Lake|Flato Architects associate Brian Comeaux describes the Austin suburb of Rollingwood as a hidden gem. "There’s a lot of activity there now, but it seemed like a secret for a long time," he says. Within the laid-back enclave is one Austin couple’s double-wide lot on a horseshoe-shaped street. Dense with old oak trees, the property backs up to a creek, providing a leafy sanctuary despite being 10 minutes from bustling downtown.
The homeowners, who were looking for something "small but highly designed," were intrigued by Lake|Flato’s modern aesthetic and quickly connected with the architect whom they credit with bringing their vision to life.
"We are outdoorsy folks who find solace in nature and wanted our home to be warm, comfortable, and calming," says the homeowner. "In discussions with Lake|Flato, we emphasized our love for the trees and existing landscaping."
The first step was to tear down the original 1970s structure on the property. The plan was to preserve the green space to the east, building modestly and thoughtfully on the existing footprint.
"We are not fans of the McMansion," says the homeowner. "A bigger house isn’t always a better house, and because it’s just the two of us and an occasional guest, we didn’t want space that we wouldn’t use."
Hovering around 2,400 square feet, Rollingwood Residence cascades like a waterfall down the sloped lot. Floor-to-ceiling windows capture views from every room in the house, and tall ceilings (that reach 18 feet high in the living room) amplify the sense of spaciousness even more.
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"It has a big presence," says Comeaux.
The exterior features a combination of Western red cedar, a rot-resistant siding, and Lueders limestone. Inside, the architect went with honed limestone, blackened mesquite flooring, soapstone countertops in the kitchen, clear sealed maple millwork, and exposed Douglas fir joinery. "The maple has a simple look to it, and it’s quiet when paired with richer materials," the architect says. "We looked at the house as a whole collection of materials."
Uniquely, both bedrooms in the home are meant to serve as master suites. During the colder months, the couple can opt to sleep upstairs, while the downstairs room is more suitable for humid summers.
The first-floor master, located on the other side of the living room fireplace, includes a minimalistic bathroom with Carrara marble and a sculptural millwork object that acts as storage, housing for the air conditioning unit, and a master closet. Meanwhile, the upstairs master includes dark slate tiling and a patio shaded by a regal oak.
In creating a place of solitude, the homeowners did all of the landscaping themselves, and even created an amphitheater out of the existing rock arches on the property.
"Even though it has the Lake|Flato aesthetic, it’s designed around the way we live," the homeowner concludes.
More by Lake|Flato:
Structural Engineer: Structural Design Consulting
Lighting Design: David Nelson & Associates
Cabinetry Design: HEWN
Mechanical Engineer: Southwest Mechanical Services
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