A Modern Austin Abode with Precise Architectural Details


Modern Neutral Swim Dock with Metal Awning

Relaxation is complete on the swim dock thanks to a sofa and armchairs, both by Carlos Motta from Espasso in New York, covered in Sunbrella linen. B&B Italia’s Canasta coffee table is the centerpiece under a metal awning fabricated by Dennis Steel.

Modern Neutral Exterior with Outdoor Dining Room

The architects clad the house in a custom-cut antique Lueders limestone veneer fabricated by A.J. Brauer Stone that evokes the ripples in the lake’s surface. Vaughn Miller completed the outdoor dining room with a custom table from Weatherend Estate Furniture in Rockland, Maine, and Janus et Cie chairs. The landscape was installed by Tait Moring and Associates.

Modern Neutral Game Room with Wood-Paneled Walls

For the game room, a sofa from Flexform in New York, covered in Holly Hunt linen, is punctuated with pillows in fabrics from Dedar, as well as Missoni Home through Stark. Mallory Page’s piece from Wally Workman Gallery also adds color. Sigurd Russell chairs from Lorin Marsh, also in New York, join a Fabricius & Kastholm coffee table from Galerie Half in Los Angeles that rests on a rug from Holland & Sherry.

Modern Neutral Game Room with Glass-and-Steel Screen

The architects devised the glass-and-steel screen behind the bar in the game room, which includes a bar fabricated by Brian Chilton Design and Joseph Zambarano using materials from Architectural Tile & Stone. The diamond-finish plaster ceiling is by Acropolis Stucco; Vaughn Miller found the stools at Blackman Cruz in Los Angeles.

Modern Neutral Bedroom Detail with Vintage Dresser

The master bedroom’s vintage dresser from JF Chen in Los Angeles is illuminated by a sconce from The Urban Electric Co. The custom bed is upholstered in an Edelman Leather material and was fabricated by JM Upholstery in New York. A custom pillow in Dedar’s Soho-Brush fabric adds a graphic element.

Modern Neutral Bedroom with Hanging Lounger

In the master bedroom, Vaughn Miller deftly mixed modern and traditional elements with an Edward Wormley for Dunbar wingback chair from Sputnik Modern, upholstered in a Calvin Fabrics textile, and companion ottoman covered in leather from Holland & Sherry. The rug is from Tai Ping Carpets. On the balcony, a Dedon hanging lounger is covered in linen from Holly Hunt.

Modern Neutral Bathroom with Brass Stool

Vaughn Miller opted for texture in the master bathroom with a 1960s Warren Platner bronze stool from Modern Drama in Chicago. Custom cabinets by Joseph Zambarano wear Linnea hardware from Alexander Marchant. Duravit sinks and Dornbracht faucets from Ferguson Enterprises rest on countertops from Architectural Tile & Stone. The tile flooring is by Ann Sacks.

Modern Neutral Hallway with Multi-Pane Window

Wood walls in a second-floor hallway offset an abstract piece by Pepa Leon from Rooms & Gardens in Washington, D.C. The multi- pane window wall is from Dynamic Architectural Windows & Doors in British Columbia; the door was fabricated by The Texian Shop, one of the many local craftspeople Dalgleish sought out for this project.

Modern Neutral Dining Room with Dramatic Artwork

In the formal dining room, Vaughn Miller chose another dramatic work by Maltzman, purchased from Russell Collection, which adds a colorful contrast to the walnut floors installed by French-Brown. A. Rudin chairs covered in fabric from Holland & Sherry surround brass table bases from Wyeth. An Italian chandelier from IMC-Gallery in New York lights the space.

Modern Neutral Kitchen with Ample Seating Space

Stools from Avenue Road in New York pull up to Caesarstone countertops from Architectural Tile & Stone in the kitchen, which includes custom cabinetry fabricated by Joseph Zambarano and hardware from Alexander Marchant. Appliances from Kiva Kitchen & Bath as well as a Rohl faucet from Ferguson Enterprises offer shiny counterpoints.

Modern Neutral Staircase with Custom Patterned Runner

Just off the entry, a custom Hervé Van der Straeten chandelier from Ralph Pucci International in New York creates a sculptural note. The staircase—fabricated by several artisans including ATX Custom Trim, French-Brown, Arts Glassworks and Herrera Ornamental Iron Works—features a custom Tai Ping Carpets runner.

Modern Neutral Living Room with Mirrored Coffee Table

A custom rug from Tai Ping Carpets grounds the living room, which includes Holly Hunt sofas covered in Kravet velvet, Milo Baughman armchairs from Larry Reilly Collection in Canaan, Connecticut, and a daybed by Poul Kjærholm. The Pace Collection coffee table was purchased at Lobel Modern in New York, and a David Weeks Studio chandelier from Ralph Pucci International hangs above.

Modern Gray Hall with Office Access

Designer Jennifer Vaughn Miller selected the cloud-like Aqua Creations chandelier to illuminate the wife’s office, which looks out onto one of many courtyards conceived by landscape designer Michael Boucher along with Aamodt and Plumb. Ambrose Upholstery Co. reupholstered the vintage Eames chair from Lucca Antiques in Los Angeles.

