written by:
photos by:
July 23, 2009
Originally published in Best New Kitchen Designs

For Erik and Ivana Gonzalez, the design of their kitchen—and every other room in the house—was truly a family affair.

Stainless steel appliances, including the Sub-Zero refrigerator, Fisher & Paykel dishwasher, and Viking oven and cooktop, are seamlessly integrated with the natural maple paneling that Erik used here and throughout the house. The marble used for the countertops is Bianco Carrara. “It’s just a very clean palette,” he explains.
Photo by 
1 / 8
Because the kitchen is so open, Erik designed it in such a way that there’s room for everything from cookbooks to wine racks. Even the Viking stove hood disappears into the counter at the touch of a button. “People ask if we spend a lot of time cleaning,
Because the kitchen is so open, Erik designed it in such a way that there’s room for everything from cookbooks to wine racks. Even the Viking stove hood disappears into the counter at the touch of a button. “People ask if we spend a lot of time cleaning, but that’s just not the case. There’s a place for everything.”
Photo by 
2 / 8
Graphic cowhides on the guest bed, the dining chairs, and the living room floor unite the varying levels of the house. That design element—and the cute oil derrick lamp in the guest bedroom—remind you that, yes, you are in Texas. The drawings are by Erik’
Graphic cowhides on the guest bed, the dining chairs, and the living room floor unite the varying levels of the house. That design element—and the cute oil derrick lamp in the guest bedroom—remind you that, yes, you are in Texas. The drawings are by Erik’s brother Jair, an architect working in New York.
Photo by 
3 / 8
In the third-floor bedroom, horizontal wood-framed casement windows by Pella open out to tree-filled views of Lake Austin and Westlake Hills. Comfortably austere, the only furniture here is the bed, two nightstands, and a marble table for books and candle
In the third-floor bedroom, horizontal wood-framed casement windows by Pella open out to tree-filled views of Lake Austin and Westlake Hills. Comfortably austere, the only furniture here is the bed, two nightstands, and a marble table for books and candles. Erik designed the bed, nightstands, and marble table; the paintings are by Jair.
Photo by 
4 / 8
Though the Quinta Ivana site was very restrictive (30 feet wide by 80 feet deep), it benefits greatly from a greenbelt area on the southern façade, which lets a tremendous amount of natural light into all three levels. Large, strategically placed glass wa
Though the Quinta Ivana site was very restrictive (30 feet wide by 80 feet deep), it benefits greatly from a greenbelt area on the southern façade, which lets a tremendous amount of natural light into all three levels. Large, strategically placed glass walls further enhance that illumination, as does the restrained use of recessed lighting by Lightolier.
Photo by 
5 / 8
The master bath is a simple rectangle. “Like the kitchen, I designed it so that no stuff was laying around,” Erik said. The surfaces are natural and subdued; a simple palette of tones, colors, and materials unifies the space. Travertine marble was used on
The master bath is a simple rectangle. “Like the kitchen, I designed it so that no stuff was laying around,” Erik said. The surfaces are natural and subdued; a simple palette of tones, colors, and materials unifies the space. Travertine marble was used on the floors, shower, and countertop. The closet and cabinetry are maple. Erik designed the light fixture himself because, he says, “there was nothing I could find that fit the scale of the room.” He used cold-rolled steel with exposed wires to give it an industrial feel.
Photo by 
6 / 8
The distinctive cowhide-and-chrome dining chairs were designed and built by Raul 30 years ago. Erik and his brother Alan, a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, de-signed the glass table. “The form for it came from
The distinctive cowhide-and-chrome dining chairs were designed and built by Raul 30 years ago. Erik and his brother Alan, a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, de-signed the glass table. “The form for it came from prefab concrete ties,” says Erik. “Everything in here fits together surprisingly well.”
Photo by 
7 / 8
The curvy, off-white sofa, which forms a perfect conversation pit, was purchased on Ebay (and cost as much as it did to buy).
The curvy, off-white sofa, which forms a perfect conversation pit, was purchased on Ebay (and cost as much as it did to buy).
Photo by 
8 / 8
quinta ivana kitchen portrait
Stainless steel appliances, including the Sub-Zero refrigerator, Fisher & Paykel dishwasher, and Viking oven and cooktop, are seamlessly integrated with the natural maple paneling that Erik used here and throughout the house. The marble used for the countertops is Bianco Carrara. “It’s just a very clean palette,” he explains.
Project 
Quinta Ivana
Architect 

Remember My Three Sons, the 1960s TV show about a Midwestern aeronautical engineer who watches his family grow up with an ever-present twinkle in his eye?

After learning the story behind Quinta Ivana, it is irresistible to imagine the venerable sitcom recast with builder Raul Gonzalez replacing Fred MacMurray as beaming patriarch. Raul recounts with tenderness how, much to his surprise, he watched his sons—Erik (33), Jair (31), and Alan (27)—follow in his footsteps and enter the building industry as architects.

