DesignDowntown Austin

Design Story: Hotel Indigo Austin Downtown – University

Hotel Indigo Austin Design

A king guest room at Hotel Indigo Austin Downtown – University. Photo courtesy of Hotel Indigo Austin Downtown – University.


You don’t have to look far to find live music in Austin, whether you’re exploring the sounds of 6th Street or rocking out at festivals like South by Southwest and Austin City Limits. The musical legacy runs deep here, starting with the German-immigrant population of the 1800s — and the beer gardens and musicians’ boardinghouses they brought with them.

This is the rich, rollicking history that informs the neighborhood story and design of Hotel Indigo Austin Downtown – University. Drawing on cues from Austin characters including the poet O. Henry and seamstress Marguerite Skillings, who ran a boardinghouse across the street on the site of Stubb’s BBQ, the hotel’s design is pure Austin: relaxed, rustic and ripe for creative inspiration.

Before you go, see what Lissa Pierce, interior designer and regional manager of property improvements for Hotel Indigo, says are the hotel’s best hidden elements. Hint: that shape of your end table, the pattern of your curtain sheers and the material of your light fixtures are no accident. They’re part of the down-to-the-last-detail charm put in place by design firm Mitchell Carlson Stone and designer Heather Walenta.

Here, Lissa’s picks for themes not to miss:

Austin’s famous violet crown comes inside.

Hotel Indigo Austin Downtown - University Bathroom

“The colors of the property hint at the violet crown, which is the color of the Austin sky during sunset. You get that purple and orange and blue mix. The way Austin sits, if you’re in the hills and you look out during sunset, you see that it gets purple, blue and orange – it’s really pretty. That’s where the color inspiration came from. So in the hotel, you’ll see a lot of orange, a lot of purple and blue, and it all goes back to that violet crown.”

Your guest room brims with boardinghouse style.

Hotel Indigo Austin Downtown - University Guest Room

“The designer went for a lot of boardinghouse appeal, but keeping it updated looking. They went for some very antique-inspired designs in the casegoods. The luggage bench has a mirror attached with a hook so it’s kind of like a hall tree – you feel like you could be in a boardinghouse. The design also hints at Marguerite Skillings, who ran the boardinghouse across the street and was a seamstress. There are little details of stitching throughout the property – in the corridor wall coverings (a stitched square pattern) and in the guest rooms, where the little end table by the chair is a spool. The sheers have a pattern – a clothing pattern, so it’s almost the color of vellum. The murals have the appearance of lace.”

Designs recalling Austin’s moon towers, the city’s first urban lights (and Dazed and Confused plot point) are everywhere.

Moon tower lighting at Hotel Indigo Austin

“There are a few of the original moon towers still existing in Austin, and some of our light fixtures reflect them, mimicking the hatched design of metal, with a bunch of arms jutting out with lights. The whole front desk is done in this crossed metal design too, plus the front of the bar. In the pre-function room, the wall covering has that hatched, electrical-tower look to it as well.”