design notes

Steal, borrow or marvel: Awesome exclusive sneak peek of the 26th Annual AIA Austin Homes Tour

Furman + Keil Architects
Patrick Y. Wong
Rick & Cindy Black Architects, Bickler Road
Patrick Y. Wong
 Burton Baldridge, Mohle Drive
Patrick Y. Wong
Clayton & Little, Gaston Avenue
Patrick Y. Wong
Cornerstone Architects, Harris Boulevard
Patrick Y. Wong
FAB Architecture, Stratford Hills
Patrick Y. Wong

Explore, enjoy (and with this nearly fall weather, frolic through) jaw-dropping, best-of architecture during the 26th annual self-guided AIA Austin Homes Tour, October 6 - 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

A combination of innovation, healthy materials and good design is always a theme of the tour, but this year it's all about creating a home that's highly personal to the people living in it. Renovation plays a huge part of 2012, reflecting changing economic times: Eight homes were redesigned for the better, from small additions to whole-house improvements.

The talented local designers who tackled these thirteen homes—from a 1950s renovation to a modern glass house and more—did so with respect, melding traditional tastes and modern style.

These homes enhance the neighborhoods they reside in as much as they complement them perfectly. You'll see spaces taking total advantage of their environment by maximizing views or respecting natural surroundings. And if you love mysterious nooks you'll delight at the hidden spaces, secret doorways and other cozy spots this year.

Drive to many of these homes at your own pace (here's a map), but use the (free) shuttle to reach the farthest properties on the tour. Grab a ticket for $35 on the day of the event or purchase for $30 in advance at the AIA Austin office at 801 West 12th Street, or at any of these Austin locations: TreeHouse, Zinger Hardware and Realty Austin in Lake Travis.

Want a sneak peek? Enjoy this preview of each home for hints on what ideas you could borrow from these beautiful spaces and which details you should definitely keep your eyes peeled for.

More information (including more photos, architects' websites and shuttle info): The American Institute of Architects - Austin Chapter and AIA Austin Homes Tour

Healthy Living
Shuttle location: 1337 Westbank Drive
Designed by: Furman + Keil Architects 
New Construction, 3,542 square feet

With sun streaming in through big open windows, splashing over gorgeous and varied wood tones in the open rooms, this home is a subtle, airy place perfect for the rowdy, youthful family that resides in it. Killer outdoor spaces define this design.

Steal: Sustainable and healthy material ideas. Here materials used in construction and interiors were chosen to maintain the highest level of indoor air quality. 

Borrow: Inspiration on how to better take advantage of your outdoor spaces.This house isn't just surrounded by beautiful natural settings, it takes advantage of them with modern, personal spaces. 

Marvel: At sloping and stunning woodlands that snuggle this home to the South, and a sunny, open field hugs it from the North.

Upscale Sanctuary
2604 Jarratt Avenue
Designed by: Tim Cuppett Architects
Renovation / Addition, 3,020 square feet

If you've always been torn between loving architecture but also adoring the outdoors, you'll appreciate this house quite a bit. A sturdy home with plenty of barriers between the unpleasant elements of the weather, it brings in the best of the outside: loads and loads of lovely natural light. 

Steal: Inspiration for a bright, all-white, modern kitchen. This one's successful because of varied materials and surprising pops of accent colors.

Borrow: Ideas on how new openings in your home could improve how deep natural light penetrates, as the renovations did in here. You gotta wall you can knock down?

Marvel: At gorgeous, bright windows that will make you wish you lived in an all-glass house.

Sophisticated Update
7003 Shoal Creek
Designed by Webber + Studio, Architects
Renovation / Addition, 2,375 square feet

Words of wisdom: You don't actually need to spend a lot of money or even do a lot to refresh a home and make architecture sing, like as seen in this Mid-Century Modern home with Asian design influences. Changes were simple, but powerful, and homeowners were left with a highly enjoyable space (that you'll get to enjoy for an afternoon).

Steal: Using native materials to renovate or build a home: in this house you can find pecan flooring and cabinetry, cypress wood and other locally sourced wood species.

Borrow: Making unused outdoor spaces useable with creativity and expanding your living space. Don't let an outdoor space go to waste is the lesson here!

Marvel: At large, floor-to-ceiling windows that let lots of light in and the simple, Mid-Century Modern style (that's all kinds of inspiring).


Light & Space Rebuild
4703 Finley Drive
Designed by: Stephen Zagorski
Renovation / Addition, 1,968 square feet

Tall ceilings, crisp white walls, bright art and cool furnishings all work together to create an easy-to-love space with spunk. This renovated 1950s family home sports lots of inspiring ideas to take home with you. 

Steal: The idea of being proactive about heat gain (and saving on energy bills). Here the designer minimized heat gain with a screened wooden forecourt.

Borrow: Interesting light fixture ideas (you'll see how in this home they can really make a space).

Marvel: At a charming home with lots of personality that is warm, simple and accessible. 


The Tree House
1868 Drake Avenue
Designed by: Murray Legge of LZT Architects
Renovation/Addition 1,100 square feet (addition)

Nothing gets our respect more than renovating an existing older home rather than just ripping it down, and boy did Murray Legge do an amazing job adding on more space and modern appeal to this addition, which takes its design directions from an existing oak tree shading the lot. 

Steal: Book, art and other collection display ideas. The homeowner has plenty of media in this house, but the place doesn't feel cluttered. 

Borrow: Wood tone inspiration for a varied palette. Proof you don't have to stick to just one species. 

Marvel: The stunning, huge floor-to-ceiling windows that allow you a look at that big backyard and beautiful oak tree. And all the hidden spaces in the home!


