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Profile in Style | Jen & Joseph Strickland

When Home Slice opened in 2005,

it set a new bar for local pizza joints. Armed with “Queen of Pies” Jen Strickland’s passion, recipes, and hard-won training, the restaurant cultivated Austin’s taste for the real thing. The same can be said of its decor. Before new restaurants came front-loaded with designers bearing industrial light fixtures, subway tile, and rustic vintage interest points, co-owners Jen, husband Joseph Strickland, and Terri Hannifan scoured thrift stores, salvage shops, and the occasional dumpster to create an original, affordable look. The result is a charming, unpretentious space that reflects the restaurant’s New York inspiration and appeals to pretty much everyone who ventures to now-bustling SoCo. “It was a mission for this place to be for everyone,” notes Jen, who says her New York roots, her stint at brand-building company Milkshake Media, and local designer Nancy Mims have all informed her aesthetic. “I wanted to reference things that everyone has experienced—schools, circuses, playgrounds, industrial spaces.”

The New York influence shows in materials characteristic of the city: iron gating, colorful glass bricks, and white tiling—none procured from farther away than San Antonio. For his part, Joseph says, he was "largely an enabler for Jen to express her creativity, work her magic, and occasional evangelizer of function over form,” but he’s played a large part in deepening Home Slice’s community ties through music and events—including the upcoming Carnival o'Pizza benefit, as well as SXSW day parties—all held in the fun, functional outdoor space. “Music is a big part of all the spaces,” he says. “With the restaurant, we're always trying to rock the perfect playlist for the vibe of the party: mellow on a Sunday afternoon, more raucous on a Saturday night, downright silly in the late hours.” Above all, he adds, “we approach events from the point of view of hospitality, which is our focus 365 days a year.”

The Stricklands’ home is just as welcoming, charming, and DIY as their restaurant. Tucked away in a quiet corner of Hyde Park, the historic home features a storybook front yard—complete with white picket fence—with plenty of romping room for their two youngsters, as well as an elevated goldfish pond. The pond is one of the house’s few Austin-modern features; inside, framed old maps and vintage movie posters adorn the brightly colored walls, complemented by stylish but practical vintage and contemporary furniture. Records are strewn on the floor near a turntable, the rugs and simple window treatments are bright and patterned, and school lockers and chalkboards echo the restaurant’s style in a domestic space that inspires grown-ups and kids alike. “We try to set a tone for the kids with the house of what's important in our family: books in every room, art supplies readily accessible, and lots of musical instruments and records to play,” says Joseph. “They really inhabit these spaces 100 percent.” Clearly, the “playful irreverence” that the Stricklands cite as a guiding aesthetic plays out brilliantly, whether at home or at Home Slice.

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Credits

Photography by Julie Cope

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