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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