Archives For austin modern homes

In trendy restaurants, cafés, bars, and even barbershops in major cities all over the world the industrial chic aesthetic has become commonplace. Industrial chic has become so popular, in fact, that it’s practically expected that a new brunch spot, craft cocktail bar, or the new Peruvian-fusion gastronomic experience that just opened downtown, would also come with dangling steel lights, thick rope around metal pipes, weathered oak tables, exposed brick and heating ducts, subway tile walls, and raw concrete floors. We feel comfortable in these places, amongst all the raw, exposed materials, for some reason.

Perhaps it feels warm to us—getting closer to the natural world through raw materials. And interior designers know we long for this, so in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s when American factories were dug out and made anew into residences, the Andy Warhol “loft” lifestyle was born, and also, consumers’ return to nature.

We seek out nature in our dining, so it makes sense now that the industrial chic aesthetic has entered home interiors. A current listing that embodies this urban design phenomenon beautifully is 2301 South 5th Street #25 in Austin, represented by TVOA.


We see it in open co-working spaces and “factory style” design, and now it’s here in modern homes with the open floor plan. The open floor plan of 2301 South 5th creates an open life. Not to mention the openness of the outdoor patio with panoramic views of the Austin skyline.


What separates this property from other modern homes is the absolute devotion to the most precise materials needed to create comfort. 2301 South 5th features polished concrete floors, structural steel on the banisters, white subway tiles in the bathroom, stainless steel appliances, the exposed metal vent in the kitchen. Industrial chic is all about making the materials—metal, wood, concrete, tile—work in a natural way, and this property infuses that philosophy beautifully.In an elegant twist of fate abandoned factories have created a design movement. From the influential Dia:Beacon, all the way here, to South 5th Street in Austin, Texas.

By: David Plick

“If it’s not sustainable, it’s not architecture.” —Joshua Prince-Ramus

Driving down Lamar or Oltorf, it’s very clear that there’s a lot of bad architecture in Austin—those faux-modern apartment complexes that are made to look like California motels with bright orange and aqua blue color schemes; those mass produced complexes where every house looks exactly the same. While developers attempt to use buzzwords like “economical” or “efficient”, we know what it is—assembly line chain houses, about as interesting as a Quarter Pounder with Cheese. On the one hand, we can’t blame them for wanting to make money, but on the other, they rob Austin of its uniqueness and individuality, and thus, we are fully permitted to be derisive, scoff and say we hate it.

Thankfully, if we apply Joshua Prince-Ramus’ definition, it’s not even architecture, because those things are not built to last. I can say this for a fact because I lived in one of those obnoxious aqua-blue apartment buildings, and they were practically made out of cardboard. And if the cardboard started to crack, they fixed it with scotch tape.

Austin is still a perfect location, though, for the slow architecture movement. There’s plenty of space to work with, plenty of money to go around, and plenty of intelligent people with discerning taste. There’s also a distinct culture that emanates off of places like The White Horse, Rainey Street, not to mention the essence of the southwest, of Texas, of Mexican and Native American heritage. All of these combined elements allow for a vibrant architectural and design scene.

And there certainly is one. There are so many distinct, slowly designed modern homes like this masterpiece by Shane Pavonetti:

Like the other great joys in life: food, love, personal growth, architecture is best when it’s done slow. Take Bercy Chen’s work, for example, arguably the best that Austin has to offer. Here is Dan Loe, project architect at Bercy Chen, explaining how the firm elicits a slow architectural process in their projects:

“It’s very tactile—on-site working out the details. No matter how much time you spend on the design side there’s always going to be these elements that pop up during construction that you have to resolve. You have to figure out how the steel is going to meet the wood. It’s this constant process of analyzing and reassessing, and coming up with solutions. And sometimes those are really the best.”

In his recent interview with TVOA, Loe echoed the calls of Joshua Prince-Ramus, that the best design choices don’t happen in the preliminary sketches. They sometimes don’t even happen when the building is first being constructed. They happen when the architect is on-site, with the client, and they both have the time to look at it, reflect, and say, “This could be better. Let’s try this out.” It happens when intelligent people get together and collaborate, which is further proof that it’s impossible to make something to its fullest potential in the first try. It always takes re-drafting, re-thinking, changing. The good news in all this is genius, actually, isn’t natural. It only comes through hard work, discipline, and humility, the willingness to look at your ideas and think they could be better.

By: David Plick