A Remarkable Home Remodel
Turning a quirky rustic lodge into a comfortable modern home is a problem-solving proposition.
About 100 years ago, an unknown fisherman built a quirky stone lodge on the banks of the Colorado River outside Austin, Texas. Over time, the house and the city both grew. The house acquired a series of unbecoming additions. The city ultimately encircled the once remote riverside property. For many, the value of the lodge would not have been the anomalous structure, but it’s location in a desirable commuter neighborhood. This project could easily have been a tear-down. But homeowner Steve Luning saw it differently. Steve had just visited Spain, where he was struck by the seamless integration of modern details into very old buildings. Not only did he admire the charm of the rustic old home, but he also saw the potential to modernize the house in a similar way.
To get the job done, Steve put together a stellar team—including Furman + Keil Architects, RisherMartin Fine Homes, and Mark Word Design—to help with the landscape plan and implementation. Even with decades of combined experience and talent, though, the team was challenged by site restrictions, structural irregularities, and ultimately, the complexity of executing their own design.
An enigmatic building
The original lodge was a seemingly simple structure with a cross-gable form. Like many old homes, a couple of additions were tacked on over the years as the owners needed more space. With design and construction said and done, the scope of work for this remodel could be seen as removing, redesigning, and rebuilding the additions while keeping the original cottage’s form and character. But that would be a gross oversimplification of all that the design and build teams accomplished.
No one is quite sure when the lodge was built or who built it. The stone is believed to have been collected from the river and the masonry…