The Tree House is a contemporary single family private residence that was designed by Miró Rivera Architects, located in beautiful Austin, Texas. Early sketches of this home explore the play between the steep, sloping site on which it lies and two curving rooflines—one concave and one convex.
The local and natural materials of the exterior wrap into the interior of the home; stone walls and dark wood floors are contrasted by clean lines and glass above, creating the feeling of lightness. Large glass windows and sliding doors take full advantage of the sweeping views of downtown Austin, dissolving the boundaries between interior and exterior, while deep overhangs frame views of the sky above.
At the street front, the concave roof forms a low, unassuming facade that respects the scale of the neighborhood and provides privacy for bedrooms and studies. Simultaneously, the convex roof shared by the living, dining, and kitchen spaces opens the interior of the house to a canopy of oak trees and a small pool.
Miró Rivera Architects (MRA) is an internationally-recognized architecture practice that has created a body of work that exemplifies design excellence, blurs art and architecture, and includes poetic and inspirational projects that enrich their landscapes. Services include: residential, commercial and institutional architecture; urban design; and interior design.
Photos: Miró Rivera Architects
Barton Hills Residence is a sensational contemporary property designed by A Parallel Architecture, nestled into a hilltop in Barton Hills, South Austin, Texas. This 2,700 square foot new-construction home boasts panoramic views of downtown and the surrounding valley. A half-sunken concrete garage creates a plinth for the wood and glass home to perch above, maintaining a scale and character consistent with the mid-century-modern neighborhood.
An open-plan living space enjoys the distant views as well as private courtyard views to the rear, reinforcing the indoor/outdoor character that the clients’ lifestyle demands.
A second story master suite opens onto a large roof deck that further embraces the vista and creates a flexible outdoor living space. Passive green-building strategies and energy-efficient specifications ensure a low-impact, low-maintenance structure.
Photos: Topher Ayrhart
Cascading Creek House is a contemporary single family residence that has been designed by Bercy Chen Studio, located in Austin, Texas. The property was conceived less as a house and more as an extension and outgrowth of the limestone and aquifers of Central Texas. Just recently completed, this 11,796 square foot home incorporates plenty of sustainable features including photovoltaics, rainwater collection and hydronic heating and cooling. The beautiful contemporary design details carried out throughout the home was the meticulous work of Alan Cano Interiors.
The primary formal gesture of the project inserts two long native limestone walls to the sloping site, serving as spines for the public wing and private wing of the house. The walls and the wings they delineate shelter a domesticated landscape that serves as an extended living space oriented towards the creek below and protected from the torrents of water draining from the street above during sudden downpours characteristic of the area.
The sitting of the boundary walls and building elements was informed by the presence and preservation of three mature native oaks. The roof structure is configured so as to create a natural basin for the collection of rainwater, not unlike the vernal pools found in the outcroppings of the Texas Hill Country. These basins harness additional natural flows through the use of photovoltaic and solar hot-water panels.
The water, electricity and heat which are harvested on the roof tie into an extensive climate conditioning system which utilizes water source heat pumps and radiant loops to supply both the heating and cooling for the residence. The climate system is connected to geothermal ground loops as well as pools and water features thereby establishing a system of heat exchange, which minimizes reliance on electricity or gas.
Photos: Bercy Chen Studio
Westlake Ranch House is a stunning mid-century home re-designed by Shiflet Group Architects, located in Austin, Texas. Mark Ashby Design worked in collaboration with the architects to reconfigure the 1961 ranch house into a bright, open-plan residence.
The amazing fixture featured in the living room is a functional sculpture, with a futuristic look that also has mid-century modern flair. It is a Cross Cable Mobile in a powder coated aluminum nickel plated steel shade by David Weeks. The dimensions are: Standard Tier Length: 55” x 55”; Tiers can be customized up to 96”.
The extensive remodel included doubling the kitchen, integrating a state of the art sound system, and creating new exterior spaces. Mark also worked closely with the owner to curate the art collection.
