A playful take on farmhouse design blends Scandinavian influences with undeniably contemporary vibes.
Located in Austin’s lively Zilker neighborhood, this distinctive contemporary home was designed by architect, Kris White, of Dick Clark + Associates, whose intent was to create a unique modern residence that responds to its vibrant, urban context.
Inspired by Scandinavian farms and the Texas Hill Country, the home’s signature offset roof nods to the iconic farmhouse vernacular without wearing its influences on its proverbial sleeve. The quirky asymmetry is almost irreverent, as if pushing against the more cliché interpretations of the modern farmhouse trend.
The home’s interior lot heavily informed White’s design and influenced the selection and placement of the windows and doors. One of his main objectives was to create a strong connection to the backyard and really celebrate the notion of indoor/outdoor living, so he knew he needed a lot of glass. To do this, he created an impressive wall of windows and doors at the back of the home using contemporary-style narrow frame windows.
The centerpiece of the wall of glass is a large Marvin Multi-Slide door. The massive door seamlessly connects the interior to the backyard oasis, invites in a lot of warm natural light and frames beautiful sunset views. Big glass and narrow frames further dramatize the visual impact of seeing straight through the home from the front door.
“What I like to do with my windows and doors is use them to bring in beautiful light, but also to frame perspective,” White said.
So significant is this door to the overall design that the direct glaze contemporary windows on the second story were spaced to match the Multi Slide’s vertical mulls. When the door is closed, the window’s vertical mulls line up. They do not, however, terminate at the apex of the hemlock-lined roof ridge, where the eye expects. Instead there’s a slight offset that mirrors White’s playful asymmetric interpretation of the farmhouse silhouette.
“We thought that was really fun to play with the asymmetry.” White said.
Another distinctive element is the 14-foot cantilever that shelters the patio. The plan originally called for this feature to extend out from the exterior wall of the home, fully shielding the outdoor living room beneath from the hot Texas sun. But White opted to cut out a four-foot section near the home to allow sunlight to penetrate the lower level through the Multi-Slide door.
Interestingly, Margaret is one of two homes on adjacent lots designed and built concurrently by White. The other is called Folts. And while he designed each to have its own distinct identity, he also wanted the properties to relate to one another, as if siblings.
One of the key design elements shared by both properties is the use of Marvin narrow frame windows and doors.
Both homes are contemporary, but have markedly different points of view. One is midcentury modern, the other farmhouse. Despite the disparate design influences, Marvin narrow frame windows and doors serve both designs extremely well, and perfectly complement the architecture, which really impressed White.
“The versatility of the windows adapt and heighten the experience of something very contemporary in Folts, and update and modernize, without going too far, the farmhouse aesthetic,” White said.