When Eric and Erikka Youngstrom of Austin decided to build a beach house in Port Aransas, Erikka — a former fashion designer — couldn’t be more excited to create a space that both her family and vacationers would appreciate. “I wanted to design a place where everyone has a chance to connect to the outdoors and each other,” she said.
Erikka also had a clear design vision for her home: “I wanted the house to reflect both masculine and feminine. It is boho chic and cowboy noir. Both styles are very natural and use a lot of the same tones,” she said. This balance of masculine and feminine is clear throughout the home.
The light and airy great room, with its vaulted ceilings, bright white walls and delicate light fixtures, feels soft and feminine. The unique paneled walls, designed thoughtfully by Erikka, add texture and give the space a bohemian feel. The great room includes both lounge seating and a dining area, which flows into the open kitchen.
The kitchen features the most prominent color throughout the home: green. “When I was young, my mother used to say to me, ‘Always design with green. It’s God’s color.’ I realized when I was older that green really is the perfect design color,” Erikka said. The emerald tone used throughout the home is the inspiration for the home’s name: “Emerald Engagement.”
The color green and its connection to nature were important to Erikka when designing the home. “I really wanted to bring the outdoors in. That was the foundation of the house.” Its connection to nature is evident in natural details like the rustic wood cabinets in the primary bathroom, Capiz shell and rattan chandeliers and the kitchen counter stools with barn wood seats that bring the outdoors in.
The primary suite is a striking contrast to the light and feminine great room. Its dark quartz countertops, charcoal metallic shower tile and black fixtures fit right in with the cowboy noir aesthetic. “The masculine side of design is lost a lot of the time. I wanted to present a more masculine space. The primary bath is much heavier and sleeker,” Erikka said.
Another focus of design is the history of Texas. “With so many new people in Texas that might be staying at the house, I wanted to pay homage to Texas history,” she said. The rare photo of James Dean from the 1956 film Giant, which is displayed in the primary bedroom, is the perfect conversation starter. “That movie was filmed in Marfa and really put Marfa on the map. It’s the story of Texas — windfalls and dry spells. I’ve always loved that photo. It’s iconic.”
The green and ivory Marfa toile wallpaper featured in the powder bath and designed by Katie Kime is another homage to Texas, as are other nods like cowboy hats, an equestrian statue and cowhide rugs.
This combination of boho chic and cowboy noir reigns throughout the space and results in a fresh, fun and unexpected design. However, the home’s most important aspect, according to Erikka, is the connections it makes. “I really wanted this home to be an easy place to sink into and leave the world behind,” she said. “My favorite memory is the first time my whole family came home from the beach here in Port Aransas. Everyone was sandy, salty and sun-kissed. We built the house for two years, and finally getting to see everyone in the space was the best memory.”