When the couple stumbled upon an inviting neighborhood in West Austin, they immediately fell in love; its central location made it a convenient place to raise their preteen daughters. The only problem? The house they found in their desired area was far from what they were looking for. They bought it anyway, figuring that they would make do with a few minor alterations and move on when something more suitable turned up.
They called upon architect Kevin Gallaugher and interior designer Suzi Dunn to spruce up the exterior with a coat of paint and perform a quick facelift on the master suite. “But once they saw the results, things started to mushroom,” says Gallaugher, explaining how the remodeling to-do list kept growing longer. “By the time we were finished, there wasn’t one square inch that we didn’t touch.”
The spontaneous growth of the scope of the project, though, introduced some challenges. “It was literally being designed as it was being built,” says builder Royce Flournoy. “The drawings were revised every afternoon.”
The conversion of the two-story, modern industrial house into a warm and inviting, family-friendly destination started up front, where a courtyard and patio, made of Lueders limestone arranged in a custom pattern, were added. The tiny front porch was enclosed, and lift-and- slide Dynamic doors were installed to blur the boundaries between inside and out, allowing the space to breathe. “Those changes added a lot of curb appeal,” Gallaugher says. Plus, they added extra square foot- age that would allow the homeowners to extend their everyday living into the outdoors.
Inside, a more open layout was created, with fewer rooms meaning greater flexibility. The master suite got a marble steam shower and wall- to-wall windows that overlook the pool in the backyard. The home’s newly configured floor plan also made way for a top-of-the-line wine room and an office, as well as a second-floor studio for the girls. “Lots of homes have family rooms, but this studio is a more private play-and- work space for their daughters and their friends,” Dunn says.
The neutral color scheme of rich white and gray complements the sapele millwork and paneling. “The owners wanted a comfortable, contemporary look that had clean lines and was easy to maintain,” Dunn says. “The palette is monochromatic, so we used leather, silk and mohair to provide texture for a layered look. This is a livable house. They use every room; nothing is for show.” One of the family’s favorite spots is the dining room, where a custom table is outfitted with a built-in teppanyaki grill. “They love to entertain,” Dunn says of her clients, “and they love the idea that they can cook their daily meals right at the table.”
It’s those subtle details that distinguish the house. “Nearly everything in the home is custom,” Flournoy says. “For instance, the crowning jewel of the wine room is a pair of pocket doors that meet in a perfect corner. Like the rest of the woodwork, they’re made of sapele.” Dunn says that it’s the owners’ clear and artistic vision that made the project such a success. “The wife did her legwork and her homework,” the designer admits. “She had good taste and a fine spatial sense, and she always had a definite idea of what she wanted.”
Now that the work is done, the family wouldn’t think of living anywhere else. “You can’t tell it’s the same house,” Gallaugher says. “It’s not just a remodel; it’s a complete transformation.” Adds Dunn, “They wanted a more personalized house, and that’s exactly what they ended up with.”