A Contemporary Austin Home with a Midcentury Vibe


Contemporary Neutral Exterior with Picture Windows

Warm wood elements and large windows that capture natural vistas allow a redesigned house in Austin to take full advantage of its picturesque setting.

Contemporary White Entry with Trellis

Architects Ryan Burke and Eric Barth conceived a modern trellis fabricated by Steel House MFG, designed to not interfere with an existing tree in front of this Austin home’s entrance. The front door is by Buffelen and windows are by Marvin Windows and Doors, both purchased through BMC.

Contemporary White Foyer with Patterned Wool Rug

Interior designer Allison Burke placed a wool rug from Room & Board in the entry to add color and texture against the old-growth walnut flooring from Reclaimed DesignWorks. An oil painting by artist Joyce Howell, purchased from Wally Workman Gallery, hangs above a walnut console from Organic Modernism in Los Angeles.

Contemporary White Living Room with White Brick Fireplace

A wool Kalaty carpet from Oriental Rug Gallery of Texas establishes the color palette in the open living room, which is furnished with a sectional from Crate and Barrel and a coffee table from Room & Board that features a hickory top and steel sides. Enabler installed the wood ceiling.

Contemporary White Dining Room with Gallery Wall

In the dining room, the ceiling pulls short of the wall, allowing natural daylight to filter into the space from clerestory windows. Displayed above a teak-slatted console from Bevara in San Rafael, California, is a pair of oil paintings by Stella Alesi. Millwork throughout the house is by TRC Carpentry Services.

Contemporary White Dining Room with Graphic Patterned Rug

Creating an island of pattern and color in the dining room is another Kalaty carpet from Oriental Rug Gallery of Texas. Bontempi leather chairs from Nest Modern encircle a table featuring a salvaged-steel base and a pecan top fabricated by Hewn. A Pelle chandelier from Lightology in Chicago crowns the space.

Contemporary White Living Room with Sliding Glass Doors

Armchairs and a plush sofa, all from Nest Modern, create a private place for conversation in the detached casita that is used as a family room. An existing table rests on a David Hicks wool rug. Outdoor fans cool the exterior courtyard, which can be used as an open entertainment space or a screened-in patio.

Contemporary White Courtyard with Limestone Pavers

A courtyard with Gray Lueders limestone pavers connects the main home and a detached casita, which has many uses, including the husband’s office and a family room. The area also provides a place for the children to play and ride their bikes.

Contemporary White Exterior with Limestone Terrace

Creating the back of the house is a brick retaining wall and Gray Lueders limestone terraces steps. Landscape architect Sara Partridge used native stone and plants so that the scenery wouldn’t compete with the architecture.

Contemporary White Courtyard with Japanese Maple Tree

For a small courtyard visible from many of the home’s interior spaces, Partridge planted native grasses around a coral bark Japanese maple tree that will change color throughout the seasons. The area was inspired by a Japanese garden.

Contemporary White Bathroom with Shag Carpet

A carpet from Flokati Rugs in Jersey City, New Jersey, is juxtaposed with sleek surfaces, such as limestone flooring from Stone Source and walls clad with tiles from Ann Sacks, in the spa-like master bathroom. A fixture from Arteriors illuminates the scene, which includes a Kohler bathtub purchased from Moore Supply Company.

Contemporary White Bathroom with Gray Tuft Bench

The master bathroom’s tufted bench from Back Home provides a place for respite. A custom mirror hangs over cabinetry made of rift-sawn white oak and featuring hardware from Alexander Marchant. Caesarstone countertops from Architectural Tile & Stone reside with sinks by Kohler and faucets by Hansgrohe, all from Moore Supply Company.

Every space in this house has its own fingerprint and a unique relationship to the outside,” architect Eric Barth says about the Austin home that he and architect Ryan Burke designed for a family with young children. The duo created a brand-new linear home, perched on a gently sloping hill, with a midcentury vibe using much of the brick and other materials from the original 1960s-era house that once stood on the site. “It’s an extreme idea to disassemble a house and reuse the parts,” Barth says. “But it’s more sustainable and there’s something about that continuum that we really like.”

