Scenic View

Located off a winding road in the hills west of Austin, the house sinks into the steep topography of the site making only the upstairs visible to passersby.

The clients, a young couple with two beloved dogs, wanted to design the house to accommodate their life exactly as it is now, so the design focused on right-sizing the plan both for the topographically challenging lot and for the couple’s current lifestyle. In response to inefficiencies and unused space in their previous home, it was important to the clients that every room in this house be used on a near daily basis.

Playing on combinations of solid volumes complemented by transparent voids, the house uses a very simple material palette of brick, wood, and steel to stand apart from the landscape without drawing attention to itself. The black brick sets the house into the landscape as an element connected to the earth, allowing it to retreat as an object amidst its more ostentatious neighbors. The black brick is a rich color that contains glimmers of copper brown and red animated by the sun giving it a three-dimensional texture. Inside, the house is bright by contrast and no window treatments in common spaces allow views to the outside at all times as a way to connect both to nature and to the neighborhood. The uncomplicated materials affirm the simple volumes and clearly delineate a clear contrast between the solid mass and the uninterrupted sightlines from the street through the house to landscape and views beyond.

Accommodating the couple’s dogs, Burfi, a bubbly Samoyed, and Baloo, a special needs Samoyed with mobility issues, was another top priority for the clients. In addition to no-slip flooring to enable better footing, plenty of open uninterrupted space allows the dogs to move freely and comfortably anywhere in the house. The architects even added a small dog yard along the side of the house, which has become a popular destination for neighborhood dogs and their humans.

The owners use every space of the interiors throughout every day, following the sun as they move from morning coffee and breakfast in the front courtyard below the street level side to working from home from either common areas or an upstairs bedroom, to ending the day watching the sunset from the balcony. The main living space has no screens and is focused on maintaining a relaxing atmosphere for listening to music or nature through the large sliding doors that allow the interior to spill onto the back deck. Above upstairs balcony off the designated media space affords unobstructed views of the sky and approaching storms while shading the deck below.

Vinson Radke Homes

Jake Holt



Austin, TX


2,921 sf

Project type


26 12
15 Scenic View Ext
16 25
Scenic View Front Exterior

Other Work