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Stories for being at home.
The designers behind House of St. Clair give us a peek inside their space.
Carson and Lauren outside their austin home.

Carson & Lauren's Eclectic Austin Cottage

A pair of fashion designers craft a stylish home.

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Kate Connors

A modern home in Austin Texas with a grey Floyd sofa.

Carson Monohan in a yellow chair.

A grecian bust on a stack of books.

 

1. Header image: Carson and Lauren outside their Austin, TX cottage. / 2. The interior of the L-shaped cottage. / 3. The curvy yellow chair adds a sense of whimsy. / 4. A favorite antique bust sits atop the couple's book collection.

Michigan natives Carson Monahan and Lauren Kirby moved south to Austin, Texas about two years ago to launch their menswear label, House of St. Clair. The pair, partners in business and in life, built a brand that distills eclectic influences (grunge, 1940s menswear, skate culture, historical textiles) into clean, modern silhouettes. Their cottage in South Austin is an extension of that sophisticated look. Inside, a soft color palette is the perfect showcase for collected art, pottery, and ephemera. We spoke to Carson about the space, his love of antique busts, and how the couple has made the cottage a home.

 

Give us an intro!

Hey! My name is Carson Monahan and I am the founder and designer at an independent fashion house, House of St. Clair. I live with my fiance, Lauren, and our dog, Miggy. We spend most of our time between New York and Austin, and this is our lovely cottage in South Austin.
How old is your home? Do you know any of its history?

Originally, the house was built as a sound engineer’s studio, he designed it as an L shape, which creates a cool open-air floor plan that allows the living areas to flow naturally into the bedroom while keeping the two separated.

Did you fall in love with the cottage the first time you saw it?

We did! It is very modest, but it allows us to really highlight the home and our possessions that we’ve collected throughout our years. And having a pool in Austin is a huge plus.

A dining table with framed art and a desk lamp.
The living room of an austin home.
A Hans Wegner chair below an art print.
Incense and artifacts on a table.
Carson and Lauren are the owners of House of St. Clair, a fashion brand.

 

1. The dining table doubles as a workspace. / 2. The open layout is bright and airy. / 3. The Hans Wegner Round Chair is a favorite vintage score. / 4. Incense is a nightly ritual. / 5. The couple runs their own fashion brand, House of St. Clair.

 

Were you worried about anything in the space, before living there?

Due to the Austin market, we knew we would be going small in the locations we like. When we first saw it, we were a little concerned with the amount of space, but we quickly realized it has all the right nooks and crannies to help maximize the space.

What room do you use the most? Did it surprise you?

Besides the kitchen (we both love to cook), the living room for sure. I spend tons of time on the sofa, working, reading, making, and watching.

How would you describe your interior style? Has it evolved over the years?

My interior style has definitely evolved over the years. I don’t think I really had a distinct individual style of interior design until my late 20’s and I never stop letting my eye be trained and inspired. I’d say my style is mostly eclectic. I like to balance clean, modern shapes and color with vintage furniture and objects. I also love to collect both contemporary artists and vintage pieces.

A quirky bust on a table full of keepsakes.

The bust was sculpted by Carson's dad.

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The DJ is building an empire of sound. 
Kim Ann Foxman in the studio with a Floyd shelf.

In the Studio with Kim Ann Foxman

The DJ is building an empire of sound.

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Kate Connors

Kim Ann Foxman photographed in front of a wall of keyboards.

Up close image of keyboard.

 

1. Header Image: Kim Ann Foxman works from a converted firehouse in Brooklyn. / 2. The collection of keyboards.

Kim Ann Foxman brings her appreciation for the weird wherever she goes, from clubs in Berlin and London to intimate sets in New York. Now based in Brooklyn, Kim Ann DJs and produces music under her own imprint, based in an old firehouse that has become a creative hub for her like-minded friends. She's known for her distinctive record collection and a refusal to be anything but genuine. With her typical generosity, Kim Ann let us take a peek inside her studio and find out which records she can’t live without.

Could you tell us a little bit about how you got started as a DJ?

I started collecting records during my golden era of rave days when I lived in SF in 1995. I moved to NY in 2002, and I started playing out at parties friends were throwing. Eventually I also had my own party at the Hole. Later my involvement with Hercules & Love Affair gave me a platform to DJ more internationally.

Your sound has been described as “inimitable” and “confident.” Has that been a consistent element of your work or did it take you time to arrive there?

I think as an artist, I’ve grown into myself a lot, and with that comes confidence, but I’ll never stop growing and evolving and learning.

You have your own imprint, Firehouse, which is named for the old firehouse that houses your studio space (and your home!). Does living and working there provide a lot of inspiration for your creative work?

