This Neo-prairie style home with its wide overhangs and well shaded bands of glass combines the openness of an island getaway with a “C – shaped” floor plan that gives the owners much needed privacy on a 78’ wide hillside lot.
Designed for the 2010 Parade of Homes it won 5 awards including:
Best Innovative Design
Best Family Room
Best Master Suite
Best Game Room
This home also won Best One-of-a-Kind in the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin MAX Awards Competition, as well as the WR Colman Award of Excellence, Best of Show and First Place in it's category in the Texas Institute of Building Design Competition.
All of the major rooms open out onto the courtyard where the angular pool repeats the design motif of the angled interior stair.
Designed for a young family, the home allows parents to monitor children’s outdoor play from virtually every room in the house and even from a hanging bed on the master porch.
The guest suite is well separated from the rest of the home and affords occupants courtyard view and access. The kitchen, while open to the rest of the house also opens up to a beautiful hill country view. The master suite includes a flex space that can serve as home office, dressing room, or nursery depending on the family’s needs and the master bath has direct access to the laundry room. There is a spot to drop your laptop, pay bills or take off your shoes by the backdoor. The upstairs game room, with both a distant view and a courtyard view, is separated into two areas – one for children and one for adults so kids can be within sight but doing their own activities.
This River Front Retreat is designed for family gatherings. One wing is all bedrooms with en suite baths and a small living/t.v. area. Across the glass enclosed dogtrot are the main living areas and master suite. The kitchen and gathering areas are Hill Country Industrial with exposed duct work and polished concrete floors. The master, intended for occasional use, is practical but enjoys the River views from inside and from the private screened porch. The media room, a nod to modern technology, is nice and dark and cozy on the side of the home away from the view.
But, the best part is the BIG screened porch overlooking the courtyard and swimming pool that is nestled between the arms formed by the two wings of the house. This is the most used room NOT in the house. With gas heaters and its sheltered location it makes it possible to live in the great outdoors all year round.
The honesty of the structure makes this home feel as real as the ranch it graces. The beams you see in the living room, for instance, aren’t decorative. They ARE the structure. The insulation is all built on top of the structure instead of being buried inside it so you get to see the bones of the home making it feel like the ranch house this family wants to enjoy.
This home was designed for courtyard living, privacy from the street and segregation of uses. The guest suite is by itself to the right of the foyer (which sets the tone for the home with a Buddha statue from travels to Asia.) Above that is the media room with the North facing windows for the owner to do her painting during the day. Also upstairs, but apart from the media room, is another guest suite with a bedroom, bath, small sitting area outside the bedroom and a sewing closet. Downstairs we find a kitchen with a generous pantry, windows that overlook the dog's play yard and display nooks for mementos from around the globe. The dining room and foyer have reversed ceiling recesses with metallic accents and recessed lighting.
The great room accommodates many functions. It opens through a 16' glass door, to the courtyard, has subtle lighting everywhere in asymmetrical patterns. It accommodates a piano and wet bar as well as the usual functions of such a room. A barn door separates all of this from the wing that houses the master suite, owners' study (which could double as another guest bedroom), guest/pool bath with direct access to outdoor living and pet friendly laundry room. And, the piece d'resistance: the master sanctuary with marvelous views both to the hills beyond and to the courtyard complete with large closet and lovely spa style bath.
Stylistically, the home has the strength and practicality of prairie design, for instance, large eaves for passive solar shading, but combines that with native materials made more modern with metal brackets and front door, warmed up with wood garage doors, and a fountain to bring in all the important elements described in the principles of Feng Shui to bring balance and harmony.
An urban infill project in trendy South Austin, it overhangs a creek and had an historic oak tree in the center of the narrow lot which the house was literally designed around.
This lot had a nice view, but very small buildable area before the foundation would have been over a steep ravine. We also wanted to work around some nice oak trees and to create usable outdoor living spaces for cooking, dining or just hanging out on the porch swing the owners had purchased prior to the project.
The owners wanted one story living for aging in place, but wanted very clean lines with tall ceilings and broad expanses of glass.
While they could be marketed as oversized bedrooms for resale, two rooms have dedicated purposes for the owners - a media nest with dedicated equipment closet and a bright, cheerful exercise room with a view. These share one end of the home with guest accommodations.
