Retro Reno: the Knollwood Remodel by Cornerstone Group Architects

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At first glance, you might think the kitchen of this Knollwood residence is fit for a crowd — and you’d be right. In fact, it’s the domain of a homeowner who is also an owner and chef of one of Austin, Texas’s premier restaurants! A great kitchen, with ample space to work and interact with the family, was only one of the criteria that Cornerstone Group Architects took on in renovating this 50-year-old home. Another item on the list? Making the space a fitting backdrop for the owner’s collection of Mid-Century Modern furniture and art — while bringing the home into the 21st century in every other “livable” way. Take a look at the “before” versus the “after” photos here, especially of things like the exterior rounded “arch” area in the back, and you’ll see some of the changes that ensued.

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The resulting space is light and airy, a fabulous backdrop for sculptural tables, “retro” lamps, and bright red and orange seating that liven up the cream-based wall color in harmony with the landscape outside. More indoor/outdoor harmony: moving the master suite to the second floor — enabling it to be wrapped in glass that invites in the panorama of the Texas Hill Country — and the addition of a spacious alfresco patio beneath a wood-and-stone shelter. During the restructure, some 70 percent of the original home was kept — but the difference in appearance is truly dramatic, with the addition of more natural and “green” material, recessed lighting, and upgraded finishes. The renovation succeeds on many levels: increased livability, more flexible use of space, and a great setting for the owner’s collection.

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Written by Janet Butler

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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).