TRIBEZA Interiors Tour | The Designers

Start the New Year off fresh with decorating ideas from the city’s top designers at TRIBEZA’s first ever Interiors Tour, presented by Scott + Cooner.


Tracey Overbeck Stead

Tracey Overbeck Stead’s family owns and has owned Nau’s Pharmacy, and though you’d think a family with medical roots might not serve as influence to a designer, you’d be wrong: “My grandmother Katherine Nau always told me I got my design sense from her because she was the first one to design a horseshoe soda fountain that still resides today at the Nau’s on West Lynn,” Overbeck Stead says. The head of her own firm since 2000, Overbeck Stead says she is moved by so many different styles, it’s hard to choose just one that sums up her preferences. “I respect and love all of them,” she says. “Plus, I want my clients and their friends and family to walk into their spaces and say ‘Wow—this is so you!’ I don’t want them to say, ‘Did Tracey Overbeck Stead help you?’”

But the one place where Overbeck Stead can completely be herself, of course, is in her own home, featured on the Interiors tour. One element that stands out is the home’s lightheartedness, and that’s something Overbeck Stead crafted intentionally. “I am most proud of my playfulness in each room,” she says. “I have a large foam B and B Italia black foot in my dining room next to an antique china cabinet from my great aunt, next to an Aubusson rug on my wall, next to a gold leaf zipper painted from Red Start Design, next to a braille painting of boobs, next to an antique Armilou French clock from my grandparents.” It’s an intriguing mix that’s entirely her own.


Rebekah Gainsley and Robert Bentley

Rebekah Gainsley started her career somewhere entirely different than design: She has a master’s degree in social work and has worked with many different populations from refugees, to women in labor, to the mentally ill. Once her children were in school full-time, and after an incomplete stint at UT’s School of Architecture learning design, Gainsley began helping friends renovate furniture and select paint colors. And it was honing these skills that eventually led to a successful design business with a unique spin: “I wanted to bridge my two areas of interest and expertise: social relationships and beautiful spaces,” Gainsley says. “The website was designed to help people who might never work with a designer better understand their style, how they make decisions, and how to budget. The goal was to make design support, assistance, and editing more accessible, affordable, and available to young professionals and clients on a tight budget. This way we are able to serve a wide range of clients.”

The clients of the featured Interiors Tour, Gainsley says, had sophisticated taste, making her job easy. “They knew what they liked, but needed a little bit of support managing their collection of antiques from the wife’s grandparents’ gallery in Mexico City and also managing the husband’s love of color, contemporary art, and modern pieces,” Gainsley explains. “I helped them place their art, select new fabrics, and have a custom light built for the kitchen by Warbach Lighting and Design.” Gainsley counts the light as one of her favorite elements in the house: “It’s modern, but fits with the clients’ traditional furnishings as well. Plus, it’s made by local friends who are conscious of material, price, detail, and design.”


Amy Lutz

In one way or another, Amy Lutz has basically been in the interiors business her entire life. “My dad is a builder, my mom a designer, and my aunt has been hanging wallpaper to the stars for 20 years,” Lutz says. “Given my family members’ occupations, I grew up on job sites and grew to love the building and design process.”

Years later, she is part of Butter Lutz interiors, which she started with Matt Butterfield and which remains the in-house design team for Butterfield Custom Homes.

That team is no doubt influenced by what Lutz calls her “new traditional” style. “I use contemporary elements, prefer clean lines, and then add my own little flair,” Lutz says. “I love wall coverings and try to implement them into all of my projects.” Those family influences stuck around, too: “In my opinion, wallpaper adds instant art to a room and makes a huge statement,” she says.

The featured Interiors Tour home is Lutz’s own, which she bought in 2011 with her husband. She was looking for a diamond-in-the-rough, and she found one: “When my mother-in-law came to see it the first time, she cried, and not in a good way,” Lutz says. “I am so grateful my husband trusted my vision, because it was a pretty big one.” Lutz designed the home with her new traditional sensibilities while also staying true to its mid-century bones. And, Lutz says, she had the freedom to try things on this project she may not have been able to talk a client into. “Ironically, we now regularly use my home as a show place for clients and many of the risks I took have become tangible examples of what we can do in their own spaces.”


Clarissa Hulsey Bailey

Though Clarissa Hulsey Bailey’s career path started in Austin and eventually led her back to Austin, it led her on some far-flung twists and turns along the way. She lived in Marrakesh, Morocco while exporting and designing Moroccan home furnishings and accessories to the US. “I would move back there in a heartbeat now with my family in tow,” Hulsey Bailey says.

While we have her, then, Austinites both residential and commercial are taking advantage of Hulsey Bailey’s skills. “I have completed as many commercial projects as residential,” Hulsey Bailey explains. “Some of my most recent projects include Nannie Inez, South by Southwest Headquarters, Kick Pleat and various residential jobs.”

Her travels abroad have, of course, influenced Hulsey Bailey’s style. “I love the sparseness of a desert home in the Sahara,” she says. “I love deep, thick old walls, courtyards, old wooden doors, spaces that optimize their surroundings; I am perhaps more architecture-oriented and appreciate well-conceived decoration. I love Moorish, Spanish, and Mediterranean inspired places, too.” When working with a client, though, Hulsey Bailey aims to help a client get what they really want—no matter what that may be. Among Hulsey Bailey’s favorite elements in the home is the living room, which boasts a starlight panel that reveals the Texas night sky. “I love the feeling we created of being under it while sitting in his living room in the middle of the city,” she says. “It is not just the starlight panel. The space is enhanced to feel warm but outdoors, as if it’s a luxurious campsite, connected to earth while looking up at the sky; with the fireplace going it’s heavenly.”