According to the architects, builder Branson Fustes was instrumental in the success of the labor-intensive project. “Branson was committed to the idea of doing something sensible, even if it was counter to the way most houses are built today,” Ryan Burke explains. The home’s transformation still astonishes Fustes, who weaved together the original and new brick so that they are indistinguishable. “The result is a cohesive palette and texture,” Fustes says. “It was originally a very dark house with a big imposing roofline, and now it’s all open spaces with an abundance of natural light.”

Indeed, light floods into the house from long rectangular clerestory windows, strategically placed skylights and floor-to-ceiling expanses of glass that look out onto a series of courtyards, each designed with its own function. “The courtyards are connected like a string of pearls on a necklace that weaves throughout the house,” Barth explains. “You get this expanse of glass and daylight, but you’re never looking at the street or a neighbor, so it’s private even with the shades open.”

The largest, partially covered courtyard, complete with gray Lueders limestone pavers, connects the main home to a casita that the husband uses as his office. Here, landscape architect Sara Partridge continued the limestone in the front of the home, where it was laid as rectangular pavers with grass growing between them to facilitate water drainage. The casual aesthetic continues in a smaller courtyard—visible from several interior rooms—where Partridge planted native grasses around a coral bark Japanese maple tree that will change color throughout the seasons. “The team wanted something natural that would kind of creep into the interiors,” Partridge explains.

Creating a strong connection between inside and out was so important to the architects that they adjusted their design to accommodate the mature oak trees that grew on the site, actually varying the ceiling heights to make room for the old-growth branches. “The lower ceilings allow the house to stay underneath the branches, and we popped up ceiling heights where we could,” Ryan Burke explains. “It’s a pretty magical moment when you’re in the living room and you can see tree branches in every direction.”

In areas with higher ceilings, the long rectangular clerestory windows frame the treetops and offer another source of natural light, while those strategically placed skylights bring brightness into the deeper interior spaces. In the master bathroom, for example, the architects carved out a portion of the ceiling over the tub. “By controlling the ceiling planes, we were able to create these little moments of exception,” Barth explains. There’s another such moment in the kitchen, where a wood trellis prevents the space’s high ceilings from feeling too cavernous and provided a place to affix task lighting. “We went to great lengths to make this kitchen feel nestled into the space,” Barth says. “There’s a language of planes, beams and columns, which are being supported by brick masses.”

Working closely with interior designer Allison Burke and the homeowners, the team selected the materials palette for the entire home. Rift-sawn white oak, which has been used for built-in bookcases in the living room and cabinetry in the kitchen, complements the cypress ceiling and walnut flooring that run throughout the house. “I wanted the white oak and cypress to flow together so that the interesting grain of the walnut floors would stand out,” Allison Burke explains. In the kitchen, white quartzite countertops and a back-painted glass backsplash echo the paint used to unify the new and reused brick throughout. By contrast, the designer brought in patterned rugs with green, blue and yellow hues for the living areas. “A lot of the color palette was driven by the tones found just outside,” she explains. The carpets also add interest to the otherwise clean and contemporary furnishings. In the entry, for example, a small rug with a blue tribal pattern coexists peacefully with a modernist console, while in the dining room, a rug is paired with a live-edge table and a whimsical glass-and-leather chandelier. “The husband is a modernist and the wife is more traditional,” Allison Burke says. “So we tried to bridge the gap between the two.”

According to the architects, the project’s success can be attributed to the strong relationship between the owners and design team. “This house is a simple poetic gesture that has a lot of depth,” Ryan Burke explains. “There’s no line between the interior design and architecture, and that’s the hallmark of a great collaboration. At the end of the day, this project was a smashing success.”

—Tate Gunnerson