It’s great to have a spot which I can work and live in the same building. The space does inspire me a lot, I have nice sunlight, big windows, lots of plants at home. I really like living and working on music in the same building. It's nice to feel free to work anytime.

Can you tell us about your collection of keyboards? We love how they’re displayed like art.

I share my studio with my good friend Andrew Potter, who is one of the members I collaborate with on a project called Pleasure Planet. We also run [SELF:TIMER] together. It’s nice to share a studio because we pool all our gear. We have a a lot of fun hardware including some nice analog & digital synths on wall racks because it looks really good, and it also saves floor space.

You draw on a huge range of sounds in your work. What records are absolutely essential in your catalogue? Like ‘save in a fire’ essential.

Too many to name! But here are a few off the top of my head for all time faves:

 

You’re known for working with incredible fashion brands. Does fashion (and aesthetics in general) play into your work at all? What are you drawn to visually?

I have a lot of talented friends in fashion. so naturally my worlds crossover. Visually I like nice things with an edge, outside the box thinking.

Your latest release came out this fall. What’s next for you?

I have a couple of solo releases coming out soon. One on Firehouse, with a nice remix by Luca Lozano , and another coming out on Emotional Especial, with remixes by Roza Terenzi, Dawl & Sween, & Violet!

The Brightland founder's Los Angeles home is a playful, serene space that is designed for rest and relaxation.
Brightland founder Aishwarya Iyer

Aishwarya Iyer's Serene Los Angeles Bungalow

The Brightland founder created a space that's a soothing escape from the hustle.

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Kate Connors

A bright white modern kitchen with pretty tile.

Iyer often cooks and spent a lot of energy creating the ideal kitchen.

Brightland olive oil.

A Floyd shelf with a collection of books.

The bright pink door is a friendly touch on the exterior of the bungalow.

 

1. Header image: Brightland founder Aishwarya Iyer outside her LA bungalow. / 2. The kitchen is light and airy. / 3. Cooking is a big part of Aishwarya's routine. / 4. Brightland's bottles feel like a perfect match for Aishwarya's space. / 5. A Floyd shelf houses Aishwarya's books. / 6. The bungalow's pink door is a playful touch.

Simple elegance is everything for California entrepreneur Aishwarya Iyer. As the founder of Brightland, the Instagram-famous artisanal olive oil brand, Iyer knows the value of quality basics. After all, her company aims to transform and elevate the everyday experience of home cooking. It’s no surprise her Los Angeles bungalow is a serene place for relaxation and connection, and the space is full of lively accents reminiscent of the Brightland bottles that line the kitchen shelves! We talked to Aishwarya about how she’s created a home that feels like a refuge.

Give us an intro! Who do you live with?

I’m Aishwarya Iyer. I’m the founder and CEO of Brightland — and I live with my husband and dog, Crosby!

What should we know about your home?

It’s a single family craftsman home from the 1920s in the West Adams area of Los Angeles. Our home is nearly 100 years old.


Did you fall in love with your place the first time you saw it?

We absolutely fell in love with it! It was charming, and modern, yet retained so many of its original characteristics, and we thought it would be a wonderful place to cook a ton, relax and spend time reading and being cozy.

What room do you use the most? Did it surprise you?

We are definitely in the kitchen the MOST. We always knew that the kitchen would be the center of our home, but we are constantly surprised by the sheer amount of time we are milling around in that general area, snacking, chatting, working, etc.

How would you describe your interior style? Has it evolved over the years?

Everyday elegance - it has definitely evolved over the years. My early and mid 20s were very boho, shabby chic. Now that I’m in my early/mid 30s, it’s shifted and up-leveled a bit.

Is it challenging to design a space that works for both you and your husband?

We actually have evolved to having very similar style now!

Did you furnish the home from scratch, or did you bring in pieces you loved from previous spaces? What’s the story of some of your favorite pieces?

A bit of both! We brought a few pieces from our apartment in Venice, and then layered with new items.

I love the Brightland bottles in our open kitchen: we have open shelving in our kitchen and my company, Brightland, makes beautiful pantry staples, starting with olive oil, so I love seeing the Brightland bottles lined up in the shelves. They are chic, bright and add tons of character. Also, cozy blankets galore. My favorite are from my friend’s company, Morrow Soft Goods, and they are so luxurious and perfect for LA “winter” nights.

What's the one thing you’d rescue in a fire? (Other than family & pets, of course).

My late-grandmother’s eyeglasses. It’s one of the only items of hers that I have, and I will keep them with me for as long as I live.

Is there anything you think the space needs that you haven't yet added?

A couple of rugs here and there, and some art...it’s all a work in progress!

What are some of your favorite sources for design inspiration?

