A New Space for Our Growing Austin Interior Design Firm

Austin Interior Designer Amity Worrel is Moving Studio Spaces and Reflecting on the Value of Work


We’re on the move! Our growing Austin interior design firm has expanded beyond the walls of our historic bungalow. About six months ago, I started the search for a new workspace to accommodate our needs for people, deliveries, and client presentations. It’s been almost four years since we moved from our space on South Lamar to East 52nd Street so that we could own our own space vs. renting. Since we are now “bursting at the seams,” I decided to look for something that we could buy that would give us more space, more light, and more ease with the comings and goings of people and things. This time around, I have been looking at more industrial or workshop-type spaces. Being in these environments, I have been thinking a lot about the importance of work, what it does for us mentally, and how it improves our lives.

Amity Worrell Austin Interior Designer

Leaving the Bungalow Behind (But Cherishing the Memories) 

Just four short years ago, I bought and renovated a 1901 bungalow for our Austin interior design firm. This project was happening in the midst of COVID before the prices went sky-high and the interest rates soared north. During that time, it was nice to have a distraction from all the chaos going on in the world. I spent my days selecting period-appropriate paint colors, planning an elaborate landscape, and even constructing a narrative about the bungalow to guide the decision-making of the period renovation. Having a story about the home and the made-up history of the space (which did include some factual information like the house once being in the middle of a pecan orchard) gave me the ability to make decisions about the design and selections for the space in a linear way. All the paint colors and paneling details were period appropriate to the 1920s, which was the era when the home was put on the City of Austin books. I also procured 1920s double-hung windows that I used at the front of the house from a job site in San Antonio and chose all authentic 1920s decorative light fixtures, etc. 

I wanted the space to reflect the type of work we do as interior designers. We devoted a lot of time decorating it with layered patterns, textures, and vintage finds — while ensuring comfort in every corner. The result was a space overflowing with homey character. However, now it is overflowing with the fruits of our labor, and we are drowning in it. 

Austin Interior Designer

Our little bungalow is now simply too small to accommodate our growing Austin interior design firm. There are more team members, more projects, and more deliveries. The shipments of client purchases and my need to buy antiques, vintage furniture, and accessories we might “use one day” have left us crammed among lovely things. Add people and demanding projects, and you’re left with a clumsy workspace that just doesn’t function. We have simply outgrown it all!


Moving Our Austin Interior Design Firm to a New Type of Space

Finding a new space has not been easy. I’ve struck out again and again — not being able to find anything large or interesting enough in our price range. I’d just about give up when my realtor called with a new listing. Something he said was very different from the homey properties we’d been combing through to replace our little bungalow.

He took me to an amazing 1955 industrial loft space with massive steel casement windows, cinder block walls, concrete floors, loads of parking, and a brutalist charm so far opposite on the design spectrum from our current building. In addition to hoards of space, the property has a kitchen, two bathrooms, open work areas flooded with natural light, and two private offices for presentations and meetings. It also has a screened porch and a loading dock — a dream for deliveries! I knew this was the next space for us and immediately put in an offer. 

Now, we’re working on pricing renovation costs and meeting with vendors and our landscape designer. I am so excited at the possibilities for comfort, efficiency, beauty, and growth here.

The Impact of Industrial

While our old bungalow space felt reminiscent of homey comforts, our new loft-like space is much more of a workshop. The building is in an industrial area of town that used to be the old 1920s UT Austin airport. Our new neighbors include historic airplane hangars, sheet metal companies, muffler shops, a biotech company, and a new hipster apartment complex. It’s a very different sort of area for us that doesn’t appear to be “on brand” at first glance. At first, I was hesitant about how prospective clients would feel visiting us in this space to talk about luxury designs and high-end fabrics. However, the impact of the industrial buildings reminded me just how much time we spend in spaces like these as designers — whether it’s a slab yard, cabinet woodshop, or upholstery workroom. We should embrace the places where these pretty things are made. These industrial spaces bring me great joy and energize my creative spirit because of the craft that comes out of them and the discoveries I make in them. 


The Value of Work (All Types of Work) 

As I spend time in our new workshop space brainstorming ideas and measuring for installs, I’m reminded of just how much I appreciate having work in my life. I love watching people working in their element, whether I’m meeting with an artist to discuss a commission or introducing myself to our new mechanic neighbors at the muffler shop. I love to work, and I’m not ashamed to admit it! It seems to be such an unpopular facet of our lives to celebrate when so many folks covet leisure and would happily leave their nine-to-five grind if given the chance. However, there are many psychological benefits to working. Our jobs give us the chance to learn from challenges, understand the world around us, and contribute to the public good. I never want to lose my appreciation for the opportunity to engage in my craft, help clients, employ others, and make money while doing it. These factors inspired me to start my interior design business in the first place. I certainly do not think that work is the most important thing we engage in as a society, but it is in the top 5 because it contributes to mental and physical health, positive financial outcomes, and richer lives.  

Planning our next move has been very engaging for me. I want to know what my team needs for comfort and function and how I can help them be their best selves while at work. If we need more space, more light, or better office coffee options, I want to know that. I’m excited as our team prepares to enter this new space and chapter in our firm’s success. Coming into this space, I’m reminded of the value of work — all kinds of work — and the importance of creating a space for it. 


Now, we’ve got to get to work on this new space!

Amity Worrel

Amity Worrel is an award-winning interior designer based in Austin, Texas. She has worked on high-end interior design projects for celebrities and tastemakers in NYC, LA, and the Bahamas. In 2008, Amity decided to bring her passion for diverse design back to her hometown of Austin. Her spaces pull from timeless design concepts ranging from coastal contemporary to cozy cottage to Austin eclectic. Emotional connections, functional flow, and a touch of humor remain central to every interior design scheme. Her work has been published in national and local publications, including The Wall Street Journal, House Beautiful, HGTV Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, and Austin Home. In her free time, she loves perusing estate sales and diving into design history. Learn more about Amity.