Austin, Texas, Firm Turns an Eye-Sore into a Stunning Gem of a House


If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know that we love the idea of using old buildings—at least when it makes sense. Our position is that there are more than enough 1960s ranches, 1920s bungalows, or 1970s split-levels that can use the eye of a good architect, designer, or remodeler. So we were totally geeked when a good friend of ours sent us this project by Gomes + Staub Architects, an Austin, Texas-based firm that shares some of our beliefs.

Francisco Gomes says the firm has an increasing interest in working with existing buildings and using salvaged materials in its residential projects. “It’s not that we don’t appreciate the expensive fitments when the budget allows, but when you have to make choices the jewelry is less essential,” he says.

The Beaver Dam project is a gut renovation of a house built in 1957. Here’s what Gomes has to say about the project:

“We cobbled together inexpensive fixtures with character because we felt that reconfiguring and connecting the living spaces of the house on the ground floor was the first priority and demanded the majority of the budget. The entire house, with three bedrooms upstairs, was also compromised by a stair with under 6 feet of headroom at mid-height landing. The living spaces and circulation of the house were opened up, and space in the ground floor ceiling was created to get the HVAC ductwork out from below the slab. That is why the kitchen counters are laminate, the ceiling sconces are simple fabric shades on ceramic lampholders, and the downstairs bath has a vessel sink made from a salad bowl.”

We like this house because it looks good, but we love it because it the architects used salvaged material and quirky products such as a Target salad bowl for a sink and affordable light fixtures and shades from IKEA. See the stunning results below.

All photos courtesy of Gomes + Staub Architects.

Wood stair handrail painted silver (Rustoleum “Stainless Steel”). Custom return air grille (at bottom of stair) made from plastic eggcrate diffuser for 2×4 fluorescent light.
Brown plastic laminate counters (color selected to match color of plastic laminate core to give a monolithic look at corners) with blonde slate floors and IKEA kitchen cabinets. Partial view of another IKEA lampshade ceiling sconce.

Stained wood salad bowl from Target as bathroom sink and flamed bluestone counter. Ceiling light (barely visible in mirror) is a porcelain lampholder with an inverted $5 IKEA lampshade.

IKEA lampshade pendants with square ceiling escutcheon made from painted plastic post base.

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One comment on “Austin, Texas, Firm Turns an Eye-Sore into a Stunning Gem of a House

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