When Nicole and Ramzi AlRashid purchased a sprawling early-20th-century property in Fredericksburg, Texas, with the intention of transforming it into a hotel, they knew exactly who to call. Austin-based interior designer Sarah Stacey had just the vibrant style they were seeking—and was already working on the couple’s home. This time around, they just provided a basic brief and let her run with it. “They’re calling it ‘The Menagerie,’ since the design is a little bit of everything,” Sarah explains. “We pulled inspiration from so many places. They love color and they didn’t want to whitewash anything. They wanted all of the units to have a different feel and to offer their own experience. They trusted us and our vision.”
Sarah split the seven buildings (a Queen Anne Victorian, a carriage house, a converted barn, and four cottages from the 1930s and ’40s) into 12 apartments, each with its own distinct personality. From global travel and Garden of Eden to grandma chic, the themes are expressed fearlessly and thoroughly with patterned wallpaper, bold paint choices, and a mix of vintage and contemporary furniture.
The one through line among the units? An essence of a bygone era, since Sarah managed to maintain original details like ceiling beams and beadboard paneling wherever possible. “We tried not to do much structural work because they’re historical buildings,” she shares. “It’s mostly rip-and-replace type stuff.”
The result is a wonderfully diverse smattering of spaces that feel simultaneously fresh and like they have always been there—a true feat in the renovation of old structures. To achieve similar success in a remodel, consider borrowing these five approachable design ideas from this eclectic Texan property.
Go for a statement ceiling
The Temptress suite channels the spirit of a young global traveler, with treasures from around the world like a romantic French armoire, midcentury Italian dining chairs, a Portuguese four-poster, and ornate Chinoiserie nightstands. But even with all these gems peppered throughout, the ceilings steal the show.
Sarah went for a monochromatic midnight blue look in the airy bedroom, painting all the walls and ceiling the same hue to make it seem more snug. The bathroom, which notably features original stained glass and a whimsical bird-filled mural, has a jet-black ceiling. “We wanted to cozy it up and bring it down a little bit so it didn’t feel cavernous,” she explains.
In the kitchenette, a joyfully floral House of Hackney wallpaper graces the ceiling, accentuating the burnt orange cabinets and creating the sensation of bathing in a bouquet. “It has that little pitch on the ceiling, so it felt like a natural continuation,” Sarah says. “And it just feels like you’re in a big trellis room of flowers.” That’s the power of a statement ceiling.
Try a tonal color palette
In the Grace bungalow, Sarah tested out a tonal color palette of pinks, peaches, reds, and purples—and she totally pulled it off. “It’s definitely an experience when you walk in,” she describes. “It’s called a no-contrast room, where there’s little-to-no white, and it’s a really beautiful effect. It just makes you feel a certain way. It’s very inspiring yet comfortable. It feels like golden hour all day.”
Sarah achieved that sunset situation with two different wallpapers—one with warm-toned bubbles and another with a maroon wood-grain print—supported by mauve-colored trim and ceilings. She layered these finishes with rich Moroccan rugs, moody scarlet table lamps, and vintage Capri shell pendants that dangle with flare.
Bring back the canopy tester
The standout element in the Esperanza suite is undoubtedly the custom olive green canopy tester that brings a regal air to the bedroom. It boasts an elegant scalloped edge that interior designer Sarah Capps drew and an Etsy artisan executed, mimicking the pattern on the Bates Mill Martha Washington cotton coverlet. “It’s romantic, it’s extra, and it’s so different from the other units,” Sarah says.
Put up fruity wallpaper
The Esperanza and Aurora flats both commit to fruit-motif wallpaper and the cheery atmosphere that comes along with it. Ripe oranges add a citrus freshness to the traditional Esperanza bedroom, while strawberries and snakes punch up Aurora’s original retro kitchen. “It’s like the Garden of Eden,” Sarah says of the latter. It’s paradise, indeed.
Embrace grandma chic—when it’s called for
To honor the history of the early 1900s Carriage House, Sarah opted for a charming grandma chic aesthetic in the unit. An accent wall of vertical stripes and small polka dots serves as a quaint backdrop for a slew of vintage items that she sourced from the Austin Auction Gallery and Chairish, like a traditional writing desk and a spindle back Windsor bed frame.
The stylish old lady vibe continues in the bathroom, with plaid tile floors, a claw-foot tub, leafy wallpaper, a small Chippendale mirror, and a little wooden stool that likely predates the house. “The older antiques very much add to the feel of that era,” Sarah says. “But we actually had to purposely put new things in here because, at one point, it was all antiques and we were worried about it looking too delicate or too sweet.” It strikes just the right balance.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
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