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T HE Architecture is sue

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T R IBE Z A 68




features The Balcones House The Craftsmen Cavendar + Legge Profile in Style: Moontower Curb Appeal Home on the Range

d e pa rtm e nt s

44 54 62 66 68 98

cover photogr aphy by c a sey dunn

Behind the Scenes


Social Hour


Object of Our Affection


Communit y

Kristin Armstrong


Creatively Speaking


Exposed: Russell Hill


My Life


Perspective: Clay Shortall


Style Pick





An Audience With...


Arts & Entertainment Calendar


Architecture Guide


Dining Pick



Our Little Secret



Things We Love


october 2011

photographs clockwise from left: wendy phillips, photography by alexandra valenti; clay shortall, photography by kenny braun; curb appeal, photography by casey dunn; home on the range, photography by hayden spears; caffĂŠ medici, photography by john pesina.


916b west 12th street | 512.478.1515 |


Editor’s Letter


y e ar

it wa s i m p o s s i b l e n ot to b e i n s pi r e d


George T. Elliman EDITOR + creative director

Lauren Smith Ford DESIGNER

Avalon McKenzie Editorial Assistant + Events

Carolyn Harrold Senior Account ExeCutives

Ashley Beall Andrea Brunner Kimberly Chassay principals

Chuck Sack Vance Sack Michael Torres

by our surroundings at the photo shoot for the home spotlighted on this month’s cover and in the feature “The Balcones House.” Elizabeth Alford, her husband, Michael Young (both of Pollen Architecture), and their two children graciously opened their true labor of love to our crew, and we all enjoyed pretending it was our house for a day, imagining the dinner parties we would have or the pleasure of glancing up from a good book and seeing the wonderful view of the treetops from the house. You could feel how every detail in the home had been painstakingly thought out to achieve an end result that feels ultramodern but warm and livable at the same time. Alford and her family of makers have created the ideal space for their vibrant brood. I must give special thanks to our amazing photographer Casey Dunn (pictured right), who despite tearing his ACL and having knee surgery came through for the shoot after being off crutches for just a few days. Casey has a fine eye for shooting interiors, and we were honored to have him photograph the cover and three of the articles in the issue. It was the stories behind the stories about Austin’s tight-knit architecture community that we also enjoyed hearing — Greg Esparza and Frank Farkash of Moontower (who are the subjects of our Profile in Style) were in the first studio course that Alford taught at UT; Mell Lawrence (whose spectacles are featured on the “Object of Our Affection” page) became a good friend of Alford’s after they presented at Pecha Kucha; and architect Elizabeth Baird, who works for Lawrence, did a beautiful job of prop styling the home of Tommy and Lauren Moorman, the owners of Lamberts, Perla’s, and the soon-to-be-open Elizabeth Street Café, for the feature “Curb Appeal.” In Exposed, meet Russell Hill, one of the brains behind the upcoming home improvements store TreeHouse. For this month’s Architecture issue, our staff had great fun delving into the way Austinites live, design and build. We hope that you’ll join us in celebrating this issue at the Better Backyard Series that we are co-hosting at Breed & Co. on 29th Street. On October 15, three of our favorite firms — Burton Baldridge Architects, Pollen Architecture, and Thoughtbarn — will build a children’s playscape that will be auctioned off at the event, with all proceeds benefiting the architect’s charity of choice. Get the details on page 37. This month also brings the AIA Homes Tour and the official Austin x Design events, a month-long series of “celebrating design in both built and natural environments.”


Autumn Ashley Aurora Bell Sheila Buenrostro Dawn Kay Kaci Lee Michelle Sereno Margo Sivin


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Lauren Smith Ford

An award-winning community with stunning hill country & downtown views. 路 The Hillside

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A u s t i n a r t s + c u lt u r e


Kristin Armstrong Tim McClure Carla McDonald Illustrators

Joy Gallagher


Jonathan Allen Kenny Braun Casey Dunn Cody Hamilton John Pesina Annie Ray Laura Reed Nick Simonite Hayden Spears Alexandra Valenti Adam Voorhes WRITERS

Madeleine Crum Megan Giller Philip Pantuso Jackie Rangel Lisa Siva Clay Smith Karen O. Spezia Lance Utermark

Copyright @ 2011 by TRIBEZA. All rights reserved. Reproduction, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of the publisher, is prohibited. TRIBEZA is a proud member of the Austin Chamber of Commerce. mailing address 706a west 34th street austin, texas 78705 ph (512) 474 4711 fax (512) 474 4715 Founded in March of 2001, TRIBEZA is Austin's leading locally-owned arts and culture magazine.

Social Hour

A selection of party pics from happenings in every corner of the city.

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Ice Ball

Citizen Generation Launch

The seventh annual Ice Ball benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas reminded philanthropic Austinites of the difference that mentorship makes in the lives of young people and that the summer heat will eventually end. The gala at the Hilton raised over $200,000 and featured gourmet food, drinks, dancing, a live auction and of course numerous ice sculptures.

CharityBash, which attracts a young crowd by hosting affordable events benefiting local nonprofits, celebrated the launch of Citizen Generation at the Mexic-Arte Museum. Through its programs, CharityBash, CharityLunch and CharityVolunteers, Citizen Generation offers multiple avenues for Austinites to get involved in making the city the best it can be. Guests enjoyed an open bar featuring Grey Goose cocktails, food by Sullivan’s, Cantina Laredo, Cornucopia and Haute Cakes and art by Gallo Photography.

Ice Ball: 1. Denisse Valle & Andy Knopp 2. Brandon & Melissa Cason with Justin Poses & Lauren Petrowski 3. Kim Sierra, Molly Rangel & Cheryl Hart 4. Carly Morris, Clayton Christopher & Eric Stumberg Citizen Generation Launch: 5. Kathryn Ballay & Cassie LaMere 6. Katy Fendrich, Andy Brown & Teri Beauchamp 7. Victoria Avila & Sofia Avila 8. Adam Lewis & Katie Ball 9. Brian Roark, Cristina Pesek & Mike Elhaj


october 2011

P h oto g r a p h y by j o h n p e s i n a & L au r a r eed o f 2E p h oto g r a p h y




social hour


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Fashion's Night Out hosted by TRIBEZA + By George

Guests celebrated Fashion’s Night Out Austin style at the TRIBEZA Style issue release party at By George’s flagship store on Lamar. Guests enjoyed drinks from Pacifico and Deep Eddy Vodka as well as savory snacks by Sully’s, the new bar next to Sullivan’s. Fashion's Night Out: 1. Ricky Hodge & Cory Ryan 2. Lucy Begg & Matt Fajkus 3. Eric Marshall & Mayra Garza 4. Erika Stojeba & Miguel Rangel 5. Nak Armstrong & Jeffrey Lane 6. Indiana, Jude & Chris Adams 7. Caitlin Ryan & Megan Runser 8. Elizabeth Baird, Katy Culmo & Jamie Chioco 9. Anne Suttles & Sam Shah 10. Matthew Culmo, Kate Risinger & Joshua Bingaman 11. Mitch Metcalfe, Juan Carlos & Noe Rios 12. Jana Almond, Tyler White & Lindsey Heintz P h oto g r a p h y by j o h n p e s i n a

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social hour




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Premiere of Slacker 2011

The Austin Film Society hosted the world premiere of Slacker 2011 at the historic movie palace, the Paramount Theatre, with an after party at The Highball. Richard Linklater along with 20 of the original cast members of Slacker joined 21 Austin filmmakers who each directed a segment of the homage film. The project celebrated the 20th anniversary of the iconic film and served as a fundraiser for the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund, which granted $111,000 to Texas filmmakers.

Underwear's Anniversary Party

Fashionistas toasted the seventh anniversary of chic West 12th Street boutique Underwear with cocktails and treats by Sweet Pop. Shoppers browsed the racks of all things intimate apparel from basic to boudoir and bridal.

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Young Professionals for People's Fundraiser

The Young Professionals for People’s inaugural fundraising Happy Hour was held at the home of the late David Graeber, the pioneering Austin architect and downtown denizen. Dr. John Hogg was the honorary chair for the event that was sponsored by Den Property Group.

Slacker 2011: 1. Amy Mills, Steve Scheibal & Stephen Jannise 2. Lauren & Justin Meeks 3. Mikaylah Bowman & Colin Wilkes 4. Monica Aguillon & Jason McNeely 5. Sean Wil5. Sean Williams & Rose Russo 6. Catie & Tony Cacci 7. Toto Miranda, Lynn GilmoreLambert & Yvonne Lambert Underwear's Anniversary Party:Jindra 8. Sabrina Jindra & Shelby liams & Rose Russo 6. Catie & Tony Cacci 7. Toto Miranda, Tammy LynnTammy Gilmore & Yvonne Underwear's Anniversary Party: 8. Sabrina & Shelby New New 9. Meredith Brooke Patton, Elizabeth &Jennifer Sayroo Young Professionals for People's Fundraiser: 10. Meredith Ashley Margerison & Nora 9. Meredith Word,Word, Brooke Patton, Elizabeth Tigar Tigar & Jennifer Sayroo Young Professionals for People's Fundraiser: 10. Meredith Lous,Lous, Ashley Margerison & Nora BurkeBurke 11. 11. Perkins & Megan Longley Bryan Cady, Casey Chapman & Will Steakley AnaAna Perkins & Megan Longley 12. 12. Bryan Cady, Casey Chapman RossRoss & Will Steakley P H oTo G R A P H y by J o H n P e S i n A & DAG n y P i A S ec k i

ocTobeR 2011


social hour






Students of the World Gala

Students of the World, an organization that partners undergraduate filmmakers, photographers and writers with international NGOs, held a gala as part of their inaugural summit, Re (Engage): For Good. SOW members and supporters enjoyed food by Word of Mouth Catering and drinks courtesy of Tito’s Vodka, Sweet Leaf Tea, Maker’s Mark, Dulce Vida Spirits, Brown Distributing and Treaty Oak Rum.

Austin Young Chamber of Commerce Poker Tournament

Austin’s top young professionals and business leaders gathered at The Parish for a lively night of Texas Hold ’em hosted by the Austin Young Chamber of Commerce. Some participated in the heated tournament, while others relaxed and mingled, watching the players and enjoying live music, an open bar, appetizers and raffle prizes.











Students of the World Gala: 1. DeDe Watkins, Michael Torres & Gray Hawn 2. Dayna Fondell & Sophia Kruz 3. Mary & Roy Spence 4. Megan Moore & Courtney Spence 5. Matt Curtis & Crystal Cotti 6. Brian Washington & Natalie Smith 7. Nur Ibrahim, Alex Osherow & Lauren Livingston 8. Kate Simpson & Andrea Patino AYC Poker Tournament: 9. Liz Roberts, Marissa Telford & Jenna Overbeck 10. Chris Forsythe & Kirsten Ealy 11. Darren Huckert & Danae Falvo 12. Leah Pigg, Gordon Moore & Melanie Tipps 13.Taylor Byrd & Haley Griffin


october 2011

P h oto g r a p h y by j o h n p e s i n a

IF OUR SCORES DON’T CONVINCE YOU, A TASTE WILL. The award-winning Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. Wine Spectator points:





2009 2010

2003 2005

2004 2007 2008

2006 Please enjoy our wines responsibly. © 2011 Imported by CWUS Imports, Rutherford, CA USA

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Messina Group 10-Year Anniversary

Etcetera, etc. Grand Opening

Revelers gathered at the home of Louis and Christina Messina to toast the 10-Year Anniversary Celebration of The Messina Group, which recently relocated to Austin and is famous for promoting big acts like Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney and George Strait. Louis was also just featured in a 53page “Special Stars” edition of Billboard. The biggest names in the Austin music industry, including the likes of Charles Attal and Charlie Jones of C3 Presents, KGSR’s Andy Langer, Ray Benson and Freddy and Lisa Fletcher of ACL Live were in attendance.

TRIBEZA readers celebrated the Grand Opening of new 2nd Street District boutique Etcetera, etc. Owner Emma Kate is bringing cheerful, modern and whimsical clothing and accessories for women, accessories for men and carefully selected antique furniture and décor for the home to the Austin scene at her bold, fun new storefront. Guests enjoyed sweet treats, cocktails by Tito’s Vodka and music by DJ Mahealani.

