A remodel of an existing 1938 bungalow in an historic central Austin neighborhood, the design aims to preserve the character of the context with a humble front facade, while unfolding and transforming in the back to accommodate small and large social gatherings. The design of the remodel and addition negotiates a 12-foot drop from the front of the lot to the back with considered landscape design, in concert with modified roof form that allows for three stories in the back. Thus, the “Mullet House” has its name for being modest in the front, with a figural and literal “party” in the back.

The house and lot are in the heart of Clarksville, founded by Charles Clark, a freedman, in 1871. It’s the oldest surviving freedomtown - a post-Civil War settlement founded by freed slaves, and as such, is on the National Register of Historic Places. The original house was deemed a contributing structure this historic place, and therefore could not be removed, even though it was in severe disrepair.

The symmetrical historical front facade was preserved in its entirety, as approved by Austin’s Historic Landmark Commission, and workshopped in collaboration with the Old West Austin Neighborhood Association. Bricks from other portions of the original house were salvaged and reused on the exterior, and framing lumber was reclaimed from the original house and repurposed as an interior finish material in unexpected and refreshing ways on the main level of the house. A dead tree on the lot was milled to construct the dining table, increasing the connection of the newly-designed intervention to its original surroundings.

The west facade, facing a prominent corner in the neighborhood, has minimal openings for solar modulation, but is broken up by the unique brick coursing strategies and extruded metal-clad boxes expressing functions within. A reading nook is one of the expressed cantilevered boxes, as is the vanity in the master bathroom suite.

The design choreographs a scripted procession, as the entry sequence starts with a humble and compressed space, finished out with darker wall surfaces and heavy antique furnishings. Continuing toward the back, larger spaces are accentuated with lighter colors, materials, and furnishings, as well as a 2-story graffiti wall – all bathed in natural light from expansive modern openings. The floor level for the kitchen, living, and dining areas extend to an exterior deck which bridges to the roof of the flat-roofed guest house at the very limit of the lot.

The staircase is at the center of the scheme and is the functional and symbolic connector of all three levels. The end of the staircase volume breaks away from the orthogonal grid with a diagonal cant that breaks up the east facade and captures unique light and views, all while connecting the old and new in a meaningful home for a young family.

Matt Fajkus Architecture uploaded Mullet House through Add A Home.
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Modern home with Exterior, Stucco Siding Material, Metal Roof Material, Brick Siding Material, Wood Siding Material, House Building Type, and Metal Siding Material. Mullet House by Matt Fajkus Architecture | Photo by Charles Davis Smith Photo  of Mullet HouseView Photos

Mullet House by Matt Fajkus Architecture | Photo by Charles Davis Smith

Modern home with Outdoor, Rooftop, Wood Patio, Porch, Deck, Hanging Lighting, Metal Fences, Wall, and Trees. The mullet design provides ample outdoor entertaining space for social gatherings. Photo 2 of Mullet HouseView Photos

The mullet design provides ample outdoor entertaining space for social gatherings.

Modern home with Exterior, Metal Roof Material, House Building Type, Brick Siding Material, and Saltbox RoofLine. The original facade was transformed into a contemporary profile that pays homage to the home's humble roots.  Photo 3 of Mullet HouseView Photos

The original facade was transformed into a contemporary profile that pays homage to the home's humble roots.

Modern home with Exterior, Metal Roof Material, House Building Type, Wood Siding Material, Brick Siding Material, Metal Siding Material, and Saltbox RoofLine. Bricks from the original bungalow were salvaged and repurposed.  Photo 4 of Mullet HouseView Photos

Bricks from the original bungalow were salvaged and repurposed.

Modern home with Exterior, Wood Siding Material, Metal Siding Material, House Building Type, Stucco Siding Material, Brick Siding Material, Metal Roof Material, and Saltbox RoofLine. The design of the remodel negotiates a 12-foot drop from the front of the lot to the back with a modified roof form that allows for three stories. Photo 5 of Mullet HouseView Photos

The design of the remodel negotiates a 12-foot drop from the front of the lot to the back with a modified roof form that allows for three stories.

Modern home with Doors, Wood, Interior, and Swing Door Type. The entry sequence starts with a humble and compressed space that expands upon entry. The front door is made of repurposed wood. Photo 6 of Mullet HouseView Photos

The entry sequence starts with a humble and compressed space that expands upon entry. The front door is made of repurposed wood.

