Claire’s Colorful Vintage Bungalow

By Laura Dominguez
Claire Brody's Colorful Vintage Bungalow

Today’s home tour holds a special place in my heart. Now I realize that this sounds like a line from a cheesy romance novel, but I truly believe interior stylist Claire Brody and I were destined to cross paths. Shorty after moving to Austin 6 months ago, I stumbled upon her Instagram account and was immediately drawn to her refreshing style. It was different (in the best way), featuring bright bursts of color, layered pattern and perfectly-curated vintage pieces. I knew I had to follow along. Fast forward a few days, and I learned that Claire was local to Austin (what?!) and looking for a design assistant (what!?!) I reached out, we met for juice, and the rest is history. Take it from someone who has now worked closely with Claire on several projects and seen her amidst total design chaos: the girl is every bit as fun and unique as the interiors she styles. Without further ado: we bring you Claire Brody’s bungalow…

*photos by Kayla Snell

Tell us about your house:

We live in a 1930’s bungalow style home that is about 900 square feet in downtown, Austin, TX.

Your yellow sofa is so unique, where did you find it?

This sofa is my baby!  It’s a vintage Ficks Reed sofa that I found on Craigslist for a great price. The seller lived about an hour outside of Austin, so we borrowed a friend’s truck to drive and pick it up.  Long story short, we got there and I had forgotten the cash but there was no way we were driving back to Austin to get it, so I promised the seller I would put the cash in the mail as soon as I got home.  Luckily, he trusted me (or just didn’t know what else to do) and it ended up working out, but man, sometimes I lose my mind when I get too giddy about a vintage piece.

The original cushions were in terrible condition, so I had new cushions made in an inexpensive mustard velvet fabric that I found online. That sofa is definitely a statement in our living room. I’ve found that most people don’t know what to say about it, but I love it!

And that amazing leather lounge chair?

That chair is probably the one piece that I haven’t changed since living in this house.  I found it at Room Service Vintage a few years back.  My husband has claimed it as “his” chair and is totally fine with me selling and/or replacing anything in the house except for his chair. I’m not allowed to touch it.  It’s a compromise that works for us.

How would you describe your interior design style?

For my own home, my personal design style is constantly evolving. I use my home as a way to experiment and try new things. It’s fun, but always changing! Each room in the house started with different inspiration and direction. If I’m completely honest, I approached decorating the house room-by-room rather than the house as whole, thus leading to a very eclectic mix of spaces!

Where do you find your vintage pieces?

My favorite local vintage shop in Austin is Room Service Vintage. My advice for vintage shopping is to stay on top of the hunt! Because vintage pieces are one of a kind, it can be a huge bummer if you miss out on a sale. I have several vintage shops that I follow on social media in order to keep up with their inventory. I also have Craigslist searches saved and receive notifications when one of my searches matches a listing. Goodwill is another spot I visit frequently, as well as Chairish and several vintage Etsy shops. Yes, it’s time consuming, but if you love vintage, it’s really just a way of life. At least that’s what I tell myself to justify the time I put into it…

What’s been the biggest design challenge?

We rent our home, so that’s definitely been the biggest challenge I’ve faced. While the space feels like ours, I sometimes felt limited when decorating. At the same time, it was also a fun challenge.

Your favorite thing about your house:

Surprisingly enough, my favorite thing about this home is the small size. It feels quaint and cozy, which I love. We also really enjoy the location in Austin.  We are a walkable distance to downtown and have really taken advantage of that!

Your least favorite thing about your house:

The lack of storage… my husband and I actually laugh about it often. Our luggage is on top of the water heater, my husband has lamp shades in his closet and we have off-season clothes stored in the living room TV cabinet. I’d say the lack of storage is my least favorite thing about the house, but it’s actually taught us to be very intentional about what we bring into the home.  If something comes in (might that be a new pair of shoes or a new accent chair), something else has to leave.

We love your breakfast area, tell us about your inspiration for this space.

I really wanted to experiment with moody florals, and I think at the time, the breakfast room was the only room that hadn’t been touched.  I learned about Anewall, who offers the most beautiful murals and wallpaper. We attached that mural to foam board and built a wood frame to create an oversized piece of art.  It’s probably the piece that people comment most on in the house. The green walls came much later and totally happened on a whim one day…

Floral Artwork from Anewal. Paint Color from Farrow & Ball. Gray Pendant Light from IKEA.

We love all of the color in your place. What inspired the color scheme?

Thank you!  I have to be honest and say that the color scheme for the whole house didn’t evolve as one scheme.  I went room-by-room with no regard to what was going on in the rest of the house. I would not recommend approaching decorating in this way!  Again, I just see our rental as a huge experiment right now, but for others wanting to incorporate color in their home, I recommend creating one, cohesive color palette to be used in the entire house.

Tell us about the inspiration for your bedrooms, respectively. 

I was very intentional with the guest room.  I created the color palette, teal, citrus and greens and stayed on track.  I wanted that room to feel collected and vintage without feeling old.  I think the citrus accents gives that room a lot of life.

Cluster Chandelier from Lucent Lightshop

As for the master bedroom, that room was done less intentionally. I didn’t have a plan or vision when I was decorating.  It was more of a hodge podge of pieces that all came together.  The result of those two approaches to decorating is a guest room that feels pulled together and “done”, while the master feels much more relaxed and easy going.

What’s the next big change or addition you want to make to your home?

We are actually in the process of moving from this house!!  We just purchased our first home and couldn’t be more excited.  This little bungalow gave us a fun two years, and we’re really going to miss it as well as the location.  This home let me do anything that a rental allows, and because of that, my personal design style really evolved while living here.

If you could describe this house in one word, what would it be?