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Small Foster Heights home built in 1945

Located the a tucked-away Foster Heights neighborhood not far from East 12th Street, this small 1940s cottage has been updated and refreshed in a way that takes full advantage of its vintage design with a large, breeze-attracting porch along one side of the home—once a standard feature (whether on the front, back, or side of the house) in homes of the area.

The 716 square-foot-home has been refreshed with a focus on the outdoors more generally. Perched on a small rise near the back of the lot, it’s positioned to take advantage of mature trees as well introducing drought-resistant landscaping. Painted white, the one-story frame home—which has a second covered porch in front—seems half-hidden in the green enclave surrounding it.

Built in 1945, the home has two bedrooms and one bathroom as well as a loft bed that is not included in the official square footage. All have been completely renovated, and there are high-ceilings and wood-like, laminate floors throughout the house.

The updated kitchen features custom wood paneling, a subway-tile backsplash, wood cabinets, granite counter tops, and stainless-steel appliances.

The home has a loft sleeping space as well as two bedrooms, one of which opens on to the large side porch.

In addition to the front and side porches, there is a small backyard with a patio and an off-street parking space for one car.

2101 New York Avenue [Realty Austin]

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The High & Low

It’s time again for the High & the Low, a Curbed Austin column chronicling the most and least expensive homes sold in Austin in the last seven days. (Sales information gathered from Zillow, Redfin, and Realtor.) Let’s see what buyers and sellers bought and paid for this week!

200 Congress Avenue Unit 44K. A luxury condo, the type of housing that rarely appears at the very top of this list, broke the pattern to become the No. 1 seller this week. A 3,921-square-foot unit on the 44th floor of the Austonian condominium tower, it has three bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms. It has the expected views of the city, lake, and Hill Country and features Miele appliances, wood floors throughout, two terraces, a theater room, a study, a guest suite, and a spacious living area with a custom bar.

The condo comes with three assigned parking spaces and two large storage units as well as the Austonian’s luxury group amenities. The home was listed on April 26 for $3.75 million and sold on May 25 for the asking price. HOA dues are $3,099/month.

5200 Langwood Drive. The most affordable home sold this week, also a condo, is certainly inexpensive. That’s likely because it was listed as in poor condition and in need of a rehab. The two-story home in Northeast Austin has two bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms and measures 1,710 square feet. It also has a fireplace, a balcony, and a laundry room.

The unit was listed on May 6 for $80,000 and sold for $85,500 on May 23. HOA dues are $150/month.

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Apartments all, in five neighborhoods

Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, a column that explores what one can rent or buy for a set dollar amount in various Austin neighborhoods. Is one person’s studio another person’s townhouse? Let’s find out! Today’s price: $975/month.

Settler’s Ridge, 12800 Harrisglenn Drive, one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment, 657 square feet, $975/month. A decent-sized unit in a medium-sized Far North complex, this apartment has high ceilings, a built-in wine rack, marble bathroom counter tops, and amenities including valet trash pick-up, a fitness center, and a game room.

1611 West 39-1/2 Street Apt. 104, studio apartment, one bathroom, $975/month. The listing for this updated studio apartment in Rosedale doesn’t provide a square footage that seems accurate, but we’re guessing it’s around 625 square feet. It faces the Shoal Creek greenbelt (across the street) and has a private patio, insulated windows, faux wood blinds, a ceiling fan, a breakfast bar, and two walk-in closets. Owner pays water, gas and trash; tenant pays electric. Up to two cats allowed.

2302 East Side Drive, Apt. 16, one-bedroom, one-bathroom condo apartment, 482 square feet, $975/month. This apartment is in a gated condo complex on the northern edge of Travis Heights. The unit comes with one parking space, concrete floors in the common areas and carpet in the bedroom, as well as washer and dryer.

The Reserve at Walnut Creek, 8038 Exchange Drive, one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment, 730 square feet, $981/month. The apartment is located in a Northeast Austin complex that takes its cues from the surrounding business parks by creating a campus/park-like atmosphere. In addition to a pet area, the grounds have a pool, barbecue area, a playscape, and outdoor storage space.

Array Apartments, 2101 Burton Drive Apt. 246, one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment, 747 square feet, $975/month. This colorfully staged unit is in a large, updated complex in the East Riverside-Oltorf. Units have laminate wood floors, patios or balconies, and access to a pool, a pet park, and common lounging areas.

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Company resumes service today

Vehicle-sharing company Bird’s electric scooters were back on Austin’s streets today, more than two months after it and LimeBike initially, and illegally, launched operations in the city. The immediate aftermath of that launch was the impounding of both companies’ vehicles by the city. In the long term, though, the move prompted Austin leaders to push forward a dockless-vehicle ordinance and pilot program more quickly than expected. On May 8, City Manager Spencer Cronk’s office adopted emergency rules for the deployment of dockless systems.