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Kim West

Designer Kim West comes to interiors by way of high fashion: She spent 10 years working in NYC for the likes of Jil Sander and Marc Jacobs. Eventually, though, her mind began to wander: “After a while the bright lights of the business started to fade and I found myself fantasizing more over chandeliers and wall coverings than ready-to-wear,” West explains. “I exercised this obsession in several gut renovations and when we sold each apartment in one day I thought, maybe there is something there.”

West moved to Austin and named her firm Well Dressed Space as a nod to her past. “I have basically spent my life accessorizing, whether it was a look to wear or to live in.”

What kind of accessories is West drawn to? “My design sensibility is cheeky and charming,” she says. “Rooms that are unforgettable inspire me—I want the unexpected, the jaw drop. The balance of color, texture, print, vintage, and modern make a perfect space for me. The home should tell you about the folks that live there; a home missing a personality is boring.”

The featured Interiors Tour craftsman home West designed is anything but boring. “The bones of this craftsman home are precious and beautiful,” she says. “We wanted to highlight the details and take it up a notch. With color, wall coverings, lighting, and a serious mix of vintage and modern pieces, the house pops in a really fun way.” West also converted the attic into two bedrooms and a bathroom, “turning this little bungalow into a real home.”


Veronica Koltuniak

From designing fake places on movie sets to designing real homes in Austin, Veronica Koltuniak’s career has seen its share of celebrity clients along the way. Initially a set decorator for film and commercials, Koltuniak opted for a less-grueling career path after becoming pregnant with her first child. She opened a drapery hardware and home accessory business, and watched it take off. “One of our first clients was Madonna,” Koltuniak says. “She had this amazing house in the Hollywood Hills and we did all her forged metal work and draperies. Our client list grew from there and organically, I started doing interiors. My first real interior design clients were Courtney Cox and David Arquette.”

A need for a change of pace drove Koltuniak and her family to Austin, where Koltuniak further developed what she calls her “unconventional” style. “I always say I’m not ‘everybody’s designer,’” Koltuniak syas. “I like pretty, but I’m more attracted to interesting use of materials and juxtapositions.”

The Interiors Tour home Koltuniak designed is that of a long-time friend who was downsizing to a craftsman bungalow, and so one of the challenges was downsizing the owner’s considerable art and furniture collection. One of the joys of the project, on the other hand, was working with a client who she knew so well: The two had even started a business together. “We started a line of furniture in 2008 together,” Koltuniak says. “Our motto was, “designed to make beige nervous.” Many of the pieces in her (and my) home are from that endeavor.”

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Mary Korth

As an eighth-generation Austinite, Mary Korth has deep roots in this town. Korth says she draws inspiration from “intriguing surroundings,” citing sources like photography, natural landscapes, fashion and beautiful hardware. With 16 years in the decorating business under her belt, Korth currently helms Mary Ames & Co., which does residential design in Austin, Houston, and New York.

Korth describes her own style as “layered, collected, and curated.” She explains: “I try to reflect the best and most interesting of a client’s life. A mixture of antiques, classic modern, mid-century, art-deco, edgy-traditional, custom upholstery, vintage, and organic design.” For the featured Interiors Tours home, which is Mary’s personal home and an early-1960s elongated Ranch style, Korth says her goals were to unify the house in terms of color and texture. “I wanted to create a good flow from room to room, with an open spacious feel,” Korth says. She also engaged in some streamlining: “Simplifying and reducing the numbers of materials used creates cohesiveness.”

But Mary didn’t only reduce; she also added a few pieces that are now favorites. There’s the vintage Murano chandelier from 1776 Antiques that hangs in her bedroom—“It makes me happy every day,” Korth says—and the custom hide rug, from her friend Kyle Bunting. “He’s a design genius, and it’s one of my favorite pieces in the house.”


Thomas Bercy

Brussels, the hometown of designer and architect Thomas Bercy, has a rich architectural history that helped define and inspire him. “From a young age, I was mesmerized with the Art Nouveau movement and the International Style that defined Belgian architecture at the turn of the 20th century through the 1920s,” Bercy says.

That fascination led him to UT’s School of Architecture. After graduation and a year in Belgium, Bercy returned to Austin and started Bercy Chen Studio with Calvin Chen in 2001. The multicultural office draws on all types of international inspirations in their work: “We often design with places like Alhambra, Mesa Verde, and Monte Alban in mind,” Bercy explains. “Bridging these different cultures has become a focus of our work.”

One of the Studio’s first projects was the Annie house featured on the Interiors Tour, which Bercy has now called home for 11 years. Bercy and Chen used it as a kind of testing ground, he says, where they combined unusual materials like Plexiglas, polycarbonate, and plywood walls with a structural steel frame. “The steel allows us to open the house as much as possible to the surroundings and therefore blur the boundary between inside and out,” he says. “With the use of wood, the integration of the landscape and the intimacy of the space, we aim to diffuse the notion that modern architecture is cold.”

Bercy loves what his home offers him: “I think the Annie house provides a great canvas for life to thrive,” he says. “A home should do more than shelter and be comfortable. It should inspire, elevate, and induce daydreaming. After living in the house for 11 years, I still feel those early emotions about the space and look forward to being there many years to come.”


Photography by: Jessica Pages

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