Did Raul’s wife, Marilou, read Vitruvius while pregnant? Were the Gonzalez boys taken on Frank Lloyd Wright pilgrimages as children? One wonders. But Raul (the son, as it happens, of a contractor) has no pat explanation for “His Three Architects.” “I never tried to make them become architects,” he recalls. “It just happened, one at a time.”

“From the time we were born we were involved in architecture and construction,” explains Raul’s eldest son, Erik. “My father was very clear that if we wanted to sweep streets we’d have his support, but I didn’t consider going into any other field.”

That early exposure paid off, as is evident in Quinta Ivana, the 3,600-square-foot home Erik shares with his wife, Ivana, who recently completed her M.A. in accounting. It is a project that Erik—in collaboration with his dad and brothers, of course—did everything on, from design to construction.

Erik also managed to create the home he wanted within the strict confines of the Austin, Texas, subdivision in which it is located. He had stumbled on the lot by accident and, undeterred by its location on the street incongruously named Rue de St. Tropez, he set out to create, he says, “something different, but something my neighbors could live with.”

“The kitchen is such a central part of the house,” says Erik. “Culturally, it’s where everything happens. Households of every ethnicity share this. I was not scared of centralizing it, exposing it the way I did. It’s great for entertaining and everyday cooking, too.”

Because the kitchen is so open, Erik designed it in such a way that there’s room for everything from cookbooks to wine racks. Even the Viking stove hood disappears into the counter at the touch of a button. “People ask if we spend a lot of time cleaning, but that’s just not the case. There’s a place for everything.”

Stainless steel appliances, including the Sub-Zero refrigerator, Fisher & Paykel dishwasher, and Viking oven and cooktop, are seamlessly integrated with the natural maple paneling that Erik used here and throughout the house. The marble used for the countertops is Bianco Carrara. “It’s just a very clean palette,” he explains.

The distinctive cowhide-and-chrome dining chairs were designed and built by Raul 30 years ago. Erik and his brother Alan, a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, de-signed the glass table. “The form for it came from prefab concrete ties,” says Erik. “Everything in here fits together surprisingly well.”

Though the Quinta Ivana site was very restrictive (30 feet wide by 80 feet deep), it benefits greatly from a greenbelt area on the southern façade, which lets a tremendous amount of natural light into all three levels. Large, strategically placed glass walls further enhance that illumination, as does the restrained use of recessed lighting by Lightolier.

In contrast to the grand staircases found in so many of the neighboring houses on Rue de St. Tropez, the foyer of Quinta Ivana is intimate in scale, creating a space where people instantly feel welcomed rather than overwhelmed. The office, guest bedroom, and bathroom are housed here on the ground floor. What Erik describes as “a square spiral staircase” leads up to the second floor, essentially an open-plan loft layout that contains the public area of the house.

The main living area is set 26 inches higher than the kitchen. (“That 26-inch ledge is where everyone sits,” Erik notes. “I wish I could take credit for designing it for that purpose but I can’t.”) The furniture on this level—and throughout the house—is minimal yet highly impactful. The curvy, off-white sofa, which forms a perfect conversation pit, was purchased on eBay (and cost as much to ship as it did to buy).

Graphic cowhides on the guest bed, the dining chairs, and the living room floor unite the varying levels of the house. That design element—and the cute oil derrick lamp in the guest bedroom—remind you that, yes, you are in Texas. The drawings are by Erik’s brother Jair, an architect working in New York.

“I wanted to maximize the feel of the space by not dividing it much, but spaces should be outlined somehow,” says Erik. “I tried to achieve that by using different levels that create a vertical flow of energy.”

In the third-floor bedroom, horizontal wood-framed casement windows by Pella open out to tree-filled views of Lake Austin and Westlake Hills. Comfortably austere, the only furniture here is the bed, two nightstands, and a marble table for books and candles. Erik designed the bed, nightstands, and marble table; the paintings are by Jair.

The master bath is a simple rectangle. “Like the kitchen, I designed it so that no stuff was laying around,” Erik said. The surfaces are natural and subdued; a simple palette of tones, colors, and materials unifies the space. Travertine marble was used on the floors, shower, and countertop. The closet and cabinetry are maple. Erik designed the light fixture himself because, he says, “there was nothing I could find that fit the scale of the room.” He used cold-rolled steel with exposed wires to give it an industrial feel.

“I wanted a house that met a particular program,” the young designer explains, “not necessarily for our present situation but one for future growth. I was so lucky to have so much support from my family. It was truly a team effort.” Raul concurs: “We spent alot of time analyzing each room and I like each in a different way. I even like the garage!”

“Working with my sons, it keeps me up to date,” he continues. “It fulfills my life.”

