Ridgeview House is nestled within a grove of heritage live oak trees on a 3/4 acre lot in the Barton Hills neighbourhood of Austin, TX. The wooded, hilly neighbourhood was subdivided in the fifties and is populated with ranch-style houses clad in rugged limestone veneers. The clients wanted to build a house that respected the mid-century character of the neighborhood, while pursuing a bold and contemporary approach to design. The outcome is a project which creates strong and surprising connections between indoors and out, with an angular roof form and black vertical siding that simultaneously camouflage and contrast the house with its leafy natural surroundings.
Originally conceived as a renovation project, the footprint closely mirrors the idiosyncratic H-shaped plan of the original house, allowing certain areas of the trees’ critical root zones, permitting them to be built over.
The living room bridges between the two, opening to an interior courtyard that brings light into the center of the house. Designed by Thoughtbarn, a distinctive ‘zig-zag’ roofline creates a butterfly roof over the living and dining areas and a ribbon of clerestory windows with views up into the canopies of the live oak trees.
The exterior is clad in a fiber-cement ‘board and batten’ siding. Painted black, with the battens multiplied in a dense, vertical pattern, the siding takes on a more unusual, artful qualities, intentionally rendering the house as an abstraction of the ‘forest’. In overcast light, the house almost disappears among the tree trunks. The front porch inset and carport soffit are clad in a stained pine, which provides a warm counterpoint to the starkness of the black exterior.
On the interior, the client’s mid century tastes are reflected in an eclectic palette of custom walnut cabinetry, navy blue paint accents and splashes of richly patterned tile and wallpaper, enhanced by a furniture and art collection that combines family heirlooms with mid-century gems and colourful textiles.