Outward Bound

Architect Bob Wetmore designed this custom residence in Austin, Texas, for clients who wanted their new home to complement their active lifestyle and satisfy their desire to spend as much time as possible outside.

June 01, 2002


By covering the outdoor living areas, you create a clearly defined living space that not only provides shelter from the elements but also establishes a sense of ‘room’ outside.

Bob Wetmore, Cornerstone Group Architects

Architect Bob Wetmore designed this custom residence in Austin, Texas, for clients who wanted their new home to complement their active lifestyle and satisfy their desire to spend as much time as possible outside. In fact, he says, the family uses the home’s outdoor living spaces nearly as much as those inside.

Providing outdoor living space is critical in this market,” Wetmore says. “How far you go depends on what each client wants to spend for execution. In this case, the homeowners wanted to be able to relax in their outdoor space and still feel as though they were a part of what was going on inside.”

The open floor plan not only provides an ideal setting for the couple’s contemporary art collection but also creates the virtually seamless transition from indoors to outdoors that they desired. Floor-to-ceiling windows meet in a corner in the central great room. This wide expanse of glass, which incorporates a patio door, provides visual and physical connections between this space and the outdoors.

Austin’s mild climate enables the clients to enjoy their home’s outdoor elements nearly year-round, builder Brian Bailey says. The roof line was extended out over a portion of the patio, creating an outdoor living room. Sheltered from the sun, this area stays cool in the summer. During the winter, the ceiling helps retain heat generated by the outdoor fireplace, which serves as the focal point for this space.

The home also features an open-air cooking and buffet area off the kitchen and a pool and multilevel terrace overlooking a natural creek that spans the property. The site’s rugged topography was left virtually undisturbed, Wetmore says, and was used to enhance the home’s indoor and outdoor spaces. X

Style of Home | Texas Hill Country contemporary

Location | Austin, Texas

Total Square Footage | 5,060 (air-conditioned), 7,677 (total framed)

Market Value | $1.6 million

Builder | Brian A. Bailey Homes, Austin

Architect | Cornerstone Group Architects, Austin

Custom Client | Active family with children

Major Products Used | Appliances: Sub-Zero (outdoor kitchen grill, refrigerator) | Cabinetry: custom beech and cherry | Doors and Windows: Kolbe & Kolbe | Exterior Finish: stucco | Fireplace: Isokern | Flooring: concrete | Wood Ceiling: red cedar; Kelly-Moore (stain) | Home Controls/Automation: Lutron Homeworks | HVAC: Trane | Plumbing Fixtures: Kohler | Roofing: Smith Roofing, Austin (double-locked, standing-seam sheet metal)


A Smooth Transition


  •  The stained and scored concrete flooring used for this home’s outdoor living spaces is easy to maintain and provides a great look that blends well with the clean, contemporary style of the design, builder Brian Bailey says. The same flooring also is used inside for the kitchen. This continuity results in a subtle visual blending of the indoor and outdoor environments.

  • The outdoor living room and the pool terrace are equipped with speakers integrated into the home’s main audio/video system. Each location has individual volume controls. The system also can be controlled remotely via infrared sensor.

  • The fireplace in the outdoor living room lets the space be used even in the dead of winter, architect Bob Wetmore says. The fireplace surround and exterior columns feature the same random pattern of 6x8-inch Leuders limestone and crème Cordova limestone from central Texas that is used to accent other parts of the home’s stucco exterior.

  •  A tongue-and-groove red cedar ceiling was selected for durability. Wetmore says he typically recommends a stained rather than painted finish, not only for beauty but also because it holds up well under temperature extremes.

  • Variable lighting controls in the outdoor living room let the homeowners modify the mood. This space also features a wireless Internet connection.

  •  An uncovered portion of the patio functions as an outdoor cooking and alfresco dining area and includes a stainless steel gas grill, a two-burner cooktop and an undercounter refrigerator. An outdoor buffet serving area with granite countertops also was blended into this space. “In a lot of cases we will do a separate kitchen outside with a full appliance package, but in that case the area must be covered,” Wetmore says.

  • The custom wrought-iron porch railing was manufactured and installed on site by local artisan G.W. Sills.
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