At the opposite end of the home you traverse a widened hallway with display shelves and ledge for family photos and memorabilia on your way to the private master suite which also enjoys the view.
In between are indoor and outdoor living as well as food prep spaces that flow smoothly one into the other. Motorized screens, an outdoor fireplace, a fenced yard for the family pets, and workable outdoor kitchen make the outdoors as inviting as the very comfortable great room. The kitchen is very much a part of that great room with the same colors and same tall ceilings. Great service areas including a large food pantry and practical butler’s pantry help keep the main kitchen uncluttered. Thin veneer stone on the hood over the stove mirrors the stone at the fireplace on the opposite wall in the great room.
The design of this home was based on the view. We walked the empty lot and decided the front door and great room had to be on axis with Lake Austin and we knew everything else would follow. Follow, it did. The view from the office, kitchen sink, master bedroom and – my personal favorite, the painting studio - are all amazing. We took the classic Hill Country Fusion look and modernized it with steel instead of rough timbers, paint instead of stain, solid surface countertops instead of granite and, well, all designers talk too much; look for yourself.
Don’t ‘miss the hidden pantry (the owners wanted the kitchen to not look like a kitchen), his and hers offices, dog accommodations, custom vent hood, and, again, the artist’s studio.
It was a joy working with the builder, John Davis, whose thoughtful, responsive and responsible way of building shows in every detail.
The owner of this home, an avid equestrian, wanted her home to have the feel of a converted barn. The window walls in the great room and the master bedroom are as if of the end wall of a barn, but with a multi-paned window wall. In both cases a see-through fireplace in front of the window wall can be seen from inside and out. Private guest bedrooms are upstairs. The downstairs is designed for open living and for spilling out comfortably to the courtyard. the master is at the end of a hallway designed to accommodate a salvaged ranch gate the owner wanted to display. Master closet opens to master bath on one end and laundry on the other. Master shower has a glass door to an outdoor bathing area. Horse trailer towing truck, mule and other vehicles occupy a detached garage with studio apartment above. This ranch chic loft has a smaller version of the window wall also aimed to views of the pasture and equestrian center.
Modern home designed originally as a spec, was purchased by the investor for the project who fell in love with it during the process. Touches of industrial feel are created by the steel elements, simple lines, horizontal aspect ratio fireplace and LED light coves. Walk-in glass enclosed bathing room is completely barrier free and open feeling. Most rooms have windows on at least two walls for multi-directional (softer) light. Screened porch behind the master keeps predators from getting to the family cat. Large sliding doors blur the distinction between indoors and out. Xeriscape makes it low maintenance and, along with spray foam insulation and lots of energy features, minimize its carbon footprint.
This home was selected as an American Residential Design Awards, Model Home ARDA award winner.
This Hill Country Fusion home incorporates some of the whimsy of the popular Tuscan style while eschewing the ostentation. Instead, it is grounded in the vernacular of its area with a metal roof and wood timbers. This fusion of styles makes the home beautiful but welcoming and home-y.
The slope of the lot was both its greatest challenge and its greatest asset. While many of the living areas including the media room and study/home office (with separate entrance) are on the first floor, the home needed to be tall enough to have a commanding presence from the street even though it sits well below. The payoff for the slope is a panoramic view of hills, greenbelt , a stream, and in the distance, a well known country club.
While the entire home is designed to take advantage of the view, perhaps our favorite feature is the private porch with kiva fireplace off the master bedroom. The pool designer independently chose to wrap the pool around the corner of the house enhancing that feature even more.
The owners of this Neo-French beauty loved the look of a traditional French style exterior but wanted the flow and livability of a casual open plan. Generous use of paneled wood details, from the arched openings to the coffered kitchen ceiling recall grand French estates. The use of travertine flooring throughout the interior and exterior keep traditional materials in focus while unifying the open design and visually extending the living spaces.
The home is beautifully designed to enhance gatherings and entertaining. A walk-in wine cellar boasts a display window highlighting the owners finely curated collection. The great room opens to the covered outdoor living space which features a two sided fireplace that defines the sitting and dining areas while providing a functional focal point. The media room with a large wet bar also opens to the outdoor living areas extending the entertaining options further.