Messina Group: 1. Colleen & Tim Fischer with Lisa Hickey 2. Louis & Christine Messina 3. Andy Langer & Charles Attal 4. Melanie & Charlie Jones 5. James Moody & Karen Morgan 6. Lindsey Wirth & Laura Manning 7. Rich Garza, Carolyn Schwarz & Suzanna Choffel 8. Paul Oveisi & Elaine Garza Etcetera, etc.: 9. Emma Kate & Julie Sutton-McGurk 10. Julie Couchman & Amanda Anderson 11. Lauren Sander & Marianna Mooring 12. McKenzie Snyder & Paige Newton 13. Sara Facundo & Katie Shagman


october 2011

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i have lived in the same home since 2003. That’s eight years — absolutely unheard of for me, the consummate “new kid” who moved every two years as a child due to my father’s IBM career. I lived in this house when I was brokenhearted over my divorce and family life as I knew it was falling to pieces. And we

pieced our little family of four back together again, over time, within these walls. There are pencil-scratched measurements inside the bathroom closet door, showing varying heights of Mommy (never changing, damn, I want to be 5’10”), Luke, Grace, Isabelle, our old cat Chemo and four different dogs. When I

i llu s t r at i o n by j oy g a ll ag h er For a limite d- e dit ion p r int , c o nta c t jo ygall agh e r@g m ail .c o m .

october 2011




And then we walked into the front door of a house and felt like we were coming home.

look at the toddler height of my girls, it occurs to me that the first measurement must have been when they could first stand up. The mark is impossibly close to the ground. Were they really that small? There are chips in the trim reminding me of when my girls learned to rollerskate, making loops through the house. There are flecks of color on the bathroom tile from years' worth of pedicures on pint-size toes. There are tape marks and nail holes on my daughters’ walls, where embroidered framed prayers have been replaced with posters of Justin Bieber. There are scratch marks on the laundry room door from unhappily quarantined puppies. My children’s past artwork is taped up all over the laundry room; my favorites are anything with handprints. Sometimes in the middle of folding clothes I’ll reach over and put my palm over the paint mark, trying to remember how it felt to hold a hand that small. We have all grown up here, in one way or another. I have often dreamed of moving. Perhaps it’s the restlessness of one potted too long in the same pot — my roots have grown and taken the shape of my container. Perhaps it’s the overdue purge that only seems to happen when relocating. Perhaps it’s the dreamy idea of a fresh slate. Whether I have been gripped by nostalgia or fear, or maybe on some level known that it was too soon for my children to let go of the past, I have never made any move to move. In this past year, however, there have been rumblings of change. My children have cleaned out old toys of their own volition, and made boxes to give away. They talk about how they want to remodel their rooms, and make them more “teenage” looking. We have seven and a half bathrooms and everyone still showers in my shower and watches TV in my bed. We occupy half the space we own. And truthfully, when my kids are gone, this place feels like an echo.


october 2011

So this summer, when kids and dogs and I were away, I asked my friend to discreetly show our house. It never made it to MLS, and I never had to evacuate the premises for a showing…it was gone in about a week. After several sleepless nights, watching the ceiling fan rotation and freaking out about having no place to go upon closing, we had another day of house hunting in the brutal heat. We were weary inside and out. I started to want my old house back. And then we walked into the front door of a house and felt like we were coming home. I can’t explain the reason why, but can only equate it to meeting someone and feeling like you already know each other. Our new home has simple, clean design and is full of light, the perfect canvas for our next collage of memories. The space is efficient, “ just what we need and nothing we don’t” according to my son, Luke. I didn’t want a formal living room because there is nothing formal about our living. (It’s kind of telling if we refer to that room in our current house as “The Christmas Tree Room.”) The kids have the upstairs, with a media room that has sleepover written all over it. Luke has a bedroom he absolutely loves, just as soon as we can peel off the floral wallpaper. He has visions for a loft, a built-in bookcase, a desk, a sofa, his X Box and a mini fridge. (I am having frat house flashbacks.) Isabelle wants a green shag rug. Grace wants a disco ball. As for me, I just want everyone to be happy. Then I want to redesign my new office, sit at a big desk looking out the front window and write a novel. I want to open a bottle of wine in my new kitchen and cook a meal for my family and my friends. I want to pull into my attached garage in a rainstorm and never run, soaking wet and carrying groceries, across the driveway again. I want to celebrate my 40th year, having only what I want and wanting only what I have.













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Russell Hill merchant, treehouse


t’s quite fitting that Russell Hill first learned about TreeHouse, the soonto-be open green home improvement store, when he was sitting around a campfire with a group of friends. He was living in Fredericksburg at the time, making furniture out of reclaimed wood. Founders of TreeHouse, Evan Loomis and Jason Ballard, met Hill, a San Antonio native and UT grad, and asked him to join the team they were building. It’s been three years in the making, and on October 22, the Austin store in the Westgate Shopping Center will open its doors, ready to change the face and mission of the home improvement shopping experience. Hill’s role is merchandising, and he’s spent a bulk of his time on product research. “We focus on carrying the products by those people who have been fighting the good fight for a while and not just jumping on the green bandwagon,” he says. “We will be one of the first to give mainstream access to all these products in one place — everyone from the contractor and architect to the DIYer or the weekend warrior.” Look for each product on the shelf to have an info card with a ranking system for health and sustainability. The 26,000-square-foot space will carry everything you need for a project, a true one-stop shop. The team felt Austin was the perfect place to start TreeHouse. “Austin has a community of people who are willing to try out new ideas, restaurants and businesses, and it’s also our home and we like it here,” he says. People like Garrett Boone, the founder of the Container Store, and Berry Cox, one of Home Depot’s original founders, are already believers in the concept — they are two among the many TreeHouse investors. Hill says: “The term ‘green,’ can have many definitions, but it’s really about a smarter, better way to do things.” L. smith ford

11 Questions f o r r u s s e ll

What is your favorite building? My Uncle Chris’ house. It was built in the 1850s with additions here and there from the 1930s. It was built with the materials on the land that surrounds it — and you can tell — you can feel it, and to me it feels good. If you could trade wardrobes with anyone, who would it be? My dad. What was your favorite article of clothing when you were a child? A black T-shirt that said “Cool Kids Wear Black” in a large, bold font above the


october 2011

San Antonio Spurs logo of the 80s. Or, my snakeskin boots…What four-year-old Texas boy doesn’t feel slick as hell in rattlesnakeskin boots? What movie star was your childhood crush? Jennifer Connelly in The Rocketeer At age 7, you wanted to be? The Rocketeer. What piece of art would you most like to own? I’d like to have Picasso’s “Guernica” in my living room, but if I could have 10 Rauschenbergs, five Rothkos and a few Chuck Ramirez photos instead, I’d go for that. If you were an inventor, what would you invent? A device that could take technology (excluding medical advancements) back to the 90s and keep

it there. You could have a car phone, but people wouldn’t hate you for not answering it.  When and where are you happiest? Sitting on the ground somewhere, when it’s sunny and 65, talking with my family and/or friends.  Who is your favorite fictional character? Dmitri Karamazov because he plunges headfirst into each moment and every thought, and reacts boldly. What is your most treasured possession? All of the artifacts my parents have given me that belonged to my ancestors.  Where would you live if you weren’t in Austin? I’d like to have a rented room in 10 different small towns in Texas and alternate as I please. P h oto g r a p h y by n i c k s i m o n i t e

autumn 2011 Isda Eileen Fisher Bell by Alicia Bell Johnny Was Collections Yansi Fugel Tracy Reese Lauren Vidal Paris Lundström Collection Three Dots Marisa Baratelli Nicole Miller Robin Kaplan Designs

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i n h i s ow n wor ds

Clay Shortall

He may be on the design team for the 2012 London Olympics Aquatics Centre, but it’s in his hometown that he’s most interested in creating thought-provoking design.


hen I was born in San Antonio, my parents brought me home to a house designed and built by my father, one of the best architects I know. In my neighborhood, my father designed many of the homes, and no two were the same. They spoke with a modern and radical vocabulary and they are still relevant today. My neighborhood was my playground, where I began to build my subconscious library of design. Today, many children are surrounded by repetitive houses divorced from a design process. This lack of diversity has a cumulative effect on what our neighborhoods and cities will look like tomorrow. When I was 13, we moved to Chicago: another immersion into great design. This city formed a lasting impression on me of urban design, skyscrapers and the integration of neighborhoods into city fabric. I attended college on a basketball scholarship. I planned to earn my degree in fine art, then see Europe by playing basketball. But art became my passion and awakened an interest in my father’s profession, and a desire to leave a legacy in the built environment. Upon graduation I went straight to receive my master’s in architecture. But I met a harsh reality when I entered the profession: I was going to change not the world, but the bathroom in a corporate office. The experience did teach me about the financial realities of this profession — a lesson too many idealistic designers have to learn the hard way. In 2006, my wife entered a program at Ox-


october 2011

ford University, and I found myself in London, where the money was flowing, interesting buildings were getting built and architects were making their mark. I joined a small studio, taking a lead role on a modern opera house in Wexford, Ireland. I was flying to Ireland regularly, meeting fascinating people, managing multiple interests and creating a building that I was proud of. As the opera house neared completion, I had the opportunity to join Zaha Hadid Architects. Working for this firm, with its cutting edge design and use of technology and materials, had always been a goal of mine. I joined the team for the 2012 London Olympics Aquatics Centre, and found myself immersed in a world of complex geometry and complex stakeholders. After three years in London, my wife and I had enough of the weather and cost of living. The legacy of my upbringing was to crave a well-designed life, too. We decided to risk it all and move to Austin. We bought a midcentury modern house that reminded me of my first home in San Antonio. We got a dog and had a son. What I didn't expect was that I would stay on the project for another three years, working on the London Olympics from my dining room table in Austin. I was living in a great city, working for a great architect and leaving a legacy for the people of London. The project was recently handed over ahead of next year’s Games. Today I am hustling. I’ve moved from focusing on one big project at a time to spreading out my interests. In addition to my own projects, I teach at UT, considering each class a lab for both students’ ideas and my own. I invest time

in learning about Austin: the drivers of the built environment and the people who make up our great human capital. Due to Austin’s rapid growth, open culture and great people, there is a spirit of experimentation in music, the arts and lifestyle. But this spirit has not fully transferred to architecture. We do have some examples of great design, old and new. But in the worst cases, the quick dollar has replaced common sense and long-term investment in the form and functionality of our city. Architecture has a huge responsibility when it comes to a city’s culture and sense of community. Design lies at the heart of the difference between a cohesive community and a divisive one. Cookie-cutter houses do damage to the fabric of a neighborhood. If public, cultural and commercial buildings are poorly thought out, they can add to an accumulation of poor design that defines our community. Combating these trends is not easy. Architects have to continue to innovate so we can offer buildings that are well designed, appropriate and competitive. And as a city, we have to make long-term investments in a culture of respect for great design. I’m excited to be in Austin today because we have the opportunity to invest in great design — from residential to commercial to public. My exposure to design from an early age has shaped the person I am, and I think my son can have the same opportunity here. It’s my responsibility to leave that legacy I’ve been searching for, not in one great building but in a lifetime of pushing for good and thought-provoking design. For more information on Clay, visit P h oto g r a p h y by k en n y b r au n

october 2011


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An Audience with…

Ceramic Artist Piero Fenci


19th-century English and American furniture y family and I were forBY c a r l a mc do n a ld and accessories. tunate to spend part of “Tell me about this piece,” I said to the the scorching Texas summer on Nantucket, a shopkeeper while pointing at a blue and green pinwheel-shaped ceramic 50-square-mile island off the Massachusetts coastbowl that, frankly, seemed a bit out of place. “Oh, that’s not old,” she said, line. Known mainly for its maritime history, Nanalmost apologetically. “That’s a new piece by ceramic artist Piero Fenci.” tucket also has a rich history as an art colony. Even today, if you walk As she handed me Fenci’s CV, imagine my delight when I discovered that through any of the quaint antiques stores that dot the island, you’re likely the eye-catching bowl that seemed to be floating like its own little island to find a trove of artistic treasures, both old and new. among a sea of timeworn tables and chairs was crafted by a fellow Texan. I found one such treasure recently in Nantucket House Antiques, a Right then, I knew two things: I had to have the piece, and I had to charming store near the center of town that specializes in fine 18th- and ask for an audience with Texas ceramic artist and educator Piero Fenci.

october 2011



Q &A with piero

Piero, what drew you to ceramics and working with clay? I spent years working behind a desk in a coat and tie and following orders hourly. It was killing me. So, for four years, I went to night school at Tulane. It saved my life. I studied creative writing, business law, art history and, finally, sculpture. My father was a well-known sculptor. I loved sculpture, but when I took a course in ceramics, it was a lightning bolt that hit me instantly. It was as if I had done it in a former life. I was also then in an arena separate from my father’s — he was an Old World, big, tough, critical guy, and not being in his specific discipline gave me the freedom to be myself without having to compete with the old man. I’ve been working as a teacher and the head of the ceramics department at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, for 36 years, and nobody — nobody — has ever told me what to do. I have the freedom I craved.

Piero Fenci’s work has been featured in numerous magazines and books, such as Ceramics Monthly, American Ceramics, The Contemporary Potter and Clay and Glazes for the Potter, as well as in solo and group exhibitions nationwide. His work is also in many private and museum collections, including The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. For more information about Piero Fenci, visit


october 2011

Tell me about the pinwheel bowl that “introduced” us. Pinwheel comes from a different intellectual source, a playful formal invention of how to take the most basic of ceramic moves — the making of bowls — and alter them by making the most elemental of changes, transforming them into something challenging and surprising. I simply threw two big bowls on the wheel, cut out the bottoms, cut both bowls

in half vertically, reassembled them in their pinwheel shape and built a new bottom with a slab. The result is a vessel the likes of which I’ve never seen. It has to do with pushing the clay and the concept into unknown territory, and it’s done intuitively like all the rest of my work. Your work is such a beautiful and complex combination of form, texture and color. Tell me about your artistic process. My working process is elegant and simple. Intimate scale, the history of use, the tactile qualities of touching and lifting and, above all, the interaction of surface and form are central concerns in my work. I do not want my work to reflect the traditional ceramic Leach/Hamada tradition of the functional pot. I want my work to be surprising, an invention never seen before, a decorative move based on objects, mostly not made out of clay, that were once totally functional. Things like Shaker hatboxes and tinware, pre-Columbian architecture, and Japanese armor of the Muromachi period. During one period in Japan, for 300 years, there was no war. Instead of being functional, armor became a decorative show of power. My work follows the same pattern. You were recently named the 2012 Texas Master by the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. What does that honor mean to you? It was a total surprise and a joy to be recognized by such a prestigious bunch. I live in a

town of 444 people and there’s not a whole lot of interest here in what I do. I suppose it made me happy to have all the work I’ve done over the years affirmed by a sophisticated group of professionals. You recently had a solo show in Chihuahua City that dealt with border issues between Texas and Chihuahua. Tell me about that show. All the work represented images that suggested barriers — towers, helmets and shields, battlements, sanctuaries. The point I wanted to make was that all those constructions, like George W. Bush’s billion-dollar fence, are futile — the constructions were made of clay, the most fragile of materials. Therein lies the irony. What and/or who inspires you as an artist? My father and his unparalleled work ethic. I have also been inspired by my work in Chihuahua, where I have been deeply touched by the Mexican people and culture, as well as Matisse, Morandi and a host of contemporary artists who work in media other than clay. What advice do you give your students about becoming an artist in today’s world? Art is one of the most competitive areas one can enter in the spectrum of careers. One must be smart about communication, the market, self-promotion, art history and contemporary art context and be filled with passion. Follow your bliss, I tell them, and work your ass off.

image courtesy of piero fenci, photography by harrison evans.