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

in the mix antwerp belgium warehouse renovation live work space lounge area cushions dining table kitchenette borge mogensen cabinets
An artist and an architect build their home, studios, and an exhibition space inside an Antwerp warehouse.
February 13, 2016
senses sight products kinetic wire sculpture alexander calder mobile
A phenomenon of light and visual perception, colors signal a language of their own.
February 13, 2016
beach weathered seaside retreat sagaponack new york pine walls aluminum furniture
Balancing texture, proportion, and found objects lends unexpected sophistication to a seaside retreat.
February 13, 2016
Concrete floor, white walls, Bend sectional sofa, Metropolitan chair by B&B Italia, and Arper pouf in living room of Rhode Island family vacation home by Bernheimer Architecture.
Create comfortable areas to lounge, sit, eat, and entertain with these designs.
February 12, 2016
São Paulo apartment dining room with local wood floors and HAY chairs
From concrete to wood, these South American homes enjoy nature inside and out.
February 12, 2016
Custom cabinetry and trim in Chicago apartment renovation.
The Second City is second to none when it comes to inventive modern architecture, from Louis Sullivan to the present day.
February 12, 2016
Kitchen of 1956 midcentury modern Palm Springs home.
Celebrate Palm Springs Modernism Week, which runs from February 11–21, with a look at some of our favorite modern desert oases.
February 12, 2016
Gustav bicycle by Coh&Co
Designmuseum Danmark unveils a permanent collection highlighting new developments in Danish design.
February 12, 2016
A Seattle studio's courtyard
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 12, 2016
Chalet in the French alps
An innovative glass addition adds contrast to a timber mountain lodge in France.
February 11, 2016
Aumas' assorted collectables.
Bright colors and vintage furniture are abound in these French homes.
February 11, 2016
Kogan designed a number of the built-in furnishings, including the headboard and cupboard in the master bedroom.The cupboard is deliberately reminiscent of a mid-century stereo speaker. The vintage lounge chairs are by Percival Lafer.
Need to relax? Make your bedroom an oasis from the rest of the house.
February 11, 2016
Modern Florida seaside home with corian island, dornbracht faucet, cees braakman combex chairs and marble knoll table in the kitchen
Read more about Knoll's impressive career here, but in the meantime, explore just a few of her works in these contemporary homes.
February 11, 2016
Modern small box home in Mexico
Letting the warm climate indoors is a common thread through these diverse dwellings.
February 11, 2016
Modern white cabinets under the stairs with skylight above
What could be better than a modest-sized house in a quaintly historic city?
February 11, 2016
dining room lighting
These renovations connect rustic, classic, and modern design in Italy.
February 10, 2016
12362509 211441865858796 1743381178 n1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 10, 2016
modern outdoor garden room plastic polycarbonate
From colorful living rooms to a backyard retreat, Belgian designers reimagine vernacular forms and materials for the modern world.
February 10, 2016
Tel Aviv kitchen with custom dining table and Smeg fridge
Would you go for an out-of-the-box palette for your major appliances? See how these kitchens tackle the trend.
February 10, 2016
Exhibition view, of Klaus Wittkugel works at P! gallery, New York
On view through February 21 at New York's P! gallery, a new show explores the politics of Cold War-era graphic design with a presentation of works by Klaus Wittkugel—East Germany's most prolific graphic designer. Curator Prem Krishnamurthy walks us through the highlights.
February 10, 2016
Reclaimed cedar and gray-stucco home outside San Francisco.
The new kid on the block in a predominantly Eichler neighborhood, this Menlo Park home breaks the mold and divides into three pavilions connected by breezeways.
February 10, 2016
A third floor addition and whole-house renovation modernized a funky cottage on an unusual, triple-wide lot in San Francisco.
From modern interiors hidden within historic structures to unabashedly modern dwellings, these seven renovations take totally different approaches to San Francisco's historic building stock.
February 10, 2016
Delphi sofa from Erik Jørgensen and gyrofocus fireplace in living room of Villa Le Trident in the French Riviera, renovated by 4a Architekten.
The Aegean's all-white architecture famously helped inspire Le Corbusier; these five dwellings continue in that proud modern tradition (though not all are as minimalist).
February 10, 2016
San Francisco dining room with chandelier and Eames shell chairs
Brooklyn-based RBW's work—from diminutive sconces to large floor lamps—shape these five interiors.
February 09, 2016
Glass-fronted converted garage in Washington
These garages go behind parking cars and storing your drum sets.
February 09, 2016
Modern Texas home office with sliding walls, behr black chalkboard paint, concrete walls, and white oak flooring
From appropriated nooks to glass-encased rooms, each of these modern offices works a unique angle.
February 09, 2016
picnic-style table in renovated San Francisco house
From chandeliers to pendants, these designs make the dining room the most entertaining space in the house.
February 09, 2016
Midcentury house in Portland with iron colored facade and gold front door
From preserved masterworks to carefully updated time capsules, these homes have one thing in common (other than a healthy appreciation for everything Eames): the conviction that the '40s, '50s, and '60s were the most outstanding moments in American architecture.
February 09, 2016
Modern living room with furniture designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
These oases by the sea, many done up in white, make stunning escapes.
February 08, 2016
A Philippe Starck standing lamp and an Eames chaise longue bracket the living room; two Lawrence Weiner prints hang behind a pair of Warren Platner chairs and a table purchased from a River Oaks estate sale; at far left of the room, a partial wall of new
Texas might have a big reputation, but these homes show the variety of shapes and sizes in the Lone Star State.
February 08, 2016