Blog by Beebe Cline

<< back to article list

Modern Sleekness and Serenity in Austin

After renovating their downtown Austin, Texas, salon, Chris and Leigh Cortinaz decided it was time to give their house a modern makeover, too. They just needed a little motivation. "We were inspired by the visual effects of downtown Austin's skyline changing before our very eyes," says Chris. "That motivated us to follow through with our remodel." Working with architect Jared Haas of Un.Box Studio and Ranch Carpentry, they gutted the house and transformed it into a calming oasis.

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: Chris and Leigh Cortinaz and their long-haired chihuahua, Delilah
Location: Old West Lake neighborhood of Austin, Texas
Size: 3,100 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms
AFTER: The couple cleaned up the exterior and put in low-maintenance landscaping. A new walkway with repeating concrete pavers on gravel reflects the geometric patterns on the updated exterior. Charcoal-gray HardiePanels were added to the second floor, and cream-colored stucco refreshed old beige painted brick. The new column by the front door is made of ipe — a hard, weather-resistant and sustainably grown wood.
BEFORE: Chris and Leigh ditched the traditional shutters; a new concrete retaining wall cleaned up the front landscaping.

The full remodel took 10 months; the couple moved out of the house while the work was being done.

Should You Stay or Go During a Remodel?
AFTER: A gold statue of Tibetan goddess Tara passed down from Leigh's grandmother greets visitors in the foyer. The renovated kitchen is to the right of the foyer. "My dream has always been to have an open kitchen to cook and entertain while guests can hang out on the opposite side of a bar/island and have drinks," Leigh says.
BEFORE: The previous kitchen was small and made entertaining difficult.
AFTER: New black bamboo floors replaced the previous laminate flooring. The support beam over the kitchen island is engineered wood made by compressing several types of exotic woods together. The cross cut determines the wood's unique design.
This open living room space sits to the left of the entry. The Cortinazes were inspired during a stay at New York's London Hotel a few years ago and continue to incorporate ideas from its luxurious and modern design.

Couch, ottoman: Cindy Crawford collection, Rooms to Go

The kitchen flows into an open dining area with a view into the couple's lush backyard. "The inside of our home is a combination of both our personalities," Chris says. "Leigh and I gather our decor from glamorous Austin glitz and practical but funky Craigslist finds."

Table: Cost Plus World Market; orange chairs: Room Service
The couple brought in the same neutral colors and dark woods they used in their salon. "We spun off the color idea we used at our salon to move forward with our mission to target a warm, inviting, inner-city, modern, urban space," Chris says.

Bar stools: Craigslist
A chrome railing and staircase, made of the same engineered exotic wood as the support beam in the kitchen, lead to the master bedroom, guest room, bath and balcony. The stairs are both Leigh's and Chris' favorite part of the remodel.

Square paintings: Home Goods
Chris found everything on this second-floor balcony via Craigslist.
The master bedroom has a Zen-like atmosphere. The reupholstered blue couch used to be in the salon. The paintings of lovebirds above the bed is from one of the couple's favorite home shops, Four Hands Home.
BEFORE: The master bathroom originally felt cramped and outdated. "The old layout wasn't couple friendly," says Leigh. "[We had to] change that stat!"
AFTER: The spacious new bathroom has twice the amount of space, plus a soaker tub and separate steam shower. The clean and modern color scheme has the spa feel Leigh and Chris wanted.
BEFORE: A backyard and manicured outdoor space were important to the two, and the original yard just didn't make the cut.
AFTER: Stucco and a fresh coat of cream paint gave the exterior a new look. Architect Haas designed a covered patio area where the pair likes to hang out. The new second-floor balcony can be seen on the right. Leigh gave Chris a bench swing that hangs from an oak tree just visible in the corner of this photo.
Leigh, Chris and Delilah relax on their new patio. "Be patient and stay focused on the end result," Chris suggests to new remodelers. "It'll all be worth it in the end."