Urban Retreat
1221 Bickler Road
Designed by: Rick & Cindy Black Architects
Renovation / New Construction, 2,366 square feet

Another Mid-Century renovation, you'll love how comfortable and cozy the main house is, and enjoy the style and size of the newly built poolside guesthouse. The designs of both are individual but complementary. Who wouldn't love a little tucked-away, backyard design oasis?

Steal: Universal design features (spotted in the poolside guesthouse), making a home accessible and safe for everyone.

Borrow: Ideas of better defining an entryway, the introduction to a home. Even if you can't afford a complete renovation, notice how you feel as you enter this space. 

Marvel: We're huge fans of shiplap, and the original shiplap of this home was revealed in the kitchen and the dining room during the main house renovation. Beautiful design detail to drool over. 


Scenic Wonder
4618 Lakeview Drive
Designed by: Alterstudio Architects
New Construction, 5,900 square feet

All the homes on the tour this year embody the very best of Austin design, but this one gives off a particularly strong "this is Austin" design vibe. Perhaps it's the rich material and color palette, or all the beautiful windows overlooking gorgeous Texas nature, but whatever the reason, you'll love walking through its halls and open spaces. 

Steal: Sustainable features and ideas. 

Borrow: Space planning ideas from a home that has been space planned like a pro. Drink up the color palette and all the rich materials used throughout the space, too. 

Marvel: At that window wall that connects the interior space to the outdoor space! Take the time to stop and notice the near-invisible transition between indoors and out. 


The Glass House
1518 Mohle Drive
Designed by: Burton Baldridge Architects
New Construction, 2,450 square feet

Called the "Glass House," this is a home designed by an architect for his family, and you'll love all the different layers and levels to this home that give its residents varying degrees of privacy. You'll love that these are spaces that just feel like they get used a ton. A comfy, comforting space. 

Steal: Natural material ideas that are inspired by the native landscape. Neutral and earthy, they'd look good in just about any style of home. 

Borrow: Inspiration for your own amazing modern backyard playhouse. Seriously, even if you don't have kids, feel free to get inspiration. 

Marvel: Moveable glass partitions and a covered, wrap-around porch that make the indoors and out two seamless halves of one whole great space. 


Arts & Crafts Home
3604 Purple Heron Drive
Designed by: Heimsath Architects
New Construction, 3,246 square feet

Sometimes things just can't be saved, and the original 1980s house on this lot couldn't be salvaged due to a bad foundation. The bright, spacious, newly constructed house was built to suit the rambunctious, outdoor-loving, active family that lives in it, with functionality reigning king but aesthetics playing a big part, too. 

Steal: Ideas on how to properly light your house. This space has just the right balance of natural light and light fixtures, meaning that there's just the right light at any time of day.

Borrow: Rustic-modern style inspiration. Check out those ceiling beams!

Marvel: At adorable dormer windows that let in light and allow for beautiful views! 


Historic Italianate Residence
1100 Gaston Avenue
Designed by: Clayton & Little Architects
Renovation / Addition, 3,175 square feet

This property's certainly not going to win "most modern" award, but its classic and traditional elements create an elegant and sophisticated home with an old-world meets contemporary castle feel that will make you want to class up your house. 

Steal: Blue lower kitchen cabinets. Not only is it a bold choice, but the blue they chose is to die for. 

Borrow: Inspiration for your own perfect mix of classical and modern style. It'll bring a boost of elegance into your space, for sure.

Marvel: At classic details and functional finishes and how they all mix and meld just perfectly together to create this beautiful home. 


Hidden Spaces
2716 Harris Boulevard
Designed by: Cornerstone Architects
New Construction, 2,642 square feet

Like a breath of fresh air, this property's bold details and gutsy elements will enliven your spirit as you walk through a space with calming and traditional architecture melding with creative pops of modern furnishings, art, materials and more. And they did it all simply and without a ton of costs involved, too. 


Steal: The take-no-prisoners decor is sophisticated, interesting and enviable. Get inspired to be this gutsy in your own home.

Borrow: The inspiring textures, patterns, color palettes and materials used. Love this mix. 

Marvel: At an open entertaining area that makes the space feel expansive and inviting. 

Modern Villa
Shuttle location: 1337 Westbank Drive
Designed by: FAB Architecture
Renovation / Addition, 4,250 square feet

Such beautiful spaces to explore in this house with high ceilings and killer furnishings. Though it's not a space filled to the brim with stuff, you can tell every single material, color, texture and accessory was scrutinized before being brought in. It's a highly personal, stunning space. 

Steal: Hidden spaces for media ideas. There's no visible clutter and wouldn't you want that for your home, too? Also: Isn't a wine storage room pretty much everyone's design dream?

Borrow: Inspiration from their award-winning modern fireplace designed specifically for the home. 

Marvel: At how a home of such simple sophistication can rock such sleek and sexy furnishings.


Wood, Wind & Water
Shuttle location: 1337 Westbank Drive
Designed by: CG&S Design Build
Renovation / Addition, 4,910 square feet

An extensive renovation project (read: these homeowners really loved their home and wanted to make it work for them no matter what), every room in this space was changed to make it more open, more inviting and updated. The result is a rambling space full of plenty of design inspiration. 

Steal: Xeriscaping ideas like berms, arroyos and more to intercept and redirect floodwaters and keep an outdoor space looking tight.

Borrow: The unique mix of two very different design styles, with a rustic exterior and contemporary on the inside.

Marvel: At a built-in aquarium in an architectural column! The most stylish fish home you'll likely see this year.