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By Jessica Elliott | Photo: Paul Finkel | July 24, 2015
With an assist from interior designer Cami Wright, L.A. Clippers player J.J. Redick and his wife, Chelsea, create a stylish off-season retreat in West Lake Hills.
When millions know you as a 3-point-shooting star player in the NBA, the real estate world is your oyster. You might choose a New York City penthouse—or even an island cottage—in which to live. But it took only one visit to Austin for Los Angeles Clippers player J.J. Redick and his wife, Chelsea, to decide they needed to settle in the hilly Texas town. Neither had ties to the Lone Star State—Chelsea grew up in Florida and J.J. is from Virginia. In fact, they didn’t know a single soul in the city. “We loved the Austin lifestyle,” Chelsea says. “The outdoor activities, the food, the people, the music, Lake Austin. J.J. loves to golf, so that didn’t hurt either.”
Within hours of checking into Hotel San Jose, they were house hunting. Armed with a “crazy checklist,” they scoured more than 30 properties before discovering a 9,479-square-foot Spanish villa on Bull Mountain in affluent West Lake Hills, a forested, cliff-filled neighborhood just west of the lake. In it, they appreciated what many others would dislike: It was a bare-bones spec home. “We loved that it was not finished,” Chelsea says. “We felt we could pour our heart and soul into it."
The clean white stucco with arched windows, a terra-cotta roof, brick drive and surrounding palm trees—plus a shimmering turquoise pool with panoramic hill views—had enough space for visiting teammates and family during the slower off-season. And its exterior was ideal for the couple’s vision: a daily escape reminiscent of their travels along Italy’s sunny Amalfi Coast. “We wanted a house that was glamorous and classic,” Chelsea says. “We wanted it to feel youthful and bright.”
But she was quickly overwhelmed with ideas. Friend and realtor Cord Shiflet connected the couple to Cami Wright, founder and principal of Wright Interiors. Wright is an Abilene-born Texas Tech University grad who established practices and an expansive celebrity Rolodex in L.A. and Aspen for two decades before recently relocating to Austin. Given the Redicks’ lengthy stays in California during basketball season—they have a home in Manhattan Beach too—she was an ideal match.
Chelsea’s penchant for “white, gold and anything tufted or Lucite” led Wright to imagine “a hip and stylish Beverly Hills boutique hotel,” Wright says.
Multiple L.A. treasure hunts—even one to Oprah Winfrey’s estate sale—ensued. “I dragged them across the city,” Wright says, laughing. Chelsea’s propensity toward white led Wright to introduce the phrase “pop of color.” (Chelsea and J.J. are no strangers to social media—he has 162,000 Twitter followers and 130,000 Instagram fans—and #poc became a frequent hashtag in texts between the trio.)
While the couple stayed behind in Cali for J.J.’s games, Wright stacked plush niches and seating areas. In the expansive family room, antique Venetian mirrors curated from both coasts are paired with Lucite lamps from the Round Top Antiques Fair and a custom-designed armless sofa in velvet. In another corner, a black-patent recamier pulled from the estate of Billy Wilder—the creator and director of Some Like It Hot—rests under a vintage Murano glass chandelier and fronts Osborne & Little peacock-feather wallpaper. “Cami is a ball of fun,” J.J. says. “We came home one day, and there was the peacock paper on the wall—and a stuffed peacock.” They had known about the paper—but not the taxidermy bird. Chelsea’s most coveted piece—an oversize paper chandelier by Moooi—dangles over a Manuel Canovas fuchsia velvet tufted ottoman and vintage Milo Baughman swivel chairs. “I absolutely fell in love with it,” Chelsea says. “I have a chandelier obsession, or a chandelier ‘problem,’ if you ask J.J.”
Accessories abound—Wright has a triple-layering policy. “I design like you dress,” she says. “You buy your jeans and you might throw in a Gap shirt, but you’ve got your expensive watch and your beautiful handbag, and your jewelry is where you put your money.”
Coincidentally, J.J. is an avid and knowledgeable collector of rare timepieces. He leans more Tom Ford than basketball court, and Wright paid extra attention to his closet. Inspired by Ralph Lauren’s Madison Avenue shop, she brought in an antique hand-carved wooden chandelier found in Round Top and had 45 faux ostrich compartments made with pillow inserts for J.J.’s growing watch collection. Houndstooth plaid wallpaper is on the ceiling and faux antelope carpet trims the floor. “Those kinds of touches captured our personalities,” J.J. says. Even son Knox, whom they welcomed last August, has a special Manuel Canovas-papered space in the former master-bedroom lounge.
Now, the hilly Texas retreat is splashed with hints of swanky, velvety Cali. “We created the perfect balance of rock ’n’ roll,” Chelsea says. You might call it a slam dunk.
Oversized paper chandelier in family room from Diva Furniture, L.A.
Ceiling wallpaper in formal living room
Osborne & Little
Peacock-feather metallic wallpaper
Blackman Cruz, L.A.
Black-patent recamier from the Billy Wilder estate
Jean-Marc Fray Antiques, Austin
Glass-flower chandelier in formal living room
Round Top Antiques Fair
African animal horns in formal living room and family room
Pillows in master bedroom
Vintage acrylic TV trays
Janus et Cie, Dallas
Outdoor furniture, quadrille fabrics on outdoor patio