Amy Young: At Home With Joy
Inside a Crown Heights Wonderland
Photos by Don Risi
The energetic, ebullient Amy Young and her beautiful Crown Heights home are both full of surprises. Her decisive, deep and almost booming voice, tinged with a deeply Southern accent, is certainly unexpected considering her 5-foot frame. Perhaps it’s her own endearing juxtaposition, of delicate appearance and strong presence, that informs her design aesthetic. It, too, delights in unexpected combinations of color and style, with lots of cheeky humor, in a home that’s bright, lively and feminine, filled with art, plants and chandeliers.
Young divides her time between Savannah and Oklahoma City, where she is the owner and founder of SixTwelve, home of the Young School and a multi-purpose community space in Oklahoma City’s Paseo Arts District. She bought it in 2010 and then spent almost three years renovating the property and working with the city to rezone the area. “It’s crazy how long things take,” she says. “I’ve known since I was 8 that I wanted to have a school. Everything I’ve done in my education and career has led to SixTwelve.”
SixTwelve houses a preschool and after-school program, both of which are maxed out, with 10 kids in the former and 15 in the latter. It also offers spring break and summer activity camps for kids grouped by age. Young taught for years before going back to school herself at age 34, to study art and art history. “I did study abroad, and it was me and a bunch of 19-year-old kids!” she says. She loves to learn, and has attended the University of Oklahoma in different capacities from 1988 to 2012. “I have three and a half degrees,” she says.
Young bought her Crown Heights home before she embarked on her SixTwelve adventure, back in 2007. “This neighborhood was the closest thing I could find to Savannah in Oklahoma City,” Young says. She came to know and love her second city, Savannah, in a rom-com-worthy plot device: a near-marriage. “I fell in love with Savannah 22 years ago and would have lived there, but I called off the wedding. Five years ago, I bought a house there.”
Her Crown Heights hideout is the perfect place for this woman to recharge her batteries, with her sweet terrier mix Willie Merle by her side. “We did one round of renovation. The backyard was all hard surface.”
Enter Young’s dear friend and landscape designer Phillip Koszarek. He and Young transformed her backyard into a lush, verdant poolside oasis. Its soothing tranquility is only enhanced by the adjacent sunroom and its large glass doors that open nearly the entire length of the wall.
Throughout the whole place, a mix of family antiques, art created by people she loves and beautiful objects new and old have been deftly swirled together to create a home truly reflective of its joyful, earnest occupant.