A Q & A with Travis Young of Studio Momentum | 2017 Austin Modern Homes Tour

Are you enjoying this Spring-Summer and it still should be Winter weather or what? Austin is definitely made for outdoor living and it’s no wonder why, there’s a slew of architects and homeowners that makes it a point to make their outdoor space an extension of their interior abode. This weekend is the Austin Modern Homes Tour, get your tickets and get ready to be inspired!

Read my post on one of the amazing properties by Bercy Chen Studio and lucky me, I also got to do a Q & A with the visionary behind 1705 Collier, Travis Young of Studio Momentum. 

The backyard at 1705 Collier | Studio Momentum

The backyard at 1705 Collier | Studio Momentum

1/ How does Studio Momentum approach a project? First steps taken? 

The initial steps include a discussion of the goals and parameters of the project.  Oftentimes, this includes a frank conversation about the budget, the site, and the timeline.  In the case of the Collier residence, our firm acted as the architect and the builder, so meeting budget limitations was our responsibility from the beginning.  Secondly, we do a thorough examination of the constraints of the site.

For inner city lots, in existing neighborhoods constraints can be significant.  The City of Austin has numerous restrictions on the amount, size and scale of development.  Trees and topography as well as solar orientation all impact the site in very specific ways and we like to start with the right information to avoid pitfalls down the road.  Lastly, we must be clear about the time it takes to design, permit, bid and build a residential project.  For the Collier project, we spent approximately 17 months from the very first initial meeting to completion of the construction.

2/ What are the materials used in the Collier St. project & why?

The materials used in the Collier project are stone, stucco, steel and wood.  The stone and wood siding are regionally produced.  The stucco and steel is durable and designed to withstand the central Texas climate with very little or no maintenance over time.  The decking material is called Bam Deck, and is a composite product made of recycled plastic and bamboo fibers.  The interior flooring is a seven species, antique, reclaimed wood, that shows it’s patina and original saw marks.  This particular product was picked for its varied color and textured surface which would show less dirt, and allow the client’s dogs to get a better grip on the flooring, thus minimizing the appearance of scratches.

The kitchen at 1705 Collier | Studio Momentum

3/ Tell me more about the round cut outs made in one of the interior spaces & exterior space.

All things have a reason, and all things have been done before.  With that said, this particular detail provides a counterpoint to the many rectilinear forms seen in the house.  These circular openings mark thresholds between busy and quiet spaces.  They are intended to mark points of respite within and outside the home.  The keyhole entryway near the front of the house leads to a smaller “zen” space that is adjacent to the relaxing sound of the front porch fountain.  In the case of the outdoor covered porch, the opening allows views into the neighbors bamboo grove.  In this case, the neighbors are also the parents of the homeowners, so this connection is warranted.  Lastly, there is a beautiful art deco home near Shoal Creek called the Bolm house here in Austin.  This home has a similar keyhole feature.  In the Bolm Residence the keyhole passage is equipped with custom pocket doors.

This keyhole entry struck me as both functional and beautiful.  Architecture should have moments of joy.

4/ The balcony fence design is very interesting, tell me more about that.

We wanted to have something that met the criteria of the code, providing a fall guard at the balcony, that also reflected the exterior environment.  In particular we wanted something to blend and complement the massive trees that mark the site.  The home is designed around these trees, and each balcony projects into the canopy of a particular tree.  All standard railing designs seemed to stand in stark contrast to the organic natural forms of the canopy.  

This railing design attempts to mediate between that which is man made, and that which is natural.  It attempts to obscure the top edge of the guard rail, allowing the vertical flow of light and space.  The pattern is repeated, and modified at each corner, creating a musical rhythm.  

The front facade at 1705 Collier | Studio Momentum

The front facade at 1705 Collier | Studio Momentum

Thank you so much Travis! And yes, we totally agree — architecture should have moments of joy!

