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Lakeside House in Texas

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Architect J.C. Schmeil of Merzbau Design Collective recently completed this 4-bedroom, 4-bath house on Lake Austin in Texas, designed for a couple with three young children. "The design of the new residence resulted from a single, bold gesture: the bisection of the sloping site with a 14-foot high concrete retaining wall," says Schmeil. "The retaining wall appears as an interior finish on the ground floor, registering the passage of the day through a constant play of light and shadow."

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  Here's a view of the steel and glass master bedroom as it cantilevers over the patio and yard. You can see the cantilevered concrete patio in the foreground. The structure of the building is more common to commercial construction—steel framing with metal studs, storefront glass, and a concrete topping slab poured onto corrugated metal decking at the second floor. Photo by Brian Mihealsick.
    Here's a view of the steel and glass master bedroom as it cantilevers over the patio and yard. You can see the cantilevered concrete patio in the foreground. The structure of the building is more common to commercial construction—steel framing with metal studs, storefront glass, and a concrete topping slab poured onto corrugated metal decking at the second floor. Photo by Brian Mihealsick.
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  The cantilevered master bedroom appears to hover above the lake. Photo by Brian Mihealsick.
    The cantilevered master bedroom appears to hover above the lake. Photo by Brian Mihealsick.
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  This steel door opens onto a mudroom, accessed via a cantilevered concrete patio. Steel panels clad the building; they have been left to oxidize naturally, resulting in the "rusty" appearance of the house. Photo by J.C. Schmeil.
    This steel door opens onto a mudroom, accessed via a cantilevered concrete patio. Steel panels clad the building; they have been left to oxidize naturally, resulting in the "rusty" appearance of the house. Photo by J.C. Schmeil.
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  The house's main door is a pivoting thousand-pound piece of steel that opens with a push of a finger. You can see the recycled waste-concrete retaining wall through the glass, with Grandmother's Cabin visible at the top of the lot. Glass guardrail panels in the foreground sit on the steel floor beam, which also serves as an ad-hoc message board with magnetic letters. Photo by J.C. Schmeil.
    The house's main door is a pivoting thousand-pound piece of steel that opens with a push of a finger. You can see the recycled waste-concrete retaining wall through the glass, with Grandmother's Cabin visible at the top of the lot. Glass guardrail panels in the foreground sit on the steel floor beam, which also serves as an ad-hoc message board with magnetic letters. Photo by J.C. Schmeil.
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  The steel-framed stair with concrete treads and glass guardrail makes a nice perch for the family cat to take in views of the lake and check out what's cooking in the kitchen. Photo by J.C. Schmeil.
    The steel-framed stair with concrete treads and glass guardrail makes a nice perch for the family cat to take in views of the lake and check out what's cooking in the kitchen. Photo by J.C. Schmeil.
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  The kitchen is a double-height space at the core of the house, with views to the lake beyond. A long horizontal opening in the wall above the lacquered turquoise cabinets allows for views from the kids' play area. Photo by Brian Mihealsick.
    The kitchen is a double-height space at the core of the house, with views to the lake beyond. A long horizontal opening in the wall above the lacquered turquoise cabinets allows for views from the kids' play area. Photo by Brian Mihealsick.
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  Lacquered turquoise cabinets are topped by white quartzite countertops. Photo by Brian Mihealsick.
    Lacquered turquoise cabinets are topped by white quartzite countertops. Photo by Brian Mihealsick.
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  A zebrawood desk niche in the kitchen, under the steel stair landing, provides additional storage and display space. Photo by J.C. Schmeil.
    A zebrawood desk niche in the kitchen, under the steel stair landing, provides additional storage and display space. Photo by J.C. Schmeil.
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  A closer look at the zebrawood cabinetry at the kitchen island, with the concrete retaining wall visible to the left, with the dining and living area beyond. Photo by J.C. Schmeil.
    A closer look at the zebrawood cabinetry at the kitchen island, with the concrete retaining wall visible to the left, with the dining and living area beyond. Photo by J.C. Schmeil.
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  The concrete retaining wall at the back of the living room and dining area registers the passage of the day through a constantly changing play of light and shadow. Photo by J.C. Schmeil.
    The concrete retaining wall at the back of the living room and dining area registers the passage of the day through a constantly changing play of light and shadow. Photo by J.C. Schmeil.
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  The house is clad in weathering steel panels and has a strong sense of horizontality. Photo by Brian Mihealsick.
    The house is clad in weathering steel panels and has a strong sense of horizontality. Photo by Brian Mihealsick.
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  A steel grate catwalk off the master bedroom floats above the concrete patio, and the whole structure glows like a lantern at night. Photo by Brian Mihealsick.Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!
    A steel grate catwalk off the master bedroom floats above the concrete patio, and the whole structure glows like a lantern at night. Photo by Brian Mihealsick.

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