Scattered across the floor in Amber Brown Matlack’s office are fabrics, tiles and materials that go with about eight separate projects that she is working on for her design clients. They are grouped together in order to easily see color and pattern choices, and for her and her clients to get an idea of what a project will look like when it comes together.
More inspiration hangs on one side of the wall of her offices near N.W. 31st St. and Hudson Ave.; others are behind built-in cabinets. Boxes of furniture line a room in the back, waiting to be delivered to their new and beautiful homes.
Matlack, the owner of Brown Interiors, Inc., has grown her interior design business since she started it in 2004 in Ardmore, commuting both to Dallas and Oklahoma City to work with her home design clients. At the time, her husband Ryan owned a restaurant in Ardmore, where they both grew up. Today, she and her husband have four daughters between the ages of 6 and 17 and work closely together, too.
In 2017, the Matlacks’ Oklahoma City home in the historic Edgemere District became one of Amber Matlack’s major projects – and a labor of love – as she renovated it to fit the entire family of six. The project also fit in with another of Amber’s design interests: historic preservation.
“I love the historic renovations. I get them. I like ones that have not been touched. We’re the third owners of the house and it’s 100 years old,” Amber Matlack said. “So virtually untouched. That’s amazing.”
After extensive renovation and new construction that aligned with historic preservation standards, the home is now a two-story, four-bedroom, three-bathroom house with a mudroom, open kitchen, dining room and formal living room. The renovation included new electrical wiring and plumbing, too. Many of the fixtures are of unlacquered brass, which ages over time in a way that Matlack loves – “a living finish,” she said.
The house has the original arched doorways, and the formal living room is mostly intact from the original residence, including its coved ceiling combined with a tray. The windows are also original to the home and were restored for modern-day use with added storm windows. The quarter sawn oak wood floors in the living room are original, too, and she used the same material – quarter sawn oak – for the new floors to keep it consistent.
Matlack added a marble surround to the fireplace in the formal living room, giving it a modern feel; the marble is Pietra Gray from the Ana Stone Gallery.
In the kitchen, what used to be a small, galley-style kitchen with a breakfast nook has been transformed. The ceilings are higher, now encompassing the entire frame of the home, and the Matlacks removed the wall dividing the original kitchen and dining spaces. The striking backsplash features Viola Marble from the Aria Stone Gallery. The appliances are built-ins.
The space they used for the mudroom originally was part of a bedroom, which is now divided between the back entrance/mudroom and an expanded master bedroom. The floors are formed of three types of honed marble, cut and laid in a pattern.
The master bedroom still has the home’s original windows, but the entire bedroom, bathroom and wardrobe suite features 400 square feet of new construction over an area that once was part of the backyard deck. The Matlacks wanted to create a casual but serene room hidden away from the rest of the downstairs. If the door is closed, guests can’t tell they’ve walked by the master suite.
Before she started focusing exclusively on her own residential clients, Matlack worked in the hospitality industry, creating interiors for hotels, restaurants, corporate offices and more, gaining experience in all aspects of design. She eventually became director of design for a worldwide hotel company, JHM Hotels, which worked on hotels associated with brands such as Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, Taj India and Starwood brands.
With her expertise in both business and design, she often serves as a general contractor for her clients’ projects in addition to the design. Her understanding of contracting, construction, project development and architecture make her a true asset to any project.
Ryan Matlack is developing the designer delivery side of her business – warehousing items ordered for clients, inventorying and verifying them as they come in, unboxing them and then offering white-glove delivery to their new homes. There’s a need for that service in Oklahoma City, and such services are growing more popular elsewhere, Amber Matlack said.
Growing up, Amber Matlack was the child who was always rearranging her room, asking for new bedding, trying out new colors and painting her room herself. She didn’t realize until later that she could sketch out rooms from memory after seeing them once, and detail them for clients in drawings and sketches.
“So when I go to clients’ houses, sometimes I forget to take pictures, but I can ‘walk’ it again. I can still see it,” Matlack said. “Every client’s house. I don’t realize that other people can’t do that … I think I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”