This home was designed to fit into Austin’s eclectic Hyde Park neighborhood and to meet the owners’ desire for a “monastically simple space, filled with light.” The architects sited the new building near the street to preserve the existing 1939 cottage at the rear of the property and to create a private courtyard between the two structures. Deep porches on both the ground and second floors overlook this courtyard and the magnificent sycamore tree enclosed within it.
The clients wanted a fluid plan with little preference given to interior over exterior living, a logical demand in such a moderate climate. The building was designed as one continuous space with few full-height partitions; it feels open and bright, with large windows and abundant natural light. A NanaWall window system divides the living room and kitchen from the deep rear porch. When opened, the boundary between interior and exterior dissolves, extending the living and dining areas onto the covered porch and into the backyard.
Exterior walls parallel the street while interior partitions align with true north. The cardinal axis is marked by a solid, stone fireplace that serves as an anchor against which the residents are made aware of the daily and seasonal swing of sunlight. The angle of the bar between the kitchen and living room, along with wood flooring running north/south, subtly reinforce this awareness.