Posts tagged East Austin
Backyard goals.

Perhaps one of the most ironic parts about our house is that the focus from the very beginning has been the inner courtyard, and yet somehow it has been the last thing to be finished.

Because of budget reasons the pool and all our landscaping for the back yard didn’t get completed with the house. That doesn’t mean that we weren’t planning ahead though. Our guest house is at the exact level as the main house, which meant until now it has been sitting awkwardly above grade. The pool that we added a year ago was also at the same level, meaning it too stuck above grade making it look like an above ground pool. There were also stub outs for gas and electric to go to the back yard.

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House of St. Clair

I have a confession to make, I’ve been holding out on you. It’s partly because I’m lazy, and partly because I’ve wanted to keep it all to myself. It’s time to come clean though and introduce you to House of St. Clair. I’m not a particularly fashionable guy, but I’ve always thought that menswear is feeling fairly stagnant these days. That’s exactly what got me so excited about HOSC. They take deep inspiration from the past (like their Detroit influenced fall winter collection) but execute everything with a contemporary twist.

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Finding your space

Last year I was fortunate enough to have some talented friends over to help document our house and capture a few of my thoughts about what makes a good space. If you haven't already seen the gorgeous photos taken by Andrea Calo stop what you are doing right now and check them out here

Special thanks also goes out to Sisterwolf for getting me in front of a camera and picking my brain a bit about why I love architecture and the work I do. 

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Barbecue confessionals

When it comes to barbecue Texas takes itself very seriously. Here barbecue is all about beef brisket and when it comes to brisket Franklins is king. I'm not here to dispute any of that, what I am here to do is to make a confession. I love ribs. Delicious, falling off the bone, smothered in barbecue sauce ribs. I'm not alone obviously and most of the well known barbecue places in town offer ribs as well, but if you are looking to avoid the lines and get some finger licking delicious smoked meats, there are some new kids in town to help you out. Meet J. Leonardi's Barbeque.

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Building a house : Looking back

I know a lot of you have been patiently waiting for photos of my house finished. There are a few tiny projects I'm finishing up still and then I promised I'll share. In the meantime we are finally at a good stopping point were I think it would be fun to stop and look at how far we've come. The two biggest questions I get about my house are how long did it take, and how much did it cost. So let's start with the first. I've broken down a rough timeline below of major milestones and noted where we could have moved faster. Cliff notes: it takes a long time to build a house.

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ARTBASH

Tis the season of music festivals and art shows! Really this is one of my favorite times of year in Austin. East Austin Studio tour is always a highlight and I'm excited to check out all the great talent in this city. This year I'll be kicking things off attending ARTBASH. Never heard of it? We'll it's about time. This is the second annual event and it looks like it's going to be a good one. I'm particularly excited about the venue as well.

Keep your eye on my instagram for a chance to win two tickets or buy your own here.

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Pop Austin Giveaway!

Austin may be well known for its music scene, but it also has a flourishing art scene that deserves attention. Despite having lots of legitimate local talent I've always felt like the city has been lacking a bit in exhibitions with well known national and international artists. Don't get me wrong, The Contemporary does a decent job but I'm super excited about the good work that POP Austin has been doing in the contemporary art scene here in Austin. That's why I'm super excited to be giving away 10 weekend passes to this year's show. So let's get to the details:

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Progress report

It's crazy to think the last update was all the way back in February. Since then a lot has changed. It's still not much to look at from the street, between the dumpster, the fence and all the scaffolding. We're just waiting for the rain to pass so we can do our last coat of stucco. It's a white stucco with integral color, when finished it almost looks just like white concrete. With that and some metal screens that we have planned over the windows it should be looking lots better soon. You can see now that thanks to it being set below grade it doesn't look too imposing, despite being two stories. I parked my classic Range Rover there to help you with scale. :)

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Top 10 East Austin destinations not on a top 10 list

This week marks the beginning of SXSW 2016, also know to locals as "everybody please get the fuck out of my town". About this time every year I start to see a bunch of top 10 lists pop up about where to eat and drink in Austin. Most of them are pretty solid, and they definitely cover the basics but the reality is they barely scratch the surface of what Austin has to offer. This year I wanted to take a different approach and talk about some of my favorite places to eat and drink in east Austin that you will probably never find on a top 10 list, but absolutely deserve to be. 

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Taking shape

I just looked back at my post from a month ago when our house had just gotten framed up, and I'm surprised at how much progress we've made. It's that awkward time where almost every day something new happens, but it doesn't feel like we are making any real progress. The reality is things are moving right along. All the rough plumbing is done, as is all the rough HVAC. Three of our sliding glass doors have been installed and the big pocket sliding door should go in next week. The roof is done, and the walls have been sheathed and waterproofed. When I list it all out like that it seems like a lot has happened. Most exciting though is the fact that the house and the spaces inside are starting to take shape. Let me give you a little tour.

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1313 Comal : Minimal, Eclectic and For Sale

The fact that east Austin is quickly changing is not news to anyone. People want to live here, lots of people. And for good reason too. I myself wouldn't want to live anywhere else. We have amazing restaurants and bars, amazing parks and public spaces, and adorable walkable neighborhoods. Unfortunately that demand for housing is slowly changing the face of east Austin. It's inevitable, and I get that, but it does my heart good to see remodels like 1313 Comal that stay true to the funky east Austin vibe while at the same time creating a beautiful eclectic modern space. 

