Profile in Style | Tim Cuppett

Architect and interior designer Tim Cuppett doesn’t just design spaces, he interprets them. And he can sum it all up in a phrase: “Consult the genius of the place,” he explains, paraphrasing Alexander Pope, whose quotation on finding specific solutions for every case has become a working mantra for the Austin architect and his firm, Tim Cuppett Architects.

From his Rosedale office, Cuppett shared more about the concept behind his design process. “I think my job is to find what’s special about a location, and marry its context to the owner,” he says. In other words, pinpointing the roots that make a place authentic, all while incorporating character, care, and uniqueness. No small task. And if design really is all about balance, Cuppett is equally interested in both sides of the scale. Whether he’s designing a narrow urban townhouse with a rooftop pool or the beautifully-restored, historic Hyde Park residence he shares with partner Marco Rini, he’s as excited about the minutia as he is the overall concept of a project. For example, in his kitchen, Cuppett wanted the room to be about “the utilitarian aspect of cooking,” with the focal point the red enamel stone. “I didn’t want “built-in” kitchen cabinets to hide stuff inside,” he says. “[So] I installed free-standing furniture….The open shelves and details of mounting pots and utensils [were also] important in communicating the concept.”

Rather than influenced by trends (“horizontal fencing—no”) or price (“I don’t try to ‘design’ by just choosing the most expensive tile”), Cuppett cites the following as his major sources of inspiration: light and shadow; the natural patina of age; seeing and remembering; form; utility; modesty. Ultimately, Cuppett’s design manifesto is a relevant reminder: beauty and timelessness aren’t created by following certain rules or subscribing to a mold, but rather by simply keeping your eyes and ears open.


Tim's Austin Essentials

  • El Gallo Tex-Mex
  • 2910 S Congress Ave.
  • Good Tex-Mex just like it was when I was a kid.
  • Trail on Lady Bird Lake
  • When I'm running on the trail I am reminded of how thankful I am that I get to live in this place.
  • Ski Shores on Lake Austin
  • With a short drive I can be a world away.


Photography by Wynn Myers

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