An Austin architect revives a midcentury home and brings affordable, modern architecture back into focus.
Synopsis: Sometimes a home needs a thoughtful remodel to pull it from the brink and restore it to its proper state. In this article, architect Stuart Sampley describes how he rescued a classic ranch house in Austin, Texas, from its structural and cosmetic problems and brought it back to a condition that would have pleased its original designer, A.D. Stegner. The homes Stegner designed and built sport a modernist look and smart floor plans. As with other Stegner homes, this one has public spaces at the center and private areas on the periphery. The work on the house included relocating the living and dining areas, opening the kitchen to the adjacent living room, enlarged the bathrooms, replaced the roof, insulated, upgraded the windows, and created a patio. This article includes a brief sidebar about the life and work of A.D. Stegner.
The modern houses designed by Austin architect A.D. Stenger were modest starter homes built in the postwar housing boom of the 1950s and ’60s. Most were smaller than 1500 sq. ft., and they were designed and built with the goal of being expanded as buyers’ families and pocketbooks grew. Stenger’s aesthetic was sophisticated and casual, and his houses have often been compared to Joseph Eichler’s homes in California. Through his work — Stenger designed more than 100 houses in the Austin area — he brought affordable, modern architecture to progressive middle-class clients searching for sophisticated design in what was then a culturally conservative city.
Unfortunately, fewer than half of the homes Stenger designed still exist. Increasing property values and a demand for larger, more expensive houses have led to the demolition of many of his projects. A few Stenger homes remain, however, and this is one of them. Located in Rollingwood, a leafy suburb west of Austin still…