Travel — particularly the Nomad and Hoxton Hotels. Generally Soho in New York, and Paris.

What makes you feel most at home when you walk in the door? Is there anything you don’t feel at home without?

My dog running over to say hello and my husband following behind, both wearing bathrobes. There is no better feeling! I really love lighting some candles and curling up with my iPad.

Tell us a favorite memory you have in your home!

Thanksgiving 2018! My husband and I decided to cook a feast for 2 — we made mac and cheese, baked ziti, salads, roasted potatoes, a pizza, and pie. Just for the two of us (and my doggie joined in for tiny bites).

The Cranbrook Academy of Art educated a generation of American designers.
The art studio at Cranbrook school in Michigan.

The School that Changed Furniture

A Michigan art school taught our most iconic designers.

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Kate Connors

The Saarinen family at a tulip table.

Charles and Ray Eames.

Florence Knoll at work.

Bertoia chairs, designed by Harry Bertoia.

The Cranbrook Academy of Art is not what you’d expect. Tucked in a leafy suburb of Detroit, the school is both museum and training facility for generations of architects, artists, and designers. Conceived by George Booth as a center of artistic education in 1926, the school served as laboratory and incubator for designers who would challenge the status quo and cement Michigan as the epicenter of modern furniture in the United States.

The influence of Cranbrook is clear for those in the know. Simply googling “Mid-Century Modern Furniture” results in a long list of pieces associated with the school. But five alumni stand out as leaders of a post-war furniture revolution that replaced staid, traditional designs with bold, affordable, and modern pieces.

 

Eero Saarinen

Saarinen’s father Eliel was dean at Cranbrook, so Eero not only attended the institution as a student but grew up on the campus. While the elder Saarinen is famous for his tranquil designs that meld traditional and art deco style, Eero’s work is emblematic of the space age. Along with architectural achievements like the St. Louis Gateway Arch, he is particularly famous for his pedestal collection of ‘Tulip’ chairs and tables. Aiming to rid the dining experience of the disruptive “slum of legs”, the Tulip chairs were designed to appear as a single piece of curvaceous fiberglass.

 

Charles & Ray Eames

Without Cranbrook, the legendary Eames design partnership wouldn’t exist. The couple met at Cranbrook, and it was at the school that they began experimenting with molded plywood (Eero Saarinen was an early collaborator, too). Their work at Cranbrook was stalled by the war, but a plywood splint designed by the pair for wounded soldiers was a foundation for much of their later output. They emphasized function in their designs; believing “what works good is better than what looks good because what works good lasts.” Today, the molded Eames Chair is a coveted piece of furniture history.

Florence Knoll

Each of the aforementioned Cranbrook designers partially owe their success to Florence Knoll, who studied at Cranbrook as a boarding student and became close with the Saarinen family. In 1934, Knoll enrolled in the architecture course at the academy, and entered into a furniture studio in 1936 where she collaborated with Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames. After finishing school, Knoll was a practicing interior designer who emphasized functional layouts and modern aesthetics. With her husband, she founded Knoll Associates, which famously worked in partnership with leading designers to bring modern furniture to market. With her business sense and strategic vision, the Eames’, Harry Bertoia, and Eero Saarinen became household names in the post war era. Her signature “Knoll Look” revolutionized American offices, bringing cutting-edge design to spaces that had long been dominated by faux European antiques.

 

Harry Bertoia

Bertoia came to Cranbrook in 1937 as a jeweler and sculptor. His work centered around metals, and so when he dipped a toe in the world of furniture design it was only natural that he would design pieces from wire. The famous diamond-shaped Bertoia chair used welded wires to form a molded seat. Bertoia considered furniture an extension of his sculpture practice, writing of his seating, “If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them." The chairs were a huge hit, and their success allowed Bertoia to devote himself almost entirely to sculpture in the mid-1950s.

 

1. Header Image: A studio at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Image via the Cranbrook Foundation. / 2. Saarinen and his family at a tulip table. Image via Knoll. / 3. Ray and Charles Eames. Image via the Eames Foundation.. /
4. Florence Knoll. Image via Knoll. / 5. The famous Bertoia chairs.

A writer built a dream home that's perfectly suited to his collection of art, books, and music.
The exterior of a modern home in Austin Texas.

Alejandro Puyana’s Bold Austin Home

The writer built his own modern sanctuary.

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Kate Connors

A writer sits at a Floyd desk with his laptop and cat.

Built in bookshelves in a compact living room.

A kitchen with deep blue tile.

A collection of screen prints behind a moped parked on a concrete floor.