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1313 Comal : Sneak Peek

This week the lovely Andrea Calo shot professional photos of my latest listing. This house is pretty special, and it takes someone of her caliber to really do it justice. With that caveat I did want to share a couple shots I took while she was working her magic. The house has so much personality, both in the architectural elements and in the interior design I could go around shooting vignettes in there all day long. 

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Update : Framing

The crazy thing about building a house is that some things happen really really slow, and others seem to happen really fast. We designed and schemed for over a year, waited for permits and bank approval for months, and in a matter of weeks our house has gone from a bare foundation to framing in the shape of our dreams.  We can actually wander around the space and imagine what the rooms will feel like and what it will be like to live in this home we helped design. Mind. Blown.

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Austin Bouldering Project

Growing up in Utah I did my fair share of climbing. Despite my love of the outdoors however, probably some of my favorite climbing has been bouldering in gyms. For those of you who don't know, bouldering is a form of climbing where you ditch all the ropes and harnesses and stick to short routes with pads underneath them in case you fall. As soon as I caught wind of a bouldering gym in East Austin, I was super stoked.

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Burn Pizza + Bar

Someone asked me the other day what I do for fun, and the first thing that came to mind was "eat". I love food. I follow news of restaurant openings and chef changes like most people follow Hollywood celebrities. With that in mind recently opened Burn Pizza + Bar has been on my radar for a while, and to be honest, I wasn't super excited for yet another Italian restaurant. Italian seems to be the hot new thing in Austin, and several new ones are slated for east Austin alone. On top of that, while I love pizza, I tend to be more of an East Side Pies kind of guy. Lucky for me Burn has more than a few pleasant surprises up their sleeve. Hint; it's way more than just pizza and a bar.

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Demo days

This week marks a monumental step in the progress of our house project, one that is met with mixed emotions. Our little house in east Austin is gone. In it's place is an empty lot full of dirt, a special pecan tree and most of all the promise of a dream come true. 

Designing and building a modern home has been a dream of mine for over 10 years. I started Grassrootsmodern.com in 2005 to document my journey towards that goal, and after many starts, stops, reboots and full on failures I find myself now on the brink of the beginning. It's thrilling, terrifying and most of all exhausting. 

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Qui : Good Food, Good People

Much has been written about the East Austin restaurant Qui, by food critics far more knowledgeable and talented than I. I have no intentions of waxing poetic about the perfect combinations of sweet, salty and umami (though I would love to) or the creative use of platting or the brilliant interior decorating. As we slowly get ready to transition towards spring, one of my favorite months in Austin, I wanted to touch on what it's like to have a great restaurant like Qui right in your neighborhood.

When Qui was just getting ready to open. I was super excited to have such a top notch restaurant right in my neighborhood, but guess what. When it finally did open, I found myself walking right past the door and into the Liberty to grab a beer and some Chicken Karaage from East Side King. I'm not sure if I was intimidated by the big white building or what, but it almost felt too nice for the east side. 

The first time I ate there was many months later when some friends were in town. A group of us managed to make our way through the entire menu (this is before they were prix fixe) and quite a few cocktails. Though the menu was full. . .

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Evolving East Austin

This week East Austin lost another local landmark the Jumpolin Piñata store on East Cesar Chavez. It's not the first, and certainly not the last, but it has sparked renewed debate about the effects of gentrification in the city. I used to live a block away from Jumpolin, and have fond memories of buying balloon and piñatas there. You can read more about the demolition, and how it was done with all of the store owners products still inside the store herehere, and here. I'll let you come to your own conclusions. For me, the last straw is the fact that it appears the demo was all part of an application to have sufficient parking for a SXSW event.

Living in East Austin I've always felt a little guilty. I'm pretty much the exact definition of

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E.A.S.T 2014

Well, just like that another year has slipped by and E.A.S.T. (East Austin Studio Tour) is here again. Like usual the sheer amount of artists and venues to visit can be a little overwhelming. All the official information can be found at Big Medium, and I definitely recommend picking up a catalogue or flipping through the online version to pick out what sounds interesting to you. If that sounds entirely too daunting, the good folks at Austin360 have done a nice job of breaking it out into more manageable chunks with their online map and synopsis. Lastly, if you are just looking for a top 10 list, check out Citygram's recommendations here

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Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors

The north/south corridor of Chicon street in East Austin has had it's ups and downs. Businesses like the now shuttered Rosewood Community Market and East Village Cafe looked like they would bring a new vibrancy to the area. While it's unfortunate to see they weren't able to make it, its refreshing to see a new group of business owners having their go at it.

Figure 8 coffee purveyors has now moved into the old East Village Cafe, and besides a complete interior renovation of the space, they've also brought with them some serious coffee expertise. The shop is run by Ryan Hall and Kathleen Carmichael formerly of Houndstooth and Cenote and features the ever so delicious Tweed Coffee roasted right here in Texas. 

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