Shane Michael Pavonetti, an Austin-based architect and contractor, and his wife, Holly, built their eco-friendly home on a lean budget of $175,000. They opted for an industrial, untreated finish with an exposed steel frame, concrete floors, and bare decking upstairs. Coupled with finds from Ikea, Home Depot, and Cost Plus World Market for the interiors, they were able to keep costs down for their new, 1,600-square-foot home in East Austin. “The design vision was one of a vernacular influenced by modernism that highlights the process and details of construction,” Pavonetti says.
The exterior features vertical, untreated cedar panels. “We tried to use materials that are beautiful in their natural state without excessive treatment or finishing,” Pavonetti says.
The streamlined shape of the home kept slab, framing, and roofing costs down, Pavonetti explains. A barn red shade on the front door adds a touch of farmhouse whimsy to the modern structure.
Concerned about the chemicals involved in laminate flooring, the couple chose to leave the concrete slab, the foundation of the home, exposed, almost eliminating flooring expenses. A local craftsman made the windows, using Texas pine for framing. The floor-to-ceiling windows, Pavonetti says, reduces the couple's need for lights.
To create a bit more texture in the kitchen and baths, the couple added classic checkered tiles from the local hardware store—an inexpensive option that broke up the polished concrete floors spanning the rest of the house. Pavonetti designed and built the pedestal sinks using reclaimed cedar siding.
"By providing a clean modern base of crisp white walls, the more rustic and industrial materials stand out and give warmth and nostalgia not found in a starkly modern home," Pavonetti says.
In the kitchen, the couple found barely used appliances instead of new ones to save money. The cabinetry and butcher block counters are from Ikea.
The cedar siding used on the exterior reappears throughout the house. Keen on recycling the wood, the couple added shelving to their kitchen as well.
The sink in the half bath was special-ordered from Home Depot and Pavonetti designed the base to give the basin a snug fit. He built it out of a steel rod and painted it with black shoe polish.