An Austin Design Team Fuses Sleek Architecture And Warm Interiors

Details

The entry features a pivot door with concentric arcs of teak panels and bronze edging designed by architect Juan Miró and designer Mark Cravotta and fabricated by Thomas Studio & Foundry. The custom Christophe Côme wrought-iron screen from the Cristina Grajales Gallery allows views of the living room and city vistas beyond.

Todd Campbell Studio hand forged the solid bronze fireplace hood beyond the living room comprising a Patricia Urquiola for Cassina sectional from Scott + Cooner, Vincenzo De Cotiis coffee table from Carpenters Workshop Gallery in New York and Holland & Sherry rug. Lighting includes a bronze-and-onyx chandelier by Achille Salvagni and Evan Lewis floor lamp from The Bright Group.

The sunken dining area connects the living room and kitchen with the pool terrace. Suspended above a BC Workshop table from Blackman Cruz in Los Angeles is an artful light fixture by Eric Roinestad. Bruno Moinard Éditions chairs are upholstered in James Malone Fabrics from Culp Associates. Studio Lumina handled the home’s lighting design.

Natalie Page pendants light two kitchen islands: one with a butcher block top by Brooks Custom in Mount Kisco, New York, and the other capped with quartzite from Architectural Tile & Stone and lined with Caste counter stools from Holly Hunt. The Smallbone cabinetry is fashioned from pickled crown-cut white oak.

Set against the reading room’s de Gournay wallpaper from Culp Associates, a Wittmann lounge chair is covered in Aldeco Interior Fabrics cotton velvet while Larsen fabric appears on the sofa from Egg Collective in New York. The Formations floor lamp is from Holly Hunt.

A Philip and Kelvin LaVerne coffee table from JF Chen in Los Angeles is an artful expression in the reading room.

The owners wanted strong sculptural statements in the stairwell, which features a custom CNC-routed handrail designed by Miró Rivera Architects and fabricated by Timbur LLC in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey.

Reclaimed Welsh roof tiles engraved with hand-drawn designs by London artist Daniel Heath complement the Christophe Delcourt master bed from Avenue Road in New York featuring a Nobilis woolen jacquard headboard. Bedside tables are Dennis & Leen, the Alexander Lamont ceiling light is from Jean de Merry and a Bruno Moinard Éditions bench wears Osborne & Little Tabriz from ID Collection.

Paired with mosaic wall tiles from Architerra Showroom, a mirror with integrated lighting designed by Cravotta Interiors overlooks a sinker cypress master bathroom vanity fabricated by Stoll Furniture Design featuring Nanz hardware from Alexander Marchant and a polished Chiara quartzite countertop from Architectural Tile & Stone.

The architectural progression of the house reaches its grand finale on the pool terrace, where Hample Pools & Service installed the curved negative edge pool also designed by Miró Rivera Architects. The deck is clad in Lueders limestone from Continental Cut Stone, while white oak appears on the underside of the planar roof to match the interior wood ceilings.

The whole point of building a house is to embark on a journey you’ve never been on before,” says the owner of this Austin residence several years after beginning just such an adventure with her husband. The couple envisioned a clean and modern exterior, with inviting and organic interiors holding artifacts from their travels—all while tying in the outdoors with plentiful natural light. In their current role as philanthropists, they also needed a backdrop for fundraisers benefiting a long list of social and environmental causes. “We were building a house to live in but also a place to share and pay it forward,” she adds.

Not surprisingly, a layout that could accommodate guests was on the list of asks they presented to architect Juan Miró, joined by principal Miguel Rivera and project manager Nate Schneider. Glass on both sides capturing the city views and framing the many trees populating the 1.7 acres also topped their requests. And the husband, a California native and fan of Richard Neutra’s iconic midcentury masterpiece, the Kaufmann House, wanted a structure in keeping with the simplicity of that design: “Nothing showy and no big, bulky roofs,” he explains.

The low-profile structure Miró delivered acknowledged his predecessor. “The sense of lightness and connection to the outdoors was inspired by Neutra,” explains Miró, who designed a roof featuring a thin, sloping plane with curving edges that, together with the berm built in front, creates the appearance of a single floor. “The single slope coincides with the sight line from the street, so the house minimizes its presence from the street because there is no visible roof,” explains the architect. “Seeing big roofs is something the husband doesn’t like, and we took that to heart—it’s invisible but not flat and it slopes, opening to the view in the back.”

Inside, the entertaining requirements were met with a commodious entry connected to a series of carefully delineated spaces within the loft-like setting. A floating fireplace, for example, separates the living and dining rooms, the latter located down several steps, while open sight lines make all the spaces feel related. “There are no bottlenecks,” notes the architect, who introduced American white-oak ceilings and European oak floors as counterpoints to the miles of fenestration. “People associate wood with warmth and it provides an acoustic balance for the glass,” he adds. All the while, general contractor Joe Pinnelli and his project manager Ray Moore ensured precision craftsmanship, tending to details like aligning every light fixture with the ceiling slats.

Designer Mark Cravotta, with his project lead Amy Ulmer, sought a sweet spot between the home’s sleek architecture and the wife’s desire for pattern and texture. In the living room, soft elements like the unstructured sofa and the organic forms of the Vincenzo De Cotiis coffee table open the dialogue, while in the dining room African-inspired upholstery on the chairs and a ceramic chandelier reminiscent of a ceremonial headdress continue the conversation. “She has a passion for African causes,” the designer remarks.

A former ceramicist and jewelry maker, Cravotta also brought an artistic sensibility. “Because this is a steel and glass house with relatively little wall space, the architectural details and furnishings help express art throughout,” he explains, pointing to the entry console by sculptor Ingrid Donat with a bespoke Windsor-style bench and a metal screen just beyond. “The entry wall was originally solid but the owners really wanted guests to see the spectacular view,” adds Cravotta. “The idea for a transparent room divider was introduced and I knew French artist Christophe Côme was the one to make it.”

From there, artistic moments abound. In the reading room, a burl wood light fixture with gold-leaf interiors casts a warm glow on hand-painted silk wallpaper, while a wallcovering of tree bark interlaced with gold lurex makes a distinctive mark in the guest room. Moroccan-inspired tile backing vanities composed of Texas sinker cypress raises the bar in the master bathroom, and reclaimed Welsh roof tiles hand painted with botanical motifs set a new standard for wow factors in the master bedroom. “With her love of traditional botanicals, this seemed like a perfect way to incorporate them in a sophisticated and original style,” Cravotta says.

Upon completion of the project, the homeowners celebrated their latest journey’s end with a 30th wedding anniversary party. Recalling their life partnership and backgrounds in journalism and photojournalism, the husband reflects, “We always collaborated on words and pictures together and now a house. We enjoy storytelling and this is our story.”