This Bull Creek residence in Central Austin epitomizes mid-century modern design with a seamless blend of indoor and outdoor living spaces. Studio Steinbomer took on the challenge of integrating a protected cedar elm tree into the design, resulting in playful and inviting spaces that offer different perspectives inside and out.
Sustainability and healthy living were key priorities, and the Austin Energy Green Building Program has issued a 5 star rating for the house. This case study delves into the creative process and innovative solutions used by Studio Steinbomer to craft a beautiful, versatile home that balances intimate family life with exceptional entertainment opportunities.
Discovering the Perfect Location
The search for the perfect location was a labor of love for the family behind the Bull Creek Residence. Seeking a more streamlined and downsized living space, they explored various neighborhoods in Central Austin. Ultimately, the charm and convenience of the Allandale Neighborhood captured their hearts. Its pedestrian-friendly appeal, with access to nearby restaurants, schools, and recreational paths, made it an ideal community to call home.
However, it was the lot itself that truly sealed the deal. Nestled within this desirable neighborhood were two significant trees, each carrying its unique character. Among them was the centerpiece, a magnificent cedar elm. Studio Steinbomer recognized the challenge and potential of designing around this majestic tree, and the family’s passion for embracing its presence cemented their decision to acquire the property.
The Challenge of Design Integration
Studio Steinbomer’s creative prowess and commitment to honoring the natural environment were pivotal in the design process. Recognizing the significance of the protected cedar elm, the team positioned key living spaces strategically to offer direct, uninterrupted views of the tree.
The living, kitchen, office, primary suite, and outdoor dining and kitchen areas were carefully designed so that the interiors and outdoors seamlessly merge as one. Opening the multi-slider door reveals one big open space.
Embracing the 21-Degree Rotation
In the pursuit of creating a harmonious and versatile living space, Studio Steinbomer considered myriad design possibilities during the conceptual phase. Among these ideas, a daring and ingenious solution emerged—the 21-degree rotation. This architectural feat not only preserved valuable backyard space, but also expanded opportunities for outdoor activities while optimizing the cedar tree’s views.
The 21-degree rotation quickly became the guiding principle and a delightful design element that infused playfulness and dynamism into the project. Its impact was felt in every aspect of the architecture, enhancing the house’s vertical and horizontal planes. By embracing this bold move, Studio Steinbomer elevated the Bull Creek Residence to new heights of architectural excellence and creative ingenuity. The 21-degree rotation exemplified the home’s unique and captivating character, exemplifying the studio’s commitment to innovative design solutions that pay homage to the natural world.
Sustainability and Energy Efficiency
Sustainability and energy efficiency were paramount in the design process. Studio Steinbomer implemented innovative systems that promoted these goals, including a weather barrier, air gap, continuous insulation, and proper moisture management. The home’s sustainability yields an airtight environment, boasting energy-efficient equipment and photovoltaic panels that produce beyond net-zero and generate net positive energy use.
The home’s energy consumption was carefully considered, with energy-sipping equipment used during non-peak hours and centrally located utilities to reduce heat loss. Solar panels on the second-floor roof were installed to offset the home’s energy needs, resulting in a net-zero for most of the year, a net positive for summer months, and an impressive five-star rating from the Austin Energy Green Building Program.
Improving Indoor Air Quality
Healthy living was a key aspect of the design, focusing on providing clean and fresh air within the home. An Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) system was installed to exchange air moisture and remove heat and humidity, ensuring optimal indoor air quality. A MERV-rated filter was chosen to enhance the air filtration further, effectively capturing a high percentage of air pollutants.
AeroBarrier building envelope sealing product was also used, a material that exceeds minimum building energy codes. AeroBarrier meets any air sealing requirement by providing additional levels of performance and energy efficiency.
The Bull Creek Residence’s Enduring Legacy
The Bull Creek residence is a testament to Studio Steinbomer’s commitment to exceptional design, sustainability, and environmental consciousness. By embracing mid-century modern principles and overcoming the challenges of integrating a protected tree, Studio Steinbomer crafted a beautiful, versatile home that embodies the essence of indoor-outdoor living. The Bull Creek residence is a shining example of how thoughtful and innovative design can create a harmonious living space that respects and enhances its natural surroundings.
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