Modern Gray Entry with Slate Tile Walls

Artisanal details can be found in this Austin home conceived by architects Mette Aamodt and Andrew Plumb and constructed by builder David Dalgleish. Slate tiles extend from the exterior walls into the entry and create a textured backdrop for a work by Daniel Maltzman. The bench from Wyeth in New York stands on Basaltina tile floors from Architectural Tile & Stone; Steve Roy Art Restoration crafted the patinated bronze on the door.

Modern Neutral Exterior with Outdoor Entertaining Spaces

Architects Mette Aamodt and Andrew Plumb accommodated the couple’s request with a two-story main home clad in limestone, ipe and slate. Nearly every room opens onto a patio, courtyard or balcony, and most look out to the lake.

For a New York City couple with four children, the prospect of moving back to the wife’s hometown of Austin was an ever-present dream. So when the couple reached a point in their careers that moving was a possibility, they put their plan into action by purchasing a swath of land fronting Lake Austin across from Mount Bonnell. “We envisioned a warm, comfortable open-concept home that lent itself to entertaining and had a strong relationship to the natural beauty outside,” says the wife.

To begin, the couple assembled a design team that included Massachusetts-based architects Mette Aamodt and Andrew Plumb, New York designer Jennifer Vaughn Miller, and Maine-based landscape designer Michael Boucher. The group was anchored by builder David Dalgleish, the only team member who permanently lives in Austin. Dalgleish was a crucial choice based on not only his extensive knowledge of waterfront construction, but also his deep relationship with local craftspeople. “One of the things that was going to make this house special was the level of craftsmanship that would go into it,” he says.

Because the couple desired a modern house with clean lines, the craftsmanship they sought was embedded in the details. “The quality is measured by the amount of detail in the project,” Dalgleish says. “It defines the home.” This detailed effort would bring soul to the residence, which was also a requirement. “The design had to have warmth,” says the wife. “We wanted our family to feel totally comfortable in the house and needed materials that could stand up to use and the elements.” Aamodt and Plumb accommodated the couple’s request with a two-story main home clad in limestone, ipe and slate. Nearly every room opens onto a patio, courtyard or balcony, and most look out to the lake. “We found a way to give them every opportunity to go outside,” Aamodt says.

To ensure that plan, the architects worked with Boucher from the beginning. “We developed the outside spaces at the same time the inside rooms were being designed, and we attempted to fit them into the area’s park-like feel while adding a home and guesthouse,” says Boucher, who worked with former project managers Soren Deniord and Seth Kimball. Adds Plumb: “Our goal was to stitch the house and the landscape together
so that it wasn’t an abrupt transition from the inside to outside.” The front elevation, for example, includes a limestone walkway that moves under a canopy, along a stone wall and through the front door.

Quality craftsmanship was also the motivation behind every design element inside the home. For all involved, that meant making every detail matter. “The clients wanted to invest in the artisans that would help make the unique elements of the house,” says Dalgleish. To this end, the builder used local craftspeople for every aspect of the residence, from the grain-matched quarter- sawn walnut overlay kitchen cabinets, to the bronze work on the main staircase handrail and front door, to the shimmering hand-hewn limestone on the façade and the diamond-finish plaster on walls throughout. “You can see the artisanal quality in the home’s outcome,” says Vaughn Miller, who viewed her own task in a similar manner. “I selected the furniture and art, commissioned lighting, and designed everything down to the trim on the duvets and the welts on the pillows.” Vaughn Miller’s degree in architecture allowed her to work accordingly. “I designed the home with its architectural context in mind, and how the clients would live in the spaces,” she says. “I wanted to enhance the architecture, not detract from it.”

The designer also took her cue from the site and the water, choosing subtle abstract patterns, such as the shadowy wool-and-silk carpet in the living room that shifts color as the light moves across the room’s luminescent plaster walls. Twin living room sofas are upholstered in velvet and backed with textured stone-colored linen pillows. “I used pattern judiciously because this house is about the site and the water,” Vaughn Miller says.

While the house gracefully connects to the outdoors, the homeowners also needed multiple opportunities for entertaining, which Aamodt and Plumb allowed for with expansive terraces outside the living room and by the pool. “It was important to make the house flexible for different styles of entertaining,” Plumb says. “This was accomplished by designing distinctive areas that have their own scale, character and relationship to the landscape. They all hang together as variations on a theme but still feel individually interesting.” Formal gatherings hold court in the dining room, which Vaughn Miller outfitted with a custom table that fits neatly under the ceiling’s grid of walnut beams, while the bar area includes sliding glass doors that directly connect to the pool for more casual entertaining; the swim dock features a cozy seating arrangement where one can take in lake views.

When the busy couple needs some quiet time, the second-floor master bedroom provides an ideal sanctuary. “The view of the lake, framed by the balcony’s guardrail, gives the impression that the room floats on water,” Aamodt says. And that was the objective: to create a residence built upon the couple’s love of the setting, with the workmanship that would give them the best house in which to enjoy it. “These clients committed themselves to the house, to the local artisans, and to Austin,” Dalgleish says. “With them it was a legacy goal. They plan to stay here forever.”

—Helen Thompson