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Hilltop Residence

Hilltop Residence

Miró Rivera Architects
Austin, United States
Private Houses
Rachel Kay | Applebox Imaging
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct Name
Special ConstructionGKD Metal Fabrics
Exterior SconceBEGA
ManufacturersCORIAN® Design
Surface-MountDelta Light

Product Spec Sheet
Special Construction
Exterior Sconce
by Duravit

Hilltop Residence

Miró Rivera Architects as Architects

When the new owner of this 1980s house called for a complete renovation, the architects saw the opportunity to transform its dark, dated interiors while taking better advantage of the home’s spectacular location atop a promontory offering a 180-degree view of Lake Austin and the rolling hills beyond.

The existing driveway and garage, which had occupied a large area of prime real estate at the center of the property, were reconfigured in order to provide for a generous, landscaped courtyard accessed by a series of stepped terraces faced with Pennsylvania bluestone. What had previously been a vehicle-centric motor court was transformed into a pedestrian-oriented space that, by emphasizing natural elements like the property’s oak trees, establishes a clear sequence of entry into the house.

Several key design alterations to the house’s exterior and landscaping create an inviting entrance for visitors. To bring natural elements closer to the house, the existing pavement was removed and replaced with landscaped Korean grass and river rocks, suggesting a quality of peace and tranquility.

An aluminum overhang above the front door not only protects visitors from the Texas sun, but also provides a varied texture that subtly accentuates the entry, drawing visitors into the home. Though the geometry of the house remains the same, the exterior stucco walls of the house were replaced with ipe-clad wood, giving an added sense of warmth.

Inside, the stark contrast between the white walls and the dark wood floors heightens the impact of the house’s geometric perimeter and draws the eyes to the lush, natural grasses and trees outside. Natural light, flooding through the floor-to-ceiling glass, creates a beautiful texture of light filtration on the house’s interior surfaces.

Strong design interventions changed not only the appearance of the house, but also the sequencing of its spaces. The most significant alteration was the relocation of the fireplace. Before, upon entering the house, visitors were immediately greeted by an unobstructed view of the panoramic backdrop to the living room. Now, the relocated fireplace conceals this view, separating the space and allowing the view to be gradually revealed as one transitions into the openness of the living and dining area. The copper-faced, offset-pivot door complements the rich surface of the fireplace, creating a providing textural variation. This generous foyer also serves as a gallery space for signature pieces and art display.

The central great room acts as a hinge point between the east wing housing the dining room, kitchen, breakfast area, wine cellar, and children’s rooms; and the west wing containing the master suite, home office, and exercise room. As visitors step down into the great room, the expansive windows create a sense of being suspended in the views of the lake and the rolling hills beyond. Juxtaposed with the transparency of the glass, the fireplace creates a sense of contrast, anchoring the room at the opposite end. With ample seating, this space is suited to both formal and informal gatherings. Hidden in the cabinetry, the TV can be easily revealed and hidden, allowing the formal living room to become an informal entertainment area.

Working with the existing angles of the space, the renovated kitchen features an island and a simple material palette. Zebrawood cabinets create a design accent, while the subtle colors of the white countertops and dark bottom cabinets allow the back wall to become the protagonist of the room.

In contrast to the existing interiors, which felt dark and claustrophobic despite the presence of floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the residence, the renovated interior spaces focus outward, maximizing the connection to the surrounding landscape. An existing stone terrace along the home’s rear perimeter was reconfigured to create a transitional space between interior and exterior. A sweeping aluminum trellis unifies this zone, providing shade and capturing breezes outdoors while framing views from the interior. By concealing the relentless geometry of the deck’s angled roof, the trellis creates a softer edge that draws the eye outwards to the surrounding landscape. Meanwhile, an expanded ipe deck with built-in seating steps down to a zero-edge pool serviced by a small outdoor bar, all set against the seemingly limitless backdrop of the hill country beyond.

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