Project: Pedernales Residence
Architecture: Davey McEathron Architecture
Location: Holly, Austin, Texas, United States
Area: 1400 ft2
Photo Credits: Leonid Furmansky
Text by Davey McEathron Architecture
Pedernales, a building that could not exist on any other site. A house tailored to its location in every single way. Envisioned as a curated living, staycation of a space, Pedernales has culminated into a living and functional work of art.
The project started out in less-than-ideal pre-existing conditions. The site was small and heavily developed almost a century ago by the previous owner. The client had been advised by multiple other architects that the lot was unworkable. To further problematic matters, a 36″ pecan tree grew right in the middle of its buildable area. The previously existing house cut away its own roof line to accommodate the pecan tree growing through it. The client had a vision of a house that incorporated the tree rather than got rid of it. We saw this as a dream challenge.
Root impacts from the previous house’s footprint coupled with new building codes reduced the buildable area of the house. Furthermore, the client had considerable goals for the small lot with a desire for 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. We built on almost every available square footage on the site. The tree once seen as dead weight, became the celebrated highlight of the project, with a view to it framed in every room of the house by a window, glass door, or skylight. The pecan tree bequeaths a magical treehouse-like atmosphere; a celebration of nature that expands the visual depth of the small site.
The tree divides the Pedernales residence into two separate areas. One side of the house has a carport with a primary suite above it, allowing for a fully private suite. This primary suite connects to the more public side of the house by a bridge allowing for a double height view of the tree and a meditative procession between the sides.
The primary suite is a mix of black walls and ceilings with rich warm wood tones. The jewel-toned and highly polished tile in the open dressing area gives a high glam balance to the natural materials and textures of the stone countertops, terrazzo like floor/wall tiles. The private wet room has a sunken second level Roman tub and a skylight that frames part of the tree canopy. The angle of the roofs allowed for expansive interior ceiling heights enabling the house to minimally disrupt the natural tree canopy while still maintaining a sense of grandeur.
The other side of the house serves as the more public entertaining area and guest rooms. The open concept living and kitchen area has large doors that open to the tree. Blurring the lines between interior and exterior, the living room extends outside under the tree canopy and onto the private interior courtyard.