Helen Thompson
Helen Thompson
In PrintIn StyleIn BooksIn MediaIn the KnowIn House


You can make the argument that great architecture happens when an architect has designed a room (or rooms) where the light is good. That state of grace emerges when the proportions are right and the architect has solved the problem of how to get light into the room beautifully. Austin-based architects Arthur Andersson and Chris Wise are the masters of bringing light into a house (hint: they do it selectively)–and their renovation for an Austin art collector is one of the best examples of how they work their magic.

The house is surrounded by a seductively private landscape of gentle slopes and dense foliage. But the original house had only a few windows, with skylights that introduced light so harsh that the house was overbright inside, yet closed to the outside.

Andersson and Wise addressed their changes as if they were sculptors–carving out new spaces and re-crafting ceilings so that light could be focused on surfaces. Light plays off the plaster walls, infusing rooms with luminosity that fosters a feeling of calm and quiet.

The design focuses on surface color and texture, and the palette consists of two materials: plaster and the neutral dark tone of the ebonized wood floor.

Now, every object displayed is illuminated and infused with natural light.

Wool tapestry with petals.

Tapestry detail.

The architects chose a minimal approach: niches, shelves, and alcoves exist to make carefully composed places to display art.

Detail of shelf and santo.

The dining room.

The original house was built in the late 80’s, and entry meant having to walk past the pool and up a set of stairs before finding the front door. Andersson and Wise reduced the size of the pool and expanded an ipe deck to create a more defined approach.

A hot tub and canopy was added next to the entry. Landscaping is by Robert Leeper.


Now, the view from the house is unobstructed, and stretches into the lushly wooded lot.

A deep porch offers privacy and another place to display art.


Architecture by AnderssonWise Architects

Landscape by Robert Leeper, Robert Leeper Landscape Designs

Interior design by Holden & Dupuy

Interior design by Mark Ashby Design

Photography by Art Gray


fern banner final rev1


TXConstruct_255x160      KHSgardendesignssign

SeenInHouse khotan1 white

Spring 2014 ad

Helen's ad 2       DonCrowell_BC_FINALr


TRP-213px-Square-v2       dianepurcell_1



Subscribe Now!
It's free.


© Copyright 2019 GoGo Creative • All Rights Reserved • Design: GoGo Creative