Peek inside Austin’s most coveted contemporary homes and explore throughout: 

 

3201 Sunny Lane, Austin, TX 78731 (Riverside Homes LLC)

1207 E. 13th Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Verde Builders Custom Homes)

1705 Collier Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Studio Momentum Architects)*

2111 De Verne Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Barley|Pfeiffer Architecture)*

2804 S. 4th Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Bercy Chen Studio LP)*

2003 De Verne Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Steve Zagorski Architect)

4911 Timberline Drive, Austin, TX 78746 (Bade Stageberg Cox)

1606 Salina Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Newcastle Homes)

1608 Salina Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Newcastle Homes)

3306 Lakeside Drive, Austin, TX 78723 (Thurman Homes)^

2800 San Juan Drive, Austin, TX 78733 (The Value of Architecture, Bercy Chen Studio LP)*^

5111 Crestway Drive, Austin, TX 78731 (Grey Raven LLC)^

2207 Townes Lane, Austin, TX 78703 (Winn Wittman Architecture)*^

Get your map and get your tix HERE >>>. And because I’m feeling extra generous, get $5 off with this discount code, MAUREEN2017.

Austin Modern Homes Tour 2017 | 5 Things to Know about 2800 San Juan

The Austin architectural landscape is as diverse as they come — from traditional homes to Tuscan villas in & around the Lake, from mid-century modern homes to French chateaus, but the ones making waves are the clean lines with both aesthetic & sustainable sensibilities. This weekend, brace yourself for another awe-inspiring Austin Modern Homes Tour.

Living Room 2800 San Juan Austin

Last Thursday, I met with the Design-Build team for one of the projects featured in the tour, 2800 San Juan. It’s easy to be intimidated by award-winning & internationally acclaimed architects but Thomas {Bercy} & Sasha of Bercy Chen Studio is as Austin-friendly as they come. The site visit was both enlightening as it was educational. If you are attending {and you better!}, you must make it a point to check out the property. Here are 5 Things to Know about the Property:

1/ There are 2 homes built opposite each other, each one symmetrical in plan and design but the other one rotated at 90 degrees.

2/ The homes are built for outdoor living. There are open vistas bleeding to a view of the neighboring house creating a “borrowed” and Zen-like landscape as well as the rest of the hill country on the horizon. Which really begs the question, aren’t we all intertwined and interconnected? If you didn’t notice, I was getting a tad political there for a second.

3/ They built a contrast between the upstairs & the downstairs, case in point, there is dark stained concrete floors downstairs & upstairs are white {and bleached some more} oak floors. Walls are thinner upstairs {look for the indention} than downstairs. According to Sasha, “we want the downstairs to read as a carved out piece so we decided to go with a thicker material on the lower level so it would read as a block that was being carved out with the courtyards.”

A mix of materials, Corten Steel + Stucco Base & bleached, white oak floors {no it's not a typo}

A mix of materials, Corten Steel + Stucco Base & bleached, white oak floors {no it’s not a typo}

4/ There is beauty in imperfection. Look for their take on Wabi-sabi, the Japanese aesthetics of the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The oxidation of Corten steel to the stucco base creates an imperfection that’s impermanent & incomplete, continually evolving and yes, imperfectly perfect!

5/ The mix of materials is a study of different cultures. The structure itself is a take on the artistry & sculptures of Mexican artist, Yazpik — thick stucco base at the bottom, thin Corten steels for the top. The outdoor living space upstairs has Brazilian Massaranduba floors unmistakable for it’s rich red hue. The perforated steel inspired by Moroccan shapes & cutouts. The cabinets are European. White oak floors are so Scandinavian & the Lueder limestone in the bathrooms, well, it’s from Lueder, Texas. Of course, there’s the Japanese influence {wabi-sabi} and the Zen-like courtyards. Look also for the beautiful Walnut kitchen cabinet doors, custom made in Austin. So, I would say that’s 6 cultures all together, 7 if you consider the Texan culture as distinct {and it is, right?}.

Walnut Kitchen Cabinet Doors 2800 San Juan Austin

Photos by Andrea Calo

Thank you so much Sasha & Thomas!

