Tour Dane Austin’s Colorful Boston Home
June 26, 2023
Designer Dane Austin invites friends to pull up an ombré settee, put up their feet, and stay a while.
Text by Erika Ayn Finch Photography by Jared Kuzia
When designer Dane Austin and his partner walked into their soon-to-be third home together, they immediately pictured its three floors and six bedrooms overflowing with extended family and friends—and color. “I believe a house is happiest when it’s filled with people,” explains Austin. “One of my greatest delights and joys in life is sharing my home.”
Built in 1905, the gambrel Shingle-style home, perched at the top of a tree-studded hill in a Boston neighborhood, had not been renovated since the 1980s, which suited Austin perfectly. He wanted a project, a historic home he could restore to its full glory and infuse with a rainbow of colors, many that have personal meaning to the designer. The home’s blue-green exterior, for example, was color-matched to a stone Austin picked up on a Cape Cod beach.
The designer put thought into which elements of the original home would remain—the malachite-green tile around the living room fireplace, for instance—and what he would change, like the kitchen, which was completely gutted. Inspired by The Elms mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, Austin incorporated floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall tile, which effectively bounces light around what was once the darkest room in the house. The statement-making cubist floor recalls surfaces he’d seen in Europe. “It feels well-worn,” he says, “and it has a rhythm and movement that’s intriguing.”
Austin’s collection of antiques and artwork figures prominently throughout the home. But the space doesn’t read as a museum. In fact, there’s not a coaster in sight, and guests are welcome to put their feet on the coffee table. “Wear and tear is perfectly okay,” says Austin.
Of the home’s six bedrooms, Austin uses three, each with its own color theme, as space for guests. In the rose room, a keyhole in the custom headboard allows the bed to rest against a window without obstructing the sunshine, while a Venetian-glass light fixture from the 1920s sparks conversation. The twin beds in the gold room nod to Dane Austin Design’s logo. And he found a space for his grandmother’s Dorothy Draper sofa in the third-floor green room.
For Austin, it’s a home that has allowed him to flex his creativity and welcome family for the holidays. “My goal with this house—and in general—is to celebrate life as often as possible, with as many people as possible,” he explains. In living color, when possible.