Austin Modern Homes Tour Recap
On Saturday we were privileged to participate in the Austin Modern Homes Tour for the third straight year. We always relish the opportunity to show our newest homes and get feedback from a diverse group of tour-goers, but it’s also a great time to see what innovative features other designers and builders are incorporating in their homes. This year I toured and photographed as many homes as I could in between shifts guiding folks through our own home on the tour. Here is a brief description and photos of some notable features of each home I was able to visit on the tour.
600 Terrace Mountain
This was one of my favorite homes. It was tucked away in the trees, dangling off the side of a hill just off of Westlake Drive. The home was designed around a central gallery that stretched from the ground floor all the way up to the rooftop, where windows poured in generous amounts of natural light. The glass railing really accentuated the openness of this feature. Another great feature was the tall ceilings in the living room and master bedroom which allowed for huge windows on the back of the home overlooking the surrounding hills. My favorite feature, however, had to be using a window as the kitchen backsplash. This was a very creative idea, and really makes the kitchen one of a kind.
2202 Trail of Madrones
- Architect: Sago International
This home was so white it was almost blinding on such a sunny day. While I appreciate the cleanness that using the color white provides, it was almost overdone here…the downstairs, with the concrete floors and all white kitchen were a little too sterile for my liking. The saving elements of the home were the layout of the rooms, the incredible windows and views, natural light, the beautiful staircase and the warm natural finish of the wood floors upstairs. I also really enjoyed the outdoor living space and some of the unique mid-century modern furniture in the house.
1880 Westlake Drive
We could see this house on the horizon from a mile away…it is colossal. The first thing that attracted me to the home was the huge garage. I imagined a few of my own classic cars in there, as well as a little man-cave complete with TVs, couch and bar…unfortunately this garage was a little bit tamer other than the black Audi R8. As I walked upstairs, I began to realize that this home must have been designed as a party pad. The living room felt almost like a hotel lobby, with ample seating for at least 12 at the enormous kitchen island, and a huge resort-style pool in the back. While there were some beautiful, unique features, like the master bedroom overlooking the living space, and the tub-filler in the master bathroom coming out of the ceiling, there was definitely too much space in this home. Case in point: I opened what seemed to be a small linen closet in a guest bedroom and walked into a closet so big I thought I was in Narnia.
2010 Goodrich Avenue #2A
- Architect: Frey Architects
Really liked the style of this duplex. It executed perfectly on the popular blend of modern and craftsman architectural elements on the exterior, although I don’t know how efficient the home can be without any shade from the eaves of the roof. The design was very clean and similar to some of the craftsman homes we enjoy building in neighborhoods where they are the predominant architectural style. I also really enjoyed the floor-to-ceiling windows at the entry, the wood accent wall that matched the flooring from upstairs, and the cabinetry throughout the home. I also liked how the unit didn’t feel like a duplex…well done.
2118 Brackenridge St. #1
- Architect: Shelter Design Studio
Can’t say too much about this one, as we were the builder and I’m slightly prejudiced, but we got a great response from tour-goers. As I walked around I could overhear people expressing their surprise at the sneaky size of the unit and how it was an efficient use of space. They really enjoyed the layout and luxurious features like the European bath/shower area in the master bath and how the master closet connects to the utility room. The star of the show, however, had to be our client’s man-cave on the third story, which even the women loved. With a grill, lounge chairs and TV on the outdoor porch and a fridge, dishwasher, dining table and living room on the inside, some people joked that they would never leave the third floor. Overall it was very useful to see what people were really drawn to as we design future multi-family developments.
- Architect: Allen Bianchi Architects
This house was really cool. It was perched on the side of a hill, similar to the one on Terrace Mountain, and utilized huge windows and slider doors to access a large patio with an elevated pool. This patio and pool was definitely my favorite, and as if that view wasn’t good enough, there was another porch off of the master bedroom on the floor above. The incredible panoramic views made you feel lighter as you walked throughout the home. Another cool feature was the unique staircases…a drawback would be the 60-degree incline up the driveway, which we all had to walk up about 70 yards.
- Architect: Gordon Wittenberg/li>
This home was near completion, so the owners were temporarily staying in their Airstream out front…hopefully they keep the Airstream there as a guest suite even after moving into the house. From the inside-out, I loved the use of natural, raw materials…I’m assuming it was intentional and not just that the home was still under construction. The exterior reclaimed wood siding really softened the commercial windows and doors, and had a number of small, scattered windows notched out of it. The wood floors were beautiful throughout and had a natural finish, which tied the different levels together. One of my few complaints was that the house should have been flipped so that the floor-to-ceiling windows of the common rooms had access to the best views rather than just a small corner window in the Master Bedroom. Regardless, I’d love to see this home once it is completed and fully furnished.
- Architect: Baldridge Architects
My favorite home on the tour. A very understated, one-story, mid-century modern home with a beautiful courtyard, efficient use of space, and excellent details throughout. I really enjoyed the use of wood and color to add warmth throughout the home, and the cleverly cut-out windows in the rooms. The Master Bedroom was very bright and opened to the large, covered back porch, which was created utilizing the expansive gabled roof that runs from the front to the back of the home. Because the lot slopes away from the front, the pool was built slightly elevated so that it was level with the wood deck and the floor level of the rest of the home.