As one of the most sought-after architectural photographers in Texas, Austin native Casey Dunn has developed a keen eye for design. So, when it came time to tackle his dream home from the ground up, he turned to his longtime friend Arthur Furman to help realize his thoughtfully crafted East Austin abode.
At the time, Arthur was still working for his father’s firm at Furman & Keil Architects and had yet to start his own practice. Yet Casey’s belief in Arthur’s talent helped spur the young architect to leave his job and—with his wife, Annie-Laurie Grabiel—launch Side Angle Side, an Austin–based architectural practice that remembers Casa Casey as their first project.
"When we started out, Casey wasn’t married and wasn’t dating anyone," says Arthur. "So the original project brief was less about bedrooms and bathrooms, and more about the character of the home. Specifically, the shape. Casey had an image in his mind of a house he had photographed early in his career in a wooded area of Maine. The house was a basic shape—as one would draw as a child—just a box with a gabled roof."
That simple gabled shape persisted even after Casey began dating Sarah—who is now his wife—and the plan of the home shifted from a modest two-bedroom to a two-story with three bedrooms.
"With the client as our editor, we adhered to that vision of simplicity," notes Arthur of the 1,900-square-foot home. "The result is a monolithic dark volume with carefully placed punched openings."
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The restrained design approach was also inspired by the minimalist architecture of Marfa, a small West Texas town where—at the same time Arthur and Annie-Laurie were designing the house—Casey had been shooting interiors for his first photography book, Marfa Modern.
Bathed in natural light and dressed in natural materials, the house radiates warmth and character with carefully selected furnishings that mix designer and salvaged pieces.
"As architects, we’re always getting in our own way by trying to show off and over complicate things for no reason," Arthur admits. "This project required us to step aside and surrender to the simplicity of it. We actually redesigned the house a million times, and in the end we came back to the very first sketch idea we started with."
Builder/ General Contractor: Waller Building Company
Structural Engineer: GreenEarth Engineering, Inc.
Landscape Design Company: Studio Balcones
Lighting Design: Paterson Electric
Interior Design: Ann Edgerton
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