Summertime 101

Today is the official first day of summer, which means it’s only going to get hotter here in Austin. A lot of my clients that are moving to Austin from cooler states ask me how the summers are here, and I never sugar coat it. It’s hot. Very hot. You’re going to sweat a lot, and your’e going to need to cool down.

Luckily there are two very good solutions to both those problems. Swimming, and deliciously refreshing summer time drinks. Over the years I’ve shared a lot of my favorites on my newsletter so I’ve decided to do a big round up here of how to survive a summer in Austin.

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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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A design (and food) lovers guide to Mexico City

I went to Mexico City for the first time this spring, and the whole trip the only thing I could think was "Why in the hell did it take me so long to come here?". It's an easy and inexpensive plane ride from Austin, and once you get there it's super affordable. If you've never been before, it's probably nothing like you would expect.

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Creede Fitch Comment
O. Carl Happel

There are many architects names that are universally recognized, Frank Lloyd Wright for example. Then there are those names that are well known to local architecture fans like our own A. D Stenger. But for every well know architect there are countless others that go unnoticed, and not because they weren't talented or deserving of recognition. If you are a true architect nerd like me those names like Herbert Crume, John S Chase, Barton Riley, or Roland Roessner may ring a bell. Today I'd like to introduce you to another. O. Carl Happel. 

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If you get my newsletter you have probably heard me mention Esby a few times in the past. They are a local clothing brand founded in 2014 by Stephanie Beard. Stephanie comes from a background of designing menswear for major brands and started Esby to focus on quality clothing for men and women with a menswear mentality. What they mean by that is that the close are made to be comfortable, durable and worn often.

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What it costs to build a pool

Let's just start this post off saying that I've wanted a pool since I was a little kid. My wife would probably argue that I am still a kid which is maybe why we have had a pool at every house we've lived while in Austin. You can see a few prime examples below. How much did they cost? Cheap. How long did they last? Not long enough. Did I love them? Abso-fucking-lutely. 

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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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Austin may be known as the live music capital of the world, but it has an equally robust art scene. If you've ever attended the East Austin Studio Tour you have an idea of just how immense the art community is here. You may also have noticed that it's hard to wade through the huge amount of art out there to find something that really speaks to you. For those looking to drill down to the good stuff I have two recommendations. First, Instagram is your friend. Some of my favorite artists in town I first discovered via Instagram. Second, keep an eye on well know galleries for rotating exhibitions. 

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2017 AIA Homes Tour

While there is no shortage of homes tours in Austin, the AIA Homes Tour is always my favorite. The quality of the homes is always amazing, and there is usually a little something for everyone. This year is no exception. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and say this may be the strongest group of houses in a long time. 

With that I have a confession to make. I just don't usually have it in me to go and look at a bunch of houses on my day off, so I whittle it down to two or three homes that can't be missed. This year however I may just need to suck it up. There are just two many good homes. So in no particular order here are a few that I'm excited about and why.

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Casa Marrakech

A house is never really done, and ours is still a long way from being finished, but we finally got to the point that we felt comfortable having photos taken of the space. Huge thanks to Andrea Calo for making a pretty good looking house look even better. Thanks also to Bercy Chen for the amazing house (architect and builder), Sasha our project manager, McCray & Co for the help with interior design, Westshop for help with landscaping, the Ankor boys and Clar for the custom couch, and all the other amazing people that helped out on the project. 

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Coming soon : Scout Island by Alterstudio

As good as these photos are, they just don't do justice to how good our newest listing at Skout really is. Alterstudio is one of my favorite architects in Austin and the level of detail on this project is next level. First off I'm a complete sucker for any house with a courtyard and the U shape of this layout does a perfect job of splitting the private and public spaces up and connecting the whole house to the outdoors.

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Starlight Village Homes

Hopefully by now you have already heard of Starlight Village. It's a new development of 30 affordable mid century modern inspired homes that is being built in Austin. Err, well, not exactly in Austin. The development is really 30 min from down town (if the traffic gods are being kind) in Leander. They've been on my radar for a long time now so I decided to make the trek north to see just how things are coming along. Here's the good news and the bad.

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2017 Austin Modern Home Tour

It's time for the 9th annual Austin Modern Home tour. It happens next weekend and it's one of my favorites (second to the AIA Home tour) because it focuses solely on modern homes. This year Bercy Chen Studio has not one, but two homes on the tour, their Tetra house pictured above and the home located on San Juan dr. There are some other great houses on the tour as well that are definitely worth checking out, but I'm especially excited about the Tetra house. You can get a sneak peek of it below...

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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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Travel Report : Panama

2016 was a doozy of a year with plenty of ups and downs. Despite the bitter taste that certain political events had left in our mouths, my wife and I were intent on starting 2017 off on the right foot. When a few friends from Salt Lake City asked if we wanted to head to Panama for the new year we were all in. Beyond a few random facts about the Panama Canal, I knew almost nothing about the country. We ended up spending 7 days in Casco Viejo, the historic section of the city and 3 days drifting around the Pearl Islands. Here's a little recap for anyone curious or heading down that way.

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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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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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