By: Luis Arjona Photos by: Rachel Benavides
Inside the newly refurbished Elizabeth’s at the Art Museum, Cecile Gottlich and Richard Lomax were adding some detail to the custom back wall, already filled with exciting and distinctive pieces. The space was bright, beautiful, and eclectic. The two looked animated as they worked and discussed notions of wabi-sabi, a Japanese aesthetic focusing on beauty within the imperfect.
Gottlich is the mastermind behind Elizabeth’s, as her interior design studio, Studio Cecile, was tasked with renovating the new restaurant in the Art Museum of South Texas. Studio Cecile is a full-service interior design firm specializing in residential, hospitality, commercial, and retail design; notable contributions in its portfolio are local favorites such as Water Street Oyster Bar, Texas Surf Museum, and Water Street Sushi Room.
Gottlich initially worked in film and television as a Radio-Television-Film graduate from The University of Texas at Austin. However, after a spell in Los Angeles, Gottlich took a moment to ask herself, “What would I do for a living if money did not matter?” The answer? Interior design.
Gottlich knew she would be more than happy working as a professional interior designer for the rest of her life, as this was a tacit passion of hers. The self-discovery through her introspective conversation proved to be life-changing. Embarking on a journey to London, Gottlich went on to receive her Master’s from the prestigious Inchbald School of Design.
Design school is rigorous, intensive, and rewarding. Gottlich made sure to embrace every opportunity from the university and her surroundings. She also collected mementos and memories from several countries she’s visited, which now inform her design ethos. While finishing her education at Inchbald, Gottlich was awarded the prestigious Directing Principal’s Award of Honor for Architectural Interior Design, presented to the year’s top student.
After graduation, Gottlich moved back to the United States to begin her career, and gained experience as a lead designer in Austin for several years before starting Studio Cecile. Now, Gottlich shows great enthusiasm to work on projects in her hometown of Corpus Christi. The work is personal and intentional. Elizabeth’s is the most recent example illustrating her compassionate design. “I like to take inspiration from my client and elevate their personal style,” said Gottlich. She uses the quirks and interests of those she works with to provide a space tailored to fit.
Elizabeth’s pays homage to renowned architect Philip Johnson, who designed the first portion of the museum starting back in the late 1960s. The vibe is laid-back, with organic materials and forms to provide a comfortable ambiance for guests. The backroom is distinguished as a separate space, with art she painted and a beautiful custom shelf designed by Gottlich and fabricated by Jerry Moore and his team.
Details matter, and the idea of using those details to evoke an emotion in someone else is a skill Gottlich is not only aware of, but has mastered quite remarkably. And with that, Studio Cecile is without a doubt elevating spaces in the Coastal Bend for all to enjoy.