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The interior designer's 1898 rustic home in Texas is alive with charm.

| By Antonia Day | Home tours

How Claire Zinnecker Brought a 120-Year-Old Austin Farmhouse Back to Life

The interior designer's 1898 rustic home in Texas is alive with charm.

Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we celebrate innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types by taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour interior designer Claire Zinnecker’s 1898 Victorian Farmhouse in Austin, Texas.

A dilapidated house in the middle of Texas isn’t everyone’s idea of a dream home, but when interior designer Claire Zinnecker first laid eyes on this 1898 Victorian Farmhouse in Austin, she “knew it had to be mine.”

“When I walked into this house at its old location, it was in a state of disrepair,” Claire told Bed Threads Journal. “But I saw glimpses of the high ceilings behind the dirty sheetrock and bits of the original floor under layers of linoleum.”

The house was located on a plot that had been purchased by a developer, so if Claire wanted to “save her”, she had to go through the painstaking process of moving her across the city. And she did.

Recreate Claire's look with the Lavender Bedding Set, and Hazelnut Sheet Set.

Affectionately dubbed ‘Ida’, the home now sits on Claire’s beautiful property near the San Gabriel River, just outside of Austin, and has spent the past three years being lovingly restored by Claire and her husband, realtor Adam Mink.

This was not a simple project – or a quick one. In addition to moving the house and installing a new roof, plumbing, electricity, and internet, Claire has poured her heart and soul into every inch of this space. She’s rescued antique sinks, salvaged old windows and even discovered some preserved newspapers from the 1930s hidden beneath the linoleum. Claire has documented this project via her Instagram @savingidahouse, where you can see the meticulous detail and hands-on work involved in this renovation.

Claire’s definition of a beautiful home is “one that looks collected and lived in. I want to be able to walk into a home and understand the owner without ever meeting them,” she said. And by this measure, her home delivers in spades. From the raw timber beams scaling the ceiling to the slatted timber walls and original casement windows, the 120-year-old Austin home exudes a timeless charm and rustic elegance. Every crack and every creak makes this home feel alive, breathing with the long history of the life it lived before.

“It has been a slow labour of love which has allowed me to gather, collect and take my time in how she came together,” she said. “I definitely let this house speak to me. Everything is special but nothing is priceless.”

Before you rush to purchase a fixer-upper of your own, take note; Claire has been in this business since 2013 as the founder of boutique interiors group Claire Zinnecker Design. Working across both commercial and residential projects – including the home of previous Bed Threads Maker Camille Styles  – Claire is one of Austin’s most popular interior designers. Her passion for clean, affordable design has become her trademark… although one she had to leave at the front door of Ida.

I definitely let this house speak to me. Everything is special but nothing is priceless.

- Claire Zinnecker

In this space, Claire has eschewed her classic “Japanese minimalism meets California/Mexico modernism” style; instead leaning into a cottage farmhouse aesthetic that perfectly complements the original features. With the decor, she’s embraced vintage and reclaimed pieces, bringing a nostalgic charm to the home. “I love our vintage stove and fridge – somehow they work better than most modern appliances and were very affordable,” Claire said. One of her favourite pieces in the home is her dining room table: “It was the most expensive furniture piece I think I’ve bought for myself.”

The renovation project was not only a realisation of Claire’s vision for her dream home, but instrumental in building her dream life. “Finding this house and meeting my husband and falling in love with each other as we remodelled it (and getting married here) was probably the best thing that’s happened to me”.

As for what’s next? Well, Claire and her husband have a new project awaiting them this year. “We are currently expecting! So I’m trying to wrap my head around adding a baby into the home!”

Shop Claire's edit.

For more from Claire, follow her @clairezinnecker

Photography by Lindsay Brown. Styling by Claire Zinnecker.

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