Austin Living: Guide to Design

Published 8:00 am Saturday, April 6, 2024

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Ellie Huffman has established House of LuLu Interior Design bringing guidance to homeowners and new life to furniture


The world opens to Ellie Huffman when she surveys a room for the first time.

It’s like an open canvas to an artist and ideas form as the paints from a palette applied to that canvas. It’s what drives Huffman and is the basis from which she has launched House of LuLu Interior Design.

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“I love walking into a space,” Huffman said. “Every time I walk into a space it’s like, this is what we can do. I love being in the space and then the space speaks to you and you get ideas.”

House of LuLu, named for Huffman’s daughter Lennon who goes by LuLu, may be relatively new as a business, but the concept behind the business was founded in the years previous.

Huffman began working with people on interior designs based out of Huffman Flooring Design Center, where she worked with her husband, Joe.

But as jobs began to increase, Huffman began entertaining something more. Those ideas began to evolve further when she incorporated a new love into what she did — giving new life to old furniture.

“I just kind of expanded from there and I wanted to have my own space where people come in to talk to me and talk about design, versus coming in and buying flooring and hearing I do design and asking me design questions,” Huffman said. 

Not that a move was difficult. Huffman found space in the same building that Huffman Flooring is located in, which still gave her access to samples and swatches next door and of course, most importantly, allowing her to continue working with Joe.

“It’s been great to kind of create my own space for myself,” Huffman said. “I love working with Joe and we kind of miss working side by side. We kind of still share the same office, but I’m creating something of my own. I love the world of design. I’ve completely fallen in love with it. It’s just fun and exciting to have my own business to be able to do that.”

The office space itself is warm and welcoming, with floral print wallpaper on the walls and completed through examples of her recycled furniture.

Just off of the office is the work area in which Huffman takes furniture she comes across and works to a refreshed appearance.

The two worlds walk hand-in-hand for Huffman who in some ways sees herself as a guide for people who may not completely know what they are looking for or even knowing but finding it hard to put into words.

“A lot of people who come in feel like they don’t know where to start,” Huffman said. “‘I don’t have a design style.’ As you talk to them they actually have a vision, it’s just getting it out of them and seeing their vision.”

Huffman has people fill out a questionnaire so she can begin the process of conforming ideas to the answers people give.

“Put a little work in so I can see what the project is and whether or not I can help them with it,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll direct the to another professional.”

From that point, Huffman begins the task of focusing a client on what they are looking for. She recognizes the process can be daunting, but feels people come more comfortable when they begin to understand the process.

“I’m your buddy, helping you run your ideas and hone in on what you really want,” she said.

The process is a deep dive for Huffman that stretches from consultation, and can have branching avenues down which she takes people. These either include live visits or virtual visits, though Huffman said she likes to be on scene to get an idea of the space in order to help conceptualize the client’s ideas.

From there, Huffman develops mood boards, colors, furniture, patterns and other visualization techniques that help people get a more precise picture of what the room could look like.

“Even just putting together a shopping list,” Huffman said. “People can still do most of the work, it’s just someone who can make it easy for them. I want to make sure people know that’s a big thing of what I do aside from the larger projects.”

“Sometimes it’s a sounding board,” she continued. “Do you think this is the right color?”

Old furniture, new life

Furniture can be more than a utility for people’s day to day lives. To hear Huffman describe it, it’s almost like furniture lives with a personality of its own and it’s also one reason why Huffman has grown to enjoy the revitalization side of Lulu’s.

It’s a process that started a couple years ago in the couple’s home, but has since moved to the new space. It’s just another way to pursue the creative side of design.

“I love working with my hands,” Huffman said. “I love art. Putting that into the design world goes hand-in-hand.”

For Huffman, it’s the process along with the end product that draws her eye when working on furniture, relating that oftentimes a piece of furniture can have a story or connection behind it adds to the new life.

“If it’s a good quality piece, I love to give it a second life,” Huffman said. “My grandmother passed away last year, so having pieces you remember and recreating it so it still fits in your lifestyle is sentimental.”

Most of the time, Huffman will go hunting for pieces, but will sometimes get pieces from other people as well.

She said that the furniture side of LuLu’s has been a nice match for the business and in time, hopes it can become something of a more prominent piece.

“Eventually I would love, when I get a few more pieces done, to have a showroom where you can see the recycled pieces of furniture,” Huffman said.

A space for you

Huffman said she enjoys the challenge of meeting with clients and then finding a design that meets what they are looking for.

It’s been a way to not only meet her own love of design, but to expand that love even further for both her and the client.

“You just want a cohesive look,” she said. “I love doing that for people; putting together the design for people to look at.”

Part of that is playing off what the homeowner may already have, whether it’s a table, a chair or more.

“The fun is when someone wants to keep a piece that is interesting,” Huffman said. “You play off that and stay within the era or design style. That is fun.”

At the end of the day, Huffman’s desire is to be a guide for people to help them find their perfect interior.

“You walk into the design center and there are so many options going on,” she said. “They can feel overloaded. I’m your buddy helping you run your ideas and hone in on what you really want.”

For more about what Huffman offers through House of LuLu Interior Design, visit: