Helen Thompson
Helen Thompson
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An Austin native and long-time New York City resident couldn’t stop thinking about moving back to her home town. Her husband, an entrepreneurial computer scientist, agreed. When the couple reached a point in their careers that they could live anywhere, the pair purchased a 2 1/2 acre swath of lake-front property across from Mt. Bonnell. They also assembled a design team that included Boston- and Austin-based architects Andrew Plumb and Mette Aamodt; Maine-based landscape architect Michael Boucher; and New York-based interior designer Jennifer Vaughn Miller. The group was anchored by Austin architectural builder David Dalgleish.


Slate tiles extend from the exterior walls into the foyer, a textured backdrop for Daniel Matlzman’s 2013 oil on canvas interpretation of Mona Lisa. The organically shaped scallop-edge oak bench stands on basaltina floors from Architectural Stone & Tile, a quiet contrast to the solid walnut pivot door clad in patinaed bronze crafted by Steve Roy Art Restoration.


Interior designer Miller chose subtle abstract patterns such as the shadowy silk Tai Ping carpet in the living room that shifts color as the light moves through the room. The pair of Holly Hunt sofas are upholstered in a supple Kravet antique velvet and backed with grainy-textured stone-colored linen pillows.


Miller used pattern judiciously throughout the house because she wanted to enhance the effect of the nearby water in this lakeside house, not detract from it. Two Milo Baughman chrome arm chairs are upholstered in a slate-colored wool with back cushions showing an unobtrusive diamond pattern against ivory.


Custom mill work throughout the house is quarter-sawn walnut overlay.


Antique Lueders limestone on the exterior and interior was fabricated by A. J. Brauer Stone and installed by Clearman Masonry.


The bronze staircase is the starring feature in the entry. The custom bronze chandelier is by Herve Van Der Straeten.


The house has a central core from which all rooms radiate: A scissor staircase in the double-height foyer with an X-shape that allows easy access to the second-floor landing from either side. The profile is not unlike staircases in palatial buildings, like opera houses, where crowds of people must move between floors efficiently.


Designer Jennifer Vaughn Miller selected the cloud-like Soma Webs chandelier to illuminate the homeowner’s office which looks out onto one of many courtyards designed by landscape architect Michael Boucher and architects Mette Aamodt and Andrew Plumb.


Miller chose many pieces from the Russell Collection in Austin, including a dramatic oil on canvas abstract by Daniel Maltzman that hangs in the formal dining room, a colorful contrast to the rich simplicity of the walnut floors by French Brown Flooring.


Miller outfitted the dining room with a custom milky-white resin and clear polyurethane table that fits neatly under the ceiling’s grid of walnut beams.


Silvery A. Rudin chairs are lit from above by a 1930s-era six-arm Murano chandelier with brass fittings that Miller selected to relate to the spectacular Herve Van Der Straeten custom bronze chandelier hanging in the adjacent entry.


Builder David Dalgleish used local craftspeople for every aspect of the residence, from the grain-matched quarter-sawn walnut overlay kitchen cabinets to the bronze work and welding on the stairs and front door.


The breakfast nook overlooks the lake.


Leather seating around the kitchen island affords more places to alight.


View into the entry from the second floor landing.


Miller deftly mixes modern with traditional in the master bedroom.


Vintage parchment three-drawer dressers flank the shagreen-upholstered bed, contributing a refined accent to the walnut paneled walls.


A custom king-size bed upholstered in luxe smokey shagreen and anchored by a round Tai Ping rug with abstract watercolor pattern creates a soothing setting in the second floor master bedroom. The view of the lake, framed by the guard rail, gives the impression that the room floats on water, and Miller provided the way to enjoy the experience via a Dadon hanging lounger.


The furry 1960s-era Warren Platner bronze stool sits in front of custom grain-matched quarter-sawn walnut cabinets by Joseph Zambarano. Duravit sinks and Dornbracht faucets from Ferguson Bath & Kitchen Gallery add glamour to the crema marfil Ann Sacks tile. The Linnea hardware is from Alexander Marchant.


Miller completed the outdoor dining room with a custom 13 ½ foot long mahogany table in Weatherend’s Satin White Yacht finish; Gigi II grey resin wicker armchairs from Janus et Cie provide seating for at least 12 guests.


Architects Plumb and Aamodt accommodated the couple’s request with an 8700-plus square foot two-story limestone-, ipe-, and slate-clad main house. Nearly every room opens on to a patio, courtyard, or balcony.


The architects devised the back-painted glass wall in the game room to reflect the lake just beyond the pool. Light reflects off other surfaces in the room, such as the diamond-finish plaster ceiling by Acropolis Stucco and the cold-rolled steel-paneled bar by Brian Chilton. The leather-topped walnut “Molar” stools with patinated brass sabots are from Blackman Cruz in Los Angeles.


Relaxation is complete on the fabricated metal swim dock thanks to the Asturias sofa and armchairs by Carlos Motta from Espasso. B&B Italia’s Canasta coffee table is the centerpiece of the ipe-planked retreat.


Architects Aamodt and Plumb clad the house in a custom-cut antique Lueders limestone basket weave veneer fabricated by A. J. Brauer Stone and installed by Clearman Masonry that suggest the ripples in the lake’s surface. Landscape architect Michael Boucher executed a design that includes outdoor access from every room, including the kitchen.



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