Austin Home Tour
Austin entrepreneur's bungalow shapes up with midcentury modern style
A feeling of home is something that often develops over time. But time is something internet entrepreneur Chad Mihalick didn’t have. After arriving in Austin and scooping up a 1941 bungalow, the busy founder of the professional networking site Malakye didn’t have a moment to pause and pick out a sofa.
“I was brand-new to the city and really needed a sense of home as fast as possible,” he says. So Mihalick quickly enlisted a team of designers who used midcentury modern furnishings to create a laid-back sense of home that feels as though it took years to pull together.
Christen Ales helped bring Mihalick’s rough ideas to life, homing in on the living room, which is the first room seen when entering the front door. Ales then brought on Christine Turknett to help with accessories.
Existing reclaimed wood on the ceiling, paint colors, and overhead light fixtures gave Ales a springboard for design. “We wanted to play off the rustic industrial qualities that were already there and modernize it with clean-lined furniture silhouettes, while also balancing out the natural elements like the wood, hence the statement coffee table,” says Ales, adding that the table was “a perfect blend of modern and rustic.”
With the paint colors already in place, the team worked with the dark wood and pale blue as inspiration for the rest of the palette. “We knew we wanted to stay neutral with contrast in the white and black, and incorporate pops of blue and green,” Ales says.
A brown console and rich leather sofa echo the various wood tones in the ceiling, while punchier throw pillows in blues and greens pick up a sea-mist blue on the far wall. Turknett further played off the rustic ceiling by adding Texas-themed objects, such as a deer skull from a local vintage shop.
In the kitchen, the team made minimal adjustments. The designers changed the hardware to pulls with more modern lines and in a black finish, to carry the shades of black throughout the home. They also added green wire barstools and open industrial shelving for style and function.
In the office, Ales paired a modern desk with a black-and-tan hide rug and the homeowner’s Jimi Hendrix art. The team moved Hendrix from the living room (where a Playtype poster from Nannie Inez is now) to the office, where its black lacquer frame mirrors the desktop’s high-gloss gray finish.
Blues and grays add color to the bedroom. Ales topped simple Target bedding with custom pillows made out of Kelly Wearstler fabric, and the cameos came from Austin’s Mercury Design Studio. “I think they add great color to the space and love the modern romantic quality they bring to the bedroom,” Ales says.
The bathroom was already in place and done by David Clark of Kartwheel Craftsmanship. For the custom vanity, Clark collaborated with Dusty Whipple for the integrated sink, using reclaimed longleaf pine and powder-coated steel. This existing piece set the tone for the rest of the home’s colors and industrial vibe.
“It is such an incredible bathroom and really inspired the decor for the rest of the space,” Ales says. “The triangle niche is so unique, and we repeated this shape in the pillows on the sofa.”