Modern home with Living Room, Rug Floor, Storage, End Tables, Pendant Lighting, Chair, Bench, and Dark Hardwood Floor. The sitting area is finished with dark surfaces and heavy, antique furnishings. Photo 7 of Mullet HouseView Photos

The sitting area is finished with dark surfaces and heavy, antique furnishings.

Modern home with Living Room, Chair, End Tables, Pendant Lighting, Rug Floor, Recessed Lighting, and Dark Hardwood Floor. Black walls were used to create contrast, and the black board-and-batten box is the powder room that separates the kitchen and the hallway with a glimpse of the living area beyond. The kitchen, living, and dining areas extend out to the exterior deck.  Photo 8 of Mullet HouseView Photos

Black walls were used to create contrast, and the black board-and-batten box is the powder room that separates the kitchen and the hallway with a glimpse of the living area beyond. The kitchen, living, and dining areas extend out to the exterior deck.

Modern home with Dining Room, Pendant Lighting, Light Hardwood Floor, Stools, Chair, Bar, Storage, and Table. A dead tree on the lot was milled to construct the dining table, further connecting the newly designed home to its historic community.  Photo 9 of Mullet HouseView Photos

A dead tree on the lot was milled to construct the dining table, further connecting the newly designed home to its historic community.

Modern home with Dining Room, Light Hardwood Floor, Chair, Storage, Table, Pendant Lighting, Shelves, and Bench. A reading nook fits perfectly into one of the cantilevered boxes. Photo 10 of Mullet HouseView Photos

A reading nook fits perfectly into one of the cantilevered boxes.

Modern home with Light Hardwood Floor, Pendant Lighting, and Recessed Lighting. The opposite view of the kitchen. Photo 11 of Mullet HouseView Photos

The opposite view of the kitchen.

Modern home with Light Hardwood Floor. The kitchen extends out to the deck.  Photo 12 of Mullet HouseView Photos

The kitchen extends out to the deck.

Modern home with Living Room, Pendant Lighting, Storage, Light Hardwood Floor, Chair, Table, and Stools. Mullet House by Matt Fajkus Architecture | Photo by Charles Davis Smith Photo 13 of Mullet HouseView Photos

Mullet House by Matt Fajkus Architecture | Photo by Charles Davis Smith

Modern home with Living Room, Shelves, Recessed Lighting, Light Hardwood Floor, Rug Floor, and End Tables. A double-height graffiti wall is bathed in natural light. Photo 14 of Mullet HouseView Photos

A double-height graffiti wall is bathed in natural light.

Mullet House by Matt Fajkus Architecture | Photo by Charles Davis Smith Photo 15 of Mullet House modern homeView Photos

Mullet House by Matt Fajkus Architecture | Photo by Charles Davis Smith

Modern home with Recessed Lighting. Mullet House by Matt Fajkus Architecture | Photo by Charles Davis Smith Photo 16 of Mullet HouseView Photos

Mullet House by Matt Fajkus Architecture | Photo by Charles Davis Smith

Modern home with Exterior, House Building Type, Wood Siding Material, Metal Siding Material, Metal Roof Material, Brick Siding Material, and Saltbox RoofLine. A close-up of the brickwork which is broken up by the unique, randomized brick coursing to help blend old and new bricks.  Photo 17 of Mullet HouseView Photos

A close-up of the brickwork which is broken up by the unique, randomized brick coursing to help blend old and new bricks.

Modern home with Exterior, Metal Siding Material, Brick Siding Material, Stucco Siding Material, House Building Type, Metal Roof Material, Wood Siding Material, and Saltbox RoofLine. Overall, the design strove to preserve some of the character of the original front facade while allowing a contemporary structure to unfold.  Photo 18 of Mullet HouseView Photos

Overall, the design strove to preserve some of the character of the original front facade while allowing a contemporary structure to unfold.

Modern home with Exterior, Wood Siding Material, Metal Roof Material, House Building Type, Stucco Siding Material, Metal Siding Material, and Brick Siding Material. Mullet House by Matt Fajkus Architecture | Photo by Charles Davis Smith Photo 19 of Mullet HouseView Photos

Mullet House by Matt Fajkus Architecture | Photo by Charles Davis Smith

Mullet House site plans Photo 20 of Mullet House modern homeView Photos

Mullet House site plans