Friday, February 05, 2010

Austin Modern Home Tour

Last weekend, Mai, Brando, and I
attended Austin's much-anticipated Modern Home Tour.
***WARNING: Incredibly long post ahead with many, many pictures. On the upside, if you didn't get to attend the Modern Home Tour in Austin this weekend, you will be able to now.

We started out with the most gorgeous house
and view I've seen in Austin.
Imagine swimming in that pool. Hello, view under water.

While Mai felt it was gallery like, I adored the open spaciousness of it
and that it took complete breath-taking advantage of the view,
but that it still felt like a home with touches like the master bedroom wing of the upstairs, the soft, cushy carpeting,
and the deck that stretched forever.
One of the other things I loved most was the utilization of space. While the lot wasn't that big, they somehow managed to squeeze a perfect size frontyard
(Also, the scene that greeted us at a number of houses. Too hilarious not to include)

and backyard onto it
with space to layout right by the pool, and a guest house above the garage besides.
3402 Mount Bonnell

Our second home was a total waste of time. There was nothing modern about it. Pretty sure it was a restored older home. Maybe they are trying hard to sell it? Either way, I definitely think the standards for modern should've been called on this one.

The third home competed for my favorite, the first house. In the west campus, the tiny, zen-like home
completely captured my attention. The oatmeal cookies baked fresh by Central Market, who sponsored the home, might've helped,
but I'm 99% sure I would've loved the house any way. The courtyard you walk through to get to the front door created a sense of serenity and privacy unmatched by any of the surrounding homes.
The vintage table with chairs lined up ready for a perfectly warm spring evening sat waiting for a dinner with friends and laughter to fill it.
The bedrooms lined the courtyard,
creating that same peace and serenity the moment you wake up in the morning.
The little touches here and there in the bathroom completed the serenity,
even down to the open, inviting layout of the kitchen
and living room,
again lining the courtyard.
I would move in tomorrow.

The fourth home was not so much inviting for me. Brando and Mai, on the other hand, both loved it so much I suggested they buy it and move in together, but they didn't go for it.

The solid glass stair well railing,
decking that certainly didn't look, but definitely felt unstable. The unstable feeling was probably partially due to the use of glass rails as well, which, on the upside, did provide a beautiful view
(oh, the cleaning involved). That, combined with the cramped feeling of the kitchen
sans downstairs living room turned me off. Surprisingly, it seemed to be the home I took the most pictures of. The bathrooms were unique,
and the home itself did have a lot of textural appeal,
as well the views from the interior windows and the decks induced a feeling of being out in the country.
The interior design was also one of the prettier interiors on the tour,
and most everything was for sale. But those rails.
They slay me, and not in a good way.

The fifth home was a definite winner in modernism. The wood facade
gave way to an open two story living room with stairs floating to the top.
One of my favorite touches was one of the stairs extended to create a small bench nestled between the kitchen and living room.
I would sit on there to pull my shoes on and off, to contemplate, to take a break from cooking, or just because I wanted to. The upstairs had a strange layout that was a bit of a turn off for Brando and Mai (notice a pattern here? We decided they are buying a house together) where one entire wall running the length of the house was solid, cohesive white doors with storage behind them. Me? I loved that part. So much crap I could hide back there. The master bedroom had a walk in shower. That's right. Walk in shower.
The bathtub and sinks were also in there
and you could pretty much hose the whole thing down with the shower head. There was a walk in interior courtyard adjacent to the shower,
making it possible to open the huge sliding glass door and literally shower in the sunshine and breeze.
Heaven. The toilet had it's own little room with character.
As a side note, the art and decor in this home was cute to look at,
and a sight for sore eyes as some of the homes weren't decorated so much or were intended to be more of a gallery for product than decorated. This house also opened up into a courtyard from every room in the house, which I'm beginning to think I really enjoy that particular design.

By the sixth home, we were getting a little tired and worn out. Still, across from Big Stacy Park,
it had a perfect active life location. While the downstairs concrete rooms and fountain wasting space in the middle of the hallway
was a turn off, the upstairs was the perfect loft home with wide open spaces,
soaring ceilings,
colored glass sinks and lighting in the bathroom,
and beautiful light wood floors.
Perhaps the bottom was intended for more of an office space than a living space. That would make sense.

The seventh home wasn't scheduled on our stops,
but we were glad we made it. Even though I have no memory of it, even after viewing the pictures. Although, I do remember this.
We were a little tired and delirious at that point. Apparently, other than that, the only interesting aspects of this particular home were the view
and the bathrooms.

The eighth home was probably our second least liked, but also the most modern home.
Cold and difficult to get to, there were two flights of stairs just before entering the home. Beyond that there were three more flights of stairs to catch all the different levels of the home. In a house that small with literally one bedroom per level.
That just seems totally unnecessary, not to mention, completely lacking privacy from the rest of the home. The one redeeming quality and the reason I'm so glad we still made it there was the rooftop deck with gorgeous views of Town, ahem, Lady Bird Lake.
The faux grass could've been replaced with real to make it even more modern, but in all honesty it really seemed like a low budget modern home. The windows were single pane glass. Not very energy efficient, or safe. And the materials used seemed to be of low quality. Still, you have to give them props for creating a modernistic look on a low budget.

All in all, I am SOOO glad we went and I can't wait to go next year! long as there are different houses on the list. I wouldn't be so much interested in seeing the same homes again. Also, I would LOOOVE to see more sponsored homes. The baked cookies and cheese spread with crackers at the Central Market home were a welcome relief from the trekking, and would add a nice welcome touch to each home.
Especially the homes who are trying to sell. I'd also suggest a collaborative coffee shop stop along the way for a coffee, water, and restroom break. There were water bottles at each house, but I didn't notice in the midst of perusing the house. Perhaps these could be handed out at the volunteer table. We did end up making a stop along the way for this very reason regardless, but it would've been fun to mingle with other tour attendees as well. Thank you, Matt Swinney, at Launch787 for putting this on! What a feast for the eyes.

**As a disclaimer, my opinion is coming from a completely architecturally uneducated point of view. If an architect has a correction to make or if a home owner a correction of a credit to a picture, I would be more than happy to do so.


Nahl said...

I love the first and the fourth one.
I'd take it NOW if I could and move in asap.

Optimista said...

Thank you for the lovely tour! I missed the REAL tour, so your photos were such a treat!

pinksundrops said...

Nahl - Let me know your move in date, and I'm right there with ya!

Optimista - I'm soooo glad you enjoyed it! That was my whole hope in posting these based on how excited I was to go, and how disappointed I would've been had I not been able to : ) .


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