An Interior at Home in its Site: Learning from Precedents

Presented by: Kimberley Furlong and Krista Whitson

The 2,900sf home was built for a retiring couple in search of a carefree modern retreat sympathetic with its natural surroundings in the hill country southwest of Austin Texas. Historically significant Modern precedents and regional case studies inform the building form, materials and patterns of inhabitation. Additional values included an appreciation for local building and material traditions, as well as sustainable design practices. 

The limestone clad house stretches along the remote site’s rock ledges while three bays push beyond the simple volume to offer both intimate and distant panoramic views of the hills beyond. A series of ganged windows and doors connect the structure to the landscape.  The low-slung roof, with generous overhangs, offers shaded and framed views from the interior while collecting rain-water and supplying all household water needs.

Inside, partitions stay well below the ceiling, and extensive free-standing white oak veneer cabinets separate areas, allowing the locally sourced cypress ceiling boards to continue uninterrupted.  An interior glass clerestory affords the Master Bedroom acoustical privacy while connecting it visually to the remainder of the house.  A wood clad skylight chimney gathers light for the Guest Bath while concealing supply and return HVAC.  Anchoring its core, the home’s thick board-formed concrete mass provides both an interior and an exterior fireplace.  A custom glass and steel Master Bath shower enclosure surrounding a teak deck, and a cantilevered bathtub bay window allows continuous visual connection between interior spaces and the outdoors.  Twelve-foot cypress doors on the dogtrot screened Porch enhance the sense of scale and height in the space. The Porch captures the prevailing breezes and the sounds of nature, creating seamless indoor-out-door connections when desired.


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