Environmentally Friendly West Lake Hills Residence by Specht Harpman Architects

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The task ahead of Specht Harpman on this home in the West Lake Hills area of Austin, Texas, was to preserve live oak trees, while giving the homeowners a clean, modern space. The resulting house is a long series of rectangles enhanced by a green roof — and two roof decks — as well as ribbon windows and an infinity-edge pool. From the entryway, wood flooring links one space to the next; color is the dividing feature. A neutral gray enhances modern art on the walls of a sitting area and continues into the kitchen, where it forms a suitable backdrop for a white breakfast bar and appliances. In the more formal dining room, the same palette continues — gray walls, white table and chairs — accented by shelves backed in bright blue.

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A milder sea blue graces the master bedroom and highlights collections of art and books on built-in shelving. A vivid pink enlivens one bedroom and its ensuite bathroom; the master bathroom maintains the cooler grays and whites (although there’s whimsical toy art on hand to brighten things up!). Lastly, outdoor living is easy in this home, with an al fresco dining and sitting area just a few steps up from the rectangular pool, gleaming with uplights in the evening. Even here the live oaks are respected: just off the stair railing, between the pool and a small greenery area beside it, one of the majestic trees stands as a natural accent…a testimony to the environmentally friendly and successful design by Specht Harpman.

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Written by Janet Butler

Janet W. Butler is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant by day and a “small soprano” by night. An RWA Golden Heart Winner, she is the author of the inspirational romance From the Ashes (“the best little book no one’s ever heard of”), published by SANDS Publishing in 2001; and a romantic suspense, Voice of Innocence, from Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a Chicago native transplanted to northeast Indiana, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and Cassandra “Trouble” Butler, S.R.C. (Spoiled Rotten Cat).