By: Malcolm Mayhew
Though a self-proclaimed minimalist at heart, interior designer and Fort Worth native Katie Irsaneous’ personal home — which she shares with her husband, Michael, and daughters Ellie, 3, and Avery, 6 months — is as warm and inviting as they come. Nestled into Aledo’s La Madera neighborhood, the space is devoid of clutter but contains a pleasingly contrasting mixture of stark lines and soft curves, crisp whites and warm wood tones. The look is anchored by beautiful, neutral-themed abstract paintings throughout — including a commissioned piece that hangs in the kitchen, Katie’s favorite — by local artist Heather Essian.
But the making of their home wasn’t as effortless as it now looks. During the building phase, the couple was still in New York, which is where they met. Michael, originally from Egypt, works in finance, and Katie, a graduate of Texas Women’s University, was working at Ralph Lauren Home Collection. With their first little one on the way, the two called on the expertise of architect Mike Barnes of Barnes & Associates Architects to begin designing a space they could love — one in Texas, near Katie’s family. “We did a take on French country and updated it to be a little more modern,” says Barnes of the nearly 5,000-square-foot home, which Katie requested be painted white, both inside and out. “The white definitely made it feel special.”
Katie sourced the set of rattan chairs near the fireplace and the sleek marble-topped coffee tables in the living room from Wisteria. “The spacious room with all the glass opening onto the veranda is, I think, the best part of the house,” says Mike Barnes of Barnes & Associates. “On most of our houses, we try to bring the outdoors into the indoors.”
Katie made many, many flights to and from New York with her newborn in tow and simultaneously managed both her budding design firm’s consults and the building process. “We put a lot of thought into every detail. It’s a fully functional home,” she says proudly. “We did a lot of due diligence to get where we are.”
After moving in on Christmas Eve in 2016, Katie spent the better part of a year slowly bringing in furniture, decor and other pieces that she felt reflected her desired aesthetic. The walls painted in Benjamin Moore Pure White proved to be the perfect blank canvas from which to create the finished look, which is crisp, airy and bright with coastal influences and punches of midcentury — all anchored in neutral tones, Katie’s signature palette. “Being in the design world, people want color,” she says. “So I feel like my home is my sanctuary. I find it peaceful having minimal color.”
Katie commissioned an oversized abstract acrylic painting by Heather Essian, which the artist titled “Friday” after Katie’s favorite day of the week.
The couple spends a great deal of time in that sanctuary, working from their respective home offices. Katie’s boutique design firm, Irsaneous Interiors — which she runs alongside her good friend and colleague Brie Stierwalt, taking on commercial, residential and retail projects — operates from the downstairs office, while Michael works from his desk in the upstairs guest bedroom when he’s not traveling to his New York office.
Katie kept the master bedroom simple, appointing it with clean white nightstands and bringing in warm tones via the woven benches at the end of the bed.
The master bathroom is one of Katie’s most loved spaces in the entire home. “It’s just so bright and airy,” she says. Katie incorporated personal touches like a framed set of her grandmother’s handkerchiefs that hangs between the mirrors so she can see them every day.
But when the day is done and the family comes together for a meal in their beautiful white kitchen or a swim in their newly finished pool, Katie is able to look around with unbridled satisfaction. “I don’t want to blend in, but I don’t want to stand out. I just want to be an individual,” she says, “and I think my house speaks very well to that.”
The youngest of the couple’s two girls, Avery, has a room every bit as unique as she is. “I felt she was going to march to her own beat,” says Katie, who couldn’t resist the bold-yet-dainty floral print wallpaper by Clarke & Clarke for the pretty space.
Touting the most color of any area in the house, the playroom is a lively and adorable spot for the girls to have fun. A large jute rug grounds the space, layered with a colorful Turkish rug Katie picked up in Round Top. A set of four framed botanicals and a sleek little table-and-chairs set add a bit of whimsy.
Girly, quaint and filled with all the pretty things, Katie made sure her 3-year-old daughter, Ellie, had a room to love. And it has quite a bit of her mother’s touch, too. Katie created the four ballerina drawings that hang on either side of the spindle bed, which was Katie’s childhood bed. She refinished it and topped off the dainty bedding with vintage pillows she found on one of her regular trips to Round Top.
The dining table of Katie’s dreams came to fruition, thanks to a friendly connection. Katie’s design firm colleague, Brie Stierwalt, connected Katie with her father-in-law, Mark Stierwalt, who builds furniture as a hobby. A hobby that churned out a stunning white oak dining table in under 14 days. The modernesque chairs are from Scout Design Studio in Dallas.
Katie and Michael designed their pool, the newest addition to their home, which was brought to life by J. Caldwell Custom Pools. The backyard space, which includes a nearby outdoor kitchen, is equipped with chic chaise lounge chairs by Frontgate, comfy chairs and cushions by Zuo Modern, a set of white woven chairs from World Market and a vintage bar cart for effortless entertaining.
By: Malcolm Mayhew