Austin–based architecture firm Thoughtbarn set out to renovate an H-shaped residence in a wooded, hilly neighborhood known for its midcentury, ranch-style homes, but quickly discovered that the home’s slab was structurally failing and would need to be replaced. This replacement ultimately led to the construction of a new home based on the footprint of the original—but with a small addition to the south.
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For the new residence, the homeowners sought to reference the typical forms and sizes of other midcentury homes in the neighborhood. The new house would also need to comply with Austin’s regulations regarding the critical root zones of heritage oak trees on the site, and mind vertical height requirements allowed under the canopy of the trees.
The resulting home is topped with angular, asymmetrical roofs that contrast with the black, vertical siding of the exterior and the organic, green forms of the surrounding trees. The vertical pattern of the siding, in combination with its dark tone, allows the home to almost disappear into the background on overcast or shadowy days, creating an unexpected connection between indoors and out.
The front porch, with its stained pine siding, provides a visual contrast to the rest of the exterior; its irregularly spaced vertical slats preserve sight lines and privacy.
The 2,500-square-foot home echoes the original building’s H-shaped plan with two distinct zones: a "public" wing contains the kitchen, dining room, media room, and screened-in porch while the "private" wing contains the bedrooms and bathrooms. The living room comprises the middle bar of the H, connecting the two. The distinct, peaked roof allows for high ceilings and clerestory windows that create bright interiors.
Custom walnut cabinetry is featured prominently throughout the interior, with navy blue accents and bold patterns in textiles, wallpaper, and tiles. In the kitchen, for example, the walnut cabinet doors are offset with geometric, green tile that echoes the greenery of the outdoors.
At the center of the house sits a bathroom with a walk-in shower and tiled bathtub. Glossy, textured, white tiled walls reflect light streaming in from a skylight, creating a rejuvenating retreat.
Architect: Thoughtbarn (Robert Gay, Lucy Begg, AIA, Brian Carville, Anna Plyler) / @thoughtbarn
Contractor/Builder: R Builder
Structural Engineering: Hollingsworth Pack
Interior Design: Courtney Looney
Landscape Design: John Hart Asher
Photography: Nick Simonite