Under Tree House showcasing brightly colored interiors

Under Tree House-01-1 Kindesign

Situated on a lot with nine mature post oak trees, Under Tree House has been designed by architecture studio Loop Design in Austin, Texas. The architect designed the home for clients that are good friends, which is a big part of why they were hired for the project. They wanted the house to grow from this bond, to be a place that feels particular when you walk through it, because it was conceived with people who know them and love them. They wanted it to feel like home before they even moved in. The home features a modern exterior and a streamlined, brightly-colored interior, which is comprised of only 1,900 square feet, but feels quite spacious due to its outdoor areas like the breezeway, decks, second floor terrace, and courtyard.

The lot had never been developed and was covered with mature post oak trees; nearly every buildable square foot was in a root zone. The architect protected the trees by designing around them—they are as integral to the house as its walls and windows. To minimize root zone compaction, the driveway is short, with the carport set to the front of the lot. The house floats behind on concrete piers with cedar decks that terrace down to the ground. The screened breezeway is a front porch, an entry foyer, and a pleasant place to play cards even on a hot summer night.

The house is thin and uses a pier and beam foundation so as not to disturb the trees—light, air and views of tree and sky reach in from all sides. The approach to sustainability is largely low–tech: build in an existing neighborhood where you plan to stay, keep conditioned spaces small through good connection to outdoor spaces, make the sun and shade work for you, collect the rain, plant a garden. On this shady lot, the garden had to move upstairs, where it is the railing of the roof terrace. It is here, up in the only spot of open sky, your perspective of the site and the house changes—no longer under the tree canopy, you’re up in it.

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Before Renovation:

Under Tree House-22-1 Kindesign

Undertree_plan FLOOR PLANS - PDF (1)

Undertree_plan FLOOR PLANS - PDF (1)

Undertree_plan FLOOR PLANS - PDF (1)

 Photos: Whit Preston

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