Friday, November 7, 2008

Austin AIA Homes Tour Re-cap

About a month ago the Architect and I roadtripped down to Austin for their annual homes tour. We hadn't been there in a few years, but enjoyed our past visits. Homes tours such as the one in Austin, this weekend's Dallas AIA Homes Tour and the White Rock Homes Tour are great ways to get ideas for your own home. Usually the architects and designers are at the home and there is always lots of reading material to pick up. So without further adieu I give you my re-cap of the Austin AIA Homes tour:

Biggest disappointment: 2708 Rae Dell by Barron Custom Design. I was really looking forward to this house because it was an MCM redo. I was sorely disappointed. The front of the original house looks fabulous. I love the siding and frosted glass garage doors.

But Whisky Tango Foxtrot on the addition that landed on the back of the house! It was way to big and overwhelmed the rest of the house. The back yard is huge and goes back quite a ways. If they felt they needed that much space they could have made it a one story addition. Instead, when you are in the back yard there is some very nice landscaping but a huge dead area behind the addition. And the views were not that great from the addition - no downtown view or lake view that I recall.

The other thing that disappointed me was the lack of continuity inside the house when it came to floors and fixtures. The entry way was an arts and crafts style door with a ceramic tile floor mosaic entry in mutued colors seen from houses in that period. You wander to the kitchen, you have cork floors, then wander into the bathrooms and other rooms finding slate, other ceramic and the pine floors in the addition. I'm not saying you have to use the same flooring throughout but at least think about texture, color, and how they will all flow together.

BTW, the house is for sale, more interior shots and this image are here.

House I would like to go to a party at: This is a condo in downtown Austin right near UT. The interior was designed by Anthony Alofsin. Hello LCDs! LCD lights are mounted in the floor allowing you to change the colors of your walls. Although, I am curious to see how often these LCDs are used in real life. The spaces were nice, but with so much white lacquer I kinda felt like I was in a nightclub. Actually, it reminded me a lot of Supper Club in San Francisco. A nice place to visit, but I don't want to live there. That being said, there was some nice use of built-ins to hide media equipment, etc. The Architect especially liked the built in wet bar.
More shots and this image here.

My favorite home on the tour: Clayton, Levy, Little & Maier + Zelter House in Westlake Hills. Yeah, I know the picture is tiny, but this was the best one I could find at the moment. This is a renovation of I believe a 70s contemporary home. It is situated high on a bluff that overlooks the river. With a view like that, all you need to do is create spaces that focus on the view. What was great about this house is there was a theme throughout the house in regards to flooring, counter tops, and millwork. Polished concrete floors throughout and concrete counter tops along with a unified color scheme pulled the entire house together. There was also good usable outdoor space. In many of the homes we toured and I didn't discuss here, had great outdoor spaces but in places you wouldn't naturally gravitate to. Here, almost all of the rooms open up onto balconies with views of the river where you could really see yourself enjoying a cocktail, grilling or reading a book.

More about Clayton, Levy, Little here. They executed the renovation. More about Maier + Zelter here. They did the actual renovation design.

Current trends seen on the tour:

1. Horizontal slat fences.
2. Sliding panel doors - almost every house we saw had at least one.
3. Outdoor living spaces - ranging from the small intimate garden to full blown outdoor kitchens with fireplaces.
4. Rock/gravel landscaping
5. Gratuitous fixtures - I'm talking about over the top faucets and basins, LEDs, put there to be showy and say "I'm cool."

We are off to the Dallas AIA Homes Tour this weekend. Re-cap to follow in the next few weeks.

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