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 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.
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.
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.”
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.”