Architecture is more than meets the eye, guys! When you go on the tour, step into the minds of the architects, feel the materials, look for inspiration and revel in the beauty that Modern Architecture in Austin has to offer.

Peek inside Austin’s most coveted contemporary homes and explore throughout: 

3201 Sunny Lane, Austin, TX 78731 (Riverside Homes LLC)

1207 E. 13th Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Verde Builders Custom Homes)

1705 Collier Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Studio Momentum Architects)*

2111 De Verne Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Barley|Pfeiffer Architecture)*

2804 S. 4th Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Bercy Chen Studio LP)*

2003 De Verne Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Steve Zagorski Architect)

4911 Timberline Drive, Austin, TX 78746 (Bade Stageberg Cox)

1606 Salina Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Newcastle Homes)

1608 Salina Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Newcastle Homes)

3306 Lakeside Drive, Austin, TX 78723 (Thurman Homes)^

2800 San Juan Drive, Austin, TX 78733 (The Value of Architecture, Bercy Chen Studio LP)*^

5111 Crestway Drive, Austin, TX 78731 (Grey Raven LLC)^

2207 Townes Lane, Austin, TX 78703 (Winn Wittman Architecture)*^

Get your map and get your tix HERE >>>. And because I’m feeling extra generous, get $5 off with this discount code, MAUREEN2017.

An Interview with Cornerstone Architects

modern foyer austin

What are you up to this weekend? Well, for more home inspiration and ideas, the 2014 Austin Modern Homes Tour is this Saturday. Learn about new building materials, how to make the transition between outdoor and living spaces seamless and ideas on design as well. I caught up with Chris Davenport, one of the architects at Cornerstone to talk about their featured home at Ridgewood as well as the new trends in building in 2014.

1. It’s 2014! What new trends are you seeing as far as energy efficiency in building and designing a home?  

With more and more homes pushing toward the modern vocabulary, we have seen a great increase in the number of clients who long for informal, functional living.  Extra Dining and Living areas are becoming much less frequent in favor of putting the effort and resources into spaces the family actually enjoys on a daily basis.  This drive towards practical and flexible spaces inherently improves the efficiency in building and couples nicely with the new technologies and building systems that are becoming increasingly more effective.

Modern home austin cornerstone architects

2. When designing the home at Ridgewood, what was the major challenge you were dealt with and how did you solve it?  

Most of the homes in this established Austin neighborhood are conventional in their layout with a front yard, rear yard, and a house that spans across the width of the somewhat narrow but deep lot.  In our case, we wanted to be sensitive to the heat gain of a Western rear exposure and also take advantage of a potential corridor lake view to the North or Right side of the lot.  A neighbor to the West was also a concern as their residence would be clearly visible from the rear of our house and yard. A “Fishbowl” effect with neighbors viewing in from all sides was in direct opposition with our goal to establish an enjoyable outdoor / indoor entertaining space with a pool.

In response to this challenge we implemented a “Y”-Shaped floor plan that turned the view from the Major living areas to the North.   A large stone Fireplace wall was incorporated on the West side to keep windows away from the neighbor and the hot Texas sun.  The Living Room wing pushes far enough past the North side neighbor’s home that the view to the lake was captured upstairs, and a sense of a somewhat private entertaining space was created.  We also left all of the existing trees and kept the pool snug to the house to increase the sense of one’s own space.

modern kitchen austin

3.Designing on a cost-conscious budget, what are a few examples of how you are able to achieve this for the Ridgewood home?

A common strategy that we employed on the Ridgewood residence was the “bang for your buck” philosophy.  We encourage the Owner to prioritize the spaces and features that are most important to them and spend their money there.  For most clients this means choosing high end materials and fixtures in the public spaces while pulling back a little bit in the secondary bedrooms and private spaces that only close friends and family see.

