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Avery Cox on Individuality, Longevity, and Sustainable Design

STORY BY RACHEL SCHWARTZMANN – DISCOVER AVERY’S WORK– PHOTOS BY MIKAELA HAMILTON FOR THE STYLE LINE

For Austin-based interior designer Avery Cox, it’s all

about making something (beautiful) out of nothing. Avery’s innate creativity and eye for design have translated into the success of her eponymous design firm where she works with her clients to cultivate eclectic, colorful, and downright imaginative spaces. Our featured interviewee’s work is truly unlike anything we’ve seen before; and with her commitment to sustainability and passion for preserving her family’s artistic roots, we jumped at the opportunity to get to know more about Avery’s story – and see the aptly designed space that she calls home.

Perhaps you could call Avery a maximalist at heart, as every corner of her intimate Austin abode is adorned with fun items of all kinds. It’s a true feast for the eyes – the painted and paneled walls serve as a canvas for an array of shelving, bold artwork, and family photos which provide a lovely backdrop for fun interior accents like vintage side tables and patterned lamps. In other words, design that encourages individuality is key for Avery and as she mentioned in our interview below, “I aim to make a statement, always. Whether it’s a well-crafted pleat, an intense cobalt blue, or a dynamic structure, the design must have a voice; it must sing. I was raised in a household where individuality was not only encouraged, it was the plat du jour.”

Speaking more to that idea, our conversation with Avery was just as bold and inspired as the environments she creates. So, without giving too much away, discover our full interview with Avery who shares more on how her family has inspired her approach to design, thoughts on sustainability, and her advice for the next generation of creatives. Also, enjoy exclusive photos from our time together captured by Mikaela Hamilton for The Style Line.

[CLICK EACH THUMBNAIL IN THESE GALLERIES TO EXPAND IMAGE]

“Happiness and creativity are practices, not gifts. They take work, but we can all do them. The best thing I can say to the next generation is work hard, meet as many people as you can, ask for the business, and create motion one way or another.

– AVERY COX

I’m Avery Cox, an interior designer and adventurer,

currently living in Austin, TX. I grew up in the South, but have spent most of my adult life living in the Northeast, New York and Maine, so I guess I’ve got manners and an edge? It works for me! I am equal parts mountain woman and city girl; I love to trek 50 miles into a wilderness area as much as I love to dress up and attend an art gala. It’s a constant internal tug of war between the wild side with an urge for going, and the homebody that loves to be surrounded by friends, family, tradition and a good velvet.

My personality and passions are incongruous, but that keeps me happy and interested; attempting to be both grounded and aspirational. There always needs to be tension, like a suspension bridge.

I try to travel as often as I can. I get energy from experiencing new people, food, geography, and architecture. Any opportunity to enjoy something well crafted, I take it. I’m wildly passionate about food and beverages. I have spent a lot of time working in the industry and exposing myself to flavors that have forever changed my palate. Natural wine is my greatest pleasure at the current moment.

How would you describe your relationship to design from both an interior and sartorial standpoint? How does your work as an interior designer inspire you to celebrate personal style?

My grandmother used to say, “if you’re happy, notify your face.”

Show your personality! I aim to make a statement, always. Whether it’s a well-crafted pleat, an intense cobalt blue, or a dynamic structure, the design must have a voice; it must sing. I was raised in a household where individuality was not only encouraged, it was the plat du jour. My mother an artist who combined great joy with a lack of inhibition in how she expressed herself, but who was also deadly serious about her craft and her eye.

Being raised in that kind of environment gave me the confidence to have perspective; I find life in pushing boundaries, and taking risks-aesthetically speaking (just ask my Dad about all of my regrets about never rebelling in high school). My design work and personal style are extensions of my self: dichotomous, complex. Since my mom’s passing five years ago, I have found myself studying her in a way I never had before. I live amongst her paintings, and they remind me every day that letting yourself express freely almost always results in the best outcome… even if it takes a little while for people to get it.

As a creative, what are your thoughts on sustainability? Does sustainable design or “thinking” play a significant role in your process?

Yes, I have always been interested in sustainability; I’m a LEED AP.

I believe the best way to think sustainably in this business, while still creating luxe interiors, is to reuse and repurpose. That means antiques, re-upholstery, and vintage. If that is not an option, I try to source from companies that make their best effort to operate sustainably, whether through their product or business practices. 

One of the biggest problems in the design industry is the instantaneous access to inexpensive and often low-quality furniture. I rarely buy from retailers who create affordable but disposable furniture, and much prefer to shop at a thrift store for something previously loved, which often similar price points are much better quality.

I try to push clients to purchase items that will be handed down to their children or reimagined again with new fabric. When you can put more time, thought, and yes, more money, into selecting a product, that piece is much more likely to stick around and stay out of a landfill. Buy the best and you only cry once.

Are there any up and coming designers you are particularly excited about?

Oh my goodness, YES. My dear friend Paul Schneider in Dallas makes the most beautiful lamps you have ever seen; they are seriously magical. The one in my office is monumental; it’s almost as tall as I am!

I am also very excited about a brand new New York-based, but Maine-bred, fashion brand called Grammar. It was created by Althea Simons, and the collection consists of five perfect white cotton button-down shirts for the stylish working woman. They are perfect for someone like me, and I practically live in the “split infinitive.”

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

Where is your favorite fishing hole?

I would tell ya, but I’d have to kill ya. I love to fly fish. My grandmother was an angler and taught me to love it from an early age. My favorite fishing spot is a toss-up between this magical hole on the Lamar River in Yellowstone National Park- I mean, literally a fish every cast, beautiful cutthroat trout- or up in the meadows of Big Creek at the A Bar A Ranch in Wyoming.

How do you think creativity contributes to some of the world’s bigger conversations and what role do you hope your interior design endeavors play in this shift?

We need more joy! Humans innately want to create; We are aesthetic people, and we aren’t valuing it the way we should as a society. It breaks my heart to see arts funding cut, and teachers undervalued. This is where innovation starts. If we want our country to lead in tech, finance, engineering, etc. we have to encourage individuality and creativity. The arts are not just for artists, musicians, and the like. We ALL need them. As humans. To be happy.

I hope that by pushing my clients to embrace their wild sides, by helping to cultivate craft and a tradition of creation, by elevating the aesthetic of daily life, it brings people more joy, and in turn, they carry that light with them out into the world. Little lights in tiny beautiful corners. That is how I hope to contribute to a shift towards a more loving and joyful world.

How would you advise the next generation to leave an imprint in the world simply by doing what they love?

Go forth, spread joy, listen to your soul, and do the work.  I recently had to check in with myself about this very thing. It is so easy to go down the spiral of, “Am I doing enough?” or “Is it even any good?” or “everyone else seems to be achieving success but me,” YADA YADA. No. Think about your life in ten years; When you look back on this time right now, don’t you think you’d be disappointed in yourself for wasting time on those thoughts instead of living out the moment and delighting in that very thing you love?

Happiness and creativity are practices, not gifts. They take work, but we can all do them. The best thing I can say to the next generation is work hard, meet as many people as you can, ask for the business, and create motion one way or another. If something isn’t working, change it.  Eventually, you will find the people who value what you are putting out there, and it will be AWESOME.

[CLICK EACH THUMBNAIL IN THESE GALLERIES TO EXPAND IMAGE]

Whether it’s a well-crafted pleat, an intense cobalt blue, or a dynamic structure, the design must have a voice; it must sing. I was raised in a household where individuality was not only encouraged, it was the plat du jour.

– AVERY COX