Ship-Inspired Custom House Honors Career of Oil Tanker Captain Homeowner

With a tall profile, porthole-inspired touches and deck-like balconies from which to view the nearby lake, this Austin retreat by Jenkins Custom Homes offers an oil tanker captain a "ship" to call home.

Contemporary Home Exterior Features Mixed Materials

Contemporary Home Exterior Features Mixed Materials

Outdoor lighting draws attention to the use of mixed materials on this contemporary home exterior, highlighting the home's dynamic combinations.

Photo by: Tre Dunham

Tre Dunham

Sitting three stories tall with bow-like decks overlooking a nearby lake, this Austin home nearly looks like a ship that's ready to sail. The design is befitting of its homeowner, a career oil tanker captain.

"Our architect made that structure with that butterfly roof and said we want it to look something like a ‘Star Trek’ type ship up in the sky," says Bethany Jenkins, vice president of Jenkins Custom Homes.

Contemporary Home Features Built-In Covered Patio

Contemporary Home Features Built-In Covered Patio

Sleek stone columns elevate this contemporary home above the ground, creating a built-in covered patio that houses an outdoor kitchen, a fire pit and a swimming pool. Ample lighting keeps the patio space fully illuminated at night.

Photo by: Tre Dunham

Tre Dunham

The firm's architect decided to begin the living space of the home 50 feet above the ground both to protect it from the surrounding floodplain and to amplify the look of a floating vessel. Sleek columns made of local, native stone lift the home high enough to create a sheltered outdoor living space on the first floor.

Railings and balconies -- both inside and out -- mimic the look of a ship's bulwark, and the home office boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, offering the homeowner the familiar feel of a bridge.

Contemporary Dining Area Boasts Wet Bar & Wine Storage

Contemporary Dining Area Boasts Wet Bar & Wine Storage

Situated just off the kitchen, this dining area features a wet bar and chic wine storage. The round dining table mimics the shape of the room for a unified look.

Photo by: Tre Dunham

Tre Dunham

The homeowner requested circular designs in the home, which can be seen in the details such as the modern chandeliers in the dining space, an oversized pendant light in the outdoor living area and in the circular wine room and table.

"We didn't at first put the two and two together, but then later we realized the circles represent portholes and she was seeing circles because she's got this career as a ship captain," Jenkins says. 

Contemporary Kitchen Features Dark Brown Cabinets

Contemporary Kitchen Features Dark Brown Cabinets

Dark brown cabinetry provides contrast against the light wood floors in this contemporary kitchen. Granite countertops, which pull hues from the cabinets and floors, tie the space together.

Photo by: Tre Dunham

Tre Dunham

And like the lay of a ship, the home was aligned vertically to capture views of the surroundings from each side. The master bedroom and the living room were given the best perspectives of the lake, and the rest of the rooms boast Hill Country vistas. 

Building for the viewport was not without its challenges, though. Because of the vertical nature of the home, laying out rooms like the kitchen became a challenge. To combat the long, angular outlook of the kitchen, the team installed two large islands with waterfall-edge granite, creating a showpiece out of a strange space. 

Contemporary Bathroom Provides Room for Two

Contemporary Bathroom Provides Room for Two

Two separate vanities, each with their own sink, countertop, mirror and cabinets, ensure space for two in this contemporary bathroom. Situated just past the vanities is a nook with a freestanding bathtub, offering a bit of privacy for bathing.

Photo by: Tre Dunham

Tre Dunham

The rest of the home was built to match the client's contemporary design taste with a neutral gray palette and open spaces. The Jenkins Custom Design team also added their own Hill Country style with small touches of reclaimed wood in the fireplace and master bathroom and contrasting it with plenty of glamour.

"We like to take two completely opposite materials or two completely opposite styles and marry them," Jenkins says. "The reason we do that is because quite often there's just a nice balance that you get whenever you take those two things, the opposites, and you bring them together."

In the end Jenkins marks the success of the project by the homeowner’s joy in the home, not on looks or atmosphere. 

"Whether or not it's beautiful, that's a subjective thing, but if you are just loving living there everyday, then it was a success," she said. 

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