Dockless-vehicle rental companies Spin and Zagster followed with a letter to “city officials,” claiming Bird and LimeBike had gained an unfair market advantage with their premature launches and should be banned from the city. The city had already made an agreement with Bird and LimeBike that the two would return to “good standing” if they refrained from operation until the city finished its process and the companies obtained licenses.

The Save Our Sidewalks pledge

Upon today’s return, permit in hand, Bird announced that it will support sustainable transportation efforts in Central Texas by donating $1 per vehicle per day Movability, a transportation management agency that works with private companies to reduce employees’ drive time in a variety of ways.

The donations are part of the company’s fulfillment of its “Save Our Sidewalks” pledge—a plan created and adopted by BIrd to avoid overcrowding streets and sidewalks, as well as abandoned vehicles. According to company press materials, the pledge also requires that “Bird does not increase its supply of vehicles in a city unless they are being used at least three times per vehicle per day (weather permitting); all Bird vehicles are removed from the streets each night; and Bird commits $1 per vehicle per day to cities [in this case, due to city rules, to Movability instead] so they can build more bike lanes, promote safe riding, and maintain shared infrastructure.” The company also has a program for providing free helmets to riders who ask for them and plans a helmet-giveaway event with the city in the next few days.

The competition to date

Meanwhile, bike-share company Zagster began operating its business in Austin on Monday, with plans to roll out 200 dockless bicycles on city streets by the end of the week.

According to Zagster materials, the city’s emergency ordinance requires dockless shared vehicles have “lock-to” or haptic technology, so that they can be locked to something or corraled with a virtual fence, by August 1. Zagster’s Pace and Uber’s Jump bicycles are the only ones in the dockless market that currently have those technologies.

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Built in 1956, Barton Hills house has modernist appeal

This midcentury charmer, built in 1956, has the essential features of its period with updates that work well with the style. Located in the coveted and central Barton Hills neighborhood (alongside many gems of the era), the home is fairly sprawling for its time period at 2,162 square feet.

The exterior of the one-story home, which is sited a lot that measures close to a quarter of an acre, is composed of brick and Hardiplank-style siding. It features original-looking elements, such as the iron divider between the entrance and the living area, the bright front door with its narrow windowed, and the low, cutout brick wall that defines the backyard patio.

The four-bedroom, three-bathroom home has laminate, wood-style and hard-tile floors throughout. Large windows and glass doors on all sides of the living and dining areas allow in lots of light as well as referencing the modernist period.

The kitchen opens on to the family room and wooden cabinets appropriate to the house’s original period.

The home features built-in bookcases and walk-in closets in bedrooms.

The large property has a storage space and workshop as well as two off-street parking spaces.

2903 Cedarview Drive [Blairfield Realty]

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Look inside Austin’s ‘Jenga’ building

The Independent—the tower that, when finished, will be the tallest building in Austin as well as the tallest residential tower west of the Mississippi—held a topping-out celebration Sunday, honoring the tradition of marking the point in construction when the highest part of the building is in place.

Located at the northeast corner of West Third Street and West Avenue (301 West Avenue), the building was hard to miss even before it reached its highest point. Developed by Apsen Heights and the CIM Group and designed by Rhode: Partners, the tower has distinctive stacked design that has led to its being called the “Jenga Tower” informally.

Valued at $300 million, the Independent tops out at 685 feet, or 58 stories. More than 80 percent of its 363 residences, which range in price from $400,000 to more than $3.5 million, are under contract, but not to worry: There are still units in the $600,000 range available.

In addition to celebrating topping out, The Independent also released new and updated renderings of some planned interior and exterior spaces.

Courtesy of Neezo Renders The building will be clad in mirrored glass
Courtesy of Neezo Renders
Courtesy of Neezo Renders
Courtesy of Neezo Renders
Courtesy of Neezo Renders

Pool at The Independent

Courtesy of Neezo Renders Dog lounge at The Independent Courtesy of Neezo Renders Board room at The Independent Courtesy of Neezo Renders Theater room at The Independent
Courtesy of Neezo Renders
Courtesy of Neezo Renders
Courtesy of Neezo Renders

Condo unit bedroom at The Independent

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Austin heavyweights designed $1.65M home

Austin’s Northwest Hills neighborhood boasts scads of midcentury-modern houses that were built during that booming period. That environment and style were almost certainly inspirations behind this newly built home, which riffs on the design period and fits right in to the neighborhood without being too literal about it. Designed by longtime local architecture firm and go-to preservationists Clayton and Little, along with Allison Crawford Design, it’s an excellent example of how to bring influences from the past into the present.

The two-story brick house measures 3,525 square feet and has five bedrooms and five bathrooms (also a big departure from your average midcentury home’s scale). Thoughtful placement under a mature tree canopy, along with its pinkish brick and unpainted, sealed wood under its eaves, soften the modern lines and elements without compromising their unmistakeable influences with such features as a walled entrance and and peaked roof with clerestory windows offset from the center of the house.

The kitchen opens to the dining and living areas and features a long, marbled-looking island.

The home features wood, hard tile, and marble floors throