Blog by Beebe Cline

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Colorfully Collected in Austin

"Take the time to collect pieces that reflect you, and take care of them," says designer Esther LaVonne. "They will look great in any space you live in." She comes across the same obstacles as other homeowners, but does her best to apply her personal design philosophy inside her modern tri-level in the heart of downtown Austin. "Mix it up!" she says. "It's all about creating different layers within the space through various styles of furniture, bold color palettes and one-of-a-kind pieces."

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: Designer Esther LaVonne and her Boston terrier Jovie
Location: Five blocks from downtown Austin and Town Lake. "I love that I can jog in the mornings and walk to concerts in the evenings," she says. 
Size: 1,300 square feet, 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom
Builder: Dean Van LanDuyt
The living space has a very open layout, with windows on all three walls lending views of downtown Austin. LaVonne's aesthetic is colorful and funky, similar to her favorite designer, Los Angeles-basedKelly Wearstler, whose style is classic, edgy and warm all at once.

LaVonne has always known she wanted to own a design firm. She says, "I literally called a lady that owned her own firm 12 times right when I graduated so that I could start working for her and learning the ropes. Three years later I was ready to start my own firm."

Browse more modern living rooms
The contemporary black barrel metal ottomans in the left corner are from outlet decor stores. The ottomans were originally green and blue and LaVonne gave them a coat of eco-friendly paint to match her decor. Her color placement is key in creating the space. 

If LaVonne could change anything about the home it would be to add a balcony. "The large windows in the living space are great, but it would be so great to slide them open and be able to work outdoors once in awhile."

Since LaVonne occasionally works from home, having a comfortable and organized workspace is important. One of her biggest design dilemmas when moving in was figuring out which corner of the room would be her office area. "I wanted to have a view when I worked and I also wanted clients to be able to interact with me if they stopped by," she says. 

The black-and-white Marilyn Monroe art print was updated with a red terry cloth mat when LaVonne moved into her new home. Previously, the red was hot pink. 

The black leather upholstery for the Louis XVII chair for her desk is one of LaVonne's biggest splurges for her home. Her dream piece for the house: "Definitely a bold, thick silk black-and-white striped Madeline Winerib 8-by-10 area rug. Those are the kind of rugs you keep forever and pass on to your kids. They are exquisite handmade masterpieces."

The coffee table in the living room holds many interesting pieces, giving guests a glimpse into LaVonne's taste. "My personal style is influenced by bright colors, graphic patterns, fierce lines and anything unique or one-of-a-kind," she says. The red coffee table is from LaVonne's Electric Expression line and the "Live," "Work, "Create," prints are also LaVonne originals.

On choosing her color palette she says, "I've always loved red but I especially love that the tones of colors in style lately are very intense. This is exemplified in the color-blocking styles you see on street attire. The red I chose is a bright cherry vintage red and works well with all of the graphic black-and-white pieces I own."

LaVonne shares her space with Boston terrier Jovie. Jovie is as warm and welcoming as the home. The open space and light wood floors are perfect for a dog his size.

The golden yellow velvet loveseat is a Craigslist treasure LaVonne found in San Antonio. Its bold primary color and diamond tufting design serves as a focal point and sets the tone for the space.
The dining area is clean and inviting. The chairs were a Craigslist find. 

If LaVonne were to have any four people over for dinner she would have: Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, Hillary Clinton and Iyanla Vanzant. This creative and unique group reflects the essence of her home.

Lamp, dining tabe, storage boxes: Ikea
The third floor of LaVonne's home includes her bedroom and bathroom, and feels like a studio space. The large leaning mirror next to the sink maintains a clean and modern feel.
Although LaVonne loves her home, the one space she would revamp is the bedroom, which now serves as both a sleeping and music space. "I want a sexy headboard and fun nightstands. I'm currently working on a separate music space," she says. "I want my bedroom to feel more romantic than just a place to make music."

Bedding and pillow covers: Ikea
The black armchair next to LaVonne's colorful closet matches the leather upholstered chair used as her desk chair on the second floor.
LaVonne's kitchen cabinetry matches the light-colored wood tones in the hardwood floors throughout the space. Plenty of natural light streams through the space, with windows on all sides offering views of downtown Austin.
Here is LaVonne's modern exterior. Even though she is settled into her home, she says, "I will definitely need to change some of the art and pillows soon as my design eye gets used to details very quickly. I need new fun pieces around me to constantly inspire and keep my work alive!"