Natural materials, including sandstone and different
types of limestone, make up the exterior of a private residence in Austin, TX,
that overlooks a sprawling golf course.
The stone helped the home fit in with its surrounding habitat, while
also achieving a contemporary look. Architect: James D. LaRue
Architecture/Design, Austin, TX; Builder: Matt Shoberg/Shoberg Homes, Austin,
TX; Stone Suppliers: A.J. Brauer Stone, Austin, TX (limestone); Howard Pierce
& Sons, Austin, TX (sandstone)
Photos ©Coles Hairston/Courtesy of Through the Lens Mgt.
Nestled on a hillside overlooking a sprawling golf
course, the exterior design of an upscale Austin, TX, residence is lavishly
dressed in a variety of natural stone to blend with its surrounding environment
as well as to give it a modern appearance. The home’s facade and “outdoor
living” areas feature an extensive amount of random-cut pieces of sandstone and
limestone - the majority of which was quarried locally.
“What we were trying to do was create a Texas contemporary home using native
materials,” said James LaRue, AIA and Principal of James D. LaRue
Architecture/Design in Austin, TX, which served as the architect for the
project. “The home faces a golf course, and everything is focused on the hills.
The homeowner wanted it to look great from the golf course.”
The exterior facade of the residence is comprised of
local sandstone. As a complement, Oklahoma
chopped limestone was selected for architectural elements such as site walls,
fireplaces and chimneys. “The roughly coursed limestone ranges from 4 to 16
inches,” said James LaRue, AIA and Principal of LaRue Architects. “The
variation of size really makes it look natural on the walls.”
Encompassing 4,722 square feet, the residence is
complete with a pool, outdoor kitchen, fireplaces and several seating areas.
According to LaRue, he decided to choose a variety of limestone - supplied by
A.J. Brauer Stone in Jarrell, TX - and sandstone - supplied by Howard Pierce
& Sons in Austin, TX - that possessed natural hues - helping to create a
warm and inviting outdoor design.
The sandstone was selected for the body of the exterior, giving the home a
natural appearance at first glance. “The homeowner picked [the sandstone]
exclusively for its color,” said LaRue.
For the home’s exterior walkways, including the pool
patio, locally quarried Lueders limestone was chosen. In particular, the stone
was chosen for its anti-slip performance.
To complement the sandstone, locally quarried Lueders limestone
was employed for some patio areas and steps. The material, which has a
thickness of 2 inches, was also used for architectural details such as the pool
copings, fireplace mantels, tops of wall caps and windowsills. “The Lueders is
smooth at the top, easy to caulk, not slippery, cool on the feet and durable
with a nice color,” said LaRue. “It’s really a great, versatile limestone
Additionally, LaRue and the homeowner selected Oklahoma chopped limestone for site walls,
fireplaces and chimneys surrounding the home. “The roughly coursed limestone
ranges from 4 to 16 inches,” said LaRue. “The variation of size really makes it
look natural on the walls.”
Another variety of Texas
limestone - known as “cave” stone - was used to build a retaining wall to help
ease the slope of the hills. The material was also selected by the homeowners.
“The Lueders is smooth at the top, easy to caulk, not
slippery, cool on the feet and durable with a nice color,” said LaRue. “It’s
really a great, versatile limestone product.”
“The site was difficult,” said LaRue. “There’s so much
slope. We built this retaining wall with a limestone from Jarrell called ‘cave’
stone. It’s a tremendous stone. It looks like it’s coming out of a cave. When
water comes on it, it creates a lot of texture.” LaRue added that the retaining
wall had originally been concrete, but it made the residential project look too
Using stone from Texas and Oklahoma helped break up the mass of this
large structure, and other materials chosen gave the stone emphasis, explained
LaRue. “Outside, we can’t put stone on everything,” he said, adding that metal
siding on the connecting spaces give the stone a greater impact, and stained
wood areas make the stone “come alive.”
Other outdoor living spaces feature stained wood,
which LaRue said “made the stone come alive.”
“The client was intimately involved in the stone
selection process, and the builder, Matt Shoberg, was a great help,” LaRue
continued. “It was a nice effort by everyone.”
Construction of the home began in January of 2009, and it was completed in
February of 2010. Design plans started in June of 2008.
“The client loves it,” said LaRue. “We’re trying to get the house on the AIA
homes tour. And we have actually been contacted to have models do a photo shoot
at the house because of the architecture of the house and the great views. The
overall response has been great - even the golfers like it.”