1818 W. 35TH ST AUSTIN TX 78703

OCTOBER Calendars arts & entertainment

Entertainment Calendar Music Van Hunt

Oct 1, 8:30pm Cactus Cafe

Oct 19, 6:30pm Emo’s

Jack’s Mannequin

Toro Y Moi

Oct 8, 8pm Mohawk

Film Essential Cinema: Peking Opera Blues

Oct 20, 7pm Emo’s

Oct 4, 7-9pm Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar

Manchester Orchestra


B.B. King

Oct 22, 7pm Stubb’s

Oct 16, 7pm Alamo Drafthouse Village Austin Film Festival & Conference

Death Cab For Cutie

Mary Chapin Carpenter with Loudon Wainwright III

Oct 9, 6:30pm ACL Live at The Moody Theater Oct 11, 8pm Austin Music Hall K.D. Lang

Oct 12, 8pm Paramount Theatre O.A.R.

Oct 13, 7pm Stubb’s

Snoop Dogg

Oct 25, 7pm Stubb’s

Oct 26, 7pm Frank Erwin Center

Oct 13, 8:30pm Paramount Theatre Dark Star Orchestra

Oct 14, 6pm ACL Live at The Moody Theater Peter Frampton

Oct 18, 6:30pm ACL Live at The Moody Theater Adele

Oct 19, 7:30pm Frank Erwin Center

october 2011

Oct 23, 6pm ACL Live at The Moody Theater

Taylor Swift

Bela Fleck


Panic! At the Disco

Huey Lewis and The News

Oct 20-27

Master Pancake: Halloween

Oct 21-22 Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek

Comedy Anjelah Johnson

Oct 1, 10:30pm Paramount Theatre

Greg Fitzsimmons

Oct 26, 7:30pm Michael & Susan Dell Hall

Oct 6-8 Cap City Comedy Club

Minus The Bear

Michael Ian Black

Oct 26, 8pm La Zona Rosa

Oct 7, 8pm Mohawk


Maria Bamford

Oct 29, 8pm Stubb’s

Oct 12-13 Cap City Comedy Club

Mother Falcon

Adam Carolla

Oct 29, 11:30pm Stubb’s

Oct 14, 7pm Paramount Theatre

Axis of Awesome

Oct 14-15 Cap City Comedy Club Bert Kreischer

Oct 19-22 Cap City Comedy Club Thea Vidale

Oct 27-29 Cap City Comedy Club

Theater Girls Night: The Musical

Oct 7-8 The Long Center

Charlotte’s Web

Oct 8, 12pm One World Theatre

National Acrobats of The People’s Republic of China

Oct 9, 4pm The Long Center

Life In A Marital Situation

Oct 11-16 The Long Center

Complexions Contemporary Ballet

Oct 19, 7:30pm The Long Center

The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a Serial Killer

Oct 24-25 Bass Concert Hall

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

Zoltan David Flagship Gallery Grand Opening

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

Austin Chocolate Festival

Spring Awakening

Austin Film Festival Ninth Annual Film & Food Gala

Oct 27-30 The Long Center

Oct 28-Nov 6 B. Iden Payne Theatre Through Nov 13 ZACH Theatre

Red Hot Patriot

Through Nov 13 ZACH Theatre

Other Barkitecture: Designer Doghouse Auction

Oct 1, 1pm Second Street District Austin Yoga Festival

Oct 8-9 Fiesta Gardens

La Dolce Vita Food & Wine Festival

Oct 13, 6-9pm Laguna Gloria

Breed & Co.’s Better Backyard Series

Oct 15 Construction: 11am-4pm Cocktail Reception: 4-7pm

Oct 15 Oasis, TX

Oct 15, 10am Norris Conference Center

Oct 19, 7pm Driskill Hotel

Gypsy Picnic Trailer Food Festival

Oct 22, 11am Auditorium Shores

Pumpkin Harvest Festival

Oct 22, 3pm The Greenwood School Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Annual Light the Night Walk

Oct 22 Lake Park at Mueller

The Austin Symphony Presents: Halloween Children’s Concert

Oct 23, 2pm Michael & Susan Dell Hall Highball Halloween

Oct 29, 10:30pm The Highball

EVENT p i ck

Arts Calendar October 1 Benson Latin American Library

Art Across the Americas Reception: 6-9pm Through Oct 31 October 6 Arthouse

Visiting Lecture Series: Yasufumi Nakamori 7-9pm October 7 Dougherty Arts Center

Pecos Red & Other Stories/ Roger Colombik Reception 6-8pm Through Oct 28 Mexic-Arte Museum

Death to Dollars Exhibition Through Nov 13 October 8 AMOA Laguna Gloria

Family Saturday 12-3pm October 12 Arthouse

image courtesy of breed & Co.

The Anxiety of Photography Reception: 6-7pm Through Dec 30

Ongoing Arthouse

Koki Tanaka: Buckets and Balls Through Oct 16 The Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery

Salvador Dali: The Argillet Collection Through Oct 28 Arthouse

Sarah Buckius: Trapped Inside Pixels Through Nov 6 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Field Notes Through Dec 4

Blanton Museum of Art

Storied Past: Four Centuries of French Drawings Through Dec 31 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Watercolors by Nick Swift Through Dec 31

Harry Ransom Center

October 22 Mexic-Arte Museum

Banned, Burned, Seized and Censored & The Greenwich Village Bookshop Door: A Portal to Bohemia, 1920-1925 Through Jan 22

October 27 Arthouse

Blanton Museum of Art

Viva la Vida Fest

Tony Feher: Dr. Hawking October 29 Mexic-Arte Museum

La Calaca Masquerade Ball

El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You about Africa Through Jan 22

Breed & Co.’s Better Backyard Series Saturday, October 15 (Construction begins at 10am, with the Reception + Live Auction at 4pm) Breed & Co. (718 W. 29th St.)


o see elevated design meet kidfriendly function, don’t miss Breed & Co.’s Playscape Project, a part of their Better Backyard Series. “Most backyards around Austin are dwarfed by the large playscapes that are traditionally available,” says Thom Gehring of Gehring Co., the creative mind behind the event. “Imagine a fun playscape with a small footprint that is designed by one of Austin's more notable architects.” This month, the architects, including Burton Baldridge, Elizabeth Alford of Pollen Architecture and Lucy Begg and Robie Gay of Thoughtbarn will rise to the challenge, each following their own design aesthetic to create playscapes that prioritize good design, that are fun to play on and are small enough that they will not take over your backyard. Each architect will design a playscape that covers a 32-square-foot area, uses common construction materials and is easy enough to be assembled by a homeowner on a Saturday afternoon. On the day of the event, the architects will construct their designs in the parking lot of the 29th Street Breed & Co., inviting Austinites to stop by and study each design and see the building process firsthand. Once the architects are done, a reception featuring live music, bites and libations will allow visitors to explore the playscapes. “It’s a great opportunity to talk with local architects and learn about their approach to problem solving,” Gehring says. A live auction will provide guests with the chance to bid on their favorite of the finished playscapes, with proceeds going to the charity of the architect’s choice. After the event, both Breed & Co. locations will sell playscape kits for less than $500. Each design will be named after the architect who created it, and the kit will be delivered to the buyer’s home with detailed assembly instructions by the architect. Gehring hopes that this design/build event will become an annual tradition, “where guest architects re-think a design solution for homeowners.” Whatever the project, as Gehring says, “This is a great way to see good design up close.” The event will be a reminder that good design can show up in unexpected places, like in a playscape that actually enhances the aesthetic of your home. A.bell

october 2011


Museums Arthouse

a r t i s t s p o t l i gh t

Mika Tajima The Architect's Garden September 9 - December 17 Visual Arts Center University of Texas Campus, 23rd St. and Trinity St.


avigate an architectural wonderland in the Visual Arts Center’s Vaulted Gallery during Mika Tajima’s The Architect’s Garden exhibition. Color and structure are merely a gateway to a layered, three-dimensional experience that will mystify minds using the seemingly familiar. Pay close attention. The Architect’s Garden, an exhibition that incorporates elements of modernist interior design and references to Richard Linklater’s film Slacker, is a visceral projection of possibility. “I can imagine a variety of other possibilities,” Tajima says. “Even though there is a path set out for people or things, an object, there are all these other types of possibilities beyond the prescribed one.” Tajima’s installation plays with concepts of control, navigation and interaction within particular spaces and unearths new perspectives of familiar structures, unique to the university. Presented in a vibrant, contemporary design, Tajima’s exhibit offers a detour to the understanding of painting, sculpture and architecture, while managing to provide the escape and repose of a garden. The Architect’s Garden is open to the public and runs until December 17. Admission is free. D. KAY


october 2011

700 Congress Ave. (512) 453 5312 Hours: Th–F 11–7, Sa 10–5, Su 1–5 Austin Children’s Museum

201 Colorado St. (512) 472 2499 Hours: Tu 10–5, W 10–8, Th–Sa 10–5, Su 12–5 AMOA Downtown

823 Congress Ave. (512) 495 9224 Hours: Tu, W, F 10–5, Th 10–8, Sa 10–6, Su 12–6 AMOA Laguna Gloria

3809 W. 35th St. (512) 458 8191 Driscoll Villa hours: Tu–Sun 10–4 Grounds hours: M–Sa 9–5, Su 10–5

Blanton Museum of Art

200 E. MLK Jr. Blvd. (512) 471 7324 Hours: Tu– F 10–5, Sa 11–5, Su 1–5 The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum

1800 Congress Ave. (512) 936 8746 Hours: M–Sa 9–6, Su 12–6 Elisabet Ney Museum

304 E. 44th St. (512) 458 2255 Hours: W–Sa 10–5, Su 12–5

French Legation Museum

802 San Marcos St. (512) 472 8180 Hours: Tu–Su 1–5 George Washington Carver Museum

The Art Gallery at John-William Interiors

3010 W. Anderson Ln. (512) 451 5511 Hours: M–Sa 10–6 , Su 12–5

1165 Angelina St. (512) 974 4926 Hours: M–Th 10–9, F 10–5:30, Sa 10–4

Artworks Gallery

Harry Ransom Center

2200 S. Lamar Blvd., Ste. J (512) 351-5934 Hours: Tu–Sa 11–6, Su 12–5

300 E. 21st St. (512) 471 8944 Hours: Tu–W 10–5, Th 10–7, F 10–5, Sa–Su 12–5 LBJ Library and Museum

2313 Red River St. (512) 721 0200 Hours: M–Su 9–5

Mexic–Arte Museum

419 Congress Ave. (512) 480 9373 Hours: M–Th 10–6,  F–Sa 10–5, Su 12–5 mexic– O. Henry Museum

409 E. 5th St. (512) 472 1903 Hours: W–Su 12–5

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum

605 Robert E. Lee Rd. (512) 445 5582 Hours: W–F 10–4:30, Sa–Su 1–4:30

Galleries Art on 5th

1501 W. 5th St. (512) 481 1111 Hours: M–Sa 10–6

1214 W. 6th St. (512) 472 1550 Hours: M–Sa 10–5

Austin Art Garage

Austin Art Space Gallery and Studios

7739 North Cross Dr., Ste. Q (512) 771 2868 Hours: F–Sa 11–6 Austin Galleries

1219 W. 6th St. (512) 495 9363 Hours: M 10–3, Tu–Sa 10–5 or by appointment B. HOLLYMAN GALLERY

1202-A W. 6th. St. (512) 825 6866 Hours: Tu-Sa 10-5 Birdhouse

1304 E. Cesar Chavez St. By appointment only Brocca Gallery

1103 E. 6th St. (512) 628 1306 Hours: Tu–Sa 11–5

Bydee Art Gallery

1050 E. 11th St., #120 (512) 480 3100 Hours: Tu–Sa 11–7

image courtesy of the visual arts center.

