Austin’s Commodore Perry Estate Gets the Ken Fulk Treatment

The first time New York designer Ken Fulk laid eyes on the mansion built by architect Hal Thomson for Texan cotton tycoon Edgar Perry, he swooned. “There’s nothing like it,” he says of the 1928 Italian Renaissance Revival landmark that’s now home to the Auberge Resorts Collection-operated Commodore Perry Estate, noting that the “quirky mix of styles amid formal gardens in the middle of an urban setting is truly extraordinary.” Working with Pasadena, California-based architects Moule & Polyzoides, “we did our best to accentuate what was inherent,” Fulk says, “a place ripe for entertaining and hosting guests,” whether at the 10-acre property’s orb-shaped pool or the mansion’s mahogany bar.

Along with the five mansion rooms, there is also a new 49-room inn on the premises. All of these accommodations have their own spirit, showcased through one-off artwork, heirloom furniture, or in the case of the Hal Thomson suite, a black and white cactus toile that speaks to the Texas Hill Country. A pastoral mural that wraps the inn’s foyer by Bay Area artist Deborah Phillips, who also handpainted the mansion’s stairwell ceiling, further grounds the estate in its location.

The Hal Thompson suite, one of five in the mansion, is clad in black and white cactus toile with mint green accents

Fulk selected a palette that was “familiar yet fantastical,” layering collectibles from the nearby Round Top Antiques Fair into the oval library and pairing maximalist wallcoverings with original tiles in the breakfast nook. Preserving the estate’s heritage spaces “and all the rituals that come with them—morning coffee in the solarium, escorting guests up the grand staircase—was a delight,” he adds.

But Fulk was also eager to complement the historic details with additions like Lutie’s. Designed with local architects Clayton Korte, the restaurant stars a patio that Fulk says he envisioned as an “old school golf course café with wrought-iron bistro furniture and 1970s-inspired floral cushions with a classic awning stripe overhead. It’s nostalgic for a certain generation, but still elegant and fun for the next era of garden parties.”

This article originally appeared in HD’s May 2021 issue.

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