Decorating Your Home, Stylish Properties Outside of St. Louis

A Home with a Bridge | Austin, Texas

The backstory: The homeowners, who both work from home, asked architect George Wilcox to help enlarge their 1,500-square-foot, circa-1925 home to provide space for two offices, a new master suite and a guest room. But how do you add much-needed space to a small bungalow in a historic neighborhood shaded by magnificent (and city-protected) live oaks?

The Addition
Wilcox came up with the idea of building an addition, above, on the footprint of a small, one-story garage behind the house that would be connected to the main house, above right, by a skybridge. The garage had been little more than “a run-down board-and-batten accessory building,” WIlcox says. 

Because of existing trees on the site and the home’s historic designation, “we couldn’t really expand outside that footprint, and we couldn’t create a ground-based footprint from the existing house to the new addition, so we bridged the distance,” he says.

The bridge: The enclosed bridge, shown here, met historic requirements and concerns about tree preservation. Original drawings called for “a much grander” glass bridge with a lot of steel work, says builder Paul Streeter of Camelot Custom Homes. But the design was expensive and difficult to implement. The finished bridge is constructed of wood trusses and concrete-based siding. The siding is very durable, Wilcox says. “And it holds paint really well and worked with the budget.”

Large windows on both sides of the bridge offer views of the deck and the many old trees scattered throughout the property and neighborhood. “We wanted to keep it as open as possible,” Wilcox says. The red paint is a custom color by Benjamin Moore.

Deck: Wilcox redid an existing upper deck and added the lower deck “to connect the two structures,” he says. The work preserved several large trees on the site, including two live oaks.

Doors leading into the addition from the lower deck parallel doors leading to the new family room directly opposite, which was once a porch and sunroom.

Kitchenette: A small kitchen in the addition provides circulation space between the office and the guest bedroom and bathroom on the first floor. The counters are soapstone.

Big-format hexagonal tiles make a bold statement in the new master bathroom.

Master suite: The new master suite fills the entire second story of the addition. “We did a vaulted ceiling to maximize the space,” Wilcox says. “And we positioned the windows to maintain privacy and give visualization to all those trees.” The walls and ceiling are V-groove painted wood tongue-and-groove siding.

Main House
Layout changes: The original floor plan of the almost-100-year-old home pretty much stayed the same, except for the converted family room from the former porch and sunroom. In addition to that space, the main house includes two bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room and a kitchen. A new arched doorway leads to a new hall that connects to the family room at the back of the house. New swinging glass doors into one of the home offices offer a glimpse of the office’s rich blue wall color.

Office: New built-in bookshelves and a custom blue paint (by Benjamin Moore) enliven the home office.

Family room: In the converted sunroom, new double doors bring light and easy access. A new staircase leading to the bridge opens up at the back of the room with a splash of bright color.

Floor plan: The remodel opened up a hallway in the main house, seen in these plans on the right, to connect the living room to the family room at the back of the house. The family room (previously a sunroom) now has wide double doors opening onto a deck that sprawls across to the addition, at left. The two-story addition built on the footprint of the garage added an office, guest room and bath on the ground floor, and a master suite on the second floor.

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