Helen Thompson
Helen Thompson
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This Victorian-era house in the heart of downtown Austin is something of a landmark. The handsome limestone-block house has recently undergone a renovation by architect Hugh Jefferson Randolph, and is a deft reinterpretation of both old and new Austin. The stately mansion is home to two University of Texas professors and their young children. The couple fell in love with the unique property and hired Randolph—a modernist who has overseen similar renovations in older Austin neighborhoods—to merge functionality with style and to update the house to 21st-century needs.

This side of the house offers the family easy access from the garage; Randolph added outdoor stairs so the family can easily move from one floor to the next.

The large wraparound porch, tall windows, and subterranean service quarters (now the master bedroom and children’s rooms) provide a glimpse into the practical architecture of another era.

Floor-to-ceiling windows in the addition frame an eye-popping view of downtown Austin. The sun room is modeled after a Victorian greenhouse, but minus the traditional black steel framing. The architect thought it was important to use color, opting for a sunny hue that emphasizes the addition’s profile.

Pivot windows swing up and out for immediate access to breezes.

The master bedroom features a limestone wall from the original home, where the old structure stopped; Randolph used board-formed concrete behind the bed both to act as a headboard and as a reference to the texture of the limestone wall.

A glass-and-wood stairway leads up to the grandmother’s suite.

Hidden from view by a decorative door (see photo above) the powder room is tucked underneath the staircase.

Kitchen cabinetry is painted powder blue and stretches to the ceiling. The steel wall (just visible on the right) denotes where the original structure ended. It is now a magnetized wall for the kids’ drawings.

Tiled flooring is from a Swedish designer and helps to make the sun room look like an extension of the garden.

Original elements and an ultramodern design make for a dramatic counterpoint.



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