Building your home on a cliff has its advantages. Check out the view from the shower.
Nine years ago, Rick Hawkins was driving through west Austin, when he spotted a real estate agent hammering a for-sale sign into the yard of a faux Mediterranean villa. "I slammed on the brakes, walked in, and a week later I owned the place," says Hawkins, who has founded five medical companies, including his current venture, LabNow, which is developing a diagnostic device. The approximately two-acre lot, set 160 feet above Austin's Town Lake, was perfect, he says. The house, however, was another matter. "It was billed as a house from Tuscany, only it was really poorly done," says Hawkins. "Plus, it didn't make use of any of those great views." So he tore it down. In the villa's footprint, he and his wife, Karen, built a contemporary home that spans more than 10,000 square feet and is composed of five separate buildings with sweeping views in every space. Even the shower in the master bathroom offers a view of downtown Austin, and the glass-enclosed round dining room, which is cantilevered over the lake, seems to almost hover over the landscape.
The Cliff House
"This structure is both a residence and a formal entertaining area. We lived there while the main house was under construction. The big round dining room also has a caterer's kitchen attached."
"My wife and I love to cook, so we spend most of our time in the kitchen. We like to have people over and prepare a meal as a group. It's got three ovens, three dishwashers, and several workspaces."
"The décor is stark and contemporary, the more clean lines the better. But it's still warm. We wanted to mix contemporary European influences with traditional Asian design elements."
The Living Room
"One of my favorite pieces is the day bed, which anchors the room. It's made of leather and oak. It was inspired by a design from Jean Prouvé."
The Master Bath
"The shower in the master bath has one main showerhead and two more on the sides. You can also open the door to the outside and take in spectacular views of downtown Austin. And yes, there's total privacy."