Miss A Columnist

R. Victoria Peterson graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Corporate Communications. After working in sales and then teaching for several years, she realized she wanted to take a new approach to life. She is now focusing on some of her evolving passions: real estate, writing, cooking and anything and everything outdoors! She has lived in Austin for over 10 years and loves it here. Victoria loves the cultural diversity Austin offers and she embraces all the differences Austinites possess. Victoria enjoys attending charity-driven galas as well as local businesses and eateries to help promote their causes. There is another side to Victoria as well: she is a nature lover! Victoria enjoys riding horses, hawking with Red Tail Hawks, hiking, exploring and taxidermy. Victoria is a REALTOR® for ERA Colonial Real Estate and loves to help her customers with any real estate need. Victoria gives back by donating every year to a no kill animal shelter: Austin Pets Alive.

Recap: Smarter Spaces Tour 2013

The second annual Smarter Spaces Tour was a hit! There were six extremely well planned  homes, all under 2500 square feet, with many surprises on the tour this year.

 My first stop was a home inspired by and built around a historic, 100-year-old Pecan tree, on Canterbury Street. Architect Francois Levy explained that he had several challenges to work around in designing and building this home alongside builders, Newcastle Homes. Preserving the beauty of the Pecan tree was crucial in designing this home. The design of the home contains a subtle curve-shape gently wrapping its way around the large tree, yet Francois and the landscape designers at Ecotopes, were sure to leave room for green grass and other sustainable landscaping so the yard can be enjoyed as well. Francios also pointed out that the direction of the home to the sun was carefully planned to reduce solar exposure, ultimately keeping energy costs low.

Francois designed this home with a curve to showcase the 100 year-old Pecan Tree in the backyard.  Francois exclaimed, "Respect the Tree."  Photo Credit: David Aston)

Francois designed this home with a curve to showcase the 100 year-old Pecan Tree in the backyard. Francois exclaimed, “Respect the Tree.” Photo Credit: David Aston)

Finally, according to the many rules and ordinances Austin has in place, Francois had to keep the home within those parameters while still maintaining a an appealing design. Francois also noted he liked the fact that home felt bigger than it truly is, the open feel of the home and the “livable”space the design offers. Austin Realtor, Tim Andrews, was at the property as well to help promote Francois and Newcastle Homes and reminded me about Barkitecture, an event happening on September 27 which will benefit many organizations to help enhance the lives of our furry friends.

My next stop was the home on Riverview, designed by Dylan Robertson of D-Crain Design and Construction, who designed the home for his parents. Upon entering the lot, part of the previous home’s structure is being used as an open-air courtyard with a tranquil pond in the middle and succulents growing on the outskirts of the rooftop. The Riverview property is a three story home surrounded by pane-less windows giving the feel of a treehouse. Dylan explained that his mother is an avid nature lover and having the outdoors brought in was a large inspiration for the design of this home. To encourage more energy efficiency, every level had a grate-like floor covering on one end of the room, layered over the one under it, to allow a natural air-flow throughout the home. The owners’ art collections and beautiful findings from all over the world had their own unique place to be displayed.

The Riverview property also took advantage of using a structure already in place to also shade the level floor patio.  (Photo Credit: David Aston)

The Riverview property also took advantage of using a structure already in place to also shade the level floor patio. (Photo Credit: David Aston)

 

The other stops on the tour included a home sponsored by Circular Energy, a  leading, full-service solar design-installation company, designed by Gregory Thomas, architect with CG&S Design-Build, on 33rd Street which incorporated traditional with modern and fresh features as well as efficient LED lighting, solar panels and a tankless water heater.

 Although a tough question, when asked what his favorite home on the tour was, Smarter Spaces Tour founder, Matt Swinney, admitted that it was ultimately the spectacular view of The University of Texas at Austin campus and tower from the window of the condominium on Lavaca Street, sponsored by

Oliver Custom Homes and designed by Barley & Pfeiffer Architects. Matt has lived in Austin for many years and found it hard to believe he did not know a view like that existed.

A stunning view of The University of Texas from the Lavaca Street property.  (Photo Credit:smarterspacestour.com)

A stunning view of The University of Texas from the Lavaca Street property. (Photo Credit:smarterspacestour.com)

Finally, as a nice and cool rain storm blew in, guests on the tour reunited at the Modern Home Tour officespace to enjoy an open bar serving

Rebecca Creek Whiskey and Enchanted Rock Vodka while mingling with designers and architects from this year’s tour and viewing photographs taken from Modern Homes Tour Co-founder, James Leasure from previous Modern Home Tours in other states.

Although this is only the second year for the Smarter Spaces Tour, I applaud Matt and James for taking a new approach to the typical home tour, taking a risk by not showcasing mansion-sized homes and proving to people that you can still achieve all your dreams and have a stunning home while saving energy and minimizing your ecological footprint on our precious Earth.

 

 

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