presented by MJ Neal Architect

MJ Neal Architect 2019 Austin Modern Home Tour


Architect: MJ Neal, FAIA
Photography: Meredith Tankersly / DEN Property Group

“A place of solace and repose in the middle of the city”, was the client brief the first time MJ Neal, FAIA was asked to work on the existing property.

A master bedroom and bath where added and the interior of the existing house completely remodeled and re-oriented around a long skylight and two interior courtyards. The skylight and courtyards maintain privacy and allow natural light into all parts of the house while providing a connection with the live oaks and changing sky.

A few years later new owners requested that the single car garage be converted to a playroom and opened to the yard as much as possible. MJ Neal’s response was to create a space that can be engaged for play by young and “old” children while merging inside and outside into a symbiotic relationship that transforms itself according to occasion, season, or whim.

As important as it is for the playroom, courtyards, and other spaces to engage and delight the family and friends that dwell in and visit the home it is as important to incorporate the project within the community at large. The wall of the playroom folds down in to a deck becoming the “Front Porch”, providing the possibility for interaction with one’s neighbors as they pass by. A large “L” shaped glass and steel door along with a pivoting window seat become conversation openers; the blue color scheme not only enchants the children but also uplifts the mood of the street.

Through-out both renovations/additions it was a priority to respect the delicate lines and low profile of the existing mid-century modern house designed by the late A.D. Stenger, one of Austin’s great modernist architects. From the street, the house looks virtually untouched. It remains a modest presence on the block.