Beneath the stylishly sophisticated design inside this white-brick French Country-style home, a decade worth of memories reside. It is the memories that make the house feel like home for the homeowner, an empty nester. Hoping to fuse the past with the present, she charged Memphis interior designer Ami Austin to devise a new identity for the home while keeping her collection of antiques at the forefront of the design and maintaining a family-friendly environment. “Most importantly, it is a livable space — a happy place for the homeowner to come home to,” says Ami.

RELATED: Ami Austin is Our Interior Designer Crush

Starting in the living room, and moving to the piano room, dining room and master bedroom, Ami delivered a design that achieves the desired balance of past and present. An antique vitrine shares the spotlight with a pair of contemporary black-and-white chairs while a sofa bathed in teal chenille stands in contrast to a grand piano. Noting the meaning the antiques hold for the homeowner, Ami was conscious in selecting furnishings and materials to complement them. She says, “It is part of my design process to enhance things that are meaningful.”

Ami Austin design

Ami Austin worked with the homeowner to deliver a design that was fresh and livable. Room by room, the house is receiving an updated look while still celebrating the elements that make it feel like home.

Ami pinpointed the living room as an ideal place to begin bringing new design into the home. A pair of black-and-white velvet chairs from the designer’s own furniture line served as a central source of inspiration. When the homeowner first spotted the pair in Ami’s showroom, “It was love at first sight,” she tells us. The question arose of how to make them work in her home. Ami quickly found the fireplace to be the answer. She created a custom fireplace to incorporate black, which allowed her an opportunity to use the chairs. It also tied the living room to the kitchen, where black countertops are the focal point. The fireplace’s black marble hearth and custom mantle in cream and gold determined the colorways that were ultimately carried throughout the home.

Ami Austin black and white striped chairs

Parker Lauren chairs in a black-and-white striped velvet inspired the overall design, and the use of new and old pieces reflect the homeowner’s style preferences.

Ami Austin design-custom fireplace

The kitchen was left untouched, but its use of black marble is reflected in the living room’s custom fireplace. Now, the two spaces share an elevated design punctuated by stylish furniture and furnishings.

china cabinet- Ami Austin design

Drapery panels carry the soft colorways established in the living room into the kitchen and dining areas. They also soften the antique pieces, like the stunning China cabinet pictured here.

Moving from the living room to the piano room, Ami maintained a focus on livability and cohesive design while imparting personality in color and fabric. Previously, the only thing in the room was the piano. Now, a blue sofa adds instant character (plus a place to sit). A pair of chairs are situated in front of the fireplace, allowing for easy conversation, and the existing piano bench has been recovered in a playful animal print.

In the adjacent dining room, you’ll find a design that reaches further into formality. It boasts antique furnishings, a silver service set presented to her husband’s grandfather upon his retirement and silk drapery panels. Intentionally more elegant, the design is also soft and welcoming.

Blue sofa- Ami Austin

The homeowner and designer had not previously worked together, but they quickly established a deep level of trust. For example, the blue sofa was a bold choice, but Ami was confident the homeowner would love it.

Fireplace and chairs- Ami Austin design

Rounding out the seating areas in the room, these two chairs were thoughtfully placed to inspire conversation — or they can be used to read a book by the fireplace.

silk draperies and flowers- Ami Austin design

Antique pieces from the homeowner’s collection fill the dining room. Ami upped their elegance by adding silk draperies (and beautiful flowers arranged by Ami).

powder room- Ami Austin design

The powder room also received a refresh. The wallpaper fits within the home’s overall color scheme and makes an impact in this small space. Ami gutted the entire powder room and added this custom-designed vanity by Kerns-Wilcheck as a critical element in the design.

RELATED: Memphis Interior Designers Share Living Spaces They Love

The interior design details throughout the home adhere to the sophisticated, simple aesthetic implemented by the designer and desired by the homeowner. Ami turned to a warm palette of gold and creamy neutrals to guide the foundation of the design, elevating it with antiques and contemporary pieces of furniture and decor. Yet another shining example of the thoughtful aesthetic is the master bedroom, a place reserved for relaxation. Both the room and the design are anchored by an upholstered bed topped with plush bedding and flanked by silver-leafed nightstands.

“It takes thoughtful planning to understand the flow of design and how the rooms can be livable,” Ami explains. “For the bedroom, I wanted something fresh that flowed with the rest of the home, but, most importantly, I wanted to create an oasis for the homeowner to come home to.” We’re inclined to believe she did just that.

Ami Austin design- Ann Gish bedding

Ami topped the upholstered bed with Ann Gish bedding and custom pillows in neutral tones. The bed sits atop a cream Surya rug in embroidered silk.

Ami Austin design- Hooker furniture

Silver-leafed nightstands by Hooker Furniture frame the bed and hold a pair of French-style pewter lamps.

Needlepoint fabric chairs- Ami Austin

The beautiful needlepoint fabric used to upholster these chairs held memories, but the style did not fit the newly designed space. The needlepoint was removed (and preserved) and replaced with this more fitting fabric.

“This home is full of love, and its warmth and comfortability make it special for entertaining both friends and family,” says Ami. “It is always fun to be a part of creating a place for happy memories.”

The photos of this Ami Austin-designed Memphis home were taken by the talented Sélavie Photography. Learn more about Ami Austin and see more projects at


Peek inside more gorgeous local homes in our “Homes” section. Click HERE!