Project: Hotel Saint Cecilia
Architects: Clayton & Little
Project Team: Paul Clayton, Principal; Emily Little, Partner in Charge; George Wilcox, Project Architect
Interior Design: Bunkhouse Group, Liz Lambert
Renovation Contractor: Cox Construction
New Construction Contractor: Bailey Elliot Construction, Inc.
Landscape Architect: Word + Carr Design
Lighting Design: Ohm Lighting
Structural Engineer: Duffy Engineering
Civil Engineer: Urban Design Group
MEP Engineer: EEA Consulting Engineers
Geotechnical Engineer: Kleinfelder Central, Inc.
Location: Austin, Texas
Photography by Casey Dunn and Nick Simonite
Designed to offer privacy and refuge from the bustle of the city, the hotel grounds feature six magnificent live oaks scattered around an 1888-vintage Victorian mansion, recognized by Austin’s Historic Landmark Commission as the Miller-Crockett House. Through a series of strategic renovations, additions, and new construction, Clayton & Little gave this 3,425-square-foot building and one-acre campus a new life while working with the landmark commission to preserve the integrity of the historic residence.
Located in the historic Travis Heights neighborhood, Hotel Saint Cecilia provides easy access to the South Congress District that’s just a block away, a commercial strip offering entertainment, shopping, and culinary experiences. The secluded grounds house a variety of guest room types including five suites in the mansion, six poolside bungalows, and three studios totaling 7,116 square feet.
In keeping with the original rhythms of the neighborhood, the new design preserves the park-like space in the middle of the site. The Live Oaks provided the framework for siting four new buildings to complement the renovated mansion. Three sleek new structures were sited on the ground’s downhill slope and the fourth building sits adjacent to the mansion. A new heated lap pool was located centrally between the three new bungalow buildings. Muted neutral tones and simple forms help the new buildings recede into the site, define the perimeter of the grounds and allow the historic building to retain its authority.
Prior to the renovation, the Miller-Crocket House had functioned as a bed and breakfast that was long overdue for an update. Clayton & Little converted the mansion into five suites and designed it to be reconfigurable if occupied by only one group. Interiors received a facelift with new paint, bold wallpaper, tile, as well as vintage and new lighting fixtures. A fifth bathroom was added, and existing bathrooms were reconfigured and updated with new fixtures and tile. Existing wood trim was reused or replaced in kind and painted black. Wood floors were refinished and new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems were incorporated throughout. Exterior materials were restored with new finishes applied, all chosen to enhance and protect the integrity of the existing historic structure. A new outdoor shower was added to the west façade for guest use.
The new 2,971-square-foot central building holds three studio guest rooms that sit atop the hotel lounge and office. Each studio has a unique floor plan, large windows, and a mix of new and vintage décor. A sublime, city-view private patio is situated off of the third-floor studio. On the ground level the building houses a private, limited service restaurant and bar reserved for guests and club members. Above, there’s a communal roof deck with city views. The courtyard just south of the lounge is used for guests and events.
The new, two-story poolside bungalows were sited so that each suite has a private, gated courtyard and entrance. Bungalow exteriors utilizes wood-framed walls and roofs, with stucco and simple, painted wood detailing. Aluminum-clad wood windows and exterior doors are paired with stone, tile and concrete patios.
Interiors of the new construction include encaustic Mexican floor tile, wood floors, natural stone and porcelain bathroom tile and custom ‘oversize’ pairs of half lite interior doors to demise living and sleeping rooms. Interior finishes, furnishings and art throughout the hotel are inspired by the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and selected by owner Liz Lambert of Bunkhouse Group.
Lush landscaping and outdoor patios enhance guests’ retreat experience. A meandering, sloped side walk leads visitors through the parklike site from the main house and lobby to the pool and bungalows. Garden and site design by Word + Carr Design Group contribute to the magic of the hotel.
Through sensitive renovations and new additions, Clayton & Little helped transform Hotel Saint Cecilia into a secluded oasis in the heart of Austin, Texas.