Project: Hemlock Ave House
Architecture: Chioco Design
Lead Architects: Jamie Chioco
General Contractor: Miars Construction, Jason Miars
Structural engineer: MJ Structures, Richard Martin
Location: Austin, Texas, United States
Area: 2000 ft2
Photographs: Casey Dunn
Jamie Chioco, principal at Chioco Design in Austin, Texas had the opportunity to design his and his wife’s personal residence. Completed in 2019, the two-bedroom home is located in the East Austin neighborhood of Cherrywood. Chioco, who has owned the property for sixteen years had lived in a 1950’s house typical to the neighborhood and in 2017 decided to start from scratch. The couple decided to relocate the 750 square foot home to a new location about two miles away. After all, it was a perfectly good house that didn’t need to go to the landfill. Designing one’s personal home proved to be an interesting process. After all those years of living on the property, it was easier to assess the site.
Ultimately, it was this deeper understanding of what the program needed to include that made for a successful design. Orientation, public vs. private topics, scale, and proportion had all been considered for years. The inadequacies of the previous homemade decisions for the new home very apparent. Natural light, open living areas, and the need to relate to the site were the priorities. The Hemlock Ave House features four custom fabricated fourteen-foot-tall corner windows.
These windows maximize the views out into the landscape and through the house. Adding to that and natural light levels are four sets of wood sliding doors made by Quantum. The plan is essentially two overlapping rectangles that meet and connect in the corners (ref. plan drawing). At this connection is the main entry through two sets of sliding doors.
Instead of entering at the front façade Chioco wanted to approach the entrance through a private courtyard. The “front” door is actually situated in the center of the home. Upon approach, the transparency of the sliding door systems reveals a layered effect through the house and into the back yard and pool area. The materials are kept simple and edited.
The exterior facades are entire of a warm beige modular brick with the exception of the Ipe screen walls that enclose the entry courtyard and the western red cedar on the storage room at the rearmost part of the home. Ground concrete floors throughout help to blur the lines from inside to out. All the millwork and wall panels are of vertical grain White Oak. White marble was used for countertops, backsplashes and as a major element in the Primary bathroom and walk-in shower. There are also some tile accents in the mix in the kitchen and bathrooms.
At just under 2000 square feet the home feels and lives much larger due to thoughtful planning. The entry courtyard and the covered patio and pool are perceived as extensions of the interior spaces, creating outdoor rooms. When the Austin weather permits, the entire Hemlock Ave House can open up making for a true unencumbered indoor-outdoor experience.