Michael Hsu Office of Architecture has designed a contemporary remodel and addition to a home in Austin, Texas, called Westlake Homestead. The Addition includes a large second building joining the original home with an overpass on the first floor that contains bedrooms, an exercise room, and garage with herb garden. Aside from the addition, upgrades to the original house include a geothermal air-conditioning system, a more energy efficient envelope and an expansion to the front deck for outdoor dining.
From the driveway, the new and old sections of the home create an “L” shape with the driveway going up to the 3-car garage before continuing on to the location of the previous carport. The addition is constructed with glass, metal and concrete and is positioned into the sloping back of the site, allowing the homeowners to retain their views of downtown Austin and the hill country beyond.
The driveway morphs into large concrete pavers laid in an asymmetrical pattern that travel past a beautiful specimen tree and under the overpass that connects the original and the new buildings. The location of the tree softens all the hardscaping as does the peek a boo view of the garden through the underpass.
The backyard is an oasis of forested land that is accessed through the underpass or from the backdoor in the new addition. The backdoor opens up to an overhang with 3 glass panels to let the sunlight flood through.
The covered back porch is clad in wood decking before a short flight of stairs leads up to the woodland. The stairs are covered in grass and a landing is deep enough to hold a comfortable chair.
On the side of the addition, overlooking the driveway is a pool wrapped in concrete pavers that follow the same asymmetrical pattern as the underpass of the two buildings. The architects have stepped the landscaping to arrive at the woodland and on each tier herbs are planted.
The original part of the home has a living room that takes full advantage of the views from the new deck expansion. A pitched ceiling with painted beams keeps the timbered ceiling from feeling too heavy while the wall of glazings opening to the new deck expansion takes full advantage of the views.
The updated kitchen in the original part of the home sees the pitched ceiling closed in on one side to incorporate the stove hood, task lighting, and the air exchange system. A grey speckled white marble floor tile visually connects with the painted grey beams and the white cabinetry, counters, lighting and stools keep the room light and bright. While there is bar seating at one end complete with a work station, there is a banquette at the other.
Looking at this chef’s kitchen it is not hard to understand why the homeowners wanted an herb garden. Someone obviously loves cooking and what better place to do it then in this stunning kitchen complete with state of the art equipment, tonnes of prep space, windows on two sides and plenty of lighting. Two can easily share the cooking tasks in this space, as could three or four. Awesome.
Photography by Ryan Farnau