Art Spaces


800 Brazos St. (512) 354 1035 Hours: Tu–Sa 11–6 Creative Research Laboratory

2832 E. MLK Jr. Blvd. (512) 322 2099 Hours: Tu–Sa 12–5 Davis Gallery

837 W. 12th St. (512) 477 4929 Hours: M–F 10–6, Sa 10–4 Flatbed Press

2830 E. MLK Jr. Blvd. (512) 477 9328 Hours: Tu–Sa 10–6 Gallery 5619

5619 Airport Blvd. (512) 751 2360 Gallery Black Lagoon

4301-A Guadalupe St. (512) 371 8838 Hours: W–F 3–7 Gallery Shoal Creek

2905 San Gabriel St., #101 (512) 454 6671 Hours: Tu–F 11–6, Sa 11–4

Jean–Marc Fray Gallery

1009 W. 6th St. (512) 457 0077 Hours: M–Sa 10–6 La Peña

227 Congress Ave., #300 (512) 477 6007 Hours: M–F 9–5, Sa–Su 9–3 lapena– Lora Reynolds Gallery

360 Nueces St., Ste. C (512) 215 4965 Hours: Tu–Sa 11–6 Lotus Gallery

Pro–Jex Gallery

1710 S. Lamar Blvd., Ste. C (512) 472 7707 Hours: M–F 10–6, Sa 12–4 Russell Collection Fine Art

1137 W. 6th St. (512) 478 4440 Hours: Tu–Sa 10–6 russell– sofa

301 E. 33rd St., #7 By appointment only Stephen L. Clark Gallery

1009 W. 6th St., #101 (512) 474 1700 Hours: Mo–Sa 10-6

1101 W. 6th St. (512) 477 0828 Hours: Tu–Sa 10–4

Maranda Pleasant Gallery

Studio 107

2235 E. 6th St. (713) 922 8584 By appointment only

411 Brazos St., #107 (512) 477 9092 Hours: Tu–Sa 1–6 Testsite

916 Springdale Rd. Hours: W 7–9, Sa 12–5

502 W. 33rd St. (512) 453 3199 Hours: Su 2–5

The Nancy Wilson Scanlan Gallery

Wally Workman Gallery

Mass Gallery

6500 St. Stephen’s Dr. (512) 327 1213 Hours: W–F 9–5

1202 W. 6th St. (512) 472 7428 Hours: Tu–Sa 10–5

608 W. Monroe Dr. (512) 826 5334 Hours: W–Sa 11–6, Su 12–5

Okay Mountain Gallery

Women & Their Work

Haven Gallery & Fine Gifts

Positive Images Gallery

grayDUCK gallery

1122 W. 6th St. (512) 477 2700 Hours: M–Sa 11–6, Su 11–4

1312 E. Cesar Chavez St. Hours: W 7–9, Sa 12–5

1118 W. 6th St. Hours: M–Sa 10–5, Su 11–4 (512) 472 1831

1710 Lavaca St. (512) 477 1064 Hours: M–F 10–6, Sa 12–5 Yard Dog

1510 S. Congress Ave. (512) 912 1613 Hours: M–F 11–5, Sa 11–6, Su 12–5

Alternative Spaces

Hours: M–Sa 10–6:30, Su 12–4

ARTPOST: The Center for Creative Expression

913 E. Cesar Chavez St. (512) 476 DOMY Hours: Tue–F 1–9, Sa 12–9, Su 12–7

4704 E. Cesar Chavez St. Austin Presence

2785 Bee Cave Rd., #336 (512) 306 9636 Hours: Tu–F 10–6, Sa 10–4 Big Medium

5305 Bolm Rd., #12 (512) 385 1670 Clarksville Pottery & Galleries

4001 N. Lamar Blvd., #200 (512) 454 9079

Domy Books

Julia C. Butridge Gallery

1110 Barton Springs Rd. (512) 974 4025 Hours: M–Th 10–9:30, F 10–5:30, Sa 10–4 dougherty/gallery.htm Pump Project Art Complex

702 Shady Ln. (512) 351 8571

Quattro Gallery

12971 Pond Springs Rd. (512) 219 3150 Hours: M–Tu 10–3, W–Sa 11–4 Roi James

3620 Bee Cave Rd., Ste. C (512) 970 3471 Hours: By appointment only United States Art Authority

2906 Fruth St. (512) 476 4455 To have your gallery considered for listing in the Arts Guide, please send a request to


things we love

Things We Love

Fashion, design and architecture are just a few of our favorite topics at TRIBEZA. This month, we are particularly excited about these celebrations of design.

A Shade of Red Celebrated Austin-based illustrator, designer and photographer Alyson Fox releases A Shade of Red through Chronicle Books this month. The art book features more than 100 portraits Fox took of women of every age, color and occupation, but bound by one common thread — they are all photographed wearing a single shade of lipstick, Revlon’s Certainly Red. The artist says: “Initially I thought this endeavor would result in a series of 20 photographs, and then I thought it would total maybe 50, but after one year I had taken 150 women’s portraits. One hundred and fifty unique, interesting and thoughtful women who were all willing to put on the same shade of Revlon’s #740 Certainly Red lipstick and wear it in their own singular way.” A Shade of Red will be available in most major bookstores and digital storefronts in October. L. Smith Ford

Tool and Tack Pop-Up Shop

Saturday, October 15, 4-9pm Gray Duck Gallery (608 W. Monroe St. off S. 1st) For the Tool and Tack Pop-Up Shop, Canoe will partner with clothing and accessory lines Forage and Wood & Faulk for the event at Gray Duck Gallery. At this “gentleman’s popup,” Natalie Davis of locally based retail site Canoe (canoe. says, “Folks can expect a well-edited selection of affordable vintage clothing, work boots, handmade bow ties, leather accessories, bags and a damn good time, ” which will be enhanced with cocktails, beers and antipasti from Salt & Time, a cured meats and pickles company owned by Davis’ husband, Ben Runkle. Forage bow ties are handcrafted from meticulously chosen fabrics in vibrant plaids and stripes by Shauna and Stephen Alterio at their studio in Philadelphia and have been featured in many print and online publications, including Martha Stewart Living, Design*Sponge and Daily Candy. Wood & Faulk by Matt Pierce, a DIY editor for Design*Sponge, offers bags and belts “crafted for the craftsman.” And while Tool and Tack may be a gentleman’s shop, the ladies need not feel left out — Fail + Canoe, a collaborative jewelry project between Canoe and Christine Fail, a jewelry designer and the owner of Schatzelein, will debut at the event, with pieces for women and men. The designers will also be at the “Meet the Makers” event the evening before at Schatzelein (1713 South First) from 4 to 6pm. For more information visit A. Bell


october 2011

Austin x Design October has become Austin’s month of design, with the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) Austin to debut Austin x Design, a series of events showcasing the wealth of design our city has to offer. Sally Fly, Executive Director of AIA Austin, says that the inspiration for the series came when she “found a poster in the garage for a ‘Design Month’ that took place 21 years ago that also included other organizations in town.” With a calendar of 20 events focusing on all aspects of design and located all over the city, from tours and lectures to children’s events, Dick Clark Architecture there is sure to be something for every taste. AIA Austin’s 25th Annual Homes Tour kicks off the series on October 1st and 2nd. Other highlights include the Interior Design Homes Tour by the American Society of Interior Designers, Austin Design Riot!, the Green City Festival, the Arthouse Rooftop Architecture Film Series and AMOA’s Art + Architecture Series. For ticketing information and a complete list of events, visit A. Bell

A Shade of Red image courtesy of alyson fox; austin x Design image courtesy of whit preston; canoe image courtesy of natalie davis.

by Alyson Fox



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9/1/11 7:20:50 PM

The Balcones House A Family of Makers — a look inside the stunning house of Elizabeth Alford and Michael Young of Pollen Architecture. B y J ack i e Ra n g e l P hotograph y b y C a s e y D u n n


october 2011

FAC IN G PAG E A few of homeowner

Michael Young's paintings and 19thcentury Mexican retablos fit perfectly on this citron stereo cabinet by Pollen Architecture, quarter-sawn yellow pine from Delta Millworks and chairs by Vitsoe. T H IS PAG E This cast-concrete cladding was designed by Pollen Architecture to capture the light at the home's entry.


eet Elizabeth Alford and Michael Young. Husband-wife design team, two-thirds of the acclaimed local architecture and design studio Pollen, and the proud parents of two children and a recently completed “labor of love” in Austin’s Mount Bonnell neighborhood. Although the couple has been collaborating on client projects since 2008, the completion of their latest work is perhaps the most personally rewarding of their joint efforts. The couple fell in love with the original house designed by Jonathan Bowman in 1957 and one of several modern designs that dot the area, tucked away amidst the rolling hills along the Balcones Fault line. At once expansive and intimate, the home’s interior is a study in efficiency — of space, vantage points and individual industriousness. Perched on the

sloping hillside of the fault line with a 100-foot-long natural outcropping of layered limestone, the architecture acknowledges the site’s variegated landscape by ensuring maximum appreciation for the beautiful surroundings whenever possible. From the living room, a directed series of windows focuses the eye on the lush foliage of the ravine below, while the tone of the casual workspace-cumfamily room is set by the stair stepped native plantings embedded within the rising limestone cliff in the rear of the house. Alford and Young, architect and artist, respectively, launched their thriving creative careers in New York City, cultivating their individual work there for many years before deciding in 2002 that it was time to return to their native Texas. (He, originally from East Texas and she, Austin.) While making the cross-country transition, Alford and Young found and fell in love with the “Balcones House,”

october 2011


LE F T A view into treetops from the living room; custom steel bookshelves by Pollen Architecture, rolling glass doors by Fleetwood and table and chair from Scott + Cooner. A BOVE An entry stairwell gives a glimpse through house. FAC IN G PAG E The living room hovers over the carport entry that features stained cypress wood cladding.

thus beginning their over two-year affair of designing their dream home. Although they chose to live in the house for a few years before commencing on official re-design plans, Alford says she started sketching and describes the process as having started “pretty much right off the bat when we moved in.” Spoken like a true architect. Although the initial plan primarily involved renovations, when all was stripped away, the team decided that a completely new start with a nod to the original structure was the only answer. Alford says: “We took it down to slab and rock walls


october 2011

and reinvented it with new structure, openings and different proportions.” But how much more painstaking is the process when designers design for themselves? “One thing that’s been really amazing about working with Michael is that with his background as an artist, he will experiment with a form or material just because it’s interesting and he may be thinking about an idea.” With so many creative opinions and approaches between the pair, Alford acknowledges the inherent difficulties of knowing when to simply draw the

line. “It’s funny, we were so excited to do our own house and get it just the way we wanted. But it’s hard when you don’t have a client in the conversation. Without that, you can just keep thinking about it — you can just keep designing.“ There is, however, a very finite deadline for the self-proclaimed detailobsessed couple. Their continually evolving modest modern masterpiece will be part of AIA Austin’s 25th Anniversary Homes Tour on October 1-2, a showcase of 15 locally designed modern houses. As architect and artist, they have

october 2011


T H IS PAG E The master

bedroom is filled with natural light from the clerestory window; plaster walls by Sloan Montgomery. FAC IN G PAG E The family room, which stores the children's art supplies and projects, features contrasting plaster and pine walls, polished concrete floors and the always appropriate — Eames chairs; storage unit by Pollen Architecture with Heart of Texas Metalworks and Hatch Design, nana folding window system.

reveled in the ability to design, build and make as many unique creations as possible. From minimalist door hardware to modular shelving units, they have taken full advantage of reimagining even the most seemingly insignificant of household accoutrements. “The quality of a room is defined by the details,” explains Young as he walks through the house, proudly pointing out the subtle artifacts of their exploratory creative processes.  The most instantly recognizable of these details is the interior enve-


october 2011

lope of stunning straight-grain pine boards that line the walls and extend to the ceiling of the house’s original footprint. Plaster is used in other areas to create a contrasting effect. For Alford, the wood represents her favorite, and most gratifying, part of the process. It not only defines the touchstones of their work — “we like to use very modern shapes, but with a materiality that has another identity and sense of tactility” — but it embodies the importance of finding the uniquely skilled local craftsmen who

october 2011


A BOVE The family's perfect outdoor living space. The concrete board-formed fireplace wraps an existing

stone chimney. The outdoor furniture is by local company RAD Furniture.

can help make even the smallest of their “customization dreams” a reality.  “It gives us the chance to experiment and find ways of doing things that we can then suggest to clients. Finding the right people to work with you is half the battle.” For Young, who grew up on a sprawling East Texas farm — complete with a three-acre vegetable garden — adopting the role of garden designer for the property has been a welcomed challenge. Bringing the same sense of meticulous yet melodic design to the walkways and gardens as to the windows and gutters, he has created an outdoor environment that organically


october 2011

integrates the house with its unique natural setting. As with the interior, the beds and paths feature individually crafted components like custom-built raised steel planters and poured concrete stepping-stones, made on-site While the architecture’s “warm geometry” and modern aesthetic resonate from its every angle, the Balcones House is far from detached or unapproachable. It is comfortably modern, inviting and flexible — key elements in a home for hyper-creative individuals like Young, Alford and their two young children. “We’re a family of makers,” Alford says. “We’re always working on something.”

A BOVE The modern boy's bedroom: powder-coat steel

shelving by Pollen Architecture and cabinetry by Hatch; pirate flags and knots by James Young. FAC IN G PAG E This is where the family usually gathers when company comes over — table by Macek Furniture Co., painting by Michael Young, lamp by Muut.

october 2011


Austin’s own showroom with an exceptional eye for sophisticated chic furnishings. 18th-19th C. antiques, current furnishings and “new” antiques, and industrial salvage.

18th C French, “new” antiques, c

Photography by Coles Hairston

It has been a privilege to build exceptional custom homes in Austin, Texas for over 28 years. To the owners of these fine homes we would like to say, ‘Thank You.’

Handmade — eight artisans are beautifying Austin from the inside out. By Phili p Pantuso Photogra phy by Al e x a n d r a Va l e n t i


october 2011

Jesse Hartman of Shift Build at his studio.

october 2011


Ryan Anderson RAD Furniture

jesse hartman


SHIFT shif t BUIlD Build



orking as as aacarpenter carpenterthrough throughcollege college taught taught Jesse Hartman Hartmanall allhe heneeded neededtotoknow knowabout about conventional conventional building processes. building processes.“I“Ibecame becamedisgusted bored and by disgusted the materials by the — they materials are so often used toxicand and, the worst normal of all, styling,” not built Hartman to last,” Hartman says. “I feel like the says. “I also conventional became bored home byhas the become modern American bland andhome, homogenized.” which I feel Recognizing has become that bland he needed and homogenized.” to re-ignite Recognizhis passion ing for building that he needed or get to out reignite of the his industry passion altogether, for building Hartman or get out founded of theShift industry Build. altogether, The company Hartman creatively founded repurposes Shift Build. The and company locally sources creatively all the repurposes materials and it uses locally to sources create unique all the materials residential it spaces uses to and create “slow unique furniture.” residential Examples spaces and from“slow Shift furniture.” Build’s creative Examples portfolio fromare Shift a plate-drying Build’s creative rack portfolio made are from a plate bicycle drying rim, rack a walnut madedining from atable bicycle with rim, matching a walnutleatherdining leaf strapped table with satchel, matching and anleather-strapped outdoor trampoline satchel shade. to hold Each the leaves piece combines and an outdoor an outside-the-box trampoline shade. approach Each piece to functionality combines an with outside-the-box Hartman’s whimsical approachapproach to functionality to form. with Hartman’s whimsical But the approach best example to form. of Shift But the Build’s beststyle example is Hartman’s of Shift Build’s own home, style where is Hartman’s he lives own with home, his girlfriend where he lives and two-yearwith his girlfriend old son. The of 10 house yearsisand constructed their two-year-old of reclaimed son. wood, The house steelis constructed and scraps from of reclaimed within awood, 10-mile steel radius. and scraps There’s acquired an exterior from within made of a 10 oldmile tires, radius. another There’s of wood an exterior palletsmade from of a nearby old tires, another workshop of wood and a pallets concrete from wall a nearby studded workshop with empty and bottles a concrete of wall wine,studded beer and with Topo empty Chico. bottles Theofbuildout wine, beer is an andongoing Topo Chico. projThe ect, and buildit's out Hartman’s is an ongoing favorite project, labor and ofits love. Hartman’s “It may favorite never labor be finished,” of love. he “It says, may never “and if beitfinished,” ever is, Ihe will says, probably “and if have it evertois, I'll move probably and start havea to new move one.” and start a new one.”

hen Ryan Anderson graduated from UT’s Master of Architecture program in 2009, the recession was in full swing. There were no jobs, and he wasn’t sure he wanted a traditional architecture job in the first place. So he bucked conventional wisdom and instead started RAD Furniture, a design and fabrication shop that picked up on a hobby he’d begun to develop in his last year of college. RAD makes heirloom-quality furniture from colorful, flexible prototypes that allow for mix-andmatch customization. The operation’s slimness is by design — whittling down the types of material and the available shapes, sizes and colors keeps overhead low and forces Anderson to be creative within repeatable parameters, from which a definable RAD style emerges. Sleek cuts of wood and steel are joined to create the company’s benches, shelves and tables. “I want my furniture to be clean, modern and visually accessible,” says Anderson. “My generation is interested in how their products are made, and they value a directto-consumer business model.” Anderson values it, too. One of his personal tenets is that furniture should be a conversation piece, and while an eye-catching handmade table will always bring people together, the design and production process can be equally fertile ground for friendships. Anderson speaks glowingly of meeting customers, many of whom become pals. He still delivers everything himself, and he loves to see where his furniture ends up within a home. “The way that people respond to what we’re doing is a lot more important than the furniture itself,” he says. “I think RAD can be a part of the community here on the East Side, and I hope that can be part of a sustainable business model in itself.” Sounds like a recession-proof plan.

