Lake Austin Vacation Property Gets Comfortable and Contemporary Remodel
Stand-out features include a glass box office, warm wooden Idaho Spruce and a new swimming pool
By Britni Rachal
Photos by Clay Grier
Within proximity to Mount Bonnell and just feet away from Lake Austin waters, design firm Ashby Collective, architect Shiflet Richardson and Dalgleish Construction Company recently renovated a 4,630-square-foot home originally built in 1990. Now featuring what designer Michele Lorenz describes as “modern organic styling,” this four-bedroom home is designed to serve as a low-maintenance vacation property for its owners.
Contemporary, simplistic features provide an approachable look. Centered around the idea of “simple entertaining,” a spacious and unique double kitchen island makes it easier for the homeowners, Angie and Todd Brinkmeyer, to entertain both out-of-town and local guests. The Phyton Blue honed marble pulls everything together for a sleek, modern design with a rustic finish. Overall, an “inside to outside” approach of design adds to the atmosphere with an airy, open-space feel.
“They really wanted to be able to open all the doors directly out to the lakefront,” explains Lorenz of Ashby Collective. “It was a big desire for them to have this nice flow from inside to outside.”
For another unique touch, the homeowners brought in some of their own lumber from Idaho used in the framing. A warm wooden feeling is seen and felt throughout the interiors with a honey hued cypress ceiling and an almost hidden, newly placed powder bathroom underneath the staircase.
“When the door is closed, it just looks like a wood wall,” says Lorenz. “The owners really loved the idea of the home being wood-heavy. It adds warmth and coziness.”
The wooden accents mimic a “golden hour glow” that the design team spent hours on staining. To complement the wooden accents, the home’s floors are Lueders Limestone, which Lorenz says match the same materials as the outside of the home.
“Again, this kind of leads you to the same outside-inside thing seamlessly,” says Lorenz. “The indoor and outdoor ceilings and floors match. When the doors are open, it’s like bringing the outside in — and the inside out.”
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Another brand-new feature is the swimming pool, which is just feet away from Lake Austin. Codes and limitations made this part of the project complicated, but a resourceful design team used every square inch allowed, fulfilling the homeowner’s wish to have their own swimming space adjacent to the lake.
“I particularly love this home because there’s an organic-ness — a real comfortability and approachableness, where everyone who walks inside can feel serene,” says Lorenz. “It’s been one of my favorite projects. I also loved that my clients were open to suggestions and allowed me to guide them and make suggestions on their behalf.”
Lorenz’s philosophy on interior design is to 100% focus on clients’ personalities and wishes. She prefers for her work to seem “unseen” — resulting in a presentation that shows off her client’s new unique and wonderful pieces.
A good partnership with an architect is key to help fine tune structures within homes. For this home, one of those stand-out features is a glass box office, designed by architects Sophie McGough and David Shiflet. The glass box complements the home’s slightly smaller interiors and allows for a more spacious look on the second floor.
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“Not only is it an architectural detail that’s really appealing and beautiful, but it offers the homeowners privacy to take a business call,” says Lorenz. “I had the idea of putting a giant Isamu Noguchi fixture made of rice paper kind of floating in front of it, which really frames it, along with the staircase, and adds this glowing ball. It also looks really cool at night. It’s just a sculptural classic light fixture.”
Easy to live in, this Austin retreat exemplifies simplicity and stylist low-maintenance, almost giving it a boutique hotel look. To accomplish that appearance, Lorenz decided to outfit all the cabinets in the bathrooms similarly, yet with subtle differences. The bedrooms also have the same theme. The same bed, same bedside tables, and same light fixtures are seen throughout, but for variety, Lorenz mixed up the colors of the fabrics.
“It’s very approachable and not fussy, but very comfortable,” says Lorenz. “There’s not much furniture. There’s not too much of anything. The homeowners just wanted to be able to come to this space and enjoy it while not having a lot of cleaning and needing to put many things away. Everything is designed to be very comfortable, easy and casual.”
An efficient and unique remodel perfect for keeping summer lake house days relaxing and fun.