Patrick Ousey, AIA
Pam Chandler, AIA
To site and build a house near Austin’s downtown so the downsizing homeowners could easily walk to dining and recreation venues.
The clients were reverse-trending, moving from the suburbs to an inner-city location known for its lively cultural and culinary scene. In addition to having proximity to these attractions, it was also important that the two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath house be lock-and-leave, since the couple spends only half the year in Austin.
The clients wanted to maximize their lot’s assets, so a three-story residence that takes advantage of the unique characteristics of the site was designed. The 2900-square-foot residence clad in burnished white plaster pays homage to Modernism. The lower level includes a carport, entry, and guest bedroom. The existing retaining wall from the previous structure remains exposed. The main level features a glass-walled living space and terrace, plus a view of the city. On the upper level, the master suite is flanked by balconies that overlook a canopy of mature oaks. A sculptural steel and white oak staircase connects the floors.
A significant architectural feature of the house is its connection not just to close-up views of the trees, but also to the faraway views of the city. With a simple palette of materials and plenty of glass walls to expand the view beyond the confines of the interior spaces, the solidity of the residence yields to light and space.
The homeowners are celebrating a new stage in their lives characterized by working less and enjoying seasonal residence in Austin. The house is the perfect home base from which to explore their hip neighborhood, but it is also a place with its own impressive amenities to experience—such as the rooftop terrace, where the couple savors their private view of the urban skyline.