 

1. Header image: A slatted facade helps to mitigate the hot Texas sun. / 2. Puyana often writes from home. / 3. Looking into the living space from the kitchen. Custom built-ins house Puyana's extensive book collection. / 4. A sleek kitchen is built for entertaining. / 5. Map drawers house more of Puyana's screen print collection (that didn't make it onto the walls).

One glance at Alejandro Puyana’s home reveals its owner’s creative nature. The writer, originally from Venezuela, built the bold East Austin house from the ground up. The exterior is certainly distinctive, with elegant vertical slats and an angular facade. But the interior is where Alejandro’s personality really shines — his sharp eye for color and form evident at every turn. The small space houses large collections of books and art, but feels impressively airy. We asked Alejandro about his space and learned how the author showcases his pop culture obsession without sacrificing style.

Give us an intro!

My name is Alejandro Puyana, I’m a 38 year old house builder and writer in Austin, currently getting an MFA at the Michener Center for Writers. I live here with my cat, Logan.

Where do you live? What should we know about your home?

My home is in the East Side, in Austin, Texas. It’s a brand new home! I designed it with architect Murray Legge and then finished building it about a year ago. I built it on a corner lot with a sister home, a 900 SF accessory dwelling unit that I sold to my very nice neighbors. It’s a modern house, designed to be in scale with homes on the street and to fit with the East Side’s funky neighborhood character.

Did you fall in love with your home the first time you saw it?

Yes! I guess it’s more apt to say that I fell in love with it as it came to life. I’ve spent hours and hours thinking about this house, been in its bones while it was coming up and I’d like to think we are both learning to live with each other now.

Were you worried about anything in the space, before living there?

Yes! It’s a small living room/dining room/kitchen. I didn’t quite know if I’d be able to figure out a way to make it feel right and look right and still have definition of spaces. I feel it worked out really well and it suits me perfectly.

What room do you use the most? Did it surprise you?

The kitchen, office, living room and dining room (and when the sliding doors are open, the deck!) are all one big room full of light. I always thought it would be the place I’d spent the most time, and I’m glad it turned out to be true.


An open-plan living space with black kitchen cabinets.
A large balcony with slats to block the sun.
A bathroom with deep blue tiles.
A modern home with large windows in Austin Texas.

1. The bedroom opens onto the patio, where Alejandro's favorite hammock hangs. / 2. The credenza is a recent find. / 3. A balcony runs the length of the home. / 4. The shady outdoor space overlooks Alejandro's favorite pecan trees. / 5. The home's unified color scheme extends to the master bath.


What are some of your favorite sources of inspiration for your space?

Color, plants, books, movies. I wanted a place where people would feel happy to engage in conversation and feel surrounded by things that they want to spend time with.

How would you describe your interior style? Has it evolved over the years?
I would say eclectic but clean. I like color and texture and angles. I’ve been a pop culture enthusiast since I was a kid: comic books, science fiction movies, and so many books—and that aesthetic really centers my style. I don’t think there’s anything that brings a house to life more than books and plants, so I’ve got them scattered around the house. The most beautiful wall in my house is the library (designed by Trey Farmer and Adrienne Lee Farmer of Studio Ferme), I usually just sit and look at book spines, remembering what a particular book made me feel, or just look at the colors and shapes, it relaxes me. I also collect screen prints, both alternative movie posters (from galleries like Mondo, Spoke Art, and Bottleneck) and art prints, and my house is full of them (some on the walls and some waiting to be framed in the flat file cabinet!)
How did you go about furnishing the space? Was it a start-from-scratch process, or did you bring old favorites along with you?
I pretty much started from scratch. I really wanted to have pieces that could stand the test of time, that were practical and beautiful without being too frilly or ornate. I gravitated to modern American design, companies like Floyd and Bludot, and really took advantage of floor sales that allowed me to afford some pieces otherwise out of my price range. The two old favorites I brought were Venezuelan hammocks that at some point hung in my home in Caracas.
Do you have any favorite pieces? What’s their story?
My yellow hammock, for sure is a favorite. You have not truly read a book until you’ve done so swaying in threaded fabric! I’m currently in love with my Lap Credenza, which I use as a bar, one of those floor sale finds that cost me a fraction of what the piece is actually worth. And finally, every time I see the handsome angles of my Floyd table I swoon a little.
What's the one thing you’d rescue in a fire? (Other than family & pets, of course).
A pen drive with my novel manuscript. I get anxious just even thinking about the possibility of losing that.
What makes you feel most at home when you walk in the door?
My cat, Logan, and walking up the stairs and feeling like I’m in a canopy of pecan trees.

 

What’s a favorite memory you have in your home?

Every time I’m able to sit at my desk and look out the huge window and write. Like I’m doing right now! But also the prospect of all the other memories that are yet to be made, can’t wait for those.

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