An Over/Under in Austin

Vaulted ceilings work with window walls to blow open and brighten the primary second-level space, offering vertiginous vistas.
An Over/Under in Austin
A flipped floor plan and floor-to-ceiling glass create a transparent Texas gem.

On a long and narrow lot overlooking a private golf course in the luxury home community of Spanish Oaks in West Austin, Texas, sits a hacienda full of surprises.

The first revelation: A bright and airy, open living space – on the second floor. “This lot was really challenging. And how we did this one was to solve it with what we call an over/under,” says architect Brett Ames, president of Ames Design Build. “We put the main living area on top, and it has spectacular views.”

A massive pivot door provides a seamless indoor-outdoor connection.
A massive pivot door provides a seamless indoor-outdoor connection.

Vaulted ceilings work with window walls to blow open and brighten that primary second-level space, offering vertiginous vistas of the surrounding Hill Country.

“We really wanted to put in a lot of glass,” Ames says. “From the time you walk into the entry door and get a look at this, you need to make a right turn, and the second you go to turn into the home, you start to see this view. It’s meant to draw you in.”

“We really wanted to put in a lot of glass… it’s meant to draw you in.” Brett Ames, president, Ames Design Build

Architect Brett Ames says this project specified “a lot of glass… it’s meant to draw you in.”
Architect Brett Ames says this project specified “a lot of glass… it’s meant to draw you in.”

The entryway features a large hinged door that leads down a hallway and around a corner to the next surprise: a downstairs sitting area flooded in sunshine through wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling glazing.

Large openings and massive glass also enhance the sense of space inside the house. At 4,479 square feet on a 0.8-acre lot, the house isn’t as large as some of the neighboring Mediterranean-style mansions, but the seamless visual and physical flow from the interior to the exterior creates capaciousness.

Floor-to-ceiling glass walls open onto a covered terrace with high-pitched wood ceilings and a long view of the sprawling, sagebrush-dotted landscape.
Floor-to-ceiling glass walls open onto a covered terrace with high-pitched wood ceilings and a long view of the sprawling, sagebrush-dotted landscape.

“We’re pretty much wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling glass,” Ames says. “And then we carried that into the railings outside, so you’ve now got glass looking through glass into this spectacular view.”

Specifying vast amounts of glass in a variety of sizes and configurations, including some custom, was easy, Ames says. “We went to Western Window Systems and asked them to design the openings we wanted, and they nailed it.”

“We’re pretty much wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling glass.” Brett Ames, president, Ames Design Build

The 4,479 square-foot house features wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling glass.
The 4,479 square-foot house features wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling glass.

Another epiphany occurs as one ascends the stairs to the second floor: a slowly unfolding view of the sky through a 10-foot-tall pivot door that opens onto a covered terrace with high-pitched wood ceilings and a long view of the sprawling, sagebrush-dotted landscape.

But for Ames, the home’s big reveal is in the downstairs flex-space room. “The view that surprised me the most was the view in the lower entertainment and game room area and the outside living area,” he says. “It is nothing short of spectacular, as well.”

“We went to Western Window Systems and asked them to design the openings we wanted, and they nailed it.” Brett Ames, president, Ames Design

A large, hinged door makes a dramatic entrance that leads down the hallway and around the corner to a sun-splashed sitting area.
A large, hinged door makes a dramatic entrance that leads down the hallway and around the corner to a sun-splashed sitting area.

The view from that room was achieved through sliding glass walls that glide open onto a grassy lookout point.

“You’re just looking at this view all the time,” Ames says. “It’s fantastic.”

Dealer: Mirror Gallery

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