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Design by Nature

A product of her California and Louisiana upbringing and time spent in ultra-hip Austin, Joslyn Taylor has been in the presence of cool—and she has a pretty good idea of what it means to be cool. Proof: her home.

Originally built for executives of the nearby Texas Instruments campus, the Taylors bought their home in 2006 and morphed the 1978 design from an executive entertainment arena (evidenced by the proportionately large bar area) into a more down-to-earth venue for family and friends. The style? Think “Big Sur.” Reminiscent of Northern California architecture, the house bares it au naturel appeal with exposed wood paneling, hardwood floors, natural wood furniture and wooden accents throughout the home. With every carved wood side table the Taylors were determined to “honor the era and spirit of the house,” reveals Taylor.

Light floods into every room at various points during the day, enhancing the natural elements of the California-cool style Taylor has created for her home. But there’s something else that shines brightly for the mom of two little girls (Amelia, 2, and Audrey, 6): Pride and joy in her abode. The Taylor pad is permeated with the joie de vivre of its inhabitants.

And while Taylor professes to be “nervous of color,” all signs point to the contrary. Everywhere we look there are bright colors—from the kelly green wall in the guest room to the school-bus yellow National Geographic magazines on the bookshelves to the vibrantly colored throw pillows in the den. But she points out that these are just splashes of color. Too timid to paint the entire room a bright color, the style-savvy mom uses colors in small doses to create drama and interest in each room. (It works.)

As DallasChild roams the natural light-filled rooms, listening to the soft sounds of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy singing in the background, we stumble upon a giant fish tank in the large bar area—a feature that came with the house. Taylor admits her first reaction to the ’80s-era fish tank was “yuck,” but she was secretly excited for her husband, Bryan. Little did she know that by keeping it, the fish would add much joy to her household and would capture the wonder of every visiting tot.
But determined to make the most of it, Taylor decided it was very “Wes Anderson” (from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou) and began collecting vintage National Geographic to flank the bookshelf to the left of the tank. She began by asking her friends to donate old, unwanted issues, and now, the shelves are as full of nature as her house.

We also noticed one decorating accent that seemed to find its way into nearly every room: chalkboards. “We’re obsessed with chalkboards,” Taylor admits. In the kitchen, the family painted pantry doors with chalkboard paint and now use the surface as their main message board for the family. Even the girls’ plush pink room is decorated with a rococo-style framed chalkboard to inspire their creativity.

But the girly chalkboard isn’t the only thing in the girls’ room that encourages creativity. According to Taylor, dressing up in costume (often of the princess variety) is a daily routine. Elaborate outfits hang on pegs on the wall next to a pretend kitchen set. But the best part of the room? The pink tent hanging from the ceiling, complete with paper starlights hanging above it. With the soft, natural light, floor-to-ceiling pink and all the components of a fairy tale fortress, it’s the perfect room to let little princesses’ imaginations run wild.

For this California-cool mom and her family of four, home is a place where cool meets function and comfort—and nature meets nurture. And on some days, with a little added creative junior genius … it’s where the wild things live.