Helen Thompson
Helen Thompson
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Located on the banks of Shoal Creek, one of two primary waterways traveling through Austin to the Colorado River, this Douglas fir-clad house by Tim Cuppett Architects rises above the creek from a flush limestone plinth. The crisp rudimentary geometry of the house is stripped of ornament, letting the beauty of the weathered natural exterior materials show through.

The two wood volumes are connected by a transparent living room.

From the motor court a visitor can enter the house across an elevated walk-way to the front door or descend by stair to a covered porch and private entry below.

Water captured from a natural uphill spring, mechanical condensate lines, and roof runoff flows through a runnel along the descending stair. The man-made canyon-scape and waterway celebrate the natural current of life to the creek below.

A view to the front yard from the transparent living room.

Interior volumes echo the simplicity of the house, scaled for intimate family gatherings, and focused into the tree canopy which shades the site.

Another view of the living room with its connecting screened porch.

Interior finishes consist of a continuation of Douglas fir, distinguished from the weathered exterior by a lye finish, juxtaposed against blackened steel, hand-made ceramic tiles, and spare inserts of marble and brass.

Vertical wood slats define the stairwell and reflect a theme of verticality that distinguishes the house.

Heading downstairs.

Powder room.

Contrasting interior finishes reflect the melding of the homeowners’ differing tastes—one likes rusticity and the other goes for a more polished, refined language.

Another view of the kitchen.

An upstairs porch looks out into the trees.

Upstairs bath.

More of the upstairs bath.




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