I am delighted to share this lovely article that appeared in Architectural Digest this past week about my passion for working with artists and connecting them with clients. Using original art and educating clients is a cornerstone of my design aesthetic. I am so grateful I found a profession that allows me to combine all of my desired careers (artist, art history professor, curator, and designer) into one! Thank you to Katy Olson for sharing our story and to all the artists and galleries I have had the privilege to work with over the years!
Austin works with artist Charlie Havanich, pictured here, who is represented by Hidell Brooks Gallery. “I adore Charlie and I just acquired one of his works,” Austin tells AD PRO. “The image in the picture is a commission for one of my clients that bears an uncanny resemblance to a young Jackie.” / Photography: Charle Hanavich
Cathy Austin began her career not in design, but in art, working at Sotheby’s across departments including European Porcelain, American Paintings, and American Furniture. “I assisted the experts cataloguing the works for the auctions, handling archives, client contracts, condition reports, and arranging presale exhibitions. I began as an intern and archivist and also worked as an administrator,” recalls Austin. When she transitioned into interiors, Austin kept connected to the art scene, attending shows like Maison et Objet and TEFAF—but also in a more tangible way, sourcing local Southern talent for her interior-design projects.
I happened upon an interview this weekend on National Public Radio with Nathaniel Khan, the director of the acclaimed documentary, “The Price of Everything” that appears November 12th on HBO. Garnering accolades from every film festival imagined, the documentary breaks down the boundaries in the art world between artists, collectors, auction houses, galleries, art critics, and more. As a self professed art addict and Sotheby’s alumnae, I cannot wait to see this look behind the curtain. When I introduce works of art to clients, I always address what makes it special and why it is valuable. I am excited to hear their answers to the same questions on a much grander scale.
‘Tis the season when the design industry descends on High Point for Fall Market. There is an exceptional cast of characters that will be taking over the official Instagram feed over the next few days. Please follow along at the handle @hpmkt to discover the unique perspective of each of these designers to see what catches everyone’s eyes. I will be posting on Wednesday, October 17th and invite all design lovers to follow along!
It is always a treat to see one’s own work in print. We were thrilled to see the latest issue of Charlotte Home Design & Decor featuring us in one of my favorite columns where they showcase a different designer each month. Read below for our favorite finds s scouted from around the world…
The September issue of Atlanta Home & Lifestyles magazine is out featuring all of the glorious professional images of the Southeastern Showhouse & Gardens taken by dear friend and photographer extraordinaire Emily Followill. Click HERE to read the article and to see all of the hard work by the talented designers that participated in this year’s showhouse.
Lately I have been dreaming of “La Dolce Vita” and all things Italian as we plan our 20th anniversary trip to the Amalfi Coast next month. I have been a huge fan of Missioni as long as I can remember. Their energetic colorful patterns are instantly recognizable on everything from their fabulous fashions to their stunning line of textiles and carpets. I loved getting a glimpse of third generation Margherita Missioni’s home via Architectural Digest in the bucolic town of Varese. It is a sophisticated, yet playful mix of so many design elements I love….color, pattern, murals, original art, modern furnishings mixed with vintage finds, a sense of humor, and most importantly deeply personal aesthetic reflecting the family that inhabits the space.
We were delighted to see the latest edition of Off Duty in The Wall Street Journal this weekend leading the article with one of our favorite vignettes. We had been asked to contribute our best and worst personal design purchases to the column, “Not Every Acquisition is Exquisite.” The online tagline read “Design professionals reveal the smartest décor purchases they’ve ever made (midcentury finds on Craigslist), and the most regrettable (a stinky ottoman). What you can learn from their admissions.” The best purchases are always fond to remember but the bad ones are impossible to forget . Even interior designers can make mistakes that haunt us daily which makes for hilarious weekend reading! My full answers are below…
I discovered a large scale multi-colored abstract painting by an unknown artist at a local showroom that I bought for the Traditional Home High Point Showhouse for several thousand dollars. It was love at first sight and knew I would never sell it. When I brought it home, I realized it was on its original stretcher and found a label on the back with the artist and NYC gallery that had a reputation for showing cutting edge contemporary art in the 70s and 80s. It now hangs in my master bedroom and greets me every morning.
In my twenties, I made a desperate attempt to acquire more closet space in my NYC apartment. The 12 inch closet did not suffice! I purchased a huge pine armoire from the depths of ABC carpet and home’s clearance basement for a few hundred dollars. The crudely carved behemoth with a nasty orangey-toned stain was the opposite of the priceless antiques I was cataloguing during my day job at Sotheby’s. To make matters worse, the interior ended up being so narrow that a hangar could not even hang straight so all my clothes were crammed in on the diagonal (and constantly wrinkled). It now resides in a corner of a spare bedroom holding cast off clothing. I have spent a fortune moving it from home to home. I still cannot bear to part with it because it reminds me of living paycheck to paycheck as a young New Yorker beginning my creative career.
Click here to read the full story.
In addition to our interior design projects, we also enjoy working on event designs for special clients. A favorite annual event has become the Visionary Women luncheon presented by The Mint Museum, Queens University of Charlotte and Wells Fargo Private Bank. The purpose of the luncheon is to bring together the visionary women who have shaped the City of Charlotte as well as to honor the Charlotte BuisnessWoman of the Year and Charlotte’s Woman of the Year while providing an inspiring program of forward thinking women breaking boundaries today. Click here to see other special events we have worked on in our portfolio including a a Patrons’ Party honoring Charlotte Moss and Decorative Arts Symposiums featuring Miles Redd and Mary McDonald.
The final post of the Rayner’s Haute Bohemian oasis in Palm Beach reveals their beautiful gardens and magical Moroccan pool tent. There was a delightful surprise around every bend in the serpentine path of their lush tropical gardens. As I mentioned in Part One, we entered their property through an intricately adorned Turkish Pool Pavillion designed by Peter Marino. Once we passed through the Pavillion and a beautifully manicured lawn adored with parasols, painted elephants, and chaises, we entered the “jungle” leading towards the main house detailed in Part Two.
Yesterday, I shared one of the most original homes I have ever experienced. Click HERE to read the first part of the background of this bohemian gem. The main house of Kathy and the late Billy Rayner’s Palm Beach compound is a modest one bedroom home. Tiny guesthouses posing as”potting sheds” are scattered throughout the property connected by serpentine paths in the lush tropical landscape. I think the best interiors are always constantly evolving. These interiors perfectly reflect that concept showcasing items accumulated from their travels through North Africa and the Near East.