Love at First Site

Austin Designer keeps cottage for the love of the land

When Sharon Radovich bought her 1950s Allandale-area cottage, she planned to be there for only three years. That was in 1992.

"I bought it, gutted it and got it ready to sell, but never moved," Radovich says.

Interior designer Sharon Radovich's 1950s home, above, showcases work by Austin artists and her own decorative creations. One such project was wallpapering the hallway, below, with different rectangles of hand-painted paper.

Radovich, an interior designer and owner of Panache Interiors, wanted a house close to major thoroughfares with enough space to work from home. The 1,200-square-foot, three-bedroom cottage fit the bill, even though it wasn't exactly what she had in mind.

"I like more modern houses," she says. "I fell in love with the land and location. It's a big private lot, very shaded with a kind of woodsy, very natural feeling."

It's hard not to notice the original artwork spread throughout the house (and even in the yard). Radovich bought her first piece at age 17. Her love affair with art continued, and today Radovich participates in several groups that promote the arts, such as the Austin Fine Arts Alliance and the Austin Fine Art Festival.

"I rotate art in and out of the house," Radovich says. "There is one Chinese print, but for the most part everyone else is local. That comes from being an arts advocate here and trying to showcase those artists. I'm working on acquiring a Roi James." James is a local artist best known for his figurative work, but Radovich is interested in one of his abstract pieces.

Many of the pieces in the house were created by the designer and members of her family. For example, the hallway is wallpapered with rectangles of handpainted paper and many of the ceramic pieces were made by Radovich's mother.

In addition to the extensive art collection, color and texture also help define the spaces. Original oak floors and maple cabinets with luan mahogany trim add warmth. Carefully chosen pieces, such as a new butterfly-style woven leather chair in the living room and crocodile-embossed leather dining chairs, play up the texture theme and speak to Radovich's modern aesthetic.

Radovich admits that the cozy space is different from the work she does for her clients, which often is bolder and more dramatic. Even so, it is comfortable, artful and personal, which could explain why the house Radovich planned to sell 14 years ago has remained in her hands and off the market.