FOR For MORE more InFORMATIOn, information, vISIT visit SHIFTBUIlD.cOM.

FOR For MORE more InFORMATIOn, information, vISIT visit RADFURnITURE.cOM.

OcTOBER october 2011

furniture photographs courtesy of rad furniture.

ABOVE: Laptop stand and patio furniture from the RAD collection. RIGHT: Ryan Anderson in his studio.

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David Clark Kartwheel Custom Craftsmanship

Christian Klein, Lori + Tony Linder Litmus Industr ies

s his own boss at Kartwheel Custom Craftsmanship, David Clark has been able to follow his inner light. The former graphic designer got out from behind the computer because he wanted to experience the satisfaction that comes with building something by hand, or, as he puts it: “I wanted to take creativity into three-dimensional forms.” His background in design influences his current style, a mix of rustic simplicity and colorful modern boldness. Clark utilizes weather-worn wood and smooth metals to create eye-catching contrasts, from custom bookshelves and tables to backyard structures like studio spaces and trellises. He designed and built the interiors at Spartan and Rock of Ages Tattoo, but his end goal is to balance the high-end interiors with custom furniture work. “I want to keep myself moving,” he says. “Building is a new career for me, and I don’t want to get bored with it.”

itmus Industries does a little bit of everything, from manufacturing interior décor and accessories for residential use to building customized furniture for some of Austin’s most popular businesses. Litmus was founded in South Austin by the husband-andwife duo Tony and Lori Linder in 2007. The Linders are lifelong artists and designers capable of creating a wide variety of products, including fused glass and iron works, wood, vinyl signs, electric displays and salvaged scraps. The black walnut dining tables at Uchiko? The welded aluminum shelves that store SXSW’s 10,000-film library? Or how about the ringed faux-brass chandeliers lighting the Austin Music Hall? All designed by Litmus. Tony Linder is quick to point out that the company also created the popup merchandise shop for Third Man Records, Jack White’s record label that made a memorable debut in a parking lot during SXSW. But that’s not even all — Litmus augments their commercial and personal commission work with a stylish line of home products, available to order from their online catalog.

For more information, visit

For more information, visit



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litmus industries photographs courtesy of litmus industries.

LITMUS INDUSTRIES: Installation on the rooftop at Frank.

Wendy Phillips


B lac k H orse I ndu s t rie s

endy Phillips never expected to be a blacksmith — the Austin native grew up helping her parents run a retail furniture business, a job she resumed after graduating college. Then, six years ago, she saw the movie Cast Away for the first time. A short scene near the end of the film, in which a woman welds in a barn with her dogs playing around her, sparked a fire in Phillips that’s kept burning brighter and brighter. Blacksmithing courses and a couple of valuable apprenticeships followed before Phillips founded Black Horse Industries in 2009. “Now, metal is my second language,” she says. “I dream in flames and sparks.” Black Horse specializes in madeto-order gates, stair rails and fences, crafted with an eye toward showcasing the natural fluidity and malleability of metal. “I want to make functional pretty,” says Phillips. “Metal moves so easily, if you know how to ask it. With a little bit of heat and force, you can shape it into anything.” Lately, she’s been inspired by tree forms: to create the banisters of a recently installed handrail outside a West Austin home, she forged several long pieces of metal and intertwined them to mimic the surrounding cedar trunks. In addition to her work with Black Horse Industries, Phillips has been working as an in-house blacksmith for Root Design Company, which has expanded her skill set and allowed her to keep Black Horse the artistically-minded, custom-made metal arts company she hopes it will always be. “When it’s like that,” she says with a smile, “I can put my blood, sweat and tears into each piece.” For more information, visit

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Aaron Michalovic

Michalovic Wood Art


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reclaimed space photography by joseph pettyjohn; garza design build photographs courtesy of jamey garza.


ooking at Aaron Michalovic’s woodwork now, you’d never believe that the Maine native was once burnt out on carpentry. But that was the case, until he learned the dying art of timber framing. “At that point,” he says, “I started looking at woodworking as an artist and realized it was something I could do for a long time.” Michalovic favors antique hand tools to modern machinery, using them to create one-of-a-kind pieces ranging from spoons and knives whittled from a single branch to a barn held together by wooden pegs and joinery instead of nails. The first thing he ever built was his parents’ house. There is the meticulous artistry of a labor of love to all his creations, which is why he calls his company Michalovic Wood Arts instead of Wood Works. His clients run the gamut from individuals to commercial businesses, but, he says, “a lot of what I make is for no one at all. I just get an idea and make it.”

Jamey Garza Garza Design Build

tracen gardner reclaim ed space


he average home generates 8,000 pounds of waste, with monthly utility bills routinely running well into the hundreds of dollars. But the “modern rustic” prefabricated units made by Reclaimed Space are 25 times less wasteful and can be built to exist off the grid, relying on solar and wind energy systems, water catchment tanks and solar-evaporative toilets. The typically 400-600-square-foot spaces are modular and easily transportable, and are built almost exclusively of materials cultivated from deconstruction projects. The idea started four years ago, when founder Tracen Gardner needed a home for his ranch in West Texas. The location’s remoteness and lack of utilities made building on-site illogical, so Gardner collected some leftover materials from projects completed by his construction company, DirtCo, and built a home that he could easily transport to his ranch. Instead, it became Reclaimed Space’s first model. The company has made a big name for itself since, winning an Honorable Mention Award in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lifecycle Building Challenge in 2009, among other laudations. Repurposing weathered wood and galvanized metal from old homes and barns imbues each space with a sense of history — a few homes have been built from wood salvaged from a Shiner livery stable built in the 1880s — and it allows for Reclaimed Space to “build beyond green,” in the words of Gardner. “We want to be more than eco-friendly — we want to give back to the environment.” For more information, visit


he minimalist wood and leather furniture at the Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa perfectly suits the surrounding West Texas landscape: sparse, well-worked and elegant. All of Jamey Garza’s furniture attempts to create a “vernacular mix” of ranch aesthetics and clean designs, an inimitable style that wrestles high-quality, modernist furniture out of the Wild West. Garza and his wife, Constance, founded Garza Design + Build in 1999, and have run the company from Marfa since moving there in 2003 to work on Liz Lambert’s hotel. They also worked with Lambert in designing all of the furniture for the Hotel San Jose, building each bed in its room out of reclaimed long leaf pine. Custom-made commercial orders are only part of what Garza Design + Build has to offer – customers can also order their products online, including a reworked platform bed design from the Hotel San Jose and the company’s ever-growing “GDB Desert” series of chairs. Made of thick saddle leather bound to a powder-coat steel rod frame, the chairs prove that you don’t have to live in the wild nothing of the Southwest to bring a little piece of it home.

For more information, visit

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Cavender + Legge Backyard canvas couples Texas rural serenity with urban sophistication. b y kodi sa w in p h oto g ra p h y b y c ase y dunn


n artistic vision comes to life through many mediums. For a country girl like Traci Cavender, land, water and space act as natural outlets for artistic exploration. She spent her childhood in Pittsburg, Texas, at the side of her father, the legendary retailer James R. Cavender. Those meandering, lazy country nights in East Texas kindled in her a desire for creative expression, a desire that waited patiently for the perfect canvas. Cavender found her canvas — her backyard. “There was nothing in the backyard when I bought the house but a kidney pool,” Cavender says with a perplexed look. “So much space and a kidney pool.” With a kind grin, Cavender expresses her advanced sense of design with passion and focus, and she shows no intimidation when collaborating

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This art project’s collaboration is so Texan, free-spirited but restrained.” — H a w k e y e G lenn

with talented artists such as architect Murray Legge, metal artist Hawkeye Glenn and Matt Escobedo and J.T. Van Zandt of Escobedo Construction. The group’s creativity, problem-solving prowess and sheer inventiveness are expressed in every detail. The ceiling in the pool house is lined with curving cedar strips that bow to create the illusion of an upsidedown canoe being carried overhead. Slabs of Lueders Limestone lead to the pool, creating an earthy deck like the dry land surrounding many Texas lakes. The pool’s blue Italian glass tile with specks of gold imparts the feel of a natural spring on a hot summer day.

“My collaboration with Traci is born out of a trust and understanding of her vision — a vision unlike mine,” Legge, the architect of the Westlake redesign, says. “She is a gardener, so I suggested a garden roof for the pool house. The undulating roof reflects hills surrounding her house. She is complex; so is the project.” After several years, the group’s infectious enthusiasm for the project continues to thrive, fretting over and deliberating each detail. But this collaboration requires not only a shared vision but also a patient leader who lets talent run free and pulls the reins at the right moment.

“This art project’s collaboration is so Texan, free-spirited but restrained,” Glenn says. While attention to the subtle beauty is evident, the same intensity drives functional design. The micro details of the backyard design reveal solutions to pressing issues. For instance, to address stringent impervious cover regulations, Legge created a suspension system to hoist the limestone slabs while leaving unfilled joints, so rain passes through the deck and drops gently down to the ground. The design called for hiding critical pool equipment underneath the limestone deck. Using hydraulic lifts and hidden handles, limestone slabs act as gravity-adverse trapdoors revealing the pool’s maintenance area. Not only is the pool equipment hidden, there is no visible sign of functional equipment — electricity or ventilation — throughout the backyard design. All one sees: simplicity and art. On a cool spring morning, looking down from a second-story balcony onto the nearly complete backyard, the country girl from Pittsburg, Texas, stopped and quietly summed up the masterpiece on her canvas. “It is so serene.”

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2 1 From Left: Team Moontower — Greg Esparza, Frank Farkash, Maggie McIntosh and Jeff Muñoz.

Repurposed materials and as-is conditions are familiar inspirations for Moontower projects whether it be a screened sleeping porch over an existing deck (2), an outdoor dining room atop an old garage slab (4) or backyard bean bag toss boards fashioned from salvaged pine shiplap (5).



Local design-build collaborative brings authenticity and community-aware architecture to Austin’s residential neighborhoods.


reg Esparza and Frank Farkash met a few years ago while both were students at UT’s School of Architecture. After graduating, when they were making the transition from the conceptual world of academia to the very real world of construction and client interaction, they decided to partner and create an entity dedicated to the growing number of small-scale residential projects emerging due to the pinched economic climate. At the same time, Jeff Muñoz decided to leave Houston for Austin and


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photography courtesy of moontower.

By Jackie Rangel

6 7

From Left: Brockett Hamilton, Jeff Muñoz, Greg Esparza, Michael Sierra, Antonio DeLeon, Lupe Patiño, Maggie McIntosh Frank Farkash, Steven King and Zach Larkins.

joined as a third partner, bringing his own knowledge of solar and green building practices to the team of construction-savvy designers at Moontower. So how did the group settle on the “Moontower” moniker? “Austin’s moontowers are really interesting urban artifacts, woven in all the neighborhoods — possibly one of the more literal connections between our name and the work we do,” Esparza says. “Working as designers and builders in Austin, operating within the idiosyncrasies of each neighborhood is something that’s really enjoyable and a point of departure for all of our projects.” Along with Designer and Project Manager Maggie McIntosh (a UT School of Architecture graduate as well), the Moontower partners are gradually making their mark on as many Austin neighborhoods as possible. With most of their days dedicated to formulating

and building each site-specific design, the group has little time for self-promotion. Instead, they rely mostly on word of mouth and their own unique methodology for finding potential new clients. At the completion of a project, Moontower likes to throw a festive housewarming party, encouraging clients to invite friends and family to see their new space, presumably providing the opportunity to meet like-minded people who share a common design aesthetic. It’s no surprise that the same principles of craftsmanship and authenticity that define the collective Moontower process are found in the design items that they surround themselves with on a daily basis. For McIntosh in particular, the most beloved piece in her home is a handmade wooden side table that her grandfather crafted especially for her. “I like it for sentimental reasons, of course, but it’s also just a constant reminder of craft as

Moontower relies on a trusted and diverse team of craftspeople to realize its designs including carpenters, plumbers, welders, electricians and designers (left). Beyond this close knit group, a network of friends collaborate regularly with Moontower including Jack Sanders of Design Build Adventure (opposite page: 3 + 4) and Carina Coel of Restructure Studio (6).

well as my personal history.” And with such a strong sense of personal history and respect for neighborhood culture, it’s interesting to note the group’s favorite Austin haunts as well. For business meetings, the crew can be found hunkered down at Red House Pizzeria. For more social occasions, Contigo has been the watering hole of choice in recent months. As one of the founders of the HOPE Farmers Market, Greg Esparza is also a permanent fixture at the market’s Fifth Street location every Sunday. “The farmers market is a very locally focused pursuit by nature, so I’ve been able to meet a lot of people in the community and have been learning more about farming, and stewardship of local land is an interesting parallel to what we do. If you look at the future of Austin, how we make the most of our land, whether that be by growing food or building a home, is going to be critical in the future of our city.”

