When senior associate Kristopher White, Assoc. AIA, of Dick Clark + Associates had the opportunity to build two homes concurrently on adjacent lots, he approached it as an exercise in design languages, subtle connections, and playful interpretations. The challenge was to design two properties in Austin’s vibrant Zilker neighborhood that related to one another as siblings while embodying similarly contemporary, but markedly different, points of view.

The inspiration for the first home, dubbed “Margaret,” was born out of the relationship between Scandinavian farms and the Texas Hill Country—albeit with a few playful twists. The home’s distinctive offset roof is a nod to the typical farmhouse vernacular, but the quirky asymmetry pushes against the more common interpretations of the modern farmhouse trend. Like its sibling property, Margaret’s interior lot heavily informed the design, and White prioritized strong connections between indoors and outdoors using large expanses of glass.

Sightlines are designed for drama, starting with a view straight through the home from the front door to a sizable Marvin Ultimate Multi-Slide Door. Direct glaze windows on the second story extend sightlines with mullion spaced to match those on the door beneath, terminating unexpectedly shy of the apex of the roof ridge.

“We thought it was really fun to play with the asymmetry,” White says.

Margaret’s sister home, called “Folts,” takes a contemporary approach to the kind of Midcentury Modern design that shares a deliberate connection to its site, the neighborhood, and the city. Built in partnership between White and boutique developer Vinson Radke Homes, the home combines unmistakable midcentury influences with a neutral color palette and an emphasis on large expanses of glass.

Folts’s corner lot allows for two distinct façades, with the pedestrian entry on the long side and the communal spaces more privately placed at the back of the house. A 32-foot Marvin Ultimate Multi-Slide Door spans the entire back of the home, connecting the living and dining rooms to the patio and the yard beyond.

Dror Baldinger, AIA

“People don’t enjoy a space because it’s rectangular,” White says. “They enjoy it because, one, they get light from two sides, and two, what they’re looking at is intriguing and has a connection to either the landscape or strategic view to something they want to see all the time and want in their lives.”

Throughout both homes, careful material selection contributed to a contemporary interpretation of the respective design styles. Glass and light are used as distinct materials to frame views and honor the context of the site. Narrow window and door profiles with painted wood interiors add warmth and marry seamlessly with natural materials like stone and wood, while emphasizing dramatic sightlines to the greenery outdoors.

“The versatility of the windows adapt and heighten the experience of something very contemporary in Folts, and update and modernize—without going too far—the farmhouse aesthetic,” White says.

White was successful in creating a unique design vernacular for each home, while using light, glass, and natural materials as unifying elements. The homes share a common urban landscape honored through intentional connections between indoor and outdoor living, but as siblings do, they command attention with distinctly different personalities.

Learn about the custom scenic doors and walls of windows at Marvin.com/Contemporary.