This couple downsized to this single level retirement home, but wanted to keep at least the most important things from a lifetime of globe trotting, child rearing and car collecting. The piano, for instance, instead of a room, now occupies part of the double duty foyer. Dining gets its own sunroom-like feel at the back of the home, designed to appear as if we had enclosed part of the porch to create it. Both he and she have offices, one that doubles as a guest bedroom. The master bath features a walk-around shower and long tile bench and is much more spa-like than is usual in a home of this size.
He still tinkers with cars in his oversized garage which also has a powder room for gardeners, tinkerers and swimmers (who come in the back door from the pool.) Storage was very important, so there are good sized closets everywhere and a proper staircase to a decked attic for more storage still. Rooflines are simple to keep budget in line. All the trees were all saved
This home is energy efficient with insulated attic and high efficiency HVAC, but most importantly, correct compass orientation for the back porch to protect from the sun in summer and allow the lower winter sun to warm the home. Durable materials, many locally sourced and style appropriate to the site and surroundings, make the home low maintenance and harmonious with its location.
This Hill Country Rustic Home won 2013 Texas Institute of Building Design Designers' Choice Award. The open plan makes entertaining areas surprisingly roomy for the size of home. Master suite is isolated from secondary bedrooms. Laundry room acts as mud room and is directly accessible from the master. Covered porches front and back take advantage of its setting on acreage. Hill Country style includes high windows to bring in light as well as high walls for trophy displays. Tall ceilings, beams and various ceiling treatments and reclaimed wood floors add to interest. The garage and apartment (reached by covered breezeway) provide space for oversized vehicles and a home office or a future bonus room.
This very challenging lot was very wide and not deep. Additionally, the lake view was to the right side. To make this work we made the home L shaped and loaded the two story portion of the house on the left with porches overlooking the small yard and beyond to the lake.
Some features include:
- Dogtrot style foyer dividing master suite from family spaces
- guest rooms, exercise room and sports closet opening from upstairs game room
- spectacular views from game room porch as well as first floor outdoor living
- His office with safe room is at one end; Her very romantic sun room at the other
- modern but comfortable and sculptural dual master bath with natural daylighting
- separate one car garage/man cave at opposite end from daily use garage
- bridge like access to front door coordinating with the water theme.
- Oversized sliding doors
- Cove lighting in geometric ceilings
These homes in The Reserve on Lake Travis were built in a flood plain so all living spaces had to be on second or third floors. The bottom floor garage and outdoor living spaces had to be built with flood vents and water resistant building materials that could survive rising waters. The homes were provided with stacking closets to accommodate a future elevator if stairs became an issue for the owners.
The rustic theme and lakefront location appealed to an interesting, mostly non-local, public and sold out quickly.
This transitional tile roofed home came at a time when “Tuscan” had gotten very heavy handed. The owners loved tile roofs but wanted something a little lighter and more cheerful. With a commanding position on top of a hill the home has views to the front and privacy, partly natural and partly created with an L shaped floor plan, to the rear.
The emphasis was fully on family activities. Avid readers, they needed a library, but happy to snuggle up and watch a movie they wanted a media room, too. A well outfitted craft room with ample storage shares a bath - with commercial grade stainless sink - with pool users. Mud room, breakfast booth, oversized kitchen island see lots of family and school conversations and projects. A second laundry station upstairs makes it easy for kids to do their own laundry. A built-in Miele coffee maker sees lots of use in the kitchen.
A small game room/guest living, along with its porch, affords Hill Country views. The guest bedroom, dining room and master suite sitting area also are oriented to the view. The main informal area of the home orient to the private backyard.
A historic stepped brick detail was used for the stone at the roundtop window at the dining room. A similar oversized roundtop graces the bathing area of the master bath repeating the theme. Other curves soften the home as focal points at the ends of halls and at the stairs. A wall of stone between dining/foyer and the back of the house adds texture and brings some of the outside in - relating to stone work at the terraced front yard and around the pool.
This extremely difficult lot accessible only by a narrow windy road would have been passed over were it not for its lake view. In the flood plain, the home had to be built on stilts to lift it out of harm’s way in case of rising water. The buildable area was so small the area under the house needed to be used for parking. In spite of all these constraints and more, the home has a very open and happy spirit and it’s occupants enjoy spectacular views from kitchen/dining/living as well as from upstairs bedrooms.
