Last Friday I was on my way to lunch with a long-time client, the co-owner of Birds Barbershop. While stuck in traffic, I called to tell him that I would be a few minutes late, he nonchalantly mentioned that Joel Mozersky would be joining us. “No problem” I casually replied, then hung up the phone. JOEL MOZERSKY! Holy Hell! How am I going to handle this with no time to prepare?
Let me give you some back-story: Joel is an interior designer in Austin who’s interiors I’ve been, to put it lightly, stalking for the last 6 years. Whenever I instantly fall in love with a new bar or shop it always turns out to be one of his designs. So here I am, going on a surprise lunch with my favorite Austin designer and I’m wearing a sweatshirt. To be fair, it was a good one, not some pull-over number with a college logo:
You may be surprised to learn that I did not pair my top with gold leggings. But this post isn’t about me, it’s about Joel and my lovely lunch with him.
Turns out, Joel is as nice (and funny!) as can be and didn’t seem to mind my sweatshirt in the least. He’s pictured above in a hidden east-side fave, The Peacock. Here’s a closer look at the interior:
This bar is absolutely adorable inside, the picture doesn’t really do it justice. I would also like to confirm that the weird gold garland (top right) is not a permanent fixture.
My very favorite space of Joel’s is the now-defunct Oslo. The space was out of control. Despite the minimal decor, there were secret design treats around every corner. Unfortunately, the lame-os who took over the space didn’t realize that they’d been handed badass design in a box and instead gutted it and redecorated with a dirty frat boy theme. I can’t even walk by now without gagging. Here are more shots of the former digs:
Joel was also the designer behind Bettysport here in town, you may remember them from the post I did on Redstart’s Murals:
The above shots are from the dressing rooms. Please tell me when you have seen a prettier dressing room! Tell me! One of my biggest retail pet-peeves is overhead lighting when you’re trying on clothes. Companies spend millions building nationwide stores, marketing their goods, and luring you in. Inevitably, you’re lead down a trail of tears that ends with unflattering lighting over a mirror. While you’re naked. I must say: Kudos, Joel, for avoiding the trap of every other cheap retailer. Your lighting is divine.
The above is from the, also now defunct, Mars restaurant. It was so so pretty inside, I’m sorry to see it go. But, well, the food was just OK. Hopefully owner #2 will not make the same mistake as the new owners of Oslo.
Joel also went Hollywood Regency / Chesterfield crazy in the Belmont. I saw Michael Phelps win a gold medal while at this bar, between the tufted leather and all that hot swimmer ass, I was in heaven. (PS sorry for the small pics, I couldn’t decide on just one)
Similar in style to the Belmont is the Drake Bar in Houston. I’ve never been here (who goes to Houston?) but I’m sure I will run there to claim asylum if I ever find myself surrounded by too many debutants and crack whores while slummin it in The Magnolia City.
more views of The Drake
So, why did I end up going to lunch with Joel while meeting with Birds? Here’s why:
Each of the Birds Shops have had Joel’s design input. Their South Lamar location is pictured above. The mural was designed and hand screen-printed onto the wall by my favorite local graphic designer, Bryan Keplesky. PSST… Bryan also designed the mural for the new shop which opens tomorrow, you dudes will get pictures on Monday.
Joel also landed the job of interior designer for the Real World Austin house, which was inside a gutted downtown warehouse:
I’m so all about-about that round ottoman / light combo in bottom left.
And for interiors real people (not to be confused with Real World people) would actually live in, here are a couple of shots from his portfolio:
I got the impression from speaking with Joel that he actually does several residential interiors but the above is the only one pictured on his site.
So, what did I find out about Joel at lunch that can’t be deduced from walking into one of his spaces? Here are some bullet points:
- He actually went to business school and fell into interior design when working with a former creative partner
- He often juggles 10 – 15 projects at once, he currently has 3 restaurants and several residences in the mix
- He knows how to have a good time on halloween. Next year, Joel, take me!