Helen Thompson
Helen Thompson
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South Austin is famous for its relaxed vibe, and this contemporary house designed by BMH Design Studio offered a house-hunting couple a good way to enjoy being near Barton Springs and within walking distance of music festivals, hike and bike trails, and cool restaurants. The two busy executives enlisted Austin designer Mark Cravotta to help weave in warmth and texture to the home’s modern design. Cravotta blended in rugs and tapestries he’d purchased in Marrakesh souks with the couple’s own travel finds, such as Asian figurines and photos, and landscape designer Jose Roberto Corea created a yard that’s private and connects the pre-existing trees to the backdrop of bamboo he added. Despite being right in the middle of town, the house provides the owners with a special view of the city that’s very personal, epitomized by the view of the sunrise every morning from their master bedroom window and balcony.




The stucco and rock contemporary house is near Austin’s beloved Barton Springs which is visible—as is the city skyline—from the rooftop terrace.

Living Room 1

Designer Mark Cravotta purchased the 120-year-old Sultanabad rug from Black Sheep Unique; the abstract over the fireplace is by Roi James. The coffee table is custom by Cravotta Interiors.

Living Room 2

The main building materials in the house are concrete and Douglas fir. The Effingham sofa is by Dessin Fournir and is covered in mohair by Myung Jin from David Sutherland. The walnut and steel custom cabinet and desk is by Cravotta Interiors.

Tapestry Living Room

Seating in the living room includes a pair of Usona of Philadelphia chairs covered in Soffany chenille from Culp Associates. The wood floor lamp is by Blu Dot.

Wide Kitchen

Kitchen cabinetry is Douglas fir with concrete countertops. Barstools are from Design Within Reach.

Sitting Area Detail

A seating area on the mezzanine overlooking the kitchen and living room.


Detail of the stove and open shelving in the kitchen.

Dining Room

The dining room is meant to be an indoor-outdoor space, with big doors that open the room to the outside. The pair of iron chandeliers is from Alexander Marchant; the leather chairs and rolling dining table are from AKMD. Carpet is from Kaskas Oriental Rugs.


Quadrille draperies frame a view outside; the Hickory Chair desk is from Stockton Hicks Laffey; table lamp is by Visual Comfort; vintage rug from Black Sheep Unique.

Master Bed

Designer Cravotta designed an integral wall unit, bed, and nightstands for the master bedroom. The unit’s white oak is stained gray and has darkened steel shelves. Donghia‘s charcoal mohair velvet upholsters the headboard.

Media Room

The master bedroom’s sitting room includes a place to watch television as well as relax. The Cloud sectional is from Lytle Pressley Contemporary; vintage rug is from Black Sheep Unique; tables by Draenert from Scott+Cooner; swivel chair is by Minotti. (On a personal note: for those of us who still miss Lytle Pressley’s store Spazio, it’s good to see that the visionary is continuing to make his presence known in Austin’s contemporary furniture and art scene).

Master Bath

Cravotta designed the master bathroom’s floating cabinets with white Caesarstone countertops; floors are honed Botticino marble; the stool is from Roost.

BUILDER: Michael J. Smeets, MJS Design+Build



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