The flooring in the dining space are end cut wood. The pendant lamp hanging from the ceiling is a Akari Noguchi light sculpture.
Mark’s approach is defined by a deep reverence for history and architectural context combined with a refined, contemporary aesthetic. He is a true collaborator, engaging his clients and his design team to ensure that each project is a thoughtful expression of the client’s own style and sensibilities.
Mark and his designers work on projects across the southwest and around the country. The firm’s work has been featured in the books Great Homes of Texas and Modern Cabins, as well as in a number of publications, including Southern Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Traditional Home, and Western Interiors.
Photos: Courtesy of Mark Ashby Design
This casual compound has been designed as a modern vacation retreat by the San Antonio architecture firm Lake|Flato, located high above Lake Austin, Texas. This is the second home for a busy couple who lives near San Francisco and loves the water.
High above Lake Austin, the main house keeps the couple walking on air, thanks to a catwalk that connects it to one of the three out buildings.
Much of the building’s design was determined by three mature oak trees, informing the building’s orientation and L-shaped footprint. The owners liked the idea of accessing much of the house from outdoor covered porches and walkways. The desire to have the main living area closely connected with the water, while respecting the flood plain and oaks, suggested the design’s stair-stepping boardwalk spine.
Interior designer Fern Santini’s ruggedly casual decor makes for relaxed living, and is punctuated on high with stylishly whimsical pendant lighting. Porches encourage outdoor living, and separate yoga studio and exercise room are for well-being. A lake pavilion and boat house complete the setting.
This incredibly stunning home is is open and airy and has wonderful flow. The beautiful furnishings throughout has a modern yet cottagey feel.
The main living area, a two-story single width volume with a master bedroom loft and porches on either end, takes advantage of the cool prevailing breezes and shade from the adjacent oak trees. A movable, barn-like door serves as a bedroom wall, providing privacy when needed from the living room below. These flexible spaces allow the house to be both intimate and social, effortlessly accommodating guests or individuals alike.
Photos: Nick Johnson
Cove House is a contemporary remodel of a dreary 1980s tract house designed by Furman + Keil Architects, located on a narrow peninsula in Lake Austin, Texas. The site was incomparable, with the lake fronting two sides of the property. The new owners loved the location and even wanted to save the house, which spoke to them about casual lakeside living. The architects worked largely within the constraints of the existing footprint, inheriting many of the quirky geometries of the floor plan.
The entry courtyard was redesigned to allow visitors to penetrate deeper into the site, extending and enhancing the entry transition.
New panoramic windows allow the inhabitants to take in the natural surroundings, while massive sliding doors connect the living room to a new screened porch, engaging with views of the lake beyond.
The architects rendered a stunning renovation to the wood and glass building, turning it into an indoor-outdoor house that’s perfect for entertaining both formally and informally.
Fern Santini Design played up the new architecture with elegantly relaxed furniture and an expertly curated array of contemporary art by local artists. Touches of absolute luxury—such as plaster walls in the master bedroom, all-out glamor in the gold-and-white tiled master bath, and a Kyle Bunting rug in the dining room—are reminders that being casual doesn’t preclude being very very stylish.
Overcoming the challenges of the lot and the geometries of the existing house led to an unexpected design which takes full advantage of this spectacular site.
Photos: Nick Johnson
Trahan Ranch is a stunning residential modern compound designed by Patrick Tighe Architecture, situated in the heart of hill country in Austin, Texas. The 3200 square foot residence is on a fourteen acre sloped site with native oaks, natural springs and unobstructed views. The layout of the house is a direct response to the site conditions.
The plan is organized to integrate and enhance the many features of the landscape. A panoramic view that spans 260 degrees is experienced as well as other more site specific orientations. The front of the house is made of heavy materials that rise from the earth. The building is nestled into the brow of the hill and have an unassuming appearance when seen from a distance.