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A young couple modernizes a cottage while honoring its vintage charm for a creatively contemporary result. By Lauren Smith Ford Photography by C asey Dunn Arc hi t ec tu r e by Ja m i e Ch i o co S t y lin g by El i z a b e t h B a i r d


The kitchen is Lauren Moorman’s favorite room in the house. “It was really fun to shop for the appliances, fixtures and textiles that make a house your own — and to be able to do it locally. There are so many great resources in Austin for guidance,” she says.

ommy and Lauren Moorman were on the house hunt in July 2008 when this rock cottage built in 1936 in the Zilker neighborhood caught their eye. Lauren says: “The house was just so adorable and in such a great neighborhood that we knew we wanted it.” But they had to have vision, because at the time, the house was not only a one-bedroom and one-bath, but a family of five was living there. Before they even bought the house, they called Jamie Chioco of Chioco Design to get his thoughts on all the possibilities for the project. “Jamie was really responsive to the house — taking a 1930s bungalow and repurposing it for a modern couple’s needs.” Jamie’s vision? “I knew from talking to them that they wanted to build a contemporary addition, but that they were taken

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The Moormans particularly enjoyed collaborating with Jason Miars of Miars Constructions, who was their builder and a crucial part of the project. Photography by Jonathan Allen.

The charming facade was that first element that caught the owners’ attention, in the Zilker neighborhood, which they love for its location and community feel. “Aside from specific material choices, the biggest item on our wish list was to alter the facade of the house as little as possible,” Lauren says. “Jamie [Chioco] accommodated all of the elements we requested without compromising his signature style, so it was a successful and fun collaboration.” Planter by Mark Word Design.

by the curb appeal of the house and didn’t want to change the cottage look, so everything ‘new’ had to happen in back and on the inside.” So amid getting married that October and Tommy opening Perla’s Seafood and Oyster Bar on South Congress (he is also a co-owner of Lamberts and Elizabeth Street Café, which is opening in December), the couple teamed up with Jamie (who also collaborated on design for Perla’s and Elizabeth Street) to reinvent the house. The Moormans lived in the 900-square-foot space for a year and a half before deciding on a direction as they toyed with a one- or two-story scheme. The first priority was doubling the square footage to


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make the house a three-bedroom and two-and -a-half-bath. They decided to make the house wider along the front elevation to accommodate a larger living space, but they used stone that matched the original fireplace and simply continued the roof line. Jamie says: “There’s a lot of opportunity with these kinds of projects in Austin. If you aren’t going to build new, so many houses can be added on to in a way that doesn’t destroy what was there and that makes for interesting design opportunities. If the client says they love the house for a specific reason, you have to keep that in mind throughout the design process.” The renovations and addition of a pool took about two years for an end result that the

couple couldn’t be happier with. Tommy says: “When you drive by the front, you would never know what all is inside, or behind the house.” The modern and airy interior design was Lauren’s own vision, as she selected light fixtures, wallpaper and collaborated on color selection with Jamie and Tommy (who is design savvy himself — just look at the interiors of his restaurants, which he has a big hand in creating). The couple, who met when they were in Florence, Italy 10 years ago, have always enjoyed traveling and have picked up some of the pieces in their house along the way. Jamie says: “It’s good to have clients who have such good taste — you don’t have to worry about them bringing in a big, puffy leather sofa or a wagon wheel coffee table.” The Moormans also love to entertain, an activity the house seems made for with such a spacious plan and the kitchen opening out onto the pool (not to mention the large dining room table and massive outdoor grill). For Lauren, it was thinking about the way

This is where Tommy and Lauren Moorman and friends can usually be found on a hot summer day. “We were also lucky to hire Mark Word to do the landscaping. They gave us a great blend of contemporary and traditional landscape design that we think works perfectly with the house,” Lauren says. “We love being in the house during the day when the light pours into the living area from all four sides and from the skylight and through the glass cabinet in the kitchen.” Maharam DWR Pillow in Agency $150, Ekobo Serving Tray in Mandarin $55, Design Within Reach; Potted Succulent $75, Wildflower Organics; RAD Furniture Medium Classic Bench in White $450, RAD Furniture Perforated Stool in Clear $325 per pair, all available at

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The Moormans’ Vizsla, Milo, likes to unwind in the master bedroom. Brass & Marble Directoire Table $698, Wildflower Organics; Lexington Quilt in Pearl $169, Blue Eau de Nuit Night Carafe $19, West Elm; Painting by Jonathan Marshall, available at Art Palace, Houston.

she would share the spaces with friends and family that she enjoyed the most in the design process. She says: “Tommy is one of six children who (magically) all want to spend lots of time together and my parents have recently relocated here as well, so there are lots of opportunities to gather around our big dining room table. We moved back into the house the day before Thanksgiving in 2010 and hosted 35 the next day — at Lamberts. We hope to do the same at our house this year.” If Lauren had to pick a favorite room, it would be the kitchen, where Tommy can often be found as of late, trying out Vietnamese-style recipes in anticipation of the


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French-Vietnamese fare that Elizabeth Street Café will serve. Jamie feels proud of their collaboration and the end result. “We preserved the scale of the house from the street while giving them contemporary, light-filled spaces that suit their way of life.” Lauren agrees. “Going into the project, we did not know exactly what we wanted the house to become. It was important for us to maintain the original look of the house and have any contemporary elements in the back be sort of a surprise. Jamie’s design achieved all of that, and we are thrilled with the result.” And, that’s a combo perfectly fitting for Austin and this hip couple.

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These steel cabinets were specially designed to hold firewood along with other design elements. Alpaca Textured Pillow Cover $29, Weathered Wood Sphere $19, West Elm.


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Jamie Chioco is currently working on an Italian restaurant and wine bar on West 6th Street in the Clarksville area, as well as a new residential project in Rollingwood that should be complete in December. Also in the works is a pool cabana and pool addition to a house in Clarksville, among several other commercial and residential projects. Photography by Jonathan Allen.

One of the Moormans’ nonnegotiables was soapstone for the counters. Layne Mayo at AG&M helped them find the perfect countertops, while Kristi Pruett of Finch helped select a custom Heath tile for the kitchen backsplash.

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behind the scenes

Stylish Dwelling

Elizabeth mollen, owner of stone textile, gives us a sneak peak at her collection of chic home accessories.

The collection features eco-friendly options, including throw blankets made of bambu and table top accessories made out of natural wood.

Collecting inspiration is an important part of Mollen’s process. “I feel like I make a new moodboard every week. I don’t know where to put them!”

For more information about Stone Textile, visit P h oto g r a p h y by h ay d en sp e a r s

Black and cream acrylic coasters, sleek napkin rings and printed cotton napkins make for stylish entertaining.


athering inspiration from fashion, architecture, vintage jewelry, Art Deco and Austin’s Scarborough Building, Elizabeth Mollen has imagined a collection of polished home accessories fit for any modern nest. The line features tabletop accessories, like place mats and napkin rings, as well as pillows, blankets and fabric by the yard. Mollen, who grew up in Chicago, fell in love with Austin while studying fashion design at the University of Texas at Austin. After graduation, Mollen and her husband, Russell, whom she met at UT, moved to Los Angeles. In LA she built up her fashion cred while working for fashion design brand Riser Goodwyn. When Mollen and her husband returned to Austin, she knew she wanted to continue her textile design career. “I love designing my own fabrics. My grandmother was an antiques dealer and I use the jewelry she’s given me to inspire my textile patterns.” Stay tuned for the online debut of the Stone Textile collection in November. A. McKenzie

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o b j e c t o f o u r a ff e c t i o n

Mell Lawrence’s Specs A

ward-winning architect Mell Lawrence is known for a signature pair of eyeglasses. This particular set of spectacles is a Lindberg Corona in navy blue. He usually shops at Santa Fe Optical and is always looking for a good pair, although he is down to one right now. We had to know what it is about architects and how they always seem to have such chic eyewear. “I can imagine a lot of care and thought going into the design of any one pair of glasses. As architects, we get excited about beautifully designed and well-built anythings,” he says. “So we get excited about great glasses and if we find our eyes needing assistance, we have a great excuse to seek them out and put them to good use.” Lawrence is currently most excited about three projects nearing completion — one is a park pavilion in Dallas, another is a house in Palo Alto Hills, California, and the third is “a wee house” in Clarksville that is half air-conditioned space and half porch space. He says: “I’m excited that each of these buildings will soon be occupied and in full use. It is a wonderful feeling to witness the results of successful collaborations.” L. Smith Ford


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P h oto g r a p h y by a da m vo o r h e s

Texas Book Festival Oct 22–23 2011

t e x a s s tat e c a p I t O l

l a u r a b u s h, h O n O r a ry c h a I r

F U L L C RY by Marc Burckhardt

beneFItIng texas lIbrarIes anD lIteracy

t e x a s b O O K F e s t I Va l . O r g

Dominique Browning • Sarah Dessen • Kate DiCamillo • James H. Evans • Jim Lehrer Chuck Palahniuk • Tom Perrotta • Stacy Schiff • Molly Shannon • Colson Whitehead g e t e x c l u s I V e b e n e F I t s w I t h a t e x a s b O O K F e s t I Va l m e m b e r s h I p A Few Reasons Why You Need To Be in Austin for The Texas Book Festival Weekend The Best Books and Writers of 2011 • Saturday Evening Lit Crawl • The Nation’s Most Beloved Children’s Writers • Live Music • Austin’s Best Food Trailers First Edition Literary Gala Authors: Jim Lehrer, Susan Orlean, Molly Shannon, and emcee Jon Scieszka • All Open and Free to the Public



Creatively Speaking BY Tim M c Clure

My family and a couple of close friends recently c ofounder gsd & m "Impenetrable" is a word used to describe ventured to East Africa to track mountain gorillas. someone’s eyes that cleverly mask their inner Jostling down a deeply rutted dirt road in the feelings. Fort Knox, rumor has it, is virtually pre-dawn fog, I wondered why they called the forest impenetrable. impenetrable. But nothing prepared me for the Bwindi Impenetrable The reason, I would soon discover, is simple: At nearly 10,000 feet, Forest in Uganda. i l lus t r at i o n by j oy g a l l ag h er For a limite d- e dit ion p r int , c o nta c t jo ygall agh e r@g m ail .c o m .

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I good-naturedly mimic his grunts and screeches, which earns me a chest-beating, ground-slapping display of pure joy.

the upper reaches of the Bwindi mountains are not for the faint of heart. Our gorilla guide, Gorette, explains that “our trackers will find the gorillas, our porters will carry your backpacks and our gun-bearers will protect you from wild forest warthogs, leopards and mountain elephants.” The mountaintops to which the gorillas gravitate are a veritable salad garden of their favorite foods — thistles, vines and nettles. There are, however, no paths. “We go up,” Gorette informs us, and by “up” she means straight up. We hack a crude path through the vines, struggling mightily for footholds and handholds, protected from thorns and stinging nettles by our recommended garden gloves. We ascend, descend, then ascend again. The air is thin at this altitude, and our breath comes in gasps. Just when I’m convinced I can climb no farther, there are suddenly gorillas in our midst. Mountain gorillas are far larger than their lowland cousins. While the proverbial 800-pound gorilla is largely myth, the silverback alpha male in our group easily tips the scale at a quarter ton. Gorette reminds us to approach no closer than seven meters. This is the Bitukura Group, once 14-strong, but now split into a smaller group of nine, of which we encounter eight, including a second silverback and a younger blackback. There are several females, at least two with young offspring. Baby gorillas, with their huge, intelligent eyes and hilarious tufts of cantankerous hair, may be the cutest newborns on the planet. Two days later, we cross the border into Rwanda, in search of Dr. Jan Ramer, the silver-haired savior of Rwanda’s silverback gorillas and their families, at the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project. Jan, a distinguished representative of the Indianapolis Zoo, is carrying on in legendary American primatologist Dian Fossey’s exemplary tradition, treating injured adult gorillas, saving orphaned gorillas and ultimately


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returning them to freedom. Donations are desperately needed and deeply appreciated: A day later, we meet the inimitable Volcanoes National Park guide François, who speaks in rapid-fire, French-accented English. He has been a mountain gorilla guide for 29 years and is, we soon discover, part gorilla himself — mimicking their every mannerism and vocalization, from the soft cough-grunt mmm-MMMMM that signals “We come in peace” to the copulatory howl that accompanies what he describes as “doing the jiggyjiggy.” This will be easier tracking than the Impenetrable Forest, he assures us. Indeed it is, at least in the early going. François amuses us by ripping off the bark of a gum tree with his bare teeth and sharing its sweet inner juices, followed by greedily munching a generous handful of eucalyptus leaves, then stripping a thistle stalk of its razor-sharp leaves and happily chewing its water-rich stem. I good-naturedly mimic his grunts and screeches, which earns me a chest-beating, ground-slapping display of pure joy. François appoints me Silverback of our entourage, and we set off in search of the Sabyinyo Group of mountain gorillas. After easily navigating a shady bamboo forest, we arrive at a sheer vine-covered cliff. “Up!” François prompts, and up we go. We hack our way through dense vegetation as we climb, and are soon rewarded by the telltale grunts of two juvenile blackbacks play-fighting. Soon we are surrounded by a large group of 13 gorillas, led by a colossal silverback. François may as well be a member of their family, and promptly positions us within a mere few feet of these gentle giants. It is, without question, the most incredible, mystical experience of our well-traveled lives. “I felt like I was in a dream,” my teenage son later reminisces. And indeed we were. Tracking mountain gorillas is one experience everyone should add to their bucket list. Mmm-MMMMM!

