Dezeen Magazine

Hotel Magdalena's main lobby's desk is made from white oak tambour

Hotel Magdalena is a homage to Texan lake houses

Bunkhouse Group and architecture office Lake Flato collaborated to create Hotel Magdalena, a hotel in Austin designed to emulate a Texas lake house filled with art and "hippie textiles."

Hotel Magdalena's sloping architecture is designed to recall the gently inclined landscape of the nearby Barton Springs, a popular outdoor swimming spot.

The four new buildings that make up the hotel occupy the original site of the 1950s Terrace Motor Hotel and Willie Nelson's 1970s music venue Austin Opry House.

Hotel Magdalena's interior design is an homage to Texan lake houses
A Harvey Probber sofa sits in the valet lobby

Bunkhouse Group and Lake Flato incorporated elements from both mid-century Austin icons in the interiors.

Guests are welcomed at two lobbies. The valet lobby is filled with pieces such as a Marset Dipping Lamp and a plush 1970s Harvey Probber sofa named Deep Tuft, designed to mimic the tufted seating found in luxury cars.

Hotel Magdalena's main lobby mixes design elements by renowned brands and local makers.

The main lobby's furniture
A green Moroso sofa adds colour to the eclectic main lobby

A Moroso sofa and coffee tables are placed alongside a custom oval wooden retail table crafted by Quarter Lab, an Austin-based woodworker.

Unstained white oak tambour forms the main lobby's desk, behind which colourful ceramic pots by local designer Rory Foster are placed, as well as the hotel's own book collection sourced from Half Price Books.

A wooden retail table by a local woodworker
Quarter Lab designed the main lobby's retail table

"When we were styling the lobby, we pictured a person who lived in an effortlessly cool house on Lake Austin," said Bunkhouse Group's vice president of design and development Tenaya Hills.

"We thought about what they would collect on their travels, what they found interesting, and what books and records they'd have," Hills told Dezeen.

The main lobby's main desk
Unstained white oak tambour is used in both lobbies

A scattering of 70s original collages by the late Graham Harmon also decorates one of the lobby's white walls. It is understood that Harmon painted the works in Austin.

"The story of the hotel is the story of Austin," said Hills. "The buildings are inspired by 1950s Austin lake houses, which then informed the materials you see and the furniture system we designed for the guest rooms."

A cluster of collages hang on the main lobby's walls
1970s collages by Graham Harmon

Influenced by designers such as Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto, the hotel's 89 rooms have smart systems of combination furniture.

Bespoke beds are built-in and crafted from walnut wood, and inlay desks separate each room's bed from its small living space.

The guest rooms take cues from Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto

Poured concrete floors with exposed aggregate echo rocky river beds, while wooden ceilings maintain the hotel's lake house design.

Bathrooms tiled in blue, red, yellow or green inform the colour of each room's more subtle design elements, such as various Christian Rathbone throw pillows adorned in what Hills describes as "hippie textiles," and custom bedside lighting by David Weeks.

A blue tiled bathroom
Different coloured bathrooms inform the design of each bedroom

Guest rooms feature individual black and white photographs by local photographer Scott Newton. Newton's images capture live music in Austin.

Hotel Magdalena's swimming pool is accessed by various exposed elevated walkways. Poolside umbrellas, loungers and side tables by Kettal blend with the exterior setting.

Hotel Magdalena's swimming pool
The hotel's swimming pool is one of its central hubs

Overlooking the pool, the hotel's outdoor bar area is a colourful space with soft seating by Expormim and clusters of umbrellas.

Clad in terracotta tiles, the bar itself has a playful terrazzo top designed by Concrete Collaborative.

Hotel Magdalena's pool bar
Visitors can lounge on soft seating by Expormim at the bar

Hotel Magdalena also has a restaurant. Summer House on Music Lane is a bright and airy space furnished with two-tone green Mathilda dining and bar chairs designed by Patrica Urquiola for Moroso.

"We went for a palette of natural materials – stone and wood and a high gloss ceramic tile. The main colour woven throughout is green," said Hills.

Summer House on Music Lane restaurant
Summer House on Music Lane is designed in the style of the main hotel

Like in the hotel's eclectic lobbies, vintage treasures made from coloured glass and ceramics line the restaurant's bar shelves.

Local craftsmanship is celebrated in the form of a bespoke bench by Litmus Industries and artwork by Graham Harmon and Michelle Billette sourced at Round Top Antiques Fair.

Hotel Magdalena's restaurant bar is clad in green tiles
The restaurant's bar is clad in green tiles

Bunkhouse Group is a hospitality company based in Austin. Lake Flato is an American architecture firm founded in 1984. The firm recently designed a marine research centre in Mississippi formed from six pine buildings.

Other eclectic interior spaces in Austin include a hotel by Kelly Wearstler with a sculptural oak staircase, and a restaurant filled with hanging plants and used books created by Mickie Spencer.

Photography is by Nick Simonite.

More images

Hotel Magdalena's book collection
Bar stools at the hotel's outside pool bar
The pool bar's terrazzo bar-top
Details in a green tiled guest room
A blue tiled guest room
Hippie textiles in a red tiled guest room
A red tiled bathroom
Black and white photography by local photographer Scott Newton
A neon Hotel Magdalena sign
Outside areas of Hotel Magdalena's guest rooms
The hotel's swimming pool
Summer House on Music Lane
The restaurant has a green theme
More green details in Hotel Magdalena's restaurant
Green seating in the restaurant
The restaurant's outdoors seating area
More details of Summer House on Music Lane's outdoor seating area