Designing a Home for the Austin Parade of Homes
How a Parade Home is different.
As a design & build firm in Austin, we spend the vast majority of our time tuning in to our client’s lifestyle, how they entertain, their family’s interests, and their home design requirements. Our architecture team gets to know the day-to-day pattern and what is important to our clients. The result is a home design that fits their personality and style. So when we are invited to participate in the Austin Parade of Homes, our team always asks the question, “Who will be our client for this home?” There has to be a client for the team to design the home, and our team has to essentially “guess” at who the client will be. If we had a Psychologist on staff, it would be great. Since we don’t, our team profiles the client before we design the home.
For this latest Parade Home, for instance, our ideal client had the following characteristics:
- Parents with adult or almost-adult children (children who are in high school or college)
- Mom & Dad love to entertain large groups (maybe they even host charity gatherings in their home)
- They have had a two-story home and are tired of it – they want a single-story now
- These clients are fans of the Magnolia Home (Fixer Upper) style home, a juxtaposition of the rustic with the elegant style
- They love to swim or have a dog who loves the water
- The whole family spends a lot of time outdoors and enjoys the peace and serenity of nature
- They enjoy playing games together as a family when the kids are home
- They are friendly with their neighbors but enjoy their privacy as well
Considering the Site of the Parade Home
In response to this ideal client, our architecture team started with the site. The site was expansive, and it had a very nice flat area down at the bottom of the hill. The only issue was that it put the home almost at the back of the property line. Our team decided to use the large stone retaining wall, built and maintained by the subdivision, as a part of the home’s design. It was decided that the home’s stone would have to match the white limestone on the wall. That way the wall would appear to belong with the home. Positioning the home was next. In order to use the home itself as a screen for privacy, the home was stretched out and centered in the flat area. Access needed to be from the side instead of the front. So our team petitioned the city to get access from the side, which they granted.
Considering the Details of the Parade of Homes
Next, the team began focusing on the design details of the home itself. Here are the details we included in response to the ideal client and their “needs”:
- Each of the secondary bedrooms has its own private bathroom. One of the bedrooms is in a separate casita, in case one of the kids is married and needs ‘a space of their own’. The separate casita also provides a great respite for friends and family who come to visit.
- The home was positioned right in the middle of the flat area of the lot, and we graded out an additional flat area. This provides an all-open concept for the front and back of the home to open up for indoor-outdoor entertaining. We calculated that the home can accommodate over 200 guests at once on a nice Summer evening. With all 4 of the expansive 5-panel doors opened up, it could even be more.
- We created large limestone block ledges in the front to create seating all along the edge. This creates an “amphitheater” style outdoor in the front, ideal for hosting a live concert or outdoor movie. We calculated room on the ledges for over 70 guests, and plenty of additional space for up to 100 rented chairs in the courtyard itself. This may come in handy at a graduation party, charity event, or just a community gathering.
- The home is an all one-story except for a loft area which could be an area just for the kids.
- The “Vineyard Farmhouse”, as our team named it, features shiplap and many of the beautiful finishes and details you might see in an episode of Fixer Upper.
- The pool is elongated itself, and the team added a spa and a fountain to extend it out farther. It creates a beautiful backdrop for the backyard.
- There is an outdoor pavilion, in addition to all the other covered outdoor living, to hang out by the pool and grill, watch TV, and enjoy the peace and privacy of their home. It is tucked away in the most private spot on the lot but has access to both front and back to give guests an “annex” to both areas when they’re entertaining.
- There is a Bocce Ball court in the front yard. It is one of the first things you see as you enter the courtyard. It is the ideal place for the family to gather and enjoy a game or two in the evenings under the stars.
- The lit cupolas are controlled by a smart phone and can be any color. Our team decided, with this being the first home in the neighborhood, that this home could be almost like a welcome beacon to the neighbors. So, as neighbors enter the subdivision in the evenings, they would see the glow in the windows of the cupolas of whatever color – red, white, and blue for July 4th, red and green for Christmas, etc. The 3 cupolas are controlled independently of each other and have available a complete color wheel.
For our design team, form has to follow function. We are all about creating “luxury for the way you actually live”. This isn’t just a mantra for us. It is the way we approach each project. So, when we don’t have a client to create the home for, then we simply create the client first. Then and only then, can we create them the perfect home for them!