Nick Deaver’s assignment was to slip a new home into a pie-shaped lot in one of Austin’s older neighborhoods, and learn from – but not mimic – its neighbors from the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s
“It needed to be a home that would fit Texas,” the architect said. “This is a very elegant, mature neighborhood full of Austin’s more important people, especially back in that time. The street is almost a museum of home styles – there are castles here and Tudors, ranches and Spanish colonial revivals.”
Some of the older homes to the south are tucked away on 80-foot setbacks, while others to the north linger modestly closer to the street. The challenge for Three Stones, Nick said, was to mediate between the two. He responded by staggering the forms of the 4,500 square-foot home to present an ever-changing set of shapes to passersby moving down the street.
“I wanted to provide a kind of drama reminiscent of intimate canyons,” Nick said. “This is a free-spirited house, a house that fits the modern sensibilities of its owners. They didn’t want to feel compelled to choose a style conforming to the others.”
Its prominent material is limestone quarried in Leuder, Texas, a material that comes in three tones: gray, light gray and tan. He encouraged his masons to blend the colors so that it runs in veins of two-inch, four-inch and six-inch randomly coursed horizontal layers. With these smaller stones, he sought to give the house a more solid and rooted feeling. “We thought of the outside of the house as almost geologic in nature,” he said.
Its forms are basically three 24-foot wide sheds running away from the sun to protect interior spaces. It utilizes low windows in conjunction with high ones to manage air convection and cool the home for extended periods of the day. “The ventilation patterns allow less use of air conditioning,” he said.
Other sustainable features include materials selected for long life and low maintenance, an orientation that takes advantage of prevailing southeastern breezes and a low pitched shed roof that’s ready for photovoltaic solar energy panels.
The home represents a milestone for architect and owner alike. Many of its features were designed while under construction. “The owners had a vision, and allowed the architect to deliver a one-of-a-kind building,” Nick said. “They went from becoming students of architecture to being patrons of architecture.”
For more information on architect Nick Deaver, go to www.nickdeaver.com