Liz Lambert’s Office

August 2009By Comments

Photograph by David Strohl

Lawyer-turned-hotelier Liz Lambert ushered in a retail and restaurant renaissance on Austin’s South Congress Avenue when she transformed the Hotel San José from a pimp-and-pusher paradise to a chic bungalow-style retreat. The 45-year-old Midland native (who also owns the hipster coffee hangout Jo’s) has become the authority on Texas cool: Her newest venture, the Hotel Saint Cecilia, also in Austin, is a sanctuary for aesthetes, with its Hästens beds, Italian linens, and library of vintage vinyl records. Her home office, just around the corner, is a catchall repository for her myriad interests. “It’s my anthill I bring everything back to, where I organize my stuff,” says Lambert. She answers e-mails here while listening to her partner Amy Cook’s latest album. Next to her desk, a corkboard wall covered in magazine tear sheets, pictures, and notes serves as an open-book collage of her life.

To hear Amy Cook’s latest recordings, visit Also find tour dates and a gallery of pictures, some taken by photographer Allison V. Smith.

• Artist Noel Waggener has made several of Amy’s posters.

• This is my house. I paid the Rivers of Living Water Church $1 for it and had it moved here from South Congress.

• I keep beads and string for wrapping presents. I always wanted to have a business called Strings and Things. has a small selection of colorful vintage wrapping twine and other David Hicks—inspired gifts and stationery.

• That’s my brother Louis with Martha Stewart in Marfa. Chef Grady Spears is on the other side of her.

• I was Pi Beta Phi pledge class president at Texas Christian University. I was secretly in love with my big sis.

• I make guitar straps using leather and old sari fabric. I don’t sell them; I just give them to friends. has hundreds of guitar straps to choose from, while specializes in leather and suede versions. Want to make your own? has easy step-by-step instructions.

• I love this SX-70 Polaroid camera, but I can’t use it. I can’t find film for it.

The Polaroid SX-70 garnered buzz as the first camera to use self-developing film and to have a compact folding design. Although it has been discontinued, dozens of highly collectible SX70’s can be found on eBay.

• That’s Garuda, the god of El Cosmico, the West Texas kibbutz I’m working on in Marfa.

• Every morning I have a double Americano with cream, no sugar, from Jo’s.

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