Designed by award-winning local firm Matt Fajkus Architecture, known for its fresh approaches to contemporary modernism, this home in North Loop stands out in particular for the way it maximizes the lot’s existing features.
The site is a standard Austin urban infill lot, as the firm puts it, with several trees located along one side. In order to protect and embrace them, designers configured the residence as a series of steps surrounding the side yard (thus the name) “sideSTEP House.”
The design also allows the 2,260 square feet to look smaller from the street and to fit in with older homes in the established neighborhood. The two-story frame home has three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, as well as flex spaces and thoughtfully interconnected indoor-outdoor entertaining spaces on both floors. The interiors have soaring ceilings and take maximum advantage of the layout, carefully executed to provide filtered and direct light in different ways across seasons.
The ground-floor kitchen and dining rooms both open on to a wood deck in the side yard
.The extension of wood-clad ceilings from indoors to outdoors creates continuity, and tongue-and-groove cedar wraps around the balcony and the ground floor rear entry door, visually connecting the two floors.
The home’s carport faces the back alley, and the massing at the back of the lot keeps it from overwhelming the 1950s homes around it The asymmetrical hipped roofs and low profile of the front section further speak to neighborhood context, while a column of tongue-and-groove siding that encloses the interior stairs breaks up the horizontal mass of the rest of the home.
• 5511 Avenue H [Newcastle Homes]