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Any location in Austin that makes you a car-optional household is something, and this location does just that—you can be at ABIA or the private jetway for business or pleasure in just 10 minutes, Lady Bird Lake in 7 minutes, Downtown in 5 minutes. Want to go carless? You’re just 3 minutes to the light rail, and right off Austin’s city bike paths.
But, you may just not want to go anywhere when you’ve got this view. This custom Minquel-McQuary designed home is thoughtfully situated at 12th and Walnut, allowing for curb appeal from 12th on the gently sloping lot. Pecan and olive trees pepper the lot in a way that suggests this home has been here since Austin was founded. An 8’ architectural privacy screen on the lot seems more art than fence.
As you ascend from the street through tiered native landscaping and sculptural metal work that snakes through the property, you’ll notice a departure from the typical street-sidewalk-front-yard-entry arrangement. The AIA Tour of Homes award-winning designers pride themselves on design that blends with the bigger picture and flows from one environment to the other. Although you approach the property from 12th Street, you’ll actually enter the home from the side, just behind the most prominent feature of the home: a floating glass room that seems to levitate on the lot, blurring the lines between front yard and family room. Indeed, instead of relegating the largest porch to the back of the home, the stained cedar porch is precisely what welcomes you in.
Inside, the open floor plan is tiered, moving the energy from cozy in the kitchen to grand and vibrant in the great room, a mostly glass marvel with crafted architectural vantage points and 11-foot 6-inch ceilings. White oak ceiling accents and floors in the great room provide a visual anchor, while polished concrete in the dining and kitchen compliment the earthy oak with a little edgy crisp urbanism.
With a toolbox of light and spatial ratios, Minguell-McQuary have designed rooms that become havens, vantage points, openings and enclosures for activity or reflection. Each room maximizes natural light, using large glass walls, light chimneys and other features to open up every space, making it relaxing, inviting, and part of the world around it.
Minguell-McQuary designed just three homes in this East Austin development, each architecturally distinct, blending lifestyle with elegant design. Start in the kitchen: stained wood complements concrete and stainless steel appliances while mosaic tile and open shelving provides a traditional touch. Modular cabinetry conveniently surrounds the stainless Viking double-door refrigerator with freezer drawer and accompanying microwave.
Most of all, from the kitchen you have a wide-open view of the breathtaking glass front room, and you get even more light from the tall wall of windows bordering the stairway, which features an architectural transparent, perforated metal guardrail that contrasts nicely with the natural, stained wood two-story accent wall that connects upstairs with down.
You arrive upstairs at a casual sitting area bordered by a window just as wide. The area serves as a buffer between the master and the two additional bedrooms, and could serve as a modern home office, the perfect spot to kick back with your Kindle on a lazy Sunday afternoon, or a fitness space just as easily.
The master bedroom features a wrap-around, open bathroom which feels roomy yet still private. The master bath features a large walk-in shower and private water closet. There’s an iconic two-story, stained wood accent wall that draws the eye up to peaked ceilings. The second stained accent wall sits on one side of a walk-through master closet which faces a custom-fabricated metal bench built into the wall. These gorgeous accent walls recur throughout the home as the perfect backdrop for your favorite art pieces, whether your tastes lean ultra modern, Western, or steadfastly traditional.
On the other end of the upstairs sit the two additional bedrooms, built with flexibility in mind; there’s a track for sliding dividers that allow you to separate the rooms or allow for flow through. Closet space divides part of the area, with both rooms leading into the full bath. The entire upstairs continues the theme from down below; flow, with privacy, and tons of natural light. Upstairs, modest custom picture windows open the walls at random, allowing for fantastic views of Austin, while towering light chimneys cut through the roof above give even more openness and light without sacrificing privacy.
The back entry near the open parking space opens to a large mudroom with laundry and additional storage, as well as a perfectly private powder room.
In addition to being beautifully modern, this home makes use of all the latest efficiencies to keep your energy use low. First, natural light: this home makes spectacular use of natural light, so that even your fine-art pieces won’t need a dedicated spot or can lights. LED lighting throughout means what light you do use is as efficient as possible.
The CAT6 wiring throughout is a feature some homeowners might not be acquainted with, but it’s a huge benefit for Internet speeds. Traditional CAT5 cables handled just 10/100 Mbps and did not prevent electronic interference from other sources, which can slow down speeds and increase errors. CAT6 cables can maintain speeds of 10 Gbps, which means no matter how fast gadgets get, your network will be on top of it.
The high-efficiency Rennai tankless water heater gives you an endless supply of shower steam with no wasted energy. Foam insulation covers every nook and cranny to keep your home sealed tight against the seasons, and you can rest easy knowing the entire home was furnished with no-VOC paint. The 2-unit Bosch Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Heat Pump HVAC system will heat and cool just enough with no wasted effort.
You’ll also notice the lack of a thirsty lawn out front. By foregoing the typical big-box landscaping package for beautiful native species, this home provides plenty of curb appeal without disrupting the natural ecosystem.
Plus, with the city bike paths and light rail so close, you’ll save a ton of energy not taking out a car every time you need to go somewhere. And, you can enjoy a stroll downtown for everything else, from huge music festivals and concerts to a simple night out. If you do need a spot to park between road trips, the custom steel and polygal carport is the perfect spot.
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