Cliffside Residence

Austin, Texas


Suspended on a narrow limestone ridge halfway down a cliff overlooking Lake Austin, this home was designed to enhance the drama of living in such an unusual natural setting. We opened up both the water side and the cliff-face side with large windows, and provided decks for outdoor living at multiple levels.

This was a major renovation of a deteriorating 1970’s-era house. The original entry was via a dangerous exterior ramp that ran from street level down to a front door 25’ below. The entry is now via a light-filled pavilion that overlooks the lake and opens onto a large rooftop herb garden. A sequence of stairs, supplemented by an elevator, descends through the three levels of the house, revealing views of both the lake and the limestone cliff as you work your way down.

Materials incorporated into the house include flooring that the owners salvaged, furniture made from a collection of industrial parts they collected, and stone from a quarry they frequented during vacations. The house expresses the unique and charming character of its owners

Architect: Specht Harpman
Photography: Andrea Calo, Taggart Sorensen & Austin Smock

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