In the summer of 2015, Suzanne McFayden, a Jamaican-born writer and philanthropist purchased a house in the hills west of Austin that had originally been designed by Austin architect Lawrence Speck, formerly the Dean of the UT School of Architecture. The 7,000-square-foot two-story poured-in-place concrete dwelling was an architectural landmark, but McFayden’s team—Austin architects Paul Lamb and Ted Young of Paul Lamb Architects and New York-based interior designer Jennifer Vaughn Miller—felt that they could make it even better.
A sheepskin chair and hand-carved walnut stool by the Haas Brothers and a ceramic dining table by Korean artist Hun-Chung Lee in the living area are a clue not to expect the ordinary here.
Artwork by Firelei Báez anchors a seating area in the living room. The pine flooring is original to the house, but Vaughn Miller specified a grey stain as a neutral background to showcase the furnishings and the art collection.
McFayden purchased rugs and pottery on a trip to Morocco, which she displays in the dining area along with antique chairs, a Bakalowits chandelier, and artwork by Ida Tursic and Wilfried Mille.
Lamb and Young kept the fabulous poured-in-place concrete walls (some with the builder’s measurements still faintly visible) and the wood-and-steel roof trusses.
Tavares Strachan’s neon You Belong Here brightens the space leading to the entry.
Blackened steel panels in the kitchen are carried over from the entry and are a contrast to an island topped in white macaubas quartzite and a wall clad in lichen-speckled tree bark tiles (see below).
A 14-foot-long 1940s-era industrial fixture hangs above the center island.
A moody powder room balances an Italian marble sink by Kreoo with a perforated steel vanity and unlacquered brass hardware. The pendant is by Workstead, and the faucet is Waterworks.
A glass-topped Gio Ponti desk dominates a cantilevered office area off the kitchen; it sits opposite a custom bed platform.
Blackened steel paneling in the master bedroom contrasts with a tufted headboard and a brass-covered cabinet concealing the television.
Shoe storage cabinets in the master bedroom are fronted with tree bark.
Landscape by Word & Carr.
Word + Carr cleaned up the outdoor area with a series of decks, ramps, and walkways supported by piers and cable railing.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DOUGLAS FRIEDMAN
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