It is not hard to see the Asian influences in the architecture of this Tarrytown residence in Austin, Texas. The designers – Webber + Studio Architects, created a stunning home that balances the homeowners requirements for Balinese touches, combined with child friendly materials and a requirement for a Zen like philosophy. The post and beam support system for the slatted roof over the entrance is as much a North American design as Asian. What makes it stand out as Asian is the use of a black stain of the pergola’s post and beams with the overhead beams kept to a natural clear finish. Add to this the offset walkway, the very low profile on the dark roof with the natural wood soffits and the shoji referenced detail on the black-framed windows and doors and the Balinese influence is unmistakable.
The walkway appears staggered but is in fact straight with small offset concrete pads. Between the concrete walkway and the driveway curb is a low planting of Fescue Grasses. The path leads onto the deck and straight to the front door. Through the door is a peak of the potent Phthalo Cerulean Blue wall colour. Through the living room’s large expanses of windows the silhouette of a dramatic modern fireplace is featured.
The entrance is highlighted with the use of Phthalo Cerulean Blue as the wall colour and a charcoal grey on the ceiling. All the trims and casings are Vertical Grain (VG) Douglas-fir and the flooring is tiled in a large 12×24 groutless subway pattern using a pale beige tile. Through the large opening is the dining area. A square pedestal table is surrounded with both upholstered and wooden cube benches rather then chairs.
Next to the dining area is the living space at the front of the home. Here the tile floor continues but the walls and ceiling are kept to a soft white. Charcoal Grey and Black are introduced via the couch, and two accent chairs and Blue is only used on 3 small decorative vases. The VG Douglas-fir continues on the trims and a large burl coffee table looks right at home on the white shag rug. An oriental print on the wall and a floor lamp continue the black and white colour story.
The white walls, Black and White colour scheme and Douglas-fir are all purposely chosen to create a neutral backdrop for the “piece de resistance” The stunning matte black, acorn shaped modern wood burning fireplace. This functional and oh so dramatic architectural feature is meant to be the centre of attraction whether displaying – or burning wood. Situated in front of the windows it creates a silhouette that commands attention and to try and surround it with other bold or intricate details would diminish its artistic statement. At the same time, to surround it with uninteresting objects would leave the rest of the room feeling weak. The complex combinations of material and pattern are all chosen to create a sense of balance to the overall space.
The kitchen is just behind the dining area and while it keeps the same flow of colour and material, it shifts the balance from colour to material. Here, VG Douglas-fir cabinetry is the star attraction. Solid black counters and back-splash with stainless steel appliances are meant to enhance the wood rather then detract from it. Simple backless bar stools allow the counter line to continue uninterrupted and 2 simple pendants hang unobtrusively over the bar.
next to the kitchen is a family room. Here the grey, black, white and natural wood colour scheme continues, but instead of using blue as an accent, a bold Campfire Red is used. The floor has changed to an exotic hardwood and the ceilings are exposed wood. The space opens up above to a 2nd floor mezzanine with a Douglas-fir railing system with semi opaque white glass inserts. The overall effect of the railing is again that of Shoji screens. The family room also opens up to a large deck that is clearly visible through the wall of sliding glass doors.
Upstairs, in the bedroom the exotic hardwood continues. Here, the wall colour has changed from white to an amber tone and a large painting of Blues and Golds is mounted on the headboard wall. The Blues of the art are introduced on the bedding via the pillows. The bed sits in a contemporary frame eliminating the need for a boxspring and offering that “Zen” philosophy the homeowners desired.
The upstairs washroom overlooks the backyard, here the tub is surrounded in 1×6 planks in a Mahogany stain and counter top repeats the Mahogany shade. Douglas-fir continues the wood story and the same tiles used downstairs reappear on the floor and on the wall as squares. A modern vessel sink is mounted on the counter.
At the back of the house is a large deck. Here, open slatted columns hold up the covered deck area that is the underside of the 2nd floor washroom. A fan is mounted on the centre beam to help create a breeze on those hot summer days. A comfortable seating arrangement is surrounded by the posts and tall modern planters tuck into the spaces between the posts.
A flight of stairs off of the deck leads down to the back yard pool. Surrounded by a wide concrete ledge and set into a field of grass, the pool is an invigorating and inviting way to beat the heat on a hot summer’s day.