Some say two is better than one, but when it comes to design, three is the magic number. As a self-proclaimed design enthusiast, writer Alejandro Puyana has built several single-family residences across Austin. But when he found this property in the eastern part of town, he realized that more is oftentimes merrier.
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|Grand Total (Main House): $331,300|
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"Alejandro had very specific ideas about the basic elements he wanted to include in the house," says architect Murray Legge, who worked on the project with Puyana. "From the beginning, he wanted to do two houses on the lot: A primary dwelling he would live in, and an auxiliary dwelling unit (ADU) that he could sell."
Legge says the client also wanted to include a kitchenless guest suite for friends and family to stay at when they visited.
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Indeed, placing three living quarters on one lot is a big feat, not to mention a costly one. However, Legge and Puyana worked together to keep costs down. In total, the renovation cost $512,750, with the main house costing a little over $331k.
So how did they do it?
"There were things that we knew had no wiggle room," Puyana says. "Because of the cantilever deck and the screen batten wall, we always knew that framing was going to be a bit more expensive than in your standard project. Most of the savings came in the choice of finish-outs and fixtures."
Legge and Puyana purchased most of the plumbing and light fixture finishings on sale, and they were able to find subway and hexagonal tiles for $3 and $5.39 per square foot, respectively. Legge also kept costs down by using finished concrete for the downstairs floor.
Legge might've cut corners on costs, but definitely not on style. The final result is a lofted, 1,450-square-foot main house, complete with a large living space, kitchen, master bedroom and bathroom, and a walk-in closet.
"The deep outdoor porch space on the second floor and screen wall make it feel quite private, and bring filtered diffuse light into the space, since it faces the south," Legge says, crediting the 10-foot-tall ceilings for the home's light, airy ambiance.
The ground floor features an attached guest suite, as well as a 920-square-foot auxiliary dwelling unit toward the back of the property.
With a white, slotted facade and a cheery interior designed by Puyana, this home gives multifamily living a cool, covetable makeover.
"The basic massing and organization of space and increased number of types of dwelling spaces represents an incremental increase in density on the site while maintaining a smaller residential scale," Legge explains. "Austin has a long history of small cottages, rental units, granny flats, and garage apartments. This project is a modern take on it."
Related Reading: Budget Breakdown: A Midcentury Glass House Is Revitalized For $299K
Owner/Builder: La Sabana GC, A&J Contracting
Structural Engineer: SEC Solutions
Landscape Design Company: Tortoise Club Gardens
Interior Design: Alejandro Puyana
Casework Design: Studio Ferme
Photography: Leonid Furmansky