Austin, Texas is alive with history and legend—and it’s quickly growing. Atomic Ranch’s Project House is being built just outside Austin, so we thought it a good opportunity to spotlight some of the many instances of Mid Century Modern that the area has to offer.
Mid Century Modern meets Texas Minimalism
Hotel San Jose has been described as a quintessential Austin hotel experience. At the heart of lively South Congress Avenue, the hotel is enclosed by fig ivy-covered stucco walls. The interior grounds and courtyards are equally lush. There are 40 rooms with seven distinct room types, though no two rooms are exactly alike. In addition to the variety, they all share concrete floors and minimalist interiors echoing that Mid Century Modern lifestyle. For the European-style shared bath experience, rooms can be reserved together creating a 3-room suite.
Built as an ultramodern Motor Lodge in 1930, hotelier Liz Lambert re-imagined it to her tastes. Lambert opened the hotel again after her renovations in March, 2000. Working with architects from the Lake/Flato firm, the design reflects a voice that is proudly local and uniquely Texan.
Mid Century Modern styles pop up in the grounds’ integration with nature. As part of their grounds design, entire walls are covered with greenery. The design also uses flat planes in the open floor plans, the beautiful concrete of the courtyards and the partitions of the patios. The large windows of the suites let plenty of natural light in from all directions. Texas minimalism inspired the bed platforms made of reclaimed Texan hardwood and the custom saddle leather chairs by artist Jamey Garza.
The Phillips House
Built in 1966, the Phillips House is one of architect John Chase’s most famous residential works. Chase graduated from the University of Texas in Austin, later becoming the first licensed Black architect in Texas. To Chase, Mid Century Modern living meant open angular spaces that are minimal, bright and open. For example, the Phillips House has an iconic diamond-shaped roof, long plane lines, and floor-to-ceiling panes of glass. Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, Chase designed his Mid Century Modern portfolio around communal and unifying spaces. Learn more about John Chase’s career full of firsts here!
Covered here in Atomic Ranch magazine, Peggy Blue is a beautiful remodel tucked away in Austin, Texas. In 2016, QuarterLab Design Build’s remodel took the 1954 home down to the framing, foundation, and roof. This gave them room to open up the floor plan and add cement overlay to the floors. Most of the design details were intended to make the home feel more spacious, as most Mid Century Modern living spaces were. For instance, a wooden ceiling added to the kitchen extends out beyond the defined kitchen space.
The courtyard was a fundamental part of the project locally and architecturally. Though they are open-air, courtyards can expand the square footage of a room and make it feel much more spacious. The weather in Austin encourages indoor-outdoor living, so the flat planes of a floating bench matched the windows and trellis. A floating cedar deck and floor to ceiling windows completed the mid century modern remodel.
Mid Century Modern Neighborhood
Starlight Village, located in the small town of Leander is the definition of Mid Century Modern living. When Mike and Theresa Kopecky envisioned an entire neighborhood of Mid Century Modern homes, they knew their land in Leander would be perfect. They had a feeling Austin would grow North and bring the cool, lively city vibes to them.
Today, they have almost filled their 29-home mid-mod neighborhood. They’ve developed all of their own floor plans to meet modern needs and code. “The key to the mid century design is the optimism they had back then,” Mike says. He and Theresa plan to move into one of the Starlight Village homes themselves within the month.
The goal for Starlight Village is that no matter where you look, you see something cool. Mike and Theresa prioritized using good quality, efficient materials in creative or unexpected ways. This way everyone can have a unique design. In addition, they offer an architectural pedigree that can’t be found anywhere else.
While holding true to the Mid Century Modern architecture style, all of the homes have fun period details. For example, some might have green diamond backsplash tiles or a futuristic star face plate on the door knob. Even the font of the house numbers is special. Mike and Theresa chose the same font used in the Apollo space program. Starlight Village residents get to live the Mid Century Modern lifestyle dream daily.
Interested in living the Austin Mid Century Modern lifestyle yourself? Starlight Village still has seven lots available! If you’re looking for a shorter term sample, check out this minimalist hotel in Austin offering a lavish, residential mid-mod experience.
Stay tuned throughout the year as we follow the Atomic Ranch Project House’s progress here at atomic-ranch.com, in print, and on social. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for more Mid Century Modern inspiration!