SOME HOMES UNMISTAKABLY WEAR THE MARK OF THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THEM—
their personalities, their tastes and their passions. Interior designer Suzanna Santostefano, along with her husband, Mick, and their children, has created just such a home, filled with standout vintage finds and brimming with creativity. Suzanna’s home and firm are based in Austin, Texas, where she and Mick both work as artists and designers. Suzanna works across various media, with a sculptural focus on fibers, welding, woodworking, ceramics and installations. “I’ve always loved working with and balancing different textures,” she says. And it shows throughout her oak-shaded, 1958 ranch-style home. “Our home isn’t large and, being built in the ’50s, it didn’t have a lot of modern-day functionality. So it was extremely important for us to make it functional and work for a family of five.”
After living in the home for seven years, Suzanna continues to call it a “work in progress.” Various renovations have been completed in the space, including updating the kids’ rooms, gutting the shared kids’ bathroom, adding useful storage and starting a closet over from scratch. When she creates interiors for clients, Suzanna describes her aesthetic as “casual, livable and layered”—something that comes across in her own home. Although there are nods to midcentury style,
Suzanna mixes in other styles also. “I love to have a balance in style, and too much of one thing drives me a little crazy,” she says. “I have layered our home with many eras and styles, hopefully creating a balanced aesthetic.” The heart of the home is undoubtedly the vintage treasures throughout, spanning historical periods and geographical locations. “What I love about vintage is that it is the soul of the room. It’s that layer that adds all the character and brings the warmth. You could create a pretty sterile space, but layer it with vintage and antique pieces, and it comes alive.” Many of the home’s pieces she tracked down at flea markets. She’s especially partial to Texas’ famed Round Top Antiques Fair. “Going to flea markets is so inspiring,” Suzanna says. “I love looking at pieces and thinking about how they could be used for different functions. Also, the way flea-market vendors put the spaces together or upcycle objects is inspiring and really gets my creative juices flowing.” The rest of the family’s décor was found on Craigslist, including the Baldwin piano for $75, two midcentury armchairs, a kilim rug, Tolix chairs, a vintage chalkboard and more. Almost all the artwork in the home was created by Mick, friends and local artisans. Suzanna has also woven in what she
calls “heirloom pieces,” like the Korean chest in the living room. “We picked it up in South Korea when our family lived there when I was in 7th grade. I love this piece so much; it actually inspired me to briefly work in a shop in the ’90s restoring similar antique cabinets from Japan.” She also cherishes an Iranian rug bought for only $1 “way back in the early days of ebay.” Another keepsake is the Henredon Chinoiserie campaign dresser, found by Suzanna’s mother at an antiques store. “It’s in nearly perfect, original condition. We drove two hours one way to snag it.” Suzanna shares that when guests walk into her home, they often say it feels “so hospitable and welcoming,” a result completely in harmony with her goal: “It’s important to us that our home is cozy and it’s a space that inspires creativity.” With its many conversation pieces, artful use of color and many pops of personality, the home certainly achieves the mission.