Best New Home
Austin, Texas, architect Tim Cuppett's down-to-earth design with forward-thinking accents turns the farmhouse ideal on its head for a vibrant family of four.
Modern Update of a Classic Form
Architect Tim Cuppett designed a new farmhouse accented with imperfectly layered Texas limestone. The purposely rambling plan looks like it was added onto over time. A windowed entry connects two structures in the spirit of a Southern dogtrot, yet the floor-to-ceiling glass gives it an updated feel. "So many of the elements on this house are familiar—white clapboard, metal roof, stacked-stone chimney," says Executive Editor Jessica Thuston. "Yet the windows are the first clue that it has a modern spin."
Link to the Land
"Most of my work is on urban lots. When we found ourselves designing on this wide-open land, we felt that it called for a farmhouse," Tim explains. He spread out the structure to achieve a sprawling appearance, with the kitchen at the heart of the home and other rooms winging out. Elevated slightly above ground and cloaked in a tall stand of shady oaks, the southeast-facing abode takes advantage of meadow views from every angle.
Tim calls the project a "cartoon" of the farmhouse style, updated with many youthful and graphic details. Black hinges and bold window mullions (made of painted mahogany, not metal) dial up the impact, as does the home's most eye-popping accent, the bright blue front door (painted Naples Blue; benjaminmoore.com).
"I prefer one-room-deep houses. The windows let in daylight from opposite sides, creating a balanced effect," says Tim. "The homeowners do not have to flip a single switch during the day." Smart details such as the curved drywall ceiling in the stair hall help reflect sunshine straight into the living space.
"The floor plan feels light and airy, alluding to the farmhouse style, yet edgy enough so the decor could lead to a variety of looks," says Associate Decorating Editor Elly Poston. Also an interior designer, Tim filled the home with accessible furnishings from brands such as West Elm and Design Within Reach that have clean lines and offer mid-century modern appeal. He also incorporated early American accents in the mix for interest.
The kitchen's sturdy island features an equally hardy honed Absolute Black granite countertop. "The famous Breakers hotel inspired the light yellow glazed Walker Zanger ceramic tiles," says Tim.
Here, bottom drawers beneath the built-in banquette are designated for stowing linens. The shelf over the windows combines form with function, keeping daily essentials within easy reach.
Tim used a window rather than a solid wall to infuse the staircase with light. The ball ornament is an exaggerated take on the newel post. "It looks like it could roll right off," says Tim.
Adjacent to the kitchen, a built-in office nook looks out onto the backyard, keeping the kids under their mother's close watch. At left, an inset steel panel provides a place to show off artwork.
"The master bedroom is compact but feels big because of the vaulted, V-groove ceiling," Tim explains. A sliding barn door with concealed hardware leads to the master bath.