Bermuda Post

Sunday, Mar 26, 2023

A Cozy Cottage Surrounded by Trees Near Downtown Austin

A Cozy Cottage Surrounded by Trees Near Downtown Austin

Built in 1971, this four-bedroom house sits on a beautifully landscaped property along the Colorado River.

Nestled at the edge of a verdant suburb in Austin, Texas, this 3,950-square-foot house wraps around an octagonal communal space and complements the lush landscape. The secluded 0.65-acre property is just a 12-minute drive from downtown, and yet it feels like it belongs in an East Texas woodland.

Designed by local architect William Tamminga and built in 1971, the home offers peace, quiet, and cozy living with its high ceilings, exposed wooden beams, limestone walls, and oversized windows that offer picturesque views of the property. "This place truly feels like a treehouse," says listing agent Jennifer Ladner of the Thomajan & Ladner Group of Compass. "You’re tucked into the city in a way that I’ve never seen in Austin."

Although the house is 50 years old, it’s immediately clear from the stunning landscaped entryway that 2707 Valley Springs Road is anything but dated. A recent renovation has kept the home’s exterior and interior fresh and inviting.

The foyer features a 12-foot-high vaulted ceiling, limestone walls, and a polished concrete floor.

Landscape architect Alyssa James of Studio 8SC purchased the home with her husband in 2015, and she’s worked judiciously to maintain the stunning landscape while adding native plantings, such as a Texas redbud tree and a cacti garden.

"I’ve kept a lot of the area wild, and inserted plants that are more acclimated to the Texas climate." she says. "I’ve also looked for places where I could design a vignette-moments where, from inside the home, you get a small but beautiful view."

Dubbed "the octagon" by the current owners, the sunken living room is the centerpiece of the house. It features a stunning fireplace and large windows that overlook the creek out back. All rooms branch out from this central area.

Landscape architect Alyssa James has owned the property since 2015, and she loves the pops of green that can found throughout the house. To her, the color blends in nicely with the verdant exterior.

Alyssa’s old firm, Austin-based Word + Carr Design Group, worked with the previous owners in 2010 to reimagine the exterior environment as well. They added steel terraces, concrete and steel planters, a posterior balcony, a stone deck, and a new entrance, among other elements.

Local architecture firm Mark Odom Studio renovated the building itself by replacing cedar siding with stucco and mahogany, and swapping the composite roof with metal. The design team also added turf to the flat roofs, and upgraded the front door with a custom steel-and-mahogany piece.

A central courtyard shaded by a Japanese maple tree offers a refuge from the sun.

Each bright and airy room boasts windows large enough to let loads of light into the house.

Mark Odom Studio also refinished the concrete and wood flooring, introduced a complete kitchen remodel, and revamped the bathrooms while retaining the home’s period charm. New built-in cabinets in the hallway and primary bedroom provide extra storage.

The focal point of the house is by far the sunken living area-or "the octagon," as the family calls it. All rooms branch out from this space, and it’s impossible to not be sucked into its inviting aura, according to Ladner. "As soon as prospective buyers walk in the door, their jaws drop." she says. "The different textures and the warmth of the space hit you right away."

The primary bedroom has access to its own steel terrace.

Studio 8SC designed the guest suite downstairs, which has access to the greenhouse. Mend Services was responsible for the build-out.

When asked about her favorite design feature, Alyssa points to the pops of green that can be found throughout the home. From the kitchen backsplash to the wet bar counter, bedroom cabinets, and interior courtyard, the verdant hue interplays with the leafy landscape outside.

"I feel like many people see this color as quite garish and in your face," she says. "But when in this particular house, it melts right out the window and into the landscape."

"Keeping up the landscape around the house is a double-edged sword with all these heritage trees surrounding us," Alyssa says. "We have to keep them off the structure, but we also want to allow them to flourish."

A secluded property bathed in greenery and located near the city is a rarity in Austin.


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