A couple builds a 2,800-square-foot property on five acres of waterfront land.
A creative director and a financial consultant started a new life in the city where they once belonged. After residing in the Bay Area, the couple decided to return to Austin, Texas, for a quieter existence in a more serene setting—a place where they could feel secluded outdoors and also have space for the occasional visitor. They found five acres down a winding road where Lake Austin meets Hog Pen Creek, and the outstretched branches of oak and pecan trees shades the land.
It was ideal, and the pair sought to keep it as untouched as possible. Easements, a flood plain, and other constraints limited the available space for construction. “These five acres had a quarter acre of buildable area, prescribing a two-story, L-shaped solution,” says Ted Flato of Lake|Flato Architects. Once the outline of the house was finished, the couple and Flato agreed to fill it in with sustainable and textured details that were open to a waterfront breeze. “We focused on having the main living area closely connected with the water, while respecting the majestic oaks,” says the architect. The pair has their privacy, but because of the breezy design, they’re also open to the setting that welcomed them back home.
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In keeping with traditional lakefront properties, the owners wanted plenty of outdoor spaces, which were mainly achieved with walkways and porches. Supplies from Dynamic Architectural Windows and Doors bring light in to the home’s covered spaces.
“Consistent with the lakefront cabin charm, the owners liked the idea of accessing much of the house from outdoor porches and walkways,” says architect Ted Flato. Supplies from Dynamic Architectural Windows and Doors bring light in to the home’s covered spaces.
The property consists of a main home and a guest cabin that are connected by a grand boardwalk. The boardwalk reaches the water, which means that guests can arrive by boat. Vertical grain Western red cedar acts as the exterior siding.
“The unique site-plan includes the main house, a two-story dog run, and a guest cabin,” Flato says. “All are seamlessly stitched together by a grand boardwalk, making an arrival by boat or by car an equally engaging experience.” Vertical grain Western red cedar acts as the exterior siding.
The firm’s design team converted a fallen pecan tree that was found on-site into a custom dining table and shelving. Vertical grain Western red cedar, the same material used for the exterior siding, was also used to create custom kitchen cabinets.
“We wanted to bring the outside in with the warmth of the materials,” Flato says. “A custom dining table and shelving were designed and built from a pecan tree that had fallen on the site.” Vertical grain Western red cedar, the same material used for the exterior siding, was also used to create custom kitchen cabinets.
Steel details contrast mesquite flooring throughout the home, including at the walkway to the “crow’s nest” office.
Steel details contrast mesquite flooring throughout the home, including at the pathway to the “crow’s nest” office.
The owners’ main living area has two stories with a master bedroom, which can be accessed by a rolling door, and porches on either end of the structure. This makes entertaining easy, but it also allows for privacy.
The owners’ main living area has two stories with a master bedroom, which can be accessed by a rolling door, and porches on either end of the structure. “This large, barn-like building, with its moveable bedroom wall and office, allows the house to be both intimate and social, effortlessly accommodating guests or individuals alike,” Flato says.
Rolling glass doors and oversized porches draw in a river breeze that keeps the home cool.
Porches and rolling glass doors draw in the river breeze to keep the home cool.
The owners wanted their home to have many textures, from wood accents to steel details, and that can be seen in multiple areas, including the concrete retaining wall for the lap pool.
“Exposing the craft and detail of the materials was a key part of the design,” Flato notes. The texture of the house, he says, can be observed in the concrete retaining wall for the lap pool.
A 75-foot-long lap pool on the west end of the home comes in handy during the couple’s triathlon training sessions.
“The owners envisioned a place that engaged with the outdoors while providing accommodating spaces for their off-season training for triathlons,” Flato notes. A 75-foot-long lap pool on the west end of the home comes in handy during practice.
A Renlita Floataway garage door is shielded by one of the home’s many overhangs.