Barranca Residence

Relocating from Houston to Austin and downsizing from a large family home, our client searched for a single-story house where she could entertain friends, family and grandchildren within a more manageable size. The existing 1960s-era, 2700 sf home was comprised of a collection of small rooms that were dated in both form and finish, and we worked to transform the interior of the existing house into a modern retreat inside a modest exterior.

Ascending a series of new, planted terraces to the front door the visitor is greeted with an intimate surround of Cyprus on the walls and soffit, and enters through an oversized pivot door.  Here one is given a glimpse through the fretted timber screen to the kitchen and light coming from the garden beyond, and the geometry gently encourages movement towards the living or dining rooms respectively. Used as the central pivot point in the home, the divider and hidden storage allows for an oversized, open kitchen that expands into a breakfast nook with large windows to the backyard.

The center of the house is cleared out, circulation is moved to the front wall, and a lozenge-shaped, walnut room divider is inserted into an abstract white shell to define the public rooms.  As a consequence, space flows freely and a sense of openness and breadth is brought into this modest home. A new, limestone floor encourages a sense of continuity, while changes in the stone pattern subtly identify particular spaces. Occasional skylights are strategically inserted to balance the light from the large, southern windows, and add an unexpected brightness to typically dark corners.  Within this serene oasis, grandchildren add a sense of delight as they occasionally cruise around the oversized room divider on their big wheels.

The living and dining rooms embrace views of the newly terraced and densely planted front yard, bringing the outdoors in and the indoors out to a new exterior dining space. The living room now contains an oversized picture window looking onto a new exterior room – a casual lounge area under a sculptural oak tree.

Mixing refined and tough finishes, the designers removed the existing brick flooring, brick fireplace and painted wood paneling in favor of contrasting an abstract container with natural, materials in a clean, calm palette. Meticulous detailing adds a sense of precision to the overall ensemble. Throughout the home is an aesthetic that favors the serendipity of natural materials and light over a composed figure.

Landscape architect:

Mark Word Design


Whit Preston

Awards & Publications
ASID Legacy Design Award
AIA Austin Design Award