Elevating An Original

Careful Improvements Help a Sprawling Single-story Home Level Up


The Treetops House
On the west side of Austin, Texas

Architecture by Specht Architects
Contract work by Spencer Construction
Images by Casey Dunn


A New Story

The result of this renovation work is a new composition that is clearly of its time but also reflects the time and place the original house was created. The entire limestone perimeter wall was retained and used as a heavy plinth on which to add a new second level filled with light.


Retaining History

Typical for its time, the original 1955 suburban ranch house had small windows and was clad entirely in Texas limestone. The challenge was to turn it into a bright, open, modern house—while refraining from destroying all the tracers of what had come before.


Compare and Contrast

The new upper level boasts large frameless glass windows offering a view to the treescape beyond the living space. The surrounding cladding of charred cypress prevents glare and adds a textural counterpoint.

La La Land

Large overhangs provide shade at all times of the day, and the cantilevered second level emphasizes the house’s horizontality, creating a stratum that is visual and expressive.

Washing Up

Portions of the original limestone perimeter wall were able to be featured without altering the original footprint of the house, providing interplay between various types of different surfaces.


Simple Service

The large kitchen features countertop-height serving windows that open out to the pool terrace and entertaining area, along with several unique built-in storage and display elements.

Feast for the Eyes

The home owner is a collector of vintage furniture, which fits the aesthetic of the house well and perfectly outfits the spaces throughout. Unique light fixtures like this one in the dining add visual points of interest amidst the clean, simple lines.


About the Architects

Founded on the vision of creating elegant, comfortable, and timeless buildings rooted in the unique environments where they exist, and shaped by the character of the people who will inhabit them, Specht Architects has been named among the top architects and featured in publications around the world.


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