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Living The Good Life

At Homes with The Hendrix

Article by Jennifer Birn

Photography by Lesson Madrano

Originally published in Austin Life

 

Native Texans Stevie and Sazan Hendrix met while attending the University of North Texas. They shared the same stars in their eyes. Sazan and Stevie were both radio, television and film majors determined to make it in Los Angeles after graduation. They met while each fulling the requirement of working at the school newscast and developed a friendship that (slowly) blossomed into more. “I I had a moment where I looked and him and thought, ‘Man, whoever this guy marries is going to be a lucky girl,’ recalls Sazan. “I saw that several times when I was getting to know him, and I thought ‘There’s really nothing wrong with this guy.’” 

But Sazan shares, “I didn’t want to fall in love with him and I told him to never fall in love with me because we could never be together because I’m Middle Eastern and he’s white and my parents would never approve. So I said we should just keep hanging out, enjoying each other’s company and encouraging each other because we were both going to be going to Hollywood. And then, you know how life works, when you tell somebody, ‘Don’t fall in love with me,’ of course you do, and the rest was history after that.”

Stevie adds, “I always say Saz and I’s love story is like the alternate ending of Lala Land , where we didn’t get the career that we dreamt of having in LA, but we got something even better, we got it all. We got each other, and then we also got to have success in an industry that’s completely new.” 

Today Sazan and Stevie are happily married with two daughters, 3-year-old Valentina (Teeny) and 3-month-old Amari. After several successful years in LA, where they started  building a family and their brand, the Hendrix moved to Austin early 2020. They talked to Austin Life about the move back, finding their perfect home, their podcast The Good Life and what’s on deck next. 

 

What brought about the move back to Austin?

Stevie: We sold our house in LA in 2019 and were looking in LA but there was nothing we liked on the market, so we decided to go back to Texas for a few months, travel and not have a mortgage. Then January rolled around and Saz said, ‘Maybe we’re meant to stay here and buy a house in Austin, life here is good and we can always travel to LA.’ We didn’t know Corona was going to hit, obviously. So, we decided to stay here. We closed on this house the day the Coronavirus was issued as a pandemic, March 2020. 

What was it like finding a home in Austin?

Sazan: We broke Austin up into some of our favorite areas and then started driving around those areas and getting familiar with Austin again. Even though Stevie is from Austin, it’s changed so much since he lived, so we just took some time to soak up the city. We were looking a lot in Georgetown, Tarrytown, everywhere. I remember after looking and looking and finding nothing that seemed quite right, one night I told Stevie to zoom in on the map at one area we hadn’t looked.

I remember asking Stevie ‘What about this area in Westlake Hills?’ It’s very much with nature and trees, hidden, but also 10-15 minutes from downtown. One foot in nature and one foot in the city. This house happened to be one of the first houses I clicked on when we zoomed into the region.

What were you looking for in a home?

Sazan: When we left LA Stevie and I made a list of what our dream home would be. We wanted to find a home that didn’t feel like a cookie cutter house. We wanted a home that had a story, that had charm, that felt like it had been worn in a little bit, but at the same time that wasn’t outdated. It had to be in a safe community. It had to have a lot of great lighting because we work from home and lighting is important to create content and feel inspired. When we saw this house, all of the boxes were being checked. 

It’s kind of like love, when you find the right one, you know it’s the right one because you’ve been through some really crappy ones. This house just felt so right. 

Stevie: It was built in 2001 but it needed some real TLC. There was a fireplace in the middle of the living room that blocked beautiful windows. When my dad walked in for the first time my dad said, ‘This place has to go.” I thought if we can move the fireplace and do a few things this house could really be incredible. And I started to have this vision that it’s all part of God’s plan. And thank god for my dad’s company Soleil Floors because they really came in and did everything.

Sazan: It became an open floor plan once we took out the fireplace and it transformed the whole space. We love to host family and friends and if it wasn’t a pandemic our door would probably be unlocked 24/7 with people coming in and out. So, for us, it was important that the living room was breathable and inviting and that is exactly what it became. 

Stevie: When we were looking for the house we also looked through a lens of how will our friends and family feel here? We love to host, we love food, we love friends and we love family, so it was about how that is all going to fit together in this house. 

Sazan: It’s not a place where people are afraid to sit on your couch. We want people to feel the opposite, like come and sit on the couch and stay. That was our vibe for the décor. 

What are each of your favorite parts of the house?
Stevie:
 For me the change of the floors. We put in some white solid oak floors that are so beautiful. And putting beams on the ceiling. We did custom-made white beams and it brought so much light into the house. There are so many windows, but the light just wasn’t bouncing well enough. Two other things we love are that there are three screened in porches, built into the house, not sticking out from the house. It’s very Southern, very charming And here we have bugs, so if I want to smoke a cigar at night, I can just go in there. 

