Founded in 2013, boutique design agency Kevin Stewart | Architect put itself on the Austin map from the start. The firm is responsible for the look and function of some of Austin’s most recognizable and design-forward restaurants, including Dai Due, Emmer & Rye, L’Oca d’Oro, Peached Tortilla, and event space Peached Social House.
While that work raised the firm’s profile considerably, it also includes a reputable catalog of homes and commercial spaces that might not have received as much attention but were just as inventive and high-quality as its restaurant work.
So what’s a high-profile, successful Austin firm to do under those conditions? Rebrand and expand, of course.
As the firm grew and became involved in new kinds of projects (more about that below), it made sense to change the name to reflect those changes.
“Many people are familiar with our commercial work because it consists of a lot of restaurants that people have been to,” explains Stewart. “Our residential work has been a consistent component, but we’ve been getting some higher-profile jobs since Liz [Rau, AIA, who is now a principal] joined the firm two years ago. We have specifically grown to accommodate that need by bringing on a full-time interiors staff member.”
A recently completed Design Hound home in Tarrytown reflects those changes. The Indian Trail Home uses what Rau calls “clean forms and warm materials to create an aesthetic that is thoughtful, intriguing, and ultimately comfortable.”
Rather than the kind of statement house that is not uncommon in the older West Austin neighborhood, Design Hound’s clients wanted a modest, street-fronting profile that fit in more readily with the traditional homes in its location.
By using charred wood (produced via the “Shou Sugi Ban” method, which originated in Japan), making the street-facing part of the structure a single story, and setting it back farther than the surrounding houses, Design Hound fulfilled those desires.
Inside, the Indian Trail House masterfully conceals a courthouse as well as two stories of rooms that interact with the outdoors.
The group carried this aesthetic to Avion Park, a 19-unit development located in the southwest corner of the Mueller planned community. Design Hound’s modern townhouses there incorporate “gabled forms that are integrated with natural palettes of warm woods and white stucco to achieve a timeless and approachable aesthetic,” according to Rau.
Next up for Design Hound are projects including The Brewer’s Table, Colleen’s Kitchen, The Grove in Cedar Park, and—especially interesting—The Contigo Ranch Hotel and Event Center in Fredericksburg, which we’ll tell you about very soon.