Fern Santini

Whether creating traditional or modern spaces, the versatile designer indulges her irreverent streak and can’t resist the surprise of a little quirky genre bending.

All photos by Casey Dunn

“This project was designed for entertaining family and friends, an artsy getaway from the city,” says Austin-based decorator Fern Santini. The sprawling Texas lake house with a fluid floor plan was put through its paces over the past year, when multiple activities unspooled all at once: cooking in the kitchen against a backdrop of hand-painted terracotta tiles by Tabarka, swiveling away some anxiety in one of Osvaldo Borsani’s Tecno chairs upholstered in bright gold, parking a book — or a cool drink — on a vintage rattan table from 1stDibs. Bringing the color palette of these disparate spaces into harmony is a custom Jan Kath rug.


“My favorite spaces always incorporate vintage and new elements. In this case, we mixed a 19th-century baker’s table, which serves as the kitchen island, with thirties enameled pendants hung by rope and streamlined contemporary chairs from Italy.” 

Design Philosophy?

“I’m most happy when I surround myself with my books, art and an eclectic collection of furniture. I like saturated colors and no props — everything must feel authentic, be personal. I’m not a minimalist, so the more layers, the better. The challenge, always, is finding ways to organize all these wonderful things and, at the end of the day, stow them away so you can put on your favorite music and have a cocktail.”

Skip to Content