A young professional couple, active in local philanthropy and who work primarily from home, desired a complete renovation and addition of their 1930s bungalow. A deep energy retrofit formed the basis of a collaborative process with the clients. Not wanting to relocate their business operations and lifestyle during construction, a small garage apartment was first constructed to serve as a temporary residence and rental unit later on.
The house site is located in an oddly-shaped section of Austin’s Hyde Park neighborhood called the Red River Sliver, with geographic constraints of rail lines to the east and a major thoroughfare to the west. The site design strategy allowed for improved alley access, maintaining street presence, and pull-thru garage without impacting on-site live/work activities or outdoor rooms.
The intentional carving of the façade and interior staircase of the main house’s sliver-like addition responds to the second of three large heritage trees accounted for in the design. A cantilevered steel stair is the dominant interior feature of the home and sets a modern tone. Elegantly blending original and new spaces, the stair establishes a clear connection to with the heritage tree beyond while maintaining access to natural light. The juxtaposition of original shiplap siding, splayed walls and ceilings allow light to dance and play throughout the day, often creating singular moments of quiet beauty.
Similarly, the Treehouse Apartment acts as an elevated counterpoint to the renovated main house, capitalizing on the heritage tree’s proximity, and embodying a tree house loft. Design strategies such as long overhanging roofs, thoughtful placement of operable windows, and high quality materials and systems met the client’s energy efficiency goals without sacrificing natural light and views.
Proximity to Austin’s light rail and walkable neighborhood amenities make this adaptive re-use of a historic home and infill tiny house concept sustainable for live, work and play in Austin’s central core.
Red River Sliver
2503 sf of conditioned space