Sazan; The kitchen is hands-down my favorite place. After a full day of chasing the business life and mom life, I love escaping into the kitchen and getting lost in cooking. I feel so inspired in that space and that’s something I always wanted to have. We turn off work at 5pm and we meet in kitchen. That was always so instilled in me with my roots and my culture, so to have that now in this house has been so great. I love that we brought the outside in with that stone backsplash. It’s so warm and cozy.

What do you love most about Austin??

Stevie: Growing up here and coming home from college there was SXSW and music and food and an active lifestyle. Those are parts of the city that will never go away. I love that Austin aims to be very interactive and people really appreciate hiking and the outdoors. And I’ve always loved that there’s a friendliness in Austin. 

Sazan: Nothing tops Texas BBQ and incredible tacos. I didn’t realize how much I missed the food until I came back.

We feel like now we have it all. We have our good food spots, we enjoy the outdoors. Austin is a creative place, so I feel like I thrive here. But, I also feel like I can turn it off, which is something I struggled with in LA, a city that’s always go-go-go. 

How had Teeny adapted to Austin?

Stevie: She’s become a kid since moving to Austin. Austin is more kid-friendly. 

Sazan: Being surrounded by our families, nothing beats that. That made our decision to come back to Texas that much sweeter.

You just had your second child, how is life different with two kids?

Sazan: It’s definitely a transition period we’re in right now, but so far, so good. We knew that once we had another baby it would make our lives a little busier and we’d just have to manage our time better and work together as a team. Teamwork is how the dream works and it’s how Stevie and I always work in our business and in our personal lives. We’ve just soaking up this season right now, because we learned with Teeny, time flies so quickly and the first five years of your kids’ lives are precious time you’re never going to get back. The pandemic has given us the perfect excuse and permission to slow down and enjoy being drenched in parent life, while pursuing different goals we have for the coming years. 

In addition to the house and kids, you’re building a brand together, including hosting a weekly podcast, The Good Life. What do you enjoy most about the podcast?

Stevie: My favorite thing about it is getting to network with people we never would have met getting to hear their life story condensed into 30 minutes to an hour. And we get to learn a ton. When you listen to podcasts it’s usually to learn something and Saz and I feel like we’re getting a Masterclass from some of our favorite people.

Sazan:  In 2020 when it felt like an hour we took and were hanging out with people and not missing out on that social part of life we were missing during the pandemic. It was like getting virtual dates with people from different walks of life. And it’s the first thing Stevie and I have ever launched to together and is the beginning of this new chapter where we’re building a brand together.

I’ve heard you talk a lot lately about launching some products. What’s on the horizon there?

Stevie: Saz and I are obviously very passionate about home. We’re not trying to be Amber Interiors, although gosh, we love her so much and she’s been the #1 influence on our house, I always find myself saying, ‘What would Amber do?’ We really want to get into products for the home like lifestyle products, things that we love. For example, Saz and I love candles and throw blankets. I’m passionate about coffee. It’s all things people know and love us for already that we incorporate in our own lifestyles.

Sazan: We always joke that it’s the teeny details in the home. Like Stevie said, we’re not interior decorators or trying to do some crazy products, but I have found that just a simple candle has made my day that much more incredible when it’s burning on a rainy day, and it’s a reminder to slow down and take in the moment. We want to help bring people what it takes to be a good life. We want to help facilitate moments for people with the things we want to curate on our SazanandStevie.com website which is in the developmental phase right now. We’re bringing it to life slowly but surely and it all starts with those little moments.  And we’re glad to be doing it in Texas and in our home where we’re so inspired.

Imagine yourselves 30 years from now, what advice would you each give yourselves?

Sazan: I don’t struggle with motivation, I struggle with the opposite, slowing down. So, I would tell myself, ’You are going to have days where it’s not going to be your most productive day, don’t beat yourself up, forgive yourself and just do better tomorrow.’

Stevie: It would be enjoy your life moments. You get engaged, enjoy being engaged. When you get married, enjoy your marriage day, you have kids, enjoy those first three months when your kids fit from your chest to your belly button. What I’ve learned this year is to just enjoy all of those moments and not to wish any of them away or to blink because they’ll be gone that quickly. 

Fast Facts:

Favorite restaurant: Uchiko

Favorite way to spend a day: A workout, alone time, accomplish our work goals, go to the park with the girls and Netflix and chill. 

Favorite boutique: Stevie: I love Stag for menswear. Sazan: I love a shop called Honey & Hey for home stuff. It’s a beautiful curated and cozy shop. An antique store in Georgetown called Gatherings that’s super cute. We love Round Top, we found pieces we’ll have forever at great price points. And Stevie’s family store Soleil Floors for renovations. We spent a lot of time there this last year.

Find them on Instagram: @sazan @stevie_hendrix @thehendrixes

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