Perched on top of a bluff, surrounded by cedar trees, the arching, semi circular shape of this structure affords every room in it a panoramic view of Onion Creek.
Beyond the creek, spreads a meadow where horses roam.
The shape of the plan was dictated by how it sat on the site.
From the access road, the “public” side, the structure disappears into the earth making the house inconspicuous and quiet.
From the other side of the creek, the “private” side, the house stands elegantly commanding and dominating all that surrounds it.
Outdoor porches cantilever and project out of the Upper Floor to serve as an extension of the inside space and provide shading for the bottom floor from the harsh, late afternoon sun.
The Lower Floor is partially earth sheltered and accommodates the Bedrooms and private areas of the house.
An Elevator connects private and public spaces.
The roof is framed with curving steel trusses providing broad overhangs, sheltering the house with deep shade most of the day.
Under the trusses, tongue and groove redwood siding extends into the outside to better connect inside and outside spaces.
The walls and floors are of exposed concrete creating a cooling thermal anchor and providing the warmth of yet another material in the “raw”.
A second home and resort rental, the site gradually slopes north to the water edge.
A quarter of a mile from the water edge extends the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the largest barrier Reef in the Caribbean Sea.
The house, which was conceived, as a cluster of connected pods that step with the natural grade is long, thin and sited to minimize its exposure to the setting sun.
The pods were developed not only to encourage the ever present coastal breezes to move through the house, cooling the interior, but also to reduce the effect of an overpowering foot print on the site.
Main rooms housed in each pod open to a central deck with shaded, northerly views of the oceanfront.
On the edge of the deck a double negative edge swimming pool pours it’s water 12’-0” down and becomes a back drop to a Yoga Room nestled on the Ground Floor.
A century old Ceiba tree marks the oceanfront corner of the site, provides shade from the west, and with its proximity to the deck, protruding roots and permanence, connects us back to the earth.
Above the tree line, the observation tower has a panoramic view of the Caribbean Sea and the Tropical Rain Forest Mountains to the South.
The materials are chosen to be maintenance free in this salty, corrosive environment.
The roof structure is galvanized steel and wood.
The walls are painted stucco on masonry.
The floors are concrete creating a cooling thermal anchor.
Wood was used extensively on broad roof overhangs, gates, fences and window louvers to minimize the permanent feeling of the concrete.
Living in a tropical climate, with lush vegetation, sandy beaches and relaxed attitudes, has inspired several wooden houses with appealing interiors, influenced by local crafts and building traditions, climatic considerations and the desire to maximize indoor-outdoor living.
All houses exhibit contemporary sensibility and reveal how exotic environments can be enhanced through simple spaces.
Age old tropical design concepts carry on in these houses in an essential way, such as high ceilings to allow the air to rise and circulate and louvered openings that create natural cross-ventilation, help to catch a cooling breeze and also seal out the extremes of the driving rains and norther winds.
The minimalistic design of these houses produces a feeling of pervasive calm and capture the essence of year-round warmth and balmy natural surroundings.
We can sometimes feel a sense of connection from the outdoor room that is simply screened from the elements or the refinement that comes with the streamlining of sensuous natural materials.
The best results are defined in essential simplicity, open plan arrangements, and beautiful craftsmanship throughout.
Tarrytown is, some say, Austin's most prestigious address and it certainly is where many of the city's movers and shakers live.
This is mostly an area of gracious houses.
Dated with it’s clap siding and steep roof lines, this house on Hopi Trail was home to the Lee’s for 12 years before they decided that not only did they need to expand, but also they needed to update.
Most challenging was to convert this house from a non-descript Colonial Style “Salt Box” to a more permanent French Provincial Estate.
The main requisite was for the house to appear as if it had been erected some time in the mid 20th century.
A structural stone circular tower at it’s center was the focal feature that helped define the entrance, break up the front elevation and bring character and romance to the home.
The tower was the ideal space for a Master Bathroom on the Second Floor and a Sitting Room on the First Floor.
The choice of local hand picked stone for the tower gave the home permanence and grandeur.
Flat arches on walls, bricked ceilings, exposed stone, mosaic floors and distressed cabinets added warmth and a lasting quality to the new interior spaces.
The roof, tiled with an imported French flat clay shingle, and the added “flair” to the roof eaves were significant details that had a profound effect on achieving the look desired.
A beautiful sprawling lot in a new subdivision west of Austin was begging for a structure to stretch out at it's highest point and take advantage of sunrises and sunsets, western breezes, and majestic views of the Hill Country.
Kitchen, Dining, and Living areas stretch between Bedroom Suites that occupy their own private wings.
The house is not only open in the horizontal plane but also vertically with 20'-0" ceilings in all Public areas.
Porches and trellises tie Private and Public areas and provide an extension of the inside to the outside.
Simple elegance, abundant light and space describe this home not only within the structure, but also in the way it sits on the land.
A separate barn structure and more trellises are planned for the future.