Helen Thompson
Helen Thompson
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CLIFF HANGER

Suspended on a narrow limestone ridge halfway down a cliff overlooking Lake Austin, this daring home designed by Specht Harpman Architects builds upon the frame of an existing 1970s-era structure. The renovation re-works the processional sequence into and through the house, making it habitable for a mature couple who expects to remain in the house a long time. The architects further enhanced the house’s engagement with its dramatic site by exposing one side to the lake and the other side to the cliff side that butts right up to the structure.

Slide 1

The original entry was via a dangerous exterior ramp that ran from street level down to a front door 25 feet below.

Slide 7

Entry is now via a light-filled pavilion that overlooks the lake and opens in back onto a large rooftop herb garden (see last photo).

Slide 8

The wife is an interior designer and masterminded the interiors.

Slide 9

Materials incorporated into the house include flooring the owners salvaged from various sources.

Slide 10

The window in the living room looks right into the rock ledge.

Slide 11

Much of the furniture is made from the homeowners’ collection of industrial parts.

Slide 12

Stone throughout the house is from an Italian quarry the couple visited while traveling.

Slide 13

The glass-topped dining table exposes more industrial parts.

Slide 14

A sequence of stairs descends through the three levels of the house revealing views of both the lake and the limestone cliff.

Slide 15

The industrial and the decorative blend in the master bedroom.

Slide 16

The house is filled with the homeowners’ extensive art collection.

Slide 17

The daughter’s room.

Slide 18

Details of salvaged wood used throughout the house.

Slide 19

Salvaged wood as well as industrial elements are incorporated into the stairs.

Slide 20

The rooftop herb garden has a view down the length of Lake Austin.

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