These owners admired our San Jacinto plan when they saw it on line. But, their property called for a U shaped home rather than the side courtyard in the home they first saw. We were able to take the essential elements of the San Jac, but rotated 90 degrees, enlarged and embellished with some wonderful features like a glass walled modern wine room and built-in lofts for children’s rooms. It was a pleasure working with their very talented interior designer and very capable builder who, together managed beautifully even though they had to work with us long distance.
Curved courtyard walls soften the angular lines of this contemporary home on acreage in the country. Rather than drill a well, the owners have metal roofs and a large rainwater collection cistern proudly displayed on the west side of the home. The home is very much designed with passive solar principles in mind. The west side which has only closets, bath and garage has very few windows (shaded with awning roofs); even the porch has a solid masonry wall to block the west sun. Store front glass at the south facing back of the great room opens to wide views and is protected by a large porch overhang. One portion of the porch is screened for outdoor dining. A stone wall in the great room extends out through the storefront glass for a seamless contemporary look.
The most unique feature of this home is that it has only two bedrooms – both virtually identical (except that the upstairs one has a study nook), both master suites. This dual master is a trend we are seeing more and more with this country’s shifting demographics.
Everything for this couple, one a local and one a European transplant, both in high tech careers, is simple, angular and contemporary reflecting the harshness of the local environment and the design sensibilities of modern Europe but softened by natural materials and function as reflected in the corrugated metal wrapped rainwater collection cistern and stone walls.
Energy efficiency and resource management are evidenced not just by the rainwater system, but also by other energy strategies: all air conditioning equipment and ducts in conditioned space (note exposed ductwork in upstairs master), correct orientation to the sun and passive solar as described earlier, good daylighting from high windows throughout and a band of windows at the kitchen, spray foam insulation at attic and blown in insulation in wall cavities, floor trusses (to save on lumber), stained concrete floors, walls to 8’ between master and bath for air and light in both spaces, and recyclable materials wherever possible (including a glass backsplash).
This home won First Place in the 2011 American Residential Design Award competition, Green Design Category.
She, a tree hugger, rock hound and sculptress, he an international deal maker. She said, “I would choose a home that looks like a barn and he a Las Vegas hotel. Can you make that work?” Some of the unique features are an art studio, a yoga room, fossils embedded in concrete, floating ceilings, backlit slices of stone, sculpted columns with lights inside, a window in the back of the bookshelf, lap pool, an eating nest to exact proportions for two with Sunday papers, trees (even cedar) protected like children, complete privacy from the street complete openness to the view.
Front courtyard leads to a home with multiple rooms and outdoor rooms overlooking the Lake. Features include dual master, pocket office, island kitchen, natural daylighting, a spot for grandbaby's crib, a reading nook at the top of the stairs, tall ceilings at the great room affording views from both floors.
The owner wanted to meld the architecture of San Miguel de Allende in Mexico with some of the nicer elements of Tuscan (including plaster walls and tile roof) with the flair of a Texas ranch (trusses and stone work), possibly with some New Mexico influence (notice the capitals on the porch columns and the kiva style fireplace.). She joked that the style would be “TexTusican.” The result, as you can see is very welcoming, takes advantage of great views and lives very well.
This home for family friends is the essence of practicality, but meets many needs including outdoor dining for big groups and an open kitchen for the cook to enjoy prepping for those gatherings. The main living space has a simple, but bold ceiling with cove lighting. Attention was given to handicap friendly design. And, the ratio of conditioned space to outdoor living space correctly emphasizes the owners' love of the outdoors.
This home was designed for an artistic couple who were downsizing from a home in a more established neighborhood to this property in a more eclectic area. We find this sort of design program is more and more common as the Baby Boomers age. The steeply sloping lot was chosen for its view of the hills beyond and because the owner saw possibilities for native landscaping when the project was done. They wanted to keep costs at a minimum in order to keep monthly bills low and change to a more relaxed lifestyle where they could pursue their art more of the time.
They wanted something that expressed their individuality and did NOT look like a “subdivision house”. Natural light was very important to them. The topography of the lot required a house that was wide but not deep in order to keep foundation costs as reasonable as possible. For reasons of indoor air quality the garage needed to be a detached structure. There needed to be a screened dining porch. And, of course, we needed to make a home that easily encouraged their creativity – something that would be the antithesis of “stuffy” but rather almost studio-like. All had to be accomplished in well under 2000 square feet. The main emphasis was on capturing the view and light this rough hillside site gave to them.
