Visit a contemporary Austin Ranch home with lots of Texas Kicks
Although the Zilker neighborhood of Austin, Texas is best known for being home to the beloved Austin City Limits music festival, its charms also extend to its homes, especially the work of the architect AD Stenger, who designed many of the panhandle’s ranch-style homes in the 1950s and 1960s.
So when a couple bought empty land in Zilker, they commissioned a local architect Paul Lamb with the design of a home for them and their daughter that blends in with the surrounding architecture to the point that it seems to have been there forever.
For inspiration, Lamb and his collaborator Ted Young first looked at the work of the Californian architect cliff can, whose low-slung, pitched-roof buildings gave rise to the original ranch style in the 1930s. But since clients also wanted to include references to their South and Central Texas roots, Lamb came up with a happy medium. : a blend of South Texas brush country architecture and Southern California easygoing homes.
The result? An airy, bright home that balances soothing, earthy textures with strategic bursts of color and pattern. “We wanted everything to be pretty light, but not white,” says the wife, who works in commercial property development and did most of the interior decorating. “Our philosophy for most of the house was to make the rooms we spent the most time quite neutral, and then explore with color in other areas.”
One of the most dynamic spaces in the house, the living room combines traditional warmth with contemporary chic, where a cheery yellow sofa complements vintage black Terje Ekstrom chairs. “We really wanted it to be a bit more special, but not too precious,” the woman says. “We wanted two separate groups of seats, and one of them kind of sticks together, but doesn’t match.”
Although not a Texas staple, the fireplace is inspired by a large stone fireplace used for cooking in the husband’s childhood home. The hearth extending from the fireplace was originally intended as seating, but has since become a perch for art and other tchotchkes.
Lamb designed a slatted ceiling beneath a series of skylights, a move that provides the perfect filter for the harsh Texas sunlight and keeps the house cool, along with the mortared limestone walls and dark tiled floor. The vintage Afghan rug was one of the first items the couple found for the dining room, so they designed the room around it. Since the husband is one of six children, they found a vintage table that could accommodate large Texas family gatherings.
Initially, they weren’t sure if the snake-shaped woven light fixture they had made in Mexico would work in the home. But as soon as Lamb saw it, he knew he had to go to the dining room where he brings an organic touch of drama. “It’s amazing,” he says, “really a one-of-a-kind thing.”
“He’s a great chef, but I think those two were the least demanding customers when it came to cooking,” Lamb says of the husband, who is one of the founders of a bustling hospitality business. Austin. “We were so surprised.”
But there were still some must-haves. Most important was having a large island in the center – with no sinks or cooking appliances – for prep work. After a diligent search, they found a quartzite slab large enough to be used for both the island and the countertops. The terracotta grout for the glazed tile backsplash was chosen to complement the brown veins of the quartzite.
The minimalist cabinetry mirrors the subtle green palette throughout the home, which references the tiles on the exterior. But it was essential to maintain a balance between light and dark. “We knew there would be a lot of light in the house, so we did dark floors to give it a kind of shaded, cool feel balanced with soft white walls and different greens,” says Lamb.
To keep mornings efficient for the busy couple, Lamb created two separate shower niches accented with aged brass panels and fixtures, framed in a soothing arch. “It was a benchmark in masonry, since it is a stone house inside and out,” he explains. “It’s a way to get a soft shape without literally being an arch.” The mint green tile grout on the Fireclay tiles again subtly references the house’s green palette.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and uploaded to this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content on piano.io