Hilltop Residence / Miró Rivera Architects

© Rachel Kay

© Rachel Kay

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  • Contractor: Dalgleish Construction Company

  • Interior Decorator: Rachel Mast Design

© Rachel Kay

© Rachel Kay

When the new owner of this 1980s house called for a complete renovation, the architects saw the opportunity to transform its dark, dated interiors while taking better advantage of the home’s spectacular location atop a promontory offering a 180-degree view of Lake Austin and the rolling hills beyond. 

© Rachel Kay

© Rachel Kay

The existing driveway and garage, which had occupied a large area of prime real estate at the center of the property, were reconfigured in order to provide for a generous, landscaped courtyard accessed by a series of stepped terraces faced with Pennsylvania bluestone. What had previously been a vehicle- centric motor court was transformed into a pedestrian-oriented space that, by emphasizing natural elements like the property’s oak trees, establishes a clear sequence of entry into the house. 

© Rachel Kay

© Rachel Kay

Plan

Plan

© Rachel Kay

© Rachel Kay

To bring natural elements closer to the house, the existing pavement was removed and replaced with landscaped Korean grass and river rocks, suggesting a quality of peace and tranquility. An aluminum overhang above the front door not only protects visitors from the Texas sun, but also provides a varied texture that subtly accentuates the entry, drawing visitors into the home. 

© Rachel Kay

© Rachel Kay

Inside, what was once a fragmented collection of spaces was reorganized according to a clear hierarchy. The most significant alteration was the relocation of the fireplace. Before, upon entering the house, visitors were immediately greeted by an unobstructed view of the panoramic backdrop to the living room. Now, the relocated fireplace conceals this view, separating the space, allowing the view to be gradually revealed as one transitions into the openness of the living and dining area. 

© Rachel Kay

© Rachel Kay

This central great room acts as a hinge point between the east wing housing the dining room, kitchen, breakfast area, wine cellar, and children’s rooms; and the west wing containing the master suite, home office, and exercise room. Zebrawood cabinets, Brazilian cherry floors, and the distinctive, textured fireplace clad in stainless steel mesh accent the interior’s subdued material palette. 

© Rachel Kay

© Rachel Kay

In contrast to the existing interiors, which felt dark and claustrophobic despite the presence of floor-to- ceiling windows throughout the residence, the renovated interior spaces focus outward, maximizing the connection to the surrounding landscape. An existing stone terrace along the home’s rear perimeter was reconfigured to create a transitional space between interior and exterior. A sweeping aluminum trellis unifies this zone, providing shade and capturing breezes outdoors while framing views from the interior. By concealing the relentless geometry of the deck’s angled roof, the trellis creates a softer edge that draws the eye outwards to the surrounding landscape. Meanwhile, an expanded ipe deck with built-in seating steps down to a zero-edge pool serviced by a small outdoor bar, all set against the seemingly limitless backdrop of the hill country beyond. 

© Rachel Kay

© Rachel Kay

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