- Clayton Korte (2009)
- Bunkhouse Group
- Word + Carr Design Group
- Victorian, Contemporary
- Historic Status:
- Austin Landmark
Nestled in a quiet neighborhood adjoining the vibrant South Congress district, the Hotel Saint Cecilia is 20-room boutique hotel offering a selection of suites, bungalows, and studios. Situated on an acre of grounds, a 19th-century Victorian mansion and contemporary buildings surround a treed courtyard just moments away from one of Austin’s most iconic street scenes.
Historical architecture harmonizes with rock ’n roll at Hotel Saint Cecilia, which is named after the patron saint of music and musicians. The hotel’s design combines the dignity of Old Austin, South Congress’s lively streetscape, and the hedonism of 1960s and 70s rock culture to create a unique vibe that could only happen in the “Live Music Capital of the World.”
To navigate the challenge of weaving the past and present together, famed Austin hotelier Liz Lambert hired architecture firm Clayton Korte to oversee the project. The architects were tasked with sensitively renovating the historic house, expanding the available accommodations, and adding a bar, lounge, outdoor dining area, and pool. Preserving the five 200-year-old live oaks situated around the property was the top priority, so the architects designed a series of modest bungalows grouped around the perimeter. These inward-facing buildings envelop and insulate the inner park-like courtyard from its surroundings, and allow two of the property’s oldest trees to take center stage. The canopy of branches arching overhead lends a quiet tranquility to this café space, home to the hotel’s dining patio (open to hotel guests and club members).
Anchoring the property to the west is the Miller-Crockett house, an 1888 Victorian mansion with the deep porches, columns, and artisanal wood siding characteristic of the style. To accommodate separate guest parties, the architects divided the house into five self-contained suites, working diligently within preservation guidelines to add bathrooms, soundproofing, and new mechanical systems. Designers refurbished original exterior and interior details such as hardwood floors, painted tin ceilings, elaborate crown molding, and fireplace surrounds, which provide a stately backdrop to the lively and eclectic décor.
The interiors are where Hotel Saint Cecilia really begins to sing; music and art are unmistakably the foundation of the design choices. Every room boasts a record player, and guests can borrow their favorite albums from the hotel’s extensive library of vinyl. The rooms are furnished with a curated mix of antique and vintage pieces reupholstered in vibrant colors: you might come across a cheeky print of Keith Richards, abstract oil paintings, record label posters, a Venetian glass chandelier, a ruby-red cowhide rug—or even a portrait of Saint Cecilia herself. Perhaps she and the old house are pleased to have an invigorating new image. – Kristen Decker Ali
Nick Simonite (1-6); Casey Dunn (7-8)