An Angular Austin Home Makes Way For Heritage Oak Trees
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An Angular Austin Home Makes Way For Heritage Oak Trees

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By Kate Reggev
This fresh take on the midcentury ranch home features a pleated roof and dark siding that retreats into the trees.

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.

Located on the site of an existing home, Ridgeview House keeps a similar layout and footprint to the original.

Located on the site of an existing home, Ridgeview House keeps a similar layout and footprint to the original.

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The exterior is clad in board-and-batten siding, while the front porch is covered with stained pine. Both materials have a vertical emphasis, which speaks to the heritage oak trees on the .75-acre property.

The exterior is clad in board-and-batten siding, while the front porch is covered with stained pine. Both materials have a vertical emphasis, which speaks to the heritage oak trees on the .75-acre property.

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 asymmetrical, angular forms of the roofs create a dramatic interior filled with light from clerestory windows and high ceilings.

The asymmetrical, angular forms of the roofs create a dramatic interior filled with light from clerestory windows and high ceilings.

Windows were carefully oriented to capture views of the landscape.

Windows were carefully oriented to capture views of the landscape.

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 rhythm of the battens is picked up at the vertical screen of the front porch to provide some privacy for the large picture window behind.

The rhythm of the battens is picked up at the vertical screen of the front porch to provide some privacy for the large picture window behind.

The architects planned the home’s footprint around the roots of the heritage oak trees on the site, and ensured that the building height would fit under the canopy.

The architects planned the home’s footprint around the roots of the heritage oak trees on the site, and ensured that the building height would fit under the canopy.

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.    

The interiors feature a combination of midcentury furniture, modern materials and detailing, older pieces from the homeowner's collection, and splashes of color and pattern.

The interiors feature a combination of midcentury furniture, modern materials and detailing, older pieces from the homeowner's collection, and splashes of color and pattern.

The kitchen, in particular, has strong connections to the outdoors with ample daylight, windows, and direct access to the yard.

The kitchen, in particular, has strong connections to the outdoors with ample daylight, windows, and direct access to the yard.

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. 

Wood cabinetry links the dining area to the kitchen, and the sliding glass doors provide a view to the oak trees on the site.

Wood cabinetry links the dining area to the kitchen, and the sliding glass doors provide a view to the oak trees on the site.

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.

A central bathroom features a tiled bathtub under a skylight. The walls are covered in a glossy white tile, and the floors with a geometric blue and white matte tile.

A central bathroom features a tiled bathtub under a skylight. The walls are covered in a glossy white tile, and the floors with a geometric blue and white matte tile.

Ridgeview House takes its H-shaped form from the original home on the site with a small addition to the south for an enlarged kitchen.

Ridgeview House takes its H-shaped form from the original home on the site with a small addition to the south for an enlarged kitchen.

Related Reading: A Bold Addition With a Zigzag Roof Ushers Light Into This Melbourne Home

Project Credits: 

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