The reality is that simple paint grade finishes and monotone color schemes can actually be quite sufficient in a lot of modern expressions. They take emphasis off of the walls and put it on the Owner’s furnishings and artwork.  To further reduce cost, left over granite pieces were used as counters, and cost effective porcelain or ceramic floor tile was selected rather than traditional stone.

modern bedroom austin

4. What does it mean to be a 5-star green home?  

In the case of the Ridgewood residence this meant appropriate site placement, large overhangs, thoughtful location of windows, efficient heating and cooling, good insulation, and sustainable materials and plants.  A myriad of selections and systems had to be carefully coordinated between the Architect, Owner, Interior Designer, and Builder.  We are pleased to be a part of one of the most organized and recognized green building programs in the country, and the entire team worked together to achieve the highest rating.

5.Cornerstone has a wide range of portfolio from traditional to modern projects, aside from aesthetics, feel and look; how is a modern design project different from a traditional one?  

While the traditional concerns of Function, Aesthetics, and Budget are still important, I find that my Modern clientele tend to come to the table with additional expectations that challenge the norms of the “Traditional Home”.  Whether it be incorporating the latest green technology, using space in an unconventional manner, or simply driving towards a unique artistic expression, Modern homes tend to be less based in traditional archetypes and are more a result of an explorative process to express the unique needs, character, and desires of the client and site.

modern foyer austin

This home feels so spacious and refreshing. See this home and more at this weekend’s tour!

Images by Andrew Pogue

Do you have a Design question? Feel free to drop me a line here >>>

 

An Interview with Element 5 Architecture

modern home austin

I must say that Austin is truly multifaceted when it comes to design. Fresh from high doses of interiors inspiration this weekend with the Tribeza Interiors Tour, another great design event is coming up this weekend. Although decorating is my passion, one cannot deny that without building and architecture; well, a home will have no bones. I’ve been to the Austin Modern Homes Tour and they never disappoint. From each home, you’ll always take with you new ideas and learn from the best architects in town. I caught up with Nick Mehl of Elements 5 Architecture about their work at one of the homes that will be featured in the 2014 Austin Modern Homes Tour.

1. It’s 2014! What new trends are you seeing as far as energy efficiency in building and designing a home?

LEDs all the way! We’re seeing a growing interest in using LED lighting throughout and a growing interest in incorporating Smart Home technology – integrating lighting, wifi, computer networks, electrical outlets and HVAC controls into the design of the home.

living room modern home austin

2.”Modern, environmental designs on a strict budget,” I like that! What are a few examples of how you are able to achieve this {cutting costs, etc}?

Keeping to a strict budget is even harder than it sounds. It means we, as architects, have to possess the knowledge of how much each and every aspect of the design costs. Architects often rely on builders for that information, but our office has built many of our own projects. We work very closely with builders during the bid process and have learned (the hard way) the factors that drive the cost.

kitchen modern home austin

3. When designing the home at Daugherty, what was the major challenge you were dealt with and how did you solve it?

The Daugherty Residence was a challenge because, as with most modern designs, integrating the mechanical system is difficult with flat roofs, hidden structural beams and lack of attic space to run ducts. It sounds somewhat boring, but designing the mechanical system to work smoothly is something important for architects to consider.

4. Tell me more of how you designed the back patio.

The back patio is not completely finished, but I’m glad you like it so far. Our concept was for the living room to feel like a part of the back patio. Towards that end, we have a large wall of floor to ceiling glass and a ceiling that visually transfers from inside to outside. The patio itself features some really beautiful pavers that the owners found.

backyard modern home austin

5. Your firm is also keen on highlighting the natural elements unique to Austin, can you expound on that?

There are two aspects to designing with the natural elements of Austin. The most obvious is using materials that are found in our region – limestone, certain species of wood, concrete, steel and glass. Secondly, there are the skilled craftsmen unique to our region. We have a great source of skilled masons and stucco contractors. Integrating nature into our designs also helps tie it into the region, and there are some award winning landscape architects in Austin who work with a unique palette of materials.

dining modern home austin

Get your tickets here. The event is Feb 1st and starts at 11 am. See you there folks!

Do you have a Design question? Feel free to drop me a line here >>>

Images by Atelier Wong