Architectural Style of HGTV Smart Home 2015
Austin, Texas, has a mix of eclectic styles of architecture including craftsman style homes, built in the 1920s with low pitched roofs and wide pillared front porches, strip malls built in the 1960s, and low-slung, ground hugging ranch style homes built in the 1950s through the 1970s.
HGTV Smart Home 2015 has a modern farmhouse design that easily fits into the mix of home styles. “We were looking for cities and towns that offer a green environment,” says house planner Jack Thomasson, who found the location for the project. “Austin is on the forefront of eco-friendly living and green technology and it’s clearly a place we haven’t been before with a HGTV Smart Home project,” he says.
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Once he identified the city, they had to find the site for the build and that’s where Scott Turner, home builder/developer and owner of Riverside Homes, came in. He had plans to build on this nearly one acre property as part of an infill lot where six homes would go up in the place where one home once stood.
While the house has more of a New England style farmhouse look, the clean lines provided a contemporary flair that is perfect for the lush, tree setting. This building concept keeps with the Imagine Austin development plan and the McMansion ordinance, which limits size and ornamentation of new construction in some areas.
“It feels right for the area,” says Thomasson. “We didn’t want to be the odd ball house in the neighborhood." Plus, the house would feel modern enough that the green building elements and smart technology coupled with the architecture would all work together.
Designed by Don Harris, AIA, Don Harris Architect, the approximately 2,300 square foot, two-level home has a steep pitched roof with two dormers facing the front. A metal overhang shields the front entrance door and cedar clad wall from the elements and large, wide windows in the foyer area let in an abundance of natural light.
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The house is clad in white painted fiber cement horizontal lap boards on the main structure and the garage, with its gabled roof facing front, is sheathed in vertical fiber cement board and batten siding. The charcoal gray asphalt shingles on the roof complement the gray/green color of the paint on the garage wing.
Upon entering, visitors are led directly into the open living room and kitchen area. Hardwood floors are underfoot throughout. Large insulated low E-glass casement style windows look directly into the screened porch off the back of the house and wide, sliding low E-glass doors on the living area wall lead to a floating deck on the side yard, thus flooding the room with natural light.
In the kitchen, painted wood European-style cabinets are topped with quartz countertops and a floating island free of appliances offers a place to sit for a meal or to do homework. Stainless steel appliances, a stainless steel apron front sink and recessed LED lighting lend a modern feel to the room.
Adjacent to the kitchen is the stairway hall leading to the second floor, while a foyer leads to the ground floor guest bedroom and office. A full, tiled bathroom serves the guest room and also acts as a bathroom for visitors. This bathroom has an extra wide doorway, a no-lip shower with a water wand and wall mounted sink, all built with the physically challenged in mind.
“It was designed to accommodate older visitors such as parents using a walker who might come to visit,” says Harris. In fact, he explains that main floor bathrooms with wider than normal doors are being written into city building codes. “So you don’t have to remodel the home later on,” he adds, enabling aging in place lifestyles for homeowners. A closet nearby holds the air conditioning unit and a door provides access to the garage.
Up the stairs, the master bedroom is accessed via a transition area a few more steps up. “It has a cottage scale,” says Harris, with its sloping ceilings that measure 5 feet on the sides and just over 10 feet at the peak. A large walk-in closet offers plenty of space for clothes and accessories. A carpeted sleeping chamber occupies the space above the garage.
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The master bathroom has a water closet for the toilet, double sink vanity, fully tiled shower with multiple shower sprays and a separate tub with a window overlooking the backyard.
On the other side of the stairs, a carpeted media loft with a large, wall-sized television lends a movie theatre experience. The room is spacious enough to accommodate a billiard table as well. Another bedroom with an en suite bathroom and ample closet space is accessed through a small foyer area off the media loft.