Lauren Siegel is a designer and the brains (and beauty) behind Bangers Sausage House and Beer Garden, which she owns with husband Ben. She opened up her restored East Austin bungalow to us and shared her and Ben’s sweet love story, the simple tool she uses when designing a space and how her family is preparing to welcome baby number two this summer. Photos by Heather Gallagher Photography

​1. Tell us about your family including how you and your husband met, how old your sweet boy is, when you’re due with baby #2, and how you guys came to live in Austin.

So, Ben and I have known each other since we were fifteen. We went to high school together in LA and I had a huge crush on him but it took him a little while to come around…we didn’t start dating until our 10 year high school reunion. That was November 2011, and he had just moved back​ to Austin to open Banger’s. Shortly thereafter, in June 2012 I loaded up everything that would fit in my mini cooper and joined him. Since then we have built two businesses, a home, and started a family. Our son Hank Eagle Siegel (true story) is 16 months old, and we have baby #2 coming in July

​2. Every house has a story. Tell us yours. 

We saw our house the first day we started looking to buy. Our real estate agent brought us to see it randomly while we were going to see another house in the area. It had been vacant for 13 years and was quite literally an eyesore; There was​n’t ​plumbing or power, the windows were broken and boarded up, and it was termite ridden. We said we wanted a project but this was WAY more than we were planning to take on so Ben & I both dismissed it immediately and went to look at other places. But, a few days later we both admitted that we couldn’t stop thinking about it. There was just something about her that spoke to us. She was a traditional craftsman built in 1912 with a huge heritage pecan tree in the back yard and a wrap around porch. Despite the fact that everyone we knew thought we were crazy and told us not to do it, we decided that it was the perfect opportunity to build our dream home, and retain the history of this house that makes it so special. We closed in July (2014), plans were finalized in September, we broke ground in November, and moved in May. I design​ed​ it, oversaw​ construction, and d​id as much hands on work as I could thro​ughout the process from sanding doors to tiling vanities. It’s far from perfect but man did I learn a lot! 

3. What was your approach when designing your home? 

I actually wasn’t pregnant when we designed the house so we didn’t take kids into account AT ALL. I got pregnant after the house was built, very late in the construction process. Our focus when designing the house was first and foremost to restore it to the best of our ability and use as much of the original existing material as we could while giving it a slightly modern update. Past that we just wanted to create a space Ben and I loved that spoke to our values. We cook daily so having our kitchen central to our home was essential, we love to entertain so we thought the best way to do that was with an open floor plan, and we created a little attic oasis for our master bedroom that takes up the entire second floor. Now of course, I wish we would have taken kids into account more throughout the design process but trial by fire works too! 

4. Is this similar or different to your approach to personal style? 

I think its similar/ in line with my personal style. I think its really important to stay true to the values/ essence of what you are creating. When working on my own stuff or designing for clients I love the restoration process, using reclaimed materials, and restoring architectural elements. Its just so fun and rewarding. For example the hutch in Hank’s nursery was the original dining room hutch that we restored and moved into his room. I think it’s so special that it has existed in this space for over 100 years. At Bangers, we also used as much of the original house as we could, the front room/ host area is all wood from the 1930s bungalow that was there before the restaurant. 

5. Where do you draw design inspiration? 

There are two primary places that I would say I draw inspiration, through research and the subject’s local immediate surroundings. I am a major nerd and LOVE nothing more than to sit on the floor surrounded by highlighters, post-its, and a shit ton of design books. When we were building our house I spent months researching Craftsman homes so we could incorporate a modern bungalow feel while being true to the architecture that was originally there. I love that i can point to every detail in our house and tell you exactly why it’s there/ was built that way. I also took inspiration from the neighborhood our house is in. I love walking around East Austin and looking at the homes that have been here as long as ours to see what little details we may be able to tie in. 

6. Tell us about that swing! 

The swing was a gift from my parents. They said when I was little they could not have lived without it and now I see why! When I was deciding where to put it, I wanted to maximize its usability so the best place for it CLEARLY was directly in the center of our kitchen/ living room! Hank loves it, and it gives me time to cook so its perfect! It also detaches and we can hang it on the front porch which we use a lot as well! 

7. You and your husband, Ben Siegel, own Bangers Sausage and Beer Garden. Your kitchen is a perfect balance of clean lines with elements of wood. Did you take the reigns on designing the kitchen or was it a space you designed together?

I definitely took the reigns when designing our kitchen, but Ben was very much a part of the process. I think the white tile and clean lines mixed with the barnwood ceiling and butcher block counter tops perfectly blends our styles. Our house overall I think is a really nice compromise of Ben’s rustic aesthetic and my more modern (non-manly) design approach. 

8. Any rules you follow (or break) when designing a space?

I am not a trained designer or stylist so to be honest I can’t speak to much regarding rules. But there is one simple tool that I consistently come back to when designing a space. I like to come up with ONE WORD that sums up what I want to feel of the space to be. For example If I were to choose the word REFRESHING then I can incorporate that into every decision I make from tile selection to furniture picking. Which of these Whites is more refreshing? Do I feel refreshed and invigorated while sitting at this dining room table, etc.? Because I like to blend styles and materials I find that it really helps create consistency throughout a project. 

9. You recently announced your pregnant, congrats! Do you have plans to decorate a new nursery or will the babes be sharing a room?

We have some plans to revamp our nursery to make room for another kiddo in there (we don’t know if we are having a boy or girl yet so I’m holding off until late Summer) but I am planning to have them share a room for as long as they will allow it! 

10. Describe your maternity style?

As easy and simple as possible! While working on the Banger’s expansion and chasing around Hank I don’t have much time to think about how to cover my ever growing belly. Loyal Hana is my favorite maternity brand. I have bought a few staple pieces and they are AMAZING. They are light and breathable so I can wear them now even as it gets hot, and they have hidden zippers so I can continue to wear them post partum. Annnnnd when I am really being fancy I brush my hair. 🙂

11. What excites you most about growing your family? 

Being a mother is hard, like REALLY hard. But it’s the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life. As you know, it’s completely exhausting. You have to surrender all control and be ok with going through every minute of every day not knowing what the fuck you are doing. It has humbled me and taught me life lessons I never even knew existed, and I have only been a mama for a year and a half. I know this sounds cheesy but, I am really looking forward to the opportunity to continue to grow and become the person I want to set an example for my children. I think motherhood forces us, sometimes begrudgingly, to be the best version of ourselves so we can lead by example. I know that I am at the beginning of that journey and, though I’m a bit terrified, I very much look forward to all that is to come.