Fabulous vacation retreat above Lake Austin: Compound Interest

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This casual compound has been designed as a modern vacation retreat by the San Antonio architecture firm Lake|Flato, located high above Lake Austin, Texas. This is the second home for a busy couple who lives near San Francisco and loves the water.

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High above Lake Austin, the main house keeps the couple walking on air, thanks to a catwalk that connects it to one of the three out buildings.


Much of the building’s design was determined by three mature oak trees, informing the building’s orientation and L-shaped footprint. The owners liked the idea of accessing much of the house from outdoor covered porches and walkways. The desire to have the main living area closely connected with the water, while respecting the flood plain and oaks, suggested the design’s stair-stepping boardwalk spine.


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Interior designer Fern Santini’s ruggedly casual decor makes for relaxed living, and is punctuated on high with stylishly whimsical pendant lighting. Porches encourage outdoor living, and separate yoga studio and exercise room are for well-being. A lake pavilion and boat house complete the setting.

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This incredibly stunning home is is open and airy and has wonderful flow. The beautiful furnishings throughout has a modern yet cottagey feel.

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The main living area, a two-story single width volume with a master bedroom loft and porches on either end, takes advantage of the cool prevailing breezes and shade from the adjacent oak trees. A movable, barn-like door serves as a bedroom wall, providing privacy when needed from the living room below. These flexible spaces allow the house to be both intimate and social, effortlessly accommodating guests or individuals alike.

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Photos: Nick Johnson




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