Helen Thompson
Helen Thompson
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This two-story metal- and cedar-siding house is the second home in a unique three-cottage home development that Austin architectural firm Minguell-McQuary have both designed and built in East Austin. The firm’s goal is to provide something that offers the kind of ease of living found in a downtown condo, but with more architecturally unique spaces. Firm principal Laura McQuary notes that she and husband Cote Minguell enjoy crafting small developments because they fit into the larger tapestry of neighboring houses and can share views and have a more integrated landscape than can be achieved with individual homes. “This home embraces the eclectic mix found in East Austin,” she says, “by both contributing to it and by blending in. A lot of houses just do one or the other.”

The 2300-square-foot; three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath property is listed for $1.1 million with Danielle Becker of Maxavenue.


2700 e 12th M-M front street view

Material selection was primarily based on performance, with a vernacular and minimalist approach. Roofs and walls without overhangs, directly exposed to sun and rain, have metal siding; walls that interface with people are made of cedar siding (see below).

2700 e 12th M-M entry door view

Walls such as entry and porch areas have an overhang above them with cedar tongue and groove cladding. The front door is located on the side of the building, resulting in an efficient interior circulation with a single private entry point to the residence (in contrast with the stereotypical approach, where the front door is seldom used and the garage entry becomes the main access point).

2700 e 12th M-M Dining living room view

Public spaces are located throughout the open first floor, starting with the kitchen at the highest point of the lot all the way to the living room (which is the most public space) at the lowest point (it also has the highest ceiling as a result of the drop of levels). Hand-blown glass dining room pendant, custom linen shade pendants, barn pendants, LED lighting, CAD 6 wired are included with the house.

2700 e 12th M-M living room 2_email

White walls are the canvas for the ever-changing natural light and provide a contrast to the dark stained wood walls.

2700 e 12th M-M Glass Box side view

The floating glass living room overlooks a terraced yard.

2700 e 12th M-M Interior Corner street view

To maximize light and ventilation, a combination of off-the-shelf windows and custom steel site-glazed windows were used. Off-the-shelf windows were used where operability was required, whereas site-glazed windows were selected when maximizing natural lighting and an indoor-outdoor experience was the goal.

2700 e 12th M-M Kitchen 1B view

The kitchen features Viking and Bosch appliances. All paint is low VOC. Steel shelving is custom.

2700 e 12th M-M Stairs 2 view

Custom steel throughout included planters, terraced landscape, sculptural landscape screen, master bedroom entry bench, open shelving, bar beverage slot, and perforated metal guardrails.

kids dream

An upstairs bedroom.

master bedroom cropped

Master bedroom.


The low-maintenance landscape features pecan and olive trees.

e 12

The sculptural steel fence is custom.

south east corner close

The architects developed the lot with a series of thresholds that transition from public to private. The idea of front and back yard are set aside in favor of streetscape and urban private gardens. The rectangular building shape allows for maximizing natural light and ventilation.

Photography by Cote Minguell


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