The heavy, solid, grounded front is in sharp contrast to the more ephemeral back. At the down slope side of the house, the structure becomes lighter and opens to the landscape. Steel pipe columns splay at unsuspecting angles dancing along the rugged landscape.
The architecture explores a series of counterpoints including heavy and light, front and back, open and closed and contemporary and vernacular. The grounded front is composed of heavy materials rising from the earth in sharp contrast to the more ephemeral back. The structure rises and becomes lighter at the down-slope side of the house as it opens to the landscape. The main house is a contemporary interpretation of Texas Hill Country post-and-beam construction that exploits regional materials and the expertise of local trades-people. The spaces of the main house flow from one to the other without doors while the guest room appendage is a more traditional layout.
The environmentally mindful design includes a hydronically-heated concrete slab on grade. The concrete foundation and walls provide high thermal mass. Large overhangs and covered walkways offer protection from the sun and cross- ventilation is used. Natural materials are used throughout including concrete, steel, stone and metals.
Texas Hill Country limestone was chosen from the site to create the over-sized Rumford fireplace that is central to the living space. An arbor connects building components and functions as an armature for solar photovoltaic panels that provide power for the property. The landscape consists of regional drought- tolerant plants that are native to the area and the local ecosystem.
The steel frame structure is a kit of parts prefabricated in a shop and erected on-site. The steel pieces attach to a series of exposed board-formed reinforced concrete pylons that are a vertical extension of the foundation.
Photos: Art Gray Photography
This 92 square foot SIP panel, modular, backyard office has been designed by Sett Studio, located in the backyard of a beautiful home in Austin, Texas. The materials used in this outdoor home office are Shou-Sugi-Ban wood siding and Monotread wall sheathing. Burned-wood or charred-wood siding, Shou-Sugi-Ban is Japanese wood treatment used in various elements throughout Sett’s – interior and exterior. Not only does it deliver an attractive aesthetic, the burning also weatherizes the wood, prevents bugs and rot, and has enhanced fire-resistance.
Our signature interior surface, Monotread is a durable, seamless, sustainable material used on floors, walls and ceilings. Milled from OSB (Oriented Strand Board), Monotread is produced from fast-growing, underutilized, inexpensive wood species grown in carefully managed forests. The combination of wood chips allows a unique, monolithic presentation allowing various applications. Durable, seamless and sustainable, Monotread is produced from fast growing, underutilized trash trees. Sett Studio manufactures and sells mono tread in house starting at 14.99 a square foot.
The Sett Studio office is more like a pre-fab house, with a “water and ice shield roof membrane” and Drywall walls and Monotred flooring. You can add upgrades like air conditioning and heat, a built-in desk, stainless steel metal shingles and even planter boxes. You can even add a deck. The company is also working on a solar-powered version.
Waterfall House is a single family residence tucked away in the rolling hills of West Lake, in Austin, Texas, recently completed by Dick Clark + Associates. The home features efficient design and impressive views, a unique single family spec home built to attract a discerning group of potential owners. Though comfortably removed from the thick of the city in the hills of west Austin, the stunning skyline is the most influential factor in the design of the house.
To achieve the ideal view, the house is subtly perched on a raised foundation. The main spaces in the house are located along the eastern facade to have equal access to the skyline views. The seamless transition between the interior and exterior spaces of the house is achieved through material continuity, such as the tile floor that flows from inside to out, and through the massive sliding glass doors that open the living, dining, and kitchen spaces to be one with the exterior pool deck. The skyline, as viewed from this open indoor/outdoor space, is dramatically framed by an elegant negative-edge pool that disappears into the hills below.
The love of beautifully detailed architecture, shared by both the builder and the architect, are evident in the carefully executed lines, delicate proportions, and seamless spatial transitions in this high-end Austin home. The site placement of this house blurs the line between city and rural living, a characteristic that Austinites greatly value, just as the design itself softens the divide between interior and exterior.
Photos: Alexander Stross
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