West Balcones

Austin, TX



Sarah Natsumi Moore

Originally built in 1954, with additions made in the ‘80s and again in 2015, this home underwent many updates before being purchased by our clients. Acquired from a home “flipper,” the house looked great on the surface, but structural issues lingered below. Over the course of four years, Urbane Design has repaired this beautiful West Balcones home and turned it into a true reflection of its owners’ lifestyle and unique aesthetic.

Services offered:
- Concept development
- Space planning
- Project management
- Finish specifications and determination
- Color consultations
- Furniture selection
- Art procurement
- Exterior landscaping
- Pool design and installation

A common problem when purchasing a home from house flippers is that, while the home may look great on the surface, key foundational elements like plumbing and insulation are not done well. This home was the perfect example of poor “flipping” work. First, the plumbing was installed incorrectly in the master bedroom, which meant an extensive work was needed to fix it. A home gym is located below the master suite, so the plumbing correction affected the walls in the gym, and eventually led to extensive renovation in that room as well. Additionally, the windows were cheaply selected and installed, which led to poor insulation in the home (specifically in hot Texas summer months.) Over time, Urbane Design has updated the windows and other instances of poor general contracting to elevate the entire design of the home and bring it closer to the owners’ preferences.

In conjunction with fixing past mistakes, Urbane Design worked to bring the clients’ unique sense of style to the home. They have an extensive collection of antiques, art and one-of-a-kind rugs, so it was important that their home provide a neutral base for their possessions to shine through. They didn’t want neutral to mean boring, but rather the perfect balance for the visual interest of the decorative pieces. This home is a space filled with elements that guests want to take in and explore. Perfect example: The guest bathroom features black walls (a welcome contrast from typically bright white bathrooms) with an upcycled medicine cabinet filled with recycled pill bottles donning positive affirmations on the labels. The home is interesting from start to finish.

It’s hard to pick just one standout room in the home, but the kitchen is a good place to start. The kitchen’s original layout was kept. While the flippers used cheap, low quality cabinet doors, the overall structure was sturdy. So, we gave the kitchen a facelift. The flooring, made of European white oak, is complemented by vertical grain walnut cabinet doors with black cabinet bases. Vertical walnut slats sit under the stunning quarts countertop. The backsplash is made of beautiful marble that creates a visual break in the wood grain texture. The room is tied together with sleek black and brass hardware on the cabinet pulls and faucets.

The master bedroom is another stunner. We chose porcelain tiling for the floor, laid in a herringbone pattern. The walls are a beautiful marbled tile, which contrast an abstract black and white wallpaper on the ceiling. We placed a deep-set, sleek, freestanding tub with a floating wood shelf under a large window that brings in plenty of natural light. The master bathroom is altogether unique while still providing our clients with space to unwind and relax at the end of a long day.

The West Balcones project put all of our skills to use. It required sound knowledge of construction best practices in order to fix the damage done by the previous owner, while requiring a sharp design eye to meet the owners’ aesthetic standards. The result is a structurally sound, beautifully crafted home that will stand the test of time for 50 more years.

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