With no space for a proper gallery for the wife’s own and her collected art, we widened the hallway and added a clerestory window, high shelf and accent wall with contrasting paint color to display paintings and prints. The husband has a mini-stage for playing guitar with lots of natural light, tall ceilings and inspirational views. Both owners share an office with views to the valley below so even bill paying can be an aesthetic experience. An extension of the garage with barn doors to open it up for air flow serves as a workshop and “messy project” space. When not painting or playing guitar, the couple is often in the kitchen which overlooks the spacious great room. This combined space belies the small size of the home making it feel much larger than others of its size. Contemporary light coves of gypsum board shelves suspended with metal rods in great room and master, supplement natural light when necessary. Light colors, suspended cabinets and closet walls that don’t go all the way to the ceiling help create the illusion of space in the master bath.
While budget wouldn’t allow more extravagant energy saving features, a metal roof will allow for future rain catchment; the owner is using drought resistant buffalo grass and other native plants to cut down on water use; we used bamboo floors, Hardie-plank and Hardie-panel siding in interesting patterns, local limestone stepping stones, man-made solid surface countertops and other sustainable materials to minimize impact on the environment. Low impact on the environment pleases the soul; low impact on budget is kind to the pocket book and leaves the owners free to enjoy their studio for more creative pursuits than consuming fossil fuels and making money.
This is a version of our well known San Jacinto plan adapted to the cold climate in The Midwest. Stucco is replaced by siding, a basement added and the pool reconfigured and graced with a fire feature and glass railings to match the interior. The whole project is flattered by the very green surroundings and the care the owners put into the home.
This home is a synthesis of ideas not just from us but from various family members. The Dad built furniture and had a vision for his office. The Mom asked for a ceiling that fought the roof lines, but gives the kitchen character now. The son wanted interesting geometry from a birds eye view. The very dynamic family sought out the unusual lot in a well known area but off the beaten path. This propensity for seeking the unusual helped us find whimsy in the design in many ways. The very challenging site gave us lots of parameters to work with – power lines that caused us to have to move farther off the easement than the plat would have indicated, steep hillsides that can’t support conventional septic, driveway needing to meander to keep slope manageable, trees that had to be honored, all gave us lots of “opportunity.” In the end we find ourselves with a home that has unlimited ways to experience the outdoors from family vegetable garden to indoor/outdoor workshop to covered deck with a view, spa, outdoor kitchen and, my favorite, the yard bounded by the breezeway (floor of which was hand built to keep from damaging tree roots), home and garage apartment with the beautiful oak tree at its center.
We planned for energy efficiency but were rewarded beyond our expectations. In the first 7 months the family lived there they paid not one cent in electric costs. It has already won one national green building design award for its many green features. But, mostly, the home fits. It fits the lot. It fits the family. It fits the neighborhood. It fits the view. It just fits.
This Neo Prairie home was designed for family living. Wide bands of windows under deep eaves give it the signature look. A practical open floor plan makes it flow well for the young family who built it. Sleek modern finishes bring prairie style into the modern genre.
This was officially an "addition", but really was the completion of the home for a family who had started with an oversized garage/workshop and minimal quarters. It includes a tower to capture views that couldn't quite be gotten from a second floor, an open master shower with rain shower head, an interesting salvaged piece of metal work placed in an opening between children's living and great room, a wine room, handicap friendly design, a very large dining room (the living room of the original quarters) and expanded kitchen, exposed trusses both in the original loft (more industrial looking) and in the new great room (more rustic timber style). The design was meant to fit in with the equestrian community where it was built with metal roofs and rustic stone work.
This home is a smaller version of our well known, San Jacinto plan. At about 800 square feet less than its big brother, this plan answers the requests of many who admired the larger San Jacinto while maintaining many of the features of the larger home including the 14' ceilinged great room and angled staircase.
The simple geometric forms of this home appeal to those who want to break out of the mold of traditional housing. It's a small home but reads as much larger due to the openness of the floor plan and all the natural light captured by windows, some in surprising shapes and locations.
