Looking for a new—and, frankly—incredible place to host a social event or meeting? Check out Palazzo Lavaca in Austin. It is one of the city’s oldest buildings and stands at the corner of 16th St. and Lavaca.
Giselle Koy, an Austin native and UT alum, purchased the building eight years ago. “I was so moved by this building, a true homage to Austin’s amazing past,” says Koy. “I wanted to keep that great Austin vibe and add in some of my design inspirations like the famous Palazzo Fortuny in Venice and Julian Schnabel's Palazzo in New York City.”
The circa 1890 building once housed one of Austin’s first firehouses, and by the 1940s, it had become a saddle foundry. Now, the space is filled with lux and modern touches, but Koy kept most of the building’s original features, including freshly restored longleaf pine floors, a refurbished 1905 Otis elevator and the Capital Saddlery boot in front of the building.
Among the treasures discovered or added during the renovation are:
▪ A frieze from the firehouse, which remained completely intact. It features images of old-fashioned hydrants across the border.
▪ An old wooden rack used to hold boot forms for clients such as Al Capone. It is in the large foyer that enters into the courtyard.
▪ Thirty-two reclaimed doors from historical spaces around the country, including an old Nebraskan hotel and Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas.
▪ Uncovered in a private master suite is an old trap door once used as a hay drop for the firehouse horses.
There are five distinct spaces within the Palazzo Lavaca: an open-air courtyard, an elegant Violet Flame Bar, a Grand Ballroom, a stately Great Room and a media lounge. There also is a state-of-the-art kitchen and separate quarters that can function as a changing room for the bride and groom, or for a small corporate gathering.