Vintage Lake Home with a Hexagon View in Austin, Texas
by Kris Ferraro, principal, Lucky Break PR
A 4,100-sq.ft. one-story Hill Country contemporary residence sits on a 1.2-acre site on the west bank of Austin, Texas. Lou Ann and Don McLean purchased the lot in 2012 and reached out to LaRue Architects, Austin, in early 2014 to design their lakeside dream home. The lot had an existing house that was built in the 1950s as a vacation lake cabin, which is typical for the area. The original hexagon-shaped cabin was renovated with an addition added in the 1970s.
When LaRue Architects and Britt Design Group, Austin, began to look at the initial design concept they were intrigued by the construction of the hexagon building. “We knew immediately that we wanted to remove the 1970’s addition and keep the original hexagon shaped main living area. The building was situated close to the lake front and is elevated providing 180º views of the lake,” said architect James LaRue.
The design challenge was how to intergrade a modern home design concept into the hexagon geometry and have the final architecture become a cohesive building while also addressing the heavily treed, steep sloping site that slopes down 120’ from the back of the house to the shoreline. “The initial design concept was to convert the hexagon living space into the primary bedroom suite with expansive views to the lake. We then connected the hexagon building with a long, narrow form running parallel to the shoreline. This design concept allowed us to address the steep nature of the site, preserve the large pecan trees, and allows every space to have views of the lake,” added LaRue.
Lighting plays an important role throughout this thoughtfully designed home and provides a sculptural counterbalance to the restrained modern architecture. The interior design is a sophisticated palette that reflects the homeowners’ style by utilizing natural finishes to complement the serene surroundings.
“The clients have a wonderful collection of art objects and furnishings they’ve collected from their travels around the world. Weaving their personal story into the fabric of the overall design was a fun challenge. One important element to their story is their involvement in winemaking,” said Laura Britt, Britt Design Group. The McLeans own a vineyard in Argentina, and they personally select the blends as well as custom design the wine labels.
“The owners suite remained on the site and the new building was built around it. It all feels like a new build that was perfectly executed with high-quality construction. The owner’s bathroom has a serene, ethereal feeling with the dappled lighting cascading across the large soaking tub and modern porcelain floor,” said Britt.
The custom cabinetry throughout the kitchen was designed to feel more like beautifully detailed furnishings rather than a typical kitchen. Elevating the cabinets on wooden legs create physical and visual space between the floor and cabinets. A glass front refrigerator adds to the unique kitchen with a custom kitchen armoire storing coffee-making equipment. The dining room features a custom-built steel and wood table using the wood from the original site.
There is strong connection to the outdoors with large expanses of glass throughout. The outdoor living space is the connector, or dogtrot, between the main house and the guest suite. It has a generous roof overhead with a warm wood clad ceiling, which protects it from the sun and other elements. There is also a two-level boat dock that was part of the renovation, providing a perfect outdoor lounge space perched above the water.
The entire design of this home is driven by the site constraints and the final result responds in a very beautiful way to those constraints and to its heritage.