Apr 03, 2023

LaRue Architects creates a lake copper

LaRue Architects has clad a lake house outside of Austin, Texas with patinated copper, limestone and oak in order to give it a "living finish".

Called Cliffside, the house was constructed on a limestone bluff 75 feet (23 metres) above Lake Austin in the summer of 2021.

The 7,900-square foot (734-square metre) U-shaped house is nestled between heritage oaks on a steep 0.7-acre lot that previously contained a 1950s lake cabin.

"There are beautiful lake views and many oak trees on a very narrow site, so we weaved the house around the trees while still taking advantage of the views," said Austin-based studio LaRue Architects.

"We tried to reduce the mass of this three-storey home as much as we could while still keeping the home light and as see-through as possible," the studio continued.

Strong horizontal rooflines and plate glass windows create the appearance of a double-stacked contemporary Texas ranch house.

The home's materials are native to the surrounding area.

Regionally quarried smooth Lueders limestone matches the tone of the stucco, while oak soffits run seamlessly from the interior to the exterior.

"Accents of patinated copper paneling pick up the color of the oaks providing a living finish that will get richer over time," the studio said.

The interior spaces – designed by Fern Santini – have smooth plaster and light-coloured wood floors that complement the furniture, colourful art and sculptural suspended lighting.

The rooms are characterised by bright accents like walnut bathroom cabinetry, modish patterned wallpaper, forest green millwork in the bar area, and a charcoal-coloured accent wall with a raked fractal pattern.

The expansive glazing brings in the views of the surrounding heritage trees.

"The private primary suite and office are located in this quadrant, and the views out of these spaces are framed perfectly," said founding principal James LaRue.

"The main staircase is centered between two walls where we decided on the floating treads, making the space look effortlessly beautiful," the studio added.

"We wanted to lighten and open this area up as much as possible – by concealing the structural steel in between the wood treads – the aesthetic is simple and sleek."

Landscape designer Rick Scheen and landscape architect John Hall of Landwest Design Group created modular steel planter boxes that mirror the home's rectilinear frame, and a two-sided negative edge pool spills out towards the lake for an endless water effect.

Nearby, LaRue Architects teamed up with Britt Design Group to renovate a 1950s waterfront cabin with a dogtrot-style breezeway and limestone and metal material palette.

Other residential projects in Austin include Nicole Blair's suspension of a home addition above an existing bungalow.

Photography is by Casey Dunn.

Project credits:

Architecture: La Rue Architects, James LaRue, Emily HaydonInteriors: Fern SantiniBuilders: Reynolds Custom HomesLandscape: LandWest Design Group

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