This home was designed for many family activities with a media room, game room and open concept main living area as well as a very comfortable outdoor living/dining room with fireplace. The master suite is nicely separated from other bedrooms. The rooflines and proportions are simple and a refreshing step away from a style that had been overdone in this area while not sticking out as TOO different from its neighbors.
A collaboration with Edgar and Laurel Prats of PGM Design Build, this Modern 3 level home perfectly frames the way you want to live. Bold, clean, strong lines and innovative finishes reflect who you are. The home was designed to save all the trees on the lot. Waterfall edges on the island, wood ceiling in the kitchen, and wood floors warm up the angularity of this minimalist home. A lower level studio is perfect for a home office, practice room or art studio. The L shaped main level affords privacy to outdoor living and open living with BIG sliding doors to the outdoor deck so it feels very seamless and brings the outdoors in. And, the upper floor with media nest and two bedrooms are great for family or guests.
Beneath this Hill Country exterior lies a green built and energy efficient home that keeps operating costs low. The owners love the outdoors and are avid hunters.
His office downstairs and the Trophy Room upstairs both were designed for good natural light as well as plenty of wall space for trophy mounting. The main public areas open to the outdoors with large sliding door units. Multiple outdoor living experiences and all significant rooms are oriented to lake views. The master shower is formed by a rock wall and even has a boulder for a seat. The kitchen and morning room are intended to be a comfortable spot for the couple to chat over coffee or enjoy a relaxed meal. Guests in the main house enjoy their own kitchenette and each sleeping room has a unique feature – a plank wall or a window seat. The pass through laundry room accommodates a number of activities pet and owner oriented. A guest house with cart garage gives guests and owners an easy way to tool around the neighborhood and visit with friends, get the mail and so on.
Each space was designed to be not a room, but an experience.
This family home was designed like the arms of an easy chair - to embrace and nestle the outdoor living and backyard pool. It's done in a "Neo-prairie" style with tall ceilings and high horizontal windows in the shadow of the big eaves. We're proud that it is very energy efficient including the use of shading from trees, only one of which was removed on the whole lot. Insulated attic and high efficiency systems including make-up air will keep operating costs low.
A lot of care went into small details in the home. The upstairs, for instance, which is almost an afterthought in many homes, was worked and reworked to get each child his own bath and something to make each room feel special, all bedrooms have natural light from at least two sides. Thought was given to keeping parents sane and romance alive while still raising a family. Dad has a small private study. Mom has a nice freestanding tub and an office nook with built-in dog crate (because the dog always understands her) and other storage under the stair landing. A guest feels very private at the far end of the home with a view of the pool. The kids' bedrooms are at the opposite end of the house from the parents. And, for a bit of grown-up whimsy there is the wine room off the dining area.
My favorite part of the home is the transition from indoor to outdoor living at the back of the home. Both are so inviting I'm not sure whether I'd rather be inside looking out or outside looking in.
The owner and builder of this home is an accessibility design expert of necessity because her son’s medical condition requires it, but it is also her passion. The home has barrier free showers, side mounted faucets, lowered eating bar, wider doorways and halls, lowered light switches, raised outlets, a play room that doubles as a physical therapy space, sliding doors that require less than 5 lbs. of pressure to open and that run in tracks that are recessed into the slab to allow easy passage of a wheelchair, a pool with both a lift and a wheelchair ramp into the water, ramp access to every major entrance, raised dishwashers, wheelchair use fold-out ironing board and lots of other accommodations for accessibility. All this gave their son a level of independence he has never enjoyed before in his life making it a game changer for the whole family.
It garnered a 5 star green rating from the City of Austin and is featured on the June 7th Cool House Tour sponsored by the Texas Solar Energy Society and Austin Energy Green Building. It has solar power, heat pump water heater (which has the side benefit of cooling the garage), spray foam insulation, high efficiency heat pump HVAC, reflective metal roof, rain water collection for irrigation, a family garden, all LED lighting except for a couple of decorative fixtures, energy star appliances, low flow plumbing fixtures, no VOC paints, and concrete floors.
The most important green and energy saving features though are proper orientation to the sun and porches and large roof overhangs shading windows. Those same features give the home its clean, modern Neo-prairie style Even without reading all this, you can “feel” that it’s right for this climate just by looking at it. It settles down on the land nicely with horizontal lines and rectilinear, but not too harsh, features.