B E F O R E T H E W O O D F LO O R S W E R E L A I D A N D T H E M O D E R N A RT I N S TA L L E D , A L O N E LY R E S I D E N C E S AT PAT I E N T LY O N T H E B A N K S O F L A K E A U S T I N , WA I T I N G F O R A L O V I N G FA M I LY T O S N AT C H I T U P A N D C A L L I T H O M E . The stucco-



and-stone structure was the brainchild of a developer whose intention was to build a contemporary spec home on a prime piece of property. To handle the design, he brought in architect Doug Frey, of Austin-based
INTERIOR DESIGN Mark Cravotta, Cravotta Studios HOME BUILDER David Wilkes, David Wilkes Builders ARCHITECTURE Doug Frey, Frey Architects, Inc. BEDROOMS 4 BATHROOMS 5 SQUARE FEET 6,590


A close-up of the living room highlights the Venetian plaster and limestone fireplace, designed to appear as if

Frey Architects, Inc. “I had the idea of maximizing the views of the lake and focusing the home on the indoor/outdoor experience,” Frey says. That outdoor connection immediately spoke to a young Texas family in search of a comfortable vacation retreat, but the existing stained concrete floors, finishes and stone fireplaces didn’t quite feel like home to the couple. Craving a warm environment with soft contemporary touches, they purchased the residence and hired design pro Mark Cravotta, owner of Cravotta Studios in Austin, to revamp the interiors to fit their personalities. “One of the most important things I do is really learn who my clients are and read beyond what they say,” he explains. “Then there emerges in my mind a picture of what I think will express who they are.”

it’s floating. The cocktail table was designed by Mark Cravotta, and the black-and-white, oil-on-linen artwork is by Austin artist Roi James.

Two Holly Hunt chairs pull up to a Cravottadesigned ottoman in the master bedroom’s cozy sitting area, while an oil-on-canvas painting by Roi James adds an angelic infusion of blue to the space. The chandelier is from Marian Jamieson.

Cravotta’s immediate vision for the home involved creating an atmosphere similar to that of a boutique hotel—“not too modern but clean, fresh and new.” This meant an overhaul of several aspects of the house, most notably in the finishes, flooring and light fixtures. “The existing floors were dark-stained concrete, and the fireplaces were encased in stone,” says builder David Wilkes, owner of Austin-based David Wilkes Builders, who was recruited by Cravotta to assist with the remodel. “Our goal was to give it a warmer, less commercial feel.” Downstairs, the concrete flooring was replaced with wide-planked, exotic iroko hardwood, and the two stone fireplaces—one in the master bedroom and the other in the living room—were reframed in Venetian plaster with limestone hearths. Cravotta also replaced the carpeting throughout, and resurfaced and repainted the ceilings and walls.
The house takes advantage of the sprawling views of Lake Austin through strategically placed, expansive glass windows. The exterior is crafted in stucco and stone with metal roofing—a modern addition to the traditional neighborhood in which the home resides.

The designer made minor adjustments to the interior architecture to allow for a seamless flow from the interiors to the outside, including the removal of two columns that originally served as a divider between the entryway


A contemporary painting by Austin artist Court Lurie rests at the top of the stairwell, which was custom designed by Cravotta in steel, glass and walnut.

and living room. “Mark took them down and opened up the space so it became one big room,” Wilkes says. The team also removed a wall that blocked views from a landing on the stairway and replaced the staircase with a light and contemporary glass-and-steel structure. Furnishings and accessories were selected to match Cravotta’s vision of a modern boutique hotel. “I knew the soft, organic expression of modern design would appeal to the wife especially,” he says. Simple textures and a serene palette of creams with earthy green undertones and soft, steely blues guided the furniture choices, which ranged from plush upholstered pieces

The serene palette of the master bedroom is accented by a cool blue painting behind the bed that Cravotta commissioned from Austin artist Arturo Mallmann. The bed was purchased at Allan Knight and Associates; the side tables are Nuhouse Furniture, and the desk is Holly Hunt.


The layered look of this walnut side table by designer Mark Cravotta keeps with the soft yet modern elegance of the interiors. Three-Tiered Moderne Table, price upon request;

from high-end showrooms, like George Cameron Nash and Allan Knight and Associates, to sleek wooden accents that Cravotta custom designed for the home. Bolder statements were made with the contemporary collection of artwork, the majority of which was commissioned and purchased from local artists, and eye-catching decorative light fixtures from manufacturers like Pagini Studios and Fuse Lighting. “We didn’t pull the trigger until we knew exactly what each piece was going to be,” Cravotta says. While the homeowners were there during every step of the process, it wasn’t until they finally set foot in their newly renovated home that they truly understood Cravotta’s vision. “When the husband walked in, he didn’t say anything for about 10 minutes,” Cravotta recalls. “The wife finally asked him what he thought, and he just turned to her and said, ‘I knew it was going to be good, but this is way beyond anything I had imagined.’ It was the greatest compliment I could’ve hoped for.” L
A large chunk of calcite on the back table acts as a conversation piece in the living room, where a Holly Hunt sectional and two Holly Hunt chairs invite guests to relax. The rug underfoot is by Tufenkian.

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