This exceptional “Inverse House” in Texas celebrates indoor outdoor living

modern house exterior with a pool at dusk

Matt Fajkus Architecture has reimagined a 1980s garden home into what is called “Inverse House”, a two-story modern home nestled along the fairway of the 14th hole of Austin Country Club’s golf course. This project is called Inverse House because, unlike a typical house, this house tucks the secondary bedrooms on the lower level, allowing the kitchen, living, and dining room to enjoy privileged views and generous daylight from clerestories and skylights.

With the private family spaces tucked on the lower level, the upper-level spaces enjoy golf course views instead of a private backyard. Additionally, the design of this home reimagines the existing house’s main features as their opposites. The gable roofline became a butterfly. The public kitchen and dining areas swapped locations with the private owners’ suite. Formerly indoor space became an outdoor patio. These inversions recast a formerly dark, segmented interior into a clean-lined, open plan, characterized by dynamic natural light.

DESIGN DETAILS: ARCHITECT Matt Fajkus Architecture GENERAL CONTRACTOR Melde Construction INTERIOR DESIGN Lindsey Hanna Design LANDSCAPE Lisa Shubin Design

modern house exterior front facade

Homeowner’s association guidelines required mostly opaque stone party walls on two sides of the house, so bringing in natural light became the experiential driver for the design. Inverting the gable roof allowed clerestory windows to be added on the east and west sides of the house, bringing sunlight deeper into the footprint.

modern hallway

The interior functions of the home were pulled away from the exterior walls to create light wells that serve as both interior circulation spaces and exterior living areas. The street-level floor plate is pulled back from the exterior wall to allow light from a two-story window and skylights to pour into the lower-level family room. 

modern living room with a fireplace

Above: The living room is drenched with natural light from the clerestory windows of its butterfly roof. Architectural steel elements over the outdoor balcony temper light and cast a variety of shadows that change throughout the day.⁠

modern kitchen and dining room with sliding glass doors

Above: This kitchen floats within the larger spaces and circulation paths of the house while its dark tones and materiality allow it to be an anchor within the home and a more intimate space to gather.

modern kitchen with a wet bar

modern kitchen and dining room

Natural materials inside and out ground the home’s human scale and tactile experience, while minimal details provide a canvas for light and frame views of the hills beyond.

modern kitchen and dining room with sliding glass doors

Texas limestone walls, white oak flooring, stained maple cabinetry, plaster shower walls, and unfinished brass hardware that will patina with age are complemented by new walls composed of metal panels and glass, steel railings and stringers, flush base trim, and a large, exposed beam in the lower level.

modern kitchen range wall

modern family room

What We Love: Inverse House is a wonderful concept to provide this home’s inhabitants with upper-level living to enjoy the views while tucking the private living spaces on the lower level. We love this idea for soaking in views and flooding living spaces with natural light. Overall, the architects did a fabulous job of creating a comfortable and inviting home that has a fantastic indoor-outdoor flow.

Tell Us: What are your overall thoughts on the design of this home? Please share your feedback in the Comments below!

Note: Have a look at a couple of other incredible home tours that we have showcased here on One Kindesign in the state of Texas: See this contemporary dream home in Dallas designed for entertaining and A fabulous contemporary dream home created for empty nesters in Texas.

modern staircase

modern staircase with skylights

modern bedroom with a private patio

A patio is created by pulling the exterior wall away from the original home’s sidewall to create indoor-outdoor connections and add light to the owners’ suite without sacrificing privacy. 

modern bathroom with a freestanding tub and large window with a skylight

Above: When the HOA guidelines required solid side walls, the architects took the opportunity to create a lightwell that doubles as a private outdoor space off the owners’ suite.

modern bathroom with a vanity, shower and a skylight

modern bathroom

modern walk-in closet

modern powder room

modern home office

modern home office

modern house exterior with a pool

modern house exterior with a pool

Above: This pool and pool deck are an extension of a lower-level family room which has floor-to-ceiling windows that allow sunlight to reflect off the pool to create a changing experience throughout the day inside the house.⁠

modern house exterior

On the exterior, light-colored limestone walls define the locations of existing exterior walls and a datum from which springs new roof and wall geometries clad in dark metal panels and glass.

modern house exterior

modern house exterior detail

Above: Steel trellises are incorporated into the window design to temper the harsh midday sun while also casting figural shadows in the otherwise minimal interior spaces.

modern house exterior front facade at dusk


modern floor flan of inverse house

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6 months ago

Nice fireplace design.