders from nature.
Two rows of feathers—unadorned except for the material that fastens them to the wall—are installed above a bed upstairs. Patterson explains that there was once a third row below the other two, but it proved irresistible to their cat. Another fun grid appears in the form of an arrangement of vintage lunch boxes on her son's wall. Prine, Patterson's nine-year-old, is named after musician John Prine (who played in Austin the night Patterson went into labor, prompting Prine's father to buy a onesie at the concert and have it signed; that garment now hangs in a frame on the younger Prine's wall).
Music has been at the heart of Patterson’s Austin experience since she arrived in the city. After college at UT, she embarked on a 16-year career with the Austin Chronicle, which, she explains, "shaped me culturally." While working at the Chronicle, she developed a sophisticated knowledge of, and passion for, music and film. These affinities are prominently featured throughout her house—a commissioned painting based on the movie poster for Steve McQueen's Bullitt in the game room, a photograph of Texas-born folk legend Townes Van Zandt above the fireplace.
A few years ago, her passion for interior design inspired her to pursue a career in residential real estate at Realty Austin. Patterson embraces the growth that is coming to Austin, and with it the influx of new restaurants taking up residence among old favorites, all within walking distance of her front door: Foreign & Domestic, Phara's, Drink.Well, Workhorse, The Tigress Pub, and Northloop House & Yard, a new collective of food trucks on 53rd Street. She recognizes that her neighborhood is rapidly changing, but maintains that North Loop remains distinctively old-school Austin in its ethos: “People who live here really love its funky/eclectic side.”