Sonoma-based designer duo Austin Carrier and Alex Mutter-Rottmayer have made a name for themselves creating interiors that perfectly blend the sleek and stylish with the eclectic.
Their work has been featured in Elle Décor, Sunset, Real Simple, and The New York Times’ T Magazine. Their 2019 wedding at Scribe Winery in Sonoma, which they of course designed themselves, made the pages of Martha Stewart Living. They have collaborated with Crate & Barrel, CB2 and Anthropologie among other notable interior design brands and have over 50,000 followers on Instagram, where they are known as “Hommeboys”. Among their recent projects is the new Marine Layer Wines tasting room in Healdsburg.
The couple’s recipe for success in interior design?
“We spend all of our time doing it,” says Mutter-Rottmayer. “We talk about it late at night. We are going to cook and discuss design. It’s just trying to get to a point where it’s perfect a few times.
“We kind of used our own accommodation (an apartment in Sonoma and a property in Glen Ellen) as a test kitchen for things we wouldn’t want to test on our clients yet. We’ve been through a lot of trial and error, ”adds Carrier.
One of those mistakes was an attempt to create an accent wall – a design trend that the couple usually stay away from – using charred Shou Sugi Ban wood planks. They found that the design didn’t create a cohesive look. “We were…” Carrier said, searching for the words. “Guilty!” Mutter-Rottmayer adds.
“We were guilty of doing that,” Carrier laughs. So they painted the rest of the room a dark color to blend in with the charred wooden planks. Now they love the room.
During a telephone interview, the couple finish each other’s sentences. When asked to identify himself before speaking, for clarity, Mutter-Rottmayer said, “You don’t need to be specific if you’re quoting us. “” It’s good to mix up the quotes (between us). It makes no difference to us, ”adds Carrier. Mutter-Rottmayer sums it up: “We share a brain.
A stream of joy fuels the artistic process of Carrier and Mutter-Rottmayer – “we’re a designer duo who are passionate, addicted and madly in love,” their website says. The couple also bring years of experience to each project: Carrier studied design at the Art Institute of Chicago, then designed furniture for Pure Timber, a company that produces furniture and foldable wood products; Mutter-Rottmayer practically grew up on a construction site – his family owns and operates Rottmayer Design + Build in Glen Ellen.
Carrier and Mutter-Rottmayer moved to Sonoma County seven years ago to join the Rottmayer family business and are now involved in every step of the house construction process, “from the initial design and consultation of the project to the plans, construction, cabinets, interior finishes and furniture, ”according to the Rottmayer Design + Build website.
The designer duo love to layer textures and materials in the spaces they design, while keeping things minimal, refined and “effortlessly chic”. But their signature style also involves whimsical elements.
“We want the space to evoke a bit of play,” says Mutter-Rottmayer. “And some…” “Emotion,” adds Carrier.
The two designers use different colors, textures and materials to create a special atmosphere in a room. For example, metals add a “flashy and chic vibe”, while “plush things” and “little nooks” lend a “cozy vibe,” says Mutter-Rottmayer. “The layering of textures (creates) that feeling of feeling very cozy and comfortable,” Carrier adds.
Whether they’re designing a room, a house, or a corporate interior, one question is always at the forefront of the process: “How do you make this less boring?” This quest to make spaces more interesting and fun led the couple to launch their own line of bespoke furniture, which they create in their Glen Ellen cabinetry workshop. The new line, Haus of Hommeboys, will feature bespoke pieces, like a leather-covered plaster desk with a fluted edge, which will breathe new life into the rooms.
According to Carrier and Mutter-Rottmayer, another secret to interior design success is the ability to plan a space; to see its potential and think creatively about how to optimize both function and form. The designer duo will sometimes suggest that clients stay away from expensive home expansions and instead focus on beautifying existing and smaller spaces.
“You can walk into big houses where the rooms are unusually large,” Carrier explains. “So much money (is spent) to give volume to the space and the rooms. Our rooms are very private. It helps to create a warm feeling compared to (a space) feeling very big and very cold.
But there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to interior design, Mutter-Rottmayer points out. The way people like to use the different spaces in their homes is very personal, Carrier adds.
“We love to dance on our coffee tables. So we need a stable base (for our furniture). But that’s only us, ”laughs Mutter-Rottmayer.