The Inconstant, 12x9 inches, oil on panel

Fatima Ronquillo Fatima Ronquillo’s most recent intimate oil paintings delve into the mysterious and alluring world of the Lover’s Eye. Originating in the 1700’s, Lovers’ Eyes were Georgian miniatures depicting the eye of an often secret loved one and worn as jewelry.

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my life

5 6



7 8

Dick Clark

Dick Clark has practiced architecture in Copenhagen, Nicaragua, Boston, Knoxville, Aspen and Texas and it’s in Austin that the UT and Harvard grad has played a most vital role in the city’s design community for 30 years. 1. Harvard, 1972 2. Very brief career in acting, 1990 3. Sailing into Austin, 1985 4. Golf with Arnold Palmer and Bobby Day. Guess who came in third? 2005 5. Became a diligent architecture student at the University of Texas, 1969 6. Cruising with Augie Garrido off Santa Barbara, California, 2007 7. Celebrating Mom’s 90th birthday 8. Celebrating my first birthday with my sister Diana 9. More than a few parking tickets as Dick Clark Architecture moves office downtown, 1993

october 2011




Coolhaus austin's latest architectural feats are compact, delicious and custom-made to order.


october 2011

P h oto g r a p h y by j o h n p e si n a

ice cream sandwich photo courtesy of coolhaus.


nspired by I.M. Pei and the Bauhaus movement, these works of art new to the Austin scene are sure to make an impression — if they don’t melt in your hand first. Wheeling their way onto the local food truck scene, Coolhaus serves up customizable ice cream sandwiches named after venerable architects, like their namesake, Rem Koolhaas. Celebrating their one-year anniversary at the Austin Ice Cream Festival, Coolhaus' tasty between two cookies gets their owners Christine Aldrich and Nathan snickerdoodle dessert paid for. But Aldrich and Hathaway discuss their attempt to make + red velvet ice cream sandwich Hathaway are influenced by much architecture digestible. creation. more than tremendous towers. “We Hathaway “is a self-taught architect and love anyone who thinks outside the designer, and I’ve always loved making my box,” Hathaway says. “The Pennybecker Bridge, the grandma’s recipes — especially desserts — Cathedral of Junk — I’m inspired in a lot of different for friends and family,” Aldrich says. “We ways.” Believing in the importance of the green architecture movement, think the food trailer movement is great, but noticed that there wasn’t Coolhaus uses edible potato paper to wrap their products and prevent much in the way of ice cream.” So the duo decided to create a branch of sticky hands. Their ice cream is hormone free, and their food carts, the bustling Los Angeles based company in their hometown, allowing Smokey and Betty, are repurposed vintage mail trucks with a funky Austinites to sample their often surprising, always delectable flavor design edge. pairings. For pickier palates, “Mintimalism” combines chocolate cook“We wanted a retro name for Betty because she has checkerboard ies with dirty mint ice cream, and “Mies Vanilla Rohe” mixes vanilla floors, and Smokey, I don’t know where that came from, I guess it’s her bean ice cream with chocolate chip cookies. More experimental works alter-ego,” Aldrich says. It is the couple’s hope that when customers visit include blood orange sorbet, brown butter with candied bacon and Coolhaus, they’ll converse about architecture, putting a lighthearted mascarpone with balsamic fig. While the weather is still warm, Aldrich spin on the conventionally stuffier topic. “We consider our trucks and and Hathaway prefer fruitier flavors, such as pineapple cilantro and our sandwiches very modest works of architecture,” Aldrich says. “And strawberry jalapeño. “They’re incredibly creamy, but with a hint of tartwe want to provide a reclaimed space for communities to come and ness,” Aldrich says. In addition to paying homage to its constructional forbears, Coolhaus interact. You could stand in line and talk about buildings with a guy across town that you would have never met otherwise.” puts a literal spin on the fusion of food and architecCheck their website for schedules of where they will be ture with their “skyscraper” challenge: any contender Coolhaus serving each week. m. crum who dares to finish five scoops of ice cream stacked

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architecture architecture Guide Guide by Lance Utermark

Architects A Parallel Architects

Architecture A PArAllel Eric and Ryan believe Architecture buildings are beholden

to context and site. Their Eric and Ryan believe ingenious are Cherrywood buildings beholden Residence renovation will to context and site. Their be featuredCherrywood on the upcomingenious ing 2011 AIA Homes Tour. Residence renovation will be featured on the upcomAlter ing 2011 Studio AIA Homes Tour. His EastStudio Windsor home Alter is poetic.

ingly specific to client and His East Windsor home site, theseUncompromishomes always is poetic. manage to temper theand bold ingly specific to client with the understated. site, these homes always manage to temper the bold Andersson Wise with the understated. Architects AnderSSon WiSe Interested in something ArchitectS permanent that will still turn heads in years? Interested in50 something When it comes towill sym-still permanent that metry,heads proportion and turn in 50 years? elegance, these homes are When it comes to symtimeless. metry, proportion and elegance, these homes are timeless.

Burton Baldridge Burton With a belief that archiBAldridge tecture should perform equally at all scales, With a belief that archiBurton should Baldridge is the tecture perform force behind gem-like equally at all the scales, Kimber Modern. is the Burton Baldridge force behind the gem-like Black + Vernooy Kimber Modern. Few firms+achieve the BlAck Vernooy breadth and depth of

Blackfirms + Vernooy, Few achieveand thefew have theand awards to prove breadth depth of they do so well. and Black Black + it Vernooy, few + Vernooy integrates a have the awards to prove unique of place” they do “sense it so well. Black with a client’s vision in + Vernooy integrates a order to create wellunique “senselasting, of place” designed architecture. with a client’s vision in order to create lasting, wellRick & Cindy designed architecture.

Black Architects rick & cindy This dynamic duo designs BlAck ArchitectS spaces that are both classic and modern, it’s This dynamicwhether duo designs a new construction a spaces that are bothor classic transformative renovation. and modern, whether it’s out Cindy’s indeaCheck new construction or a pendent company, Hello transformative renovation. Kitchen, homeownCheck outfor Cindy’s inde-

ers wanting to update or pendent company, Hello remodel their kitchen. Kitchen, for homeowners wanting to update or remodel kitchen. Bercytheir Chen Bercy chen staff An international ensures these UT grads

caninternational design for anystaff aesAn thetic. You may have seen ensures these UT grads theirdesign brilliant attic can forAustin any aesrenovation in the Newseen York thetic. You may have Times. their brilliant Austin attic renovation in the New York Times. Chioco Jamie JAmie Who elsechioco could give Star Bar a head-to-toe

makeover and keep Who else could give it recognizable? From Star Bar a head-to-toe Galaxy Café tokeep By George makeover and it to his residential projects, recognizable? From Jamie’s designs areGeorge always Galaxy Café to By classic, cool and fresh. to his residential projects, Jamie’s designs are always classic, Clark cool and fresh. Dick

Architects dick clArk ArchitectS An Austin staple, the firm’s location in the warehouse district saysstaple, it all: the thisfirm’s is An Austin edgy, strong and always location in the warehouse unexpected district says architecture it all: this is at its best. edgy, strong and always unexpected architecture at its best. & Little Clayton clAyton &can little Paul and Emily tackle anything. The Hotel Saint

Cecilia, living at Paul andfuturistic Emily can tackle the Agave The Alternative Modanything. Hotel Saint ern Community the inCecilia, futuristicorliving at comparable LambertsModBBQ the Agave Alternative are a few examples. ern just Community or the incomparable Lamberts BBQ are just a few examples.

tim Tim cuPPett Cuppett Whether it’s downtown lofts or historic Hyde Park, Tim Cuppett isn’t easily intimidated. A thoughtful approach to detail and space often lands his homes on the AIA Homes Tour.

deSign Design Build AdVenture Adventure One glance at his website tells you Jack Sanders isn’t typical. Forget about polished surfaces and artsy pretension; like the man himself, the work is all about adventure.

deSignhouSe Designhouse Designhouse specializes in high-end residential homes, and recently, you may have seen Jay on HGTV’s Bang for the Buck.

BriAn dillArd Brian Dillard Refined, open and timeless, Brian Dillard’s designs will impress even the most jaded modernist.

FurmAn + keil DK Studio ArchitectS Dianne Kett’s homes embrace you and your family. From a contemporary Add inhouse her use feng-shui ranch to of a lakefront principles, have a beauty, theand AIAyou Austin homeFirm that revitalizes your 2010 Achievement spirit, too. Award winners have been creating great buildings


Custom Modular Homes Starting from the $40’s 443 N. Bastrop Hwy | Austin, TX 78741 | 512.844.4366

in Austin since the firm Furman + Keil started in 1995. Architects

PAul Paul lAmB Lamb

With Firm an in-house fabrica2010 Achievement tion shop dedicated deAward winners haveto been sign experiments, Cottam creating great buildings Hargrave takesthe customizain Austin since firm tion to the next level. Lucy, started in 1995. the office poodle, will greet you at the door. Cottam

mell Mell lAWrence Lawrence ArchitectS Architects cottAm From a contemporary hArgrAVe ranch house to a lakefront beauty, the AIA Austin

Hargrave michAel hSu oFFice oF fabricaWith an in-house Architecture tion shop dedicated to sign experiments, Cottam

No one can transform Hargrave takes customizabuildings left Lucy, tion to thewe’ve next level. for dead thewill waygreet the officequite poodle, Michael can. Treat you at theHsu door. yourself to drinks at Icenhauer’s, dinner Michael Hsu at Uchi, and of dessert at Amy’s Office Ice Cream and you’ll see Architecture see why. No one can transform J SquAre buildings we’ve left Architecture for dead quite the way Michael Hsu can. Treat J Squareto offers tailored yourself drinks at design solutions, many Icenhauer’s, dinner at eco-friendly, to meet the Uchi, and dessert at Amy’s needs of their and Ice Cream andclients you’ll see their communities. see why.


These entrepreneurs believe you create, not await, opportunity. They focus on affordability, quality and sustainability.

Elegant proportions and Hill Country materials define these designs. You’ll likely spot a Paul Lamb home perched hillside, with sweeping views designed for the good life.

In a fast-paced world of temporary, transferable, assembly-line design, this firm delivers something solid. A Mell Lawrence building is always gracious and welcoming.

mckinney McKinney york York ArchitectS Architects They’ve been designing Austin for over 25 years — Fire Stations, Bus Stops, Master Plans, Mansions. They have the experience to do it all.

moore-tAte Moore-Tate The brainchild of Dawn Moore and Kerry Tate, Moore-Tate offers the kind of service you forgot existed. Their sleek, polished homes will have you at “hello.”

BArley PFeiFFer Barley Pfeiffer Profiles by the New York Times and The Discovery Channel make one thing



certain: Barley Pfeiffer is an expert at making your home “green.”

Pollen Architecture They amazed us with their yellow-trimmed studio on East 12th. On this year’s AIA Homes Tour (and featured in this issue), their stunning mid-century modern Balcones House is sure to turn heads as well.

hugh Hugh Jefferson rAndolPh Randolph Hugh’s work spans Art Moderne, Spanish Revival, European and Traditional themes. Emphasizing site specificity and collaboration, each home is as distinctive as its owner.

MirÓ Rivera riverA

ryAn Ryan street Street

Runners will recognize the rusting, twisting restroom commissioned by the Town Lake Trail Foundation. But this is only a fraction of the civic work Miró Rivera has designed globally.

You will know a tailormade, Ryan Street home before you walk in the front door. This is bespoke architecture, with strong lines and fine details.

stuArt Stuart sAMPley Sampley

studio Studio 8 Architects

Stuart’s philosophy — design for the demands of our climate, the fabric of our neighborhoods and the spirit that makes Austin a special place to live.

A more talented, fun and stylish firm never existed. Throw in their expertise in architecture, interiors and planning, and you’ve got a mix that’s hard to top.

clAy Clay shortAll Shortall

thoughtbArn Thoughtbarn

After working working with withZaha Zaha Hadid on the the Aquatic Aquatic Centre for the the 2012 2012LonLondon Olympics Olympics for forthe thepast past six years, Clay Clay brings bringshis his edgy but timeless timelessdesign designto to Austin. Austin.

Thoughtbarn seems to approach each project like a puzzle, and sure comes up with some ingenious configurations. Graduates of the prestigious Rural Studio at Auburn Univer-

sity, Robie Gay and Lucy Begg design and build with purpose and style.

Webber Studio + studio This isn’t a shy firm. You see it in the work: thoroughly imaginative textures and finishes, bright colors, bold forms.


tic as her clientele. Her style is recognized for its strong vision, vivid colors and bold lines.

little Little Pond design Design Need someone who will design with your allergies in mind? This firm is as clean as they are green. Check out their “upcycled vintage” furniture.

MArk Mark Ashby

kAsey Kasey MccArty McCarty

Few designers can mix it up the way this guy can. He can re-imagine a stoic old mansion to be bright and fresh, or make new construction feel mature and warm.

It’s hard to toe the line between cool sleekness and warm sensibility, but in places where it matters most (Milk + Honey Spa and Fino) Kasey manages to do it effortlessly.

Jerri kunz Kunz

Joel Mozersky

Jerri’s designs are as eclec-

Looking for someone who

can pull out all the stops? If you’ve bowled at The Highball, danced at The Belmont, or watched Real World Austin, you know Joel designs for a good time.

fern Santini sAntini Fern She specializes in residential interiors, but one look at the Four Seasons Residences, and it’s clear that she can do it all. Just ask one of the many national magazines that have featured her projects.

trAcey Overbeck overbeck Tracey steAd Stead Whether you lean toward minimal, high-modern, Asian, French or just plain eclectic, Tracey’s portfolio proves she can do it all. tel. 512.236.1032


We look forward to No. 9! Photography by Valeria Castillo

Buenos Aires CafĂŠ Austin Grown Argentine Cuisine


Key TO The Cure Get the shirt. Shop the weekend. Show your support. Join Saks Fifth Avenue in the fight against women’s cancers. Get the shirt, designed by elie Tahari, available exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue this October. Then shop October 20 to 23, when Saks will donate 2% of sales to local and national women’s cancer charities.* Special thanks to Jennifer hudson, the 2011 Ambassador for eIF’s Women’s Cancer research Fund and Saks Fifth Avenue’s Key To The Cure.

Reclaimed wood flooring. Cabinets from sustainably managed forests and rapidly renewable materials. Countertops of concrete, and recycled glass, and reclaimed wood. Shimmering recycled glass tiles and brightly colored, natural wallpapers. Zero-VOC paints and stains and clay plasters. Insulation from recycled blue jeans. LED lighting, low-flow water fixtures… What is “green” really all about? Come see all the amazing things that can make the home you live in beautiful. And the home you live on sustainable.

*Saks will donate 2% of sales Thursday to Sunday, October 20 to 23, up to $500,000. Visit to learn more. AUSTIN 512.231.3700 © SAKS FIFTH AVENUE 2011

1214 W. 6th STREET, SUITE 120, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78703 • 512.300.0484

section psiucbks e c t i o n dining

Caffé Medici Three locations in Austin


n a town rife with indie coffee shops, Caffé Medici tops my list. Oh, sure, there are others I flirt with — Houndstooth, Jo’s, Once Over, et al — but my heart belongs to Medici. Perhaps because it has so much heart of its own — served with a side of exceptional coffee. Owners Michael and Alison Vaclav were young marrieds with little money and a big dream: to open an Italian-caliber coffee shop. After two painstaking years restoring a Clarksville cottage, they opened their first Caffé Medici in 2006. Now five years, three children


october 2011

There’s also a daily rotating selection of estate, single-origin and artisan blends, all imported and roasted by locally owned Cuvee Coffee. Non-java options include Mighty Leaf tea, Topo Chico and, at some locations, beer and wine. Light snacks like pastries, bagels, breakfast tacos and sandwiches are also available. All three Medicis offer similar menus but in very different environments. Each reflects the personality of its surrounding neighborhood. Some feature live music and others host book clubs. Some have walls covered in local art and others in high-gloss tile. All, of course, have free Wi-Fi. The original Clarksville Medici is homey and warm, a beehive of neighborhood activity. Its rustic furniture was The Vaclavs in hand-built by Vaclav and the their third locasmall outdoor patio is lined with tion downtown on Congress in chiseled limestone tables and the Austonian benches. The Guadalupe Medici building. opened in 2008. Larger than the original, this expansive two-story Medici features an upstairs loft perfect for and two Caffé Medicis later, the Vaclavs, squirreling away with textbooks. Vaclav also dream is a reality. built its industrial-inspired furniture. In Today, the Vaclavs are considered Austin March, the newest Medici opened downcoffee pioneers. They introduced Italiantown in the luxurious Austonian high-rise. style cappuccino long before every corner Designed by the Runa Workshop, it was café fashioned heart-shaped froth. They the first Medici the Vaclavs didn’t personled the charge in sustainable, fair-trade ally construct. Sleek and urban, its woodbeans. And in each store they installed La paneled walls and ceilings, glossy white tiles, Marzoccos, the Ferrari of espresso maand metal accents create a palette of cool chines, rarely seen before in these parts. neutrals. Lime green chairs and cherry red The gleaming red La Marzoccos are the espresso machines provide a pop of color. star of Medici at each location, taking Downstairs features an open storefront and center stage up front and skillfully producfreestanding espresso bar and an upstairs ing perfect espresso. Medici’s proprietary mezzanine overlooks Congress Avenue. blend is sweet, fruity and nutty with a I love Caffé Medici. But don’t take my caramel butter finish, delicious alone or as word for it: Sky magazine loves it too, and a base for lattes, cappuccinos and macnamed it number two Best Standup Espresso chiatos. Coffee is French-pressed and the Bar in the world, beating out Rome’s iconic Spicewood 71 Classic house blend is well Sant’ Eustachio. Now that’s amore! K. SPEZIA balanced and delicious. P h oto g r a p h y by j o h n p e si n a

Home on the Range


october 2011

Three Austin-area sustainable farms are providing healthy, all-natural meat to local restaurants — and changing our agricultural model while they’re at it. By Megan Giller Photography by Hayden Spears


t’s hard to shake a fork in this town these days without spearing locally raised meat. The tender oak-grilled rib eye at La Condesa, the garlicky Chicken Satay at Thai Fresh, even the rich carnitas tacos at the neighborhood Chipotle. Austin chefs have made a commitment to using local, sustainable and all-natural meat. “The closer it is to home,” says Andrew Francesco, the chef de cuisine at Olivia, “the better it’s going to taste. And it’s nice to have a relationship with the farmers.” Three of those farms and ranches are Richardson Farms, Dewberry Hills Farms and Bastrop Cattle Company (BCC). Small providers like these are building relationships not only with chefs and customers but also with the land itself. As Pati Jacobs, the owner of BCC, says, “Local sustainable agriculture is reinventing the model. It’s been abandoned, and now we’re rediscovering it.” Farmers are scrapping the antibiotics and

returning to their grandparents’ methods of raising animals, growing corn, grass and other plants without insecticides for feed and raising and slaughtering their animals naturally and humanely. These folks are passionate about providing healthy and nutritious meat to restaurants like Jack Allen’s Kitchen, Parkside, Eastside Showroom and many more. It also means that before that chicken ended up as the Petto di Pollo Grigliato con Limone e Capperi at Vespaio, it lived a happy, fulfilling life on a Central Texas farm.

The Dedicated Farmers Jim Richardson knows animals. After spending 39 years as a large-animal veterinarian, Richardson retired and started a farm with his wife, Kay. Located in Milam County on 200 acres, Richardson Farms is diversified, with 300 hogs, 1,500 broiler chickens, 1,000 turkeys, 700 laying hens, and 75 cattle, as well as land devoted to crops

Facing Page: Chickens at Richardson farms. Happy Cows: Richardson Farms cattle.

like wheat and corn, all raised naturally on pastures without antibiotics. “We care for our animals compassionately and want them to have the best life they can have.” Richardson says. But which are his favorites? “I like the hogs,” he says. “They are inquisitive, and they like to interact.” Austin likes his hogs, too. His pork is sold at Fabi and Rosi, El Arbol and Barley Swine, among others. “Richardson pork is notorious for being sweet and fatty,” says Francesco. But as John Lash, the owner of Farm to Table, a Central Texas distributor, says, serving local meat is a commitment. “If a restaurant is using Jim’s pork, they’re paying twice as much as they would to use pork from somewhere else.” This is a challenge for all Texas ranchers, but it’s a particular problem for those raising pork. “There’s not a lot of pigs around on farms anymore in Texas,” says Richardson. But the demand for pasture-raised pork is high, and as of July, local Chipotle restaurants started serving Richardson’s

october 2011


Cute As Can Be: Baby chickens at Dewberry Hills Farm. Nature Lovers: Jane and Terry Levan of Dewberry Hills Farm.

pork. His business may be successful, but he’s still mainly interested in the day-to-day farming. “I get out of my tractor and plant and harvest,” he says. “I’m in heaven.”

The Nature Lovers If you order chicken at Cippolina, Trio, Uchiko or a number of other Austin restaurants, you’re eating from Dewberry Hills Farms. Jane and Terry Levan have been raising chickens since 1999, when they bought 20 acres of land in Lexington and began farming using a version of Joel Salatin’s rotational alternative livestock farming model. Since then, the couple has become famous for the tender meat and crisp skins of their Cornish Cross chickens. “You can’t get anything like Dewberry Farms’ chicken in the grocery stores,” says Jacobs. The Levans, who deliver their chickens within 48 hours of processing, have also become known for sizing the chickens for restaurants. “Restaurants need consistency because of portion sizes, and that’s what Jane does well and that’s what makes her successful,” says Lash. With the pair slaughtering the birds on the property, they know their chickens well. “If I won’t eat


october 2011

it,” Jane says, “you won’t eat it.” As part of their environmental commitment, the Levans have used mostly recycled materials to construct their farm. Their chickens move ground daily in chicken tents with tarps made from billboards. The roof trusses on their processing building were originally lumber from a shed. Even the kill cones are made from detergent bottles, and their dunker is a turkey fryer. But the Levans are conscientious of more than their footprint. “The average age of the chicken farmer is 55,” says Jane. “We’ve got to bring young people on board, and that’s why we’re creating a model that allows people with similar interests and budgets to model what we do.” For the moment, though, they’re happy to be doing something positive for the environment, the chickens and the community. “I wouldn’t have a job if chefs weren’t willing to feed people right,” Jane says.

The Visionary Businesswoman When Pati Jacobs took over her family ranch with her brother in 2006, she knew

she needed to make some changes. She stopped using chemical fertilizers and started grass-feeding her cattle, like ranchers did back in the 30s. She quickly realized that to stay on her land and make a living, she would need to work with other farms, and to sell direct. Jacobs has made a name for her Bastrop Cattle Company with her unique business model and her thoughtful plans for the Texas agriculture industry. To achieve the volume needed to sell direct, Jacobs reaches out to family ranches. She also takes into account the ranchers’ cycles, processing the cows earlier rather than raising them to a full 30 months. The result is tender meat sold at cost-competitive prices to wholesalers and restaurants like East Side Pies, Wink and Whip In. Beyond delivering grass-fed and healthy beef, Jacobs, like the Richardsons and the Levans, is working to change the agricultural model in Texas. “We’re headed back toward a regionalized food system,” she says. “Processing plants will be closer, and the

A Family Affair: Jim Richardson with his grandson Logan. Pretty in Pink: Baby pigs at Richardson Farms.

animals will be treated better. The food will be more expensive but better for everyone.” Jacobs feels passionately that there are highpaying jobs in the new agricultural industry. “Agriculture is not a 19th-century industry. It’s a 21st-century industry,” she says. “I’m talking about framework. CPAs, marketing people, hydrology.” Going forward, Jacobs says, “we need a culture that says agriculture is important and that you can make a good living at it.” The success of Bastrop Cattle Company, Dewberry Hills Farms and Richardson Farms is all evidence that that cultural shift is on its way. And restaurants are a big part of that new model. As Andrew Francesco, of Olivia, says, “I’m proud to serve local meat. It benefits everyone, and it keeps our community stronger.”

october 2011


Chef ’s

A U S T I N A R T S + C U LT U R E


FA L L F Ê T E OCTOBER 24 - 26 G AT H E R A R O U N D T H E TA B L E with Austin’s top chefs for intimate multi-course dinners featuring dishes inspired by the fall season. Through the second TRIBEZA Chef ’s Table Series, guests will have the opportunity to dine with their favorite chef, learning about his inspirations and processes, while enjoying a special meal he planned for the occasion.

Qarnival A new way to... meet fun people enjoy a great meal experience Austin restaurants make dining social again!

top dinner at Clay Pit bottom dining room at Zandunga Mexican Bistro

reserve a seat at parkside

For more information and tickets, please visit

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University of Texas Architecture + Planning Library (512) 495 4620


october 2011

rchitecture students are notorious workaholics. Swing by Goldsmith Hall on a Thursday night, when most undergrads are downing dollar beers at College Night, and you’ll encounter an entirely different scene. Instead of strobe lights, it’s flickering fluorescents; instead of loudspeakers, it’s laptops; and instead of drunk texts and pickups, it’s Red Bullfueled discussions about construction details and HVAC diagrams, punctuated by outbursts of the kind of delirious laughter that only occurs after 3 am. Given their unfortunate circumstance, it’s only fair that these poor souls be granted respite in one of the city’s most beautiful (and leastpublicized) spaces: the Reading Room at Battle Hall. Sure, the Tower may get all the glory, but less than 100 feet away the true gem of the original Forty Acres quietly resides over the

commotion of the Main Mall; it’s the Silent Bob to the Tower’s Jay. Designed by Cass Gilbert, the library’s Spanish-Renaissance revival style established an identity for the university and set the stage for a century of architectural debate, both on campus (Google “Herzog and de Meuron” and “Blanton”) and across the region (ever wonder what all those red-tile-roofed McMansions are doing in the Texas Hill Country?). In a city where 30-story condo towers crowned with Technicolor tiaras seem to sprout out of the ground overnight, it’s easy to forget the simple gestures that make great — and lasting — architecture. At Battle, lighting standards straight out of The Lord of the Rings beckon weary students inside, while the sweeping grand staircase whisks them up to the soaring painted beams of the Reading Room. A pair of couches makes for prime real estate, and if there’s no one sprawled shamelessly across one of them drooling into a hoodie, then you’re not in the architecture library. The Reading Room wows any day of the year, but it’s best experienced around Christmas, when a brightly lit tree wards off finals blues. Go late at night and, if it’s quiet enough, you might hear the sound of architecture students weeping as they slog through their third all-nighter in as many days. In search of inspiration? Take your pick from the years’ worth of architecture and design magazines that line the shelves. Curious about what designers did before the Age of AutoCAD? Head to the basement archives and gawk at the magnificent hand-rendered elevation for the now-iconic Tower, as well as several versions depicting what might have been. This year, Battle Hall turns 100. While the library’s zodiac-adorned facade holds up well, a face-lift in the form of extensive restoration is long overdue. But until then, grab a book, find a window seat, and drift off to the tune of the Tower’s carillon as you tour the world through the eyes of architects. bud franck Bud Franck is a designer at Miró Rivera Architects. He graduated in 2010 from the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. P h oto g r a p h y by a n n i e r ay

TRIBEZA October 2011