A Saturday in Austin – Modern Home Tour & More!

Mouch – Part man and part couch. It’s the aptly-named character on this TV show I’ve been watching while I, ironically, sit on my couch. With this project I’ve been plugging away at for work, I’m turning into a “womouch.” The solution – The Austin Modern Home Tour.

Our friends, Mike and Shelby, came to pick me up early-ish Saturday morning so we could make a quick stop by the Downtown Farmers’ Market and an even quicker stop for an iced caffeinated beverage (because it’s that warm in Austin in February) at Cenote (and did I mention they make almond milk lattes too!). And then we were on our way!

There were 17 homes on the tour and we stopped by 15 (whew!). Here are a few of my favorites:

The first house we went to had the most amazing open-air shower.  The designer placed a lot of emphasis on light throughout the home, but in the shower the owners had both light and the warm, Austin air.


1616 Garden Street

The second home was actually built behind what appeared to be the original, adobe house.  The designer had left the existing walls (sans roof) and had turned it into an open-air courtyard with a fountain and succulents growing around the highest edge.  They also used light differently – placing them strategically on both walls of various corners.


1801 Riverview Street


1801 Riverview Street

I had actually seen the next home on our list when it appeared on Apartment Therapy some months ago.  This home was one of my favorites and, although it was 1/2 of a duplex in a series of look-alike duplexes, the home felt lived in and customized to the personality of the owner (who helped out touring parents by letting their children draw on his chalkboard kitchen cabinets!).

On the front door, there was a series of these small, glass windows with little orange figurines inside.  There were birds, deer, a dog, and this little guy – too cute to not photograph!


1715 Giles Street

The yard was so beautiful, I didn’t alter this photo a bit – the light, the trees, the color…all exactly as lovely they were on Saturday.


1715 Giles Street

A few of the tour’s homes were being offered for sale, and this home (complete with gym, pool, and 3 outside showers for all of that gym-ing and pool-ing) was one of those.  While the house wasn’t exactly my style, I can’t argue one bit with this view.


300 Academy Drive

Th “blue house” on East Annie reminded me the most of what I know (from having my own live-in architect) of modern architecture – Frank Lloyd Wright.  Lots of wood, lots of built ins…and no mid-century modern would be complete without an Eames Lounge, a Saarinen side table, and two Snoopy paintings 🙂


504 East Annie Street

The next home is an Austin entertainers delight – an outside space with an 8-person table, a built-in grill, surround sound, and (unfortunately not caught in this photo) large string lights permanently crisscrossing over the patio.


212 West Live Oak Street

It’s no secret – Austin is extremely drought prone.  This next home kept that in mind and placed this water collection system in the back yard.


700 West Monroe Street

But the home kept much more than that in mind – the home was designed for the architect’s parents and grandmother (and her live-in nurse!).  There were no steps, everything was easily accessible, and each generation had their own wing, with their own private space.  I’m still not entirely sure what the purpose is – but the parents’ wing had a remote-controlled toilet that lit up in the back and apparently played ambient music…


700 West Monroe Street

Several of the new condo-type homes had these beautiful tubs in them.  Almost a modern twist on the old porcelain 4-legged tubs.

20130205-094243.jpg1st on the tour map, but last on our list was the Texas Cantilever house by Universal Joint Design.  I am so happy we snuck this last one in because it ended up being my favorite!  It was one of the few houses that felt lived in and the owners – artists who were there to visit with the tourists and answer questions – had worked well with the designer to make the home their own.


6502 Grover Avenue

I actually ran into the designer and had a wonderful chat with him about lines and the flow of the home – the flow of sunlight, air (important on hot Texas nights), and movement.   Definitely an “archidork” moment that I would usually make fun of JP for doing, but I truly did appreciate what the designer had done to this home…

After the tour, I went to home to relax a bit with JP – homemade nachos and Goonies (best weekend evening ever!).  Then we followed our sweet tooth to Central Market for some Gelato.  On weekend evenings, they have music and dancing on the patio outside.  It was a bit too cool to eat a frozen desert outside in February…even in Texas…so we sat in our car with the windows cracked so we could eat in the warmth while still enjoying the live music.

Have I mentioned how much I love living in Austin? 🙂


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