An Austin Family Haven Turns Into an Entertainer’s Dream Home
Kelle Contine Interior Design gives a second life to this beautiful home designed by LaRue Architects
Rollingwood offers tree-filled, yet urban views close to the heart of the city, making it one of the most attractive neighborhoods in Austin. When a young family purchased a lot on top of a steep hill with magnificent downtown views of Austin’s skyline in 2014, they hired LaRue Architects to design their new home.
The wife was from the Northeast and wanted a farmhouse aesthetic that reminded her of back home.
“We took that farmhouse style and modernized it a little bit with simple Gable forms, a steep roof pitch, and a modern face around the bottom,” says James LaRue, owner of LaRue Architects.
Inspiration from LaRue Architects
LaRue designed the home as an H shape to accommodate the steepness of the lot while also offering views from various perspectives within the home. The main house leads out to a discreet courtyard with a bistro dining area.
“We designed a front courtyard between the garage and the house so the entry door allows privacy from the street facade,” says LaRue.
The lot drops off in the back facing the downtown view side of the property, so LaRue placed the pool adjacent to the house. Large planters that line the outer edge of the pool ease the transition to a lower yard. The master bedroom is overhung above the slope, so residents feel like they’re floating above the treetops and pool.
“I don’t like for the porch to be directly behind the main living space because there are too many furniture layers, too many things into the view — and it becomes visually very fussy,” says LaRue. “So we made a clean, simple, beautiful living space with a great view and a small lawn that looks across the pool to the city. It all frames the city view so that it’s like looking at it through binoculars.”
The living area sits parallel to the pool, and the game room opens up directly to a covered outdoor porch that’s perfect for entertaining. Using the sloping lot, a guest suite — originally a private office for the work-from-home dad — is tucked under the lower floor and spills out to a curated lawn. The additional bedrooms (originally for the kids) sit on the upper floor, emphasizing the steeply pitched gable forms. Materials include vernacular charcoal gray limestone, smooth stucco and horizontally laid metal panels — all coming together to root the home in the surrounding landscape with a modern but classic look.
Refreshed Interiors by Kelle Contine Interior Design
Recently, the home was sold, and the new owners hired Kelle Contine Interior Design to refresh the interior with their specific needs and style in mind.
“There was a heavy focus on nature and earth tones within the color palette while mixing matte textures and metals for a more eclectic and collected aesthetic,” says Erin Judge, Studio Director and Senior Designer, who led the design of the project with owner Kelle Contine serving as Principal In Charge.
While a few large-scale, grounded features remained from the previous home — including the grand stair detail and floating bar between the dining room and kitchen — most interior spaces were fully refinished, gutted or transformed in some way (thanks to Shoberg Homes, local custom home builder).
“This presented an opportunity for Kelle Contine and the owner to redefine functions and the overall vibe of the home, while still wanting to pay homage to LaRue Architect’s original forms and space development,” says Judge.
Perfect space for entertaining
The new homeowners love entertaining, so an LED Edison bulb art piece in the courtyard, a dance room with a disco ball now occupying the skyline view-oriented bonus space and a custom record player all help to liven up the space.
“I love the little surprises and custom features that we were able to implement throughout the home — something around nearly every turn that pulls this project away from the standard,” says Judge.
By combining inspiration from the clients’ worldly artwork and desire to entertain — while highlighting some of the original architectural detail by LaRue — the home has transformed into a bold and dynamic space perfectly suited for the new owners. We can only imagine the fun parties and special memories this home has yet to hold.