How would you describe the style of your home?
It's a mix of modern design with a splash of "boho"—ultimately a relaxed and inspiring environment designed around art.
What made you want to buy the house in the first place?
It was actually going to be an investment property, but my wife, Amanda, and I loved the feel and energy of the house so much we decided to move into it. The indoor/outdoor living space along with the 100-year-old oak trees throughout the yard gave the house so much soul that it sealed the deal for us. It also ended up being the perfect spot for our marble dining table that has quite a rich history. It dates back to 1885 when my great, great, great grandfather opened a grocery/butcher store, called HL Achilles in Austin, Texas. At the time they were primarily selling meat to people on horse and buggy. The marble slab was used as their butcher block until 1963 when the store closed. My wife and I found it in an old storage unit owned by our family and brought it back to life. It still has the knife marks and stains from the store. It’s a daily reminder of my Austin roots.
How did you first become interested in art?
I didn’t grow up around art. The artist Nick Turner made a huge impact on my life and opened my eyes to the art world. He was one of my roommates in Manhattan and I watched him struggle to find gallery representation and studio space and afford supplies while trying to pay the rent. Basically, he was just trying to make a living. That moment in time inspired me to want to work with artists and ignited my passion for art. After leaving New York, Amanda and I wanted to familiarize ourselves with the Austin art scene. We had just moved from a 600-square-foot apartment in New York City to 2,000-square-foot house in Austin and wanted to fill it with art we loved. On the hunt, we ventured to an art fair and had a disappointing and intimidating experience where art felt unattainable.
What are the benefits of living with art?
Art inspires me to live my life to the fullest. When I look at art I admire the freedom and expression artists have in their work. I feel that most people are held back, and in contrast, when artists are creating their works they aren’t limited by scope. Living with art brings me optimism and a sense of creativity and joy on a daily basis.
What are the biggest misconceptions people have about collecting art?
That you have to be rich. Untrue. Building an art collection on a budget just takes an open mind. Art is an investment, not from a monetary perspective, but in the quality of your life.
Can you tell me about how you found some of your favorite works?
One of our favorite art pieces is from a Toronto-based artist named Thrush Holmes. It grabs the attention of anyone who walks into the room (above). Every piece of art we have at one time or another has been my favorite so I could easily say every piece. However, if I must narrow it down, I’d say that right now I am most infatuated with our newest pieces - Matthew Satz’s "1.24.16" and Amir Guberstein’s "Corridors #6" that hang in our living room. Both pieces are abstract, but have captivating stories around them. Amir’s Corridor pieces are inspired by satellite images of Israel and the West Bank, while Matthew’s "1.24.16" is created when catches smoke from a burning device on the surface of his canvases.
What is the most common mistake people make when displaying art?
I think the biggest is treating art as an afterthought. Art should be the inspiration behind the design of a room and the focal point.
What is your family's favorite place in the house? Why?
Amanda and I love spending time in our backyard under the live oak trees. We designed and built our deck in a week, alongside my father-in-law. We have made the space a respite where we can open the large sliding glass doors and just relax and enjoy nature.