No Passport Required
By Rachael Lindley Wilber
Photos by Douglas Friedman
A short drive and fine design can transport you far, far away.
The 1928 Italianate manor home of Austin real estate developer Edgar Perry and wife Lutie has been reborn as the first Texas acquisition of Auberge Resorts Collection, known for luxe boutique inns. Thanks to San Francisco-based designer Ken Fulk, the Commodore Perry Estate has the enviable feel of a European getaway (just 10 minutes from downtown Austin) with a swank yet accessible interior design.
Fulk masterfully meshes eras and styles in his interiors. At the Commodore, he pulls together midcentury statement pieces, rustic antiques, bright textiles and contemporary art to elevate the landmark property with design that is boldly chic but true to its Lone Star roots. “We strived to craft experiences that combined a relaxed European elegance with true gracious Texas hospitality,” Fulk says.
Most of the lodgings (42 rooms and five garden/terrace suites) are in The Inn, a newly built three-story accommodation furnished in homage to the original Perry manor. A serene bluebonnet mural pulls guests into a sitting room studded with one-of-a-kind Texas treasures sourced by the designer in visits to the Round Top Antiques Fair. Upholstered furniture in bold patterns begs settling in.
The art deco-inspired palette is rust, deep teal and a shade Fulk named “Perry Gold” — inspired by terra-cotta solarium floors in the manor — that is used as a punctuation point throughout the property. Upstairs, the guest rooms have lofty, arched ceilings, handsome built-in cabinetry and Spanish Revival- and Italianate-inspired decor. Artworks and vintage rugs are unique to each room.
Across from The Inn, the original manor — now called The Mansion — houses five suites. A newly painted pastoral ceiling fresco graces the restored circular staircase with its original wrought-iron railing. Upstairs, themed suites memorialize members of the Perry family. The Mrs. Perry suite features ultra-feminine materials to channel Lutie: Think velvet, faux fur in muted pinks and floral wallpaper trimmed in peacock. The Mr. Perry suite is a more safari-meets-world traveler salute to Edgar (whose nickname was “Commodore”). Downstairs, the inviting oval-shaped library is lined with books and saturated in deep colors.
Beyond the terrace, aged oaks lead the way to the resort pool. Joyful yellow-and-white striped umbrellas and lounges suggest settling in to order a cocktail, maybe two, and make it easy to imagine that you are worlds away from home.