The opportunity to live simultaneously in the center of the city and in an isolated refuge presented a powerful circumstance for this family of four. Within a very ordinary neighborhood, this home is oriented to take maximum advantage of the unexpected escarpment, creek and natural views offered at the rear of the property.
An unmitigated roof defines a precinct for living and creates continuity throughout the property while a delicate custom-glazed window wall, accentuated by monolithic corner glazing, connects the interior to the outdoors. Inhabitation is here defined between a lush front courtyard and a dynamic expanse of nature behind.
A magnificent live oak with an unusually tall trunk allowed for adjustment of the steep grade. The ubiquitous Cedar ceiling opens to allow it the tree pass through, and an Ipe deck permits the penetration of water. A second opening in the ceiling invites light and rain deep into the center of the house. The house emphasizes a dynamic spatial sequence while at the same time creating an abstract backdrop for the serendipity of light, reflection, circumstance and view.
Inside, a rich palette of materials, furniture and detailed cabinetry punctuate the ensemble to add a sense of finesse and offer points of stasis to the compelling and omnipresent out-of-doors. Here, a straight-grain, Western Red Cedar ceiling and vertical siding, Calacatta Lincoln marble countertops, end-grain White Oak backsplashes, gray Leuders limestone and a custom steel-and-White Oak entry door demonstrate great constructional aplomb and detail — all the more special as it was built by the owner in his first foray into being a general contractor.
1st floor gross area: 3,643 sf
Wall area deduction: 413 sf
Net HVAC area: 3,230 sf
Total area under roof: 6,875 sf
-Glass panel clear satin mirror kitchen backsplash
-Steel w/wax finish accents interior and exterior
-Flavor paper wallpaper in baths 1 and 2
-Leuders gray limestone exterior w/ water jet cut radius stones at curved wall
-Statuary marble kitchen and powder and master countertops
-Heath ceramic tile in master bath
-Ann Sacks Popham hex arrow slate powder room tile
-Western red cedar white was stain exterior vertical siding, ext soffit, int ceiling
-Rift sawn white oak master bath cabinetry
-End grain red oak backsplash at kitchen island
-Steel frame entry pivot door w/ tapered oak pulls
-Painted poplar screen at entry stair, kids wing hallway, kitchen
-Mahogany entry door frame
-Site glazed insulated glass at kitchen, living, entry and master
-Kolbe Vistalux windows at kids wing, mudroom, garage
-2’ x 3’ epoxy terrazzo tile at kitchen, living, entry and master
-engineered white oak at kids wing
-cedar-clad Schweiss hydraulic garage door
ClientChris & Julie Hill
Gross Floor Area (mq)3600
ArchitectsErnesto Cragolino, Tim Whitehill
Design teamKevin Alter, Ernesto Cragolino, Tim Whitehill
Main ContractorChrist Hill & Mark Paulsen
ConsultantsPositive Energy, BDW Landscaping
SuppliersDecorum Arch Stone, Kaswell Flooring, Harway Appliances, Boral Stone Products, Peacock Glass, Jay Scallion Pools
Photo CreditsCasey Dunn, Leonid Furmansky
Alter Studio Architecture of Austin, Texas focuses its attention on the relationship between the material facts of architecture and the social occasions it shelters and invites. The work is rooted in deep-seated virtues of architecture - generous space making, shrewd manipulation of day lighting, and meticulous attention to detail. The heightening of direct human experience and the framing of the complex circumstances of their situations are at the core of each project. Their commitment to enhance and protect both the cultural and natural environments of the communities they serve is evident in the technical craftsmanship of our designs and in the long-term sustainability of their projects. Widely recognized for their compelling designs and meticulous attention to detail, Alterstudio Architecture has won more than 100 design awards and has been regularly published internationally. The office relies on the talent of its three partners and eight staff members.