5 Questions with Breathe Design Studio

We spoke with Christine Turknett Ho of Breathe Design Studio on her use of bold colors and patterns and finding inspiration in Austin, TX.

Written by Sarah Lyon
Photography by Chase Daniel



1. Your projects feature plenty of bold colors and fun patterns. What do you enjoy most about incorporating these elements and why do you see them as being so essential?

When using bold colors and fun patterns, it’s all about balance. In our recent Atomic Ranch project, where we used a lot of color, we stuck with cool tones all in the blue family—blue, teal, mint—and stayed in that one color palette. In one room where we had blue cabinets, we used muted tones of black and gray tile to balance with the blue.

2. You're based in the vibrant city of Austin, Texas. How does the culture of Austin play into your designs?

I’ve lived here almost 20 years, and I love the creative culture of Austin. Austin lends itself to designs that can be elevated but casual and laid back, and often we rely on outdoor living, since our weather allows us to be outside for most of the year. The creative culture of Austin impacts what people are interested in and what they’re willing to play with in design. We love working with new Austinites, many of whom are originally from Silicon Valley, NYC, or LA.

3. The tagline on your site notes that you work to create “interiors that tell stories of comfort and belonging.” Can you elaborate on this philosophy a bit more?

As an interior designer, I ask myself, ‘What are feelings that universally everyone wants to experience in their home?’ I kept going back to the words ‘comfort’ and ‘belonging.’ The most important place to feel connected to is your home, and to me, the pillar of feeling connected is feeling comfortable and belonging in a space. Items in your home should be ‘comfortable’ (as in a couch should be comfortable to sit on), in addition to bringing a sense of ‘comfort’—a feeling of content. Those items mean different things to different people, and as your interior designer, it is my job to determine what those things are and bring them into your home in a beautiful way.

4. What is one of the biggest design risks you've taken? Would you do it again?

Every room is very bold at Atomic Ranch, which was an editorial project with no one living in it, so we really went for it! For a home that is meant for living, I would recommend editing the pattern and color a bit more.

5. This month at Ann Sacks, we're exploring the art of transformation. What has been one of your favorite transformations that you've addressed in your work?

One of my favorite transformations involved the Kelly Wearstler x Ann Sacks tile we implemented in an Austin kitchen. After we showed our client samples, the client literally had a dream about the tile, and it completely changed the direction of the kitchen in the best way possible.

March 18, 2022

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