A Downsizing Couple’s New Digs in Austin Boasts a Rental Unit Upstairs

Swapping suburb for city, a pair of empty nesters start a new life in Austin with the help of a homestay unit.

An idea popped into Dana Baruch’s head one sleepless night in 2012, upending the plans she and her husband, Mike Krell, had laid for their new house. At the time, the two were partway through designing a 2,300-square-foot, three-bedroom residence in the Bouldin area of Austin. But as Dana lay awake, she thought about their home-to-be and suddenly envisioned something more, a multitasking second level that could adapt to at least three configurations—guest suite, rental unit, and home base for their two sons, who were nearing adulthood—if Kevin Alter, Tim Whitehill, and Ernesto Cragnolino of Alterstudio Architecture could figure out how.

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