A reimagined classic mid-century home with beautiful Texas Hill Country views

contemporary home exterior backyard view

This classic mid-century home has undergone an extensive renovation and addition by architectural studio Clayton Korte, located in the Highland Park neighborhood of north Austin, Texas. Originally constructed in 1950, this dwelling is situated on the crest of a 150-foot bluff. Overlooking views of Lake Austin, the Texas Hill Country, and Austin’s iconic Pennybacker Bridge, the house was originally designed by prominent Austin architect Howard R. Barr, FAIA, as his family home.

New owners were drawn to the large lot, the expansive views, and classic mid-century design which had been left largely untouched over the years. The modest, 2,176-square-foot home, however, required much-needed modernization. After purchasing it from Barr’s son, new owners decided to update the home from top to bottom, expanding it to meet contemporary needs and preferences for daily living and entertaining.


contemporary home exterior

Barr’s original design, a brick, low-slung, ranch-style home featured a central hallway with bedrooms to each side. The house also included 10-foot-high ceilings throughout—an unusual, though innovative characteristic in the ‘50s—that were maintained in the renovation and carried through the addition.

The design preserves the front façade of the home, its horizontal painted brick coursing with broad spacing, wood siding, and punched opening proportions, but expands the home’s existing footprint and reorganizes the entire floor plan to create a flow of modern living spaces.

The additions transform the original linear plan three-bedroom, two-bathroom house to 3,696 square feet by enlarging openings between spaces to enable each room to seamlessly transition from one to the next. Reworked areas of the existing house now become en suite guest bedrooms, responding to the owners’ wishes to be able to host visiting family members and guests.

contemporary home hallway with wall decor

The wood warms each space and creates an inviting, yet contemporary atmosphere. The shiplap also complements the neutral, calming color palette found throughout the house, providing the perfect blank canvas for the client’s art collection that fills the home from the entry to the guest bedrooms. Guests are greeted in the foyer by vintage Japanese bells installed on a white oak coat rack, a photograph, “Friends” by William Wegman, and two framed artworks made from antique Japanese silk by Debra Smith.

contemporary home hallway

Tucked discreetly behind each end of the existing house, the additional 1,500 square feet includes a kitchen, living room, and family room on one end, and a generous primary bedroom suite on the other end. Each space opens to the backyard to make the most of the site’s views.

contemporary home hallway with a console table

The clients, inspired by the clear finished white oak shiplap found in Clayton Korte’s own office, selected the material as a floor-to-ceiling finish, wrapping the home’s main interior spaces.

contemporary dining room

Interior finishes pull the outdoors in. Furnishings are a mix of custom, antique, and contemporary pieces. The formal dining room includes artwork, a custom wood dining table, and a porcelain chandelier.

contemporary kitchen with a large island and pendant lights

Down the hallway, the open kitchen features white cabinetry, aged brass fixtures, a farmhouse sink, and a soapstone countertop. The walnut-topped island allows for seating as well as a perfect place to gather while cooking. A panel-ready fridge and freezer lead into an open pantry.

contemporary kitchen with a sink and window above

What We Love: The architects did a beautiful job of renovating this classic mid-century home that was originally built in 1950. The addition helps to expand the footprint and meet the lifestyle needs of this home’s inhabitants who like to entertain and host overnight guests. We love how the expanded floor plan maximizes the site and takes advantage of the fabulous views over the Texas Hill Country while providing plenty of entertaining space in the backyard.

Tell Us: What are your overall thoughts on the redesign of this classic mid-century home? Let us know in the Comments below!

Note: Take a look at a couple of other fascinating home tours that we have featured here on One Kindesign by the architects of this project: Step into this striking modern home in a leafy Austin neighborhood and House Tour: Inside this Austin home with a maximalist makeover.

contemporary living room

The living room displays a special piece, “Claudia” by Janelle Jefferson, of the owner’s art collection in a custom niche above a stone-clad fireplace. With the intention for the space to be a place to entertain or to relax, the television is placed in a recessed paneled opening and can be easily hidden or uncovered. The room also includes a custom wooden coffee table, custom upholstered sofa and club chair, and silk blend rug. A recessed drape track creates an uninterrupted look, blending the neutral-colored drapes, walls, and ceiling.

contemporary living room with a piano

contemporary powder room

contemporary family room

contemporary family room with art on the wall

contemporary bedroom with a floor-to-ceiling window and access to the yard

contemporary bathroom with a vanity, glass shower and soaking tub

Following the serene atmosphere of all the living spaces and master suite, the master bathroom evokes a feeling of walking into a spa and includes Belgian Bluestone floors, a freestanding tub by Victoria + Albert Baths, and a glass-enclosed shower. A double-sink custom vanity with aged brass fixtures provides ample counter space and storage as requested by the owners.

contemporary bathroom with a freestanding tub

contemporary home exterior

The reworked rear facade and additions feature floor-to-ceiling, high-performance steel windows, bringing ample daylight into the home to reinforce the feeling of being immersed in the landscape. The combination kitchen/dining/family room opens to a covered porch to provide multi-season functionality, which in turn opens onto the backyard. Mechanical and electrical systems for the whole house were upgraded as part of the renovation.

contemporary home exterior

Landscaping is simple and low maintenance, relying on live oak trees to provide a shaded setting. The transformed home—now open, casual, and nature-focused—is set for the next century.

contemporary home exterior with a swimming pool and Texas Hill Country views

The expansion used a cantilevered concrete foundation to protect the critical root zone of a large, centrally located heritage oak tree and the centerpiece of the backyard. A 20-foot-wide-by-40-foot-long infinity pool and adjacent deck are located along the ridge at the back edge of the property, offering unrivaled views.

contemporary home exterior with a swimming pool and Texas Hill Country views

PHOTOGRAPHER Molly Culver, Jake Holt, Chloe Gilstrap

One Kindesign has received this project from our submissions page. If you have a project you would like to submit, please visit our submit your work page for consideration!

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3 months ago

Really nice – incredible restraint. The only thing I would have done differently is take the wall cabinets in the kitchen all of the way up to the ceiling and skip that wood datum band around the top of the room. It feels like a bit of a misstep compared to integrity and harmoniousness of the rest of the house. But still, nice job overall and fantastic window work.

3 months ago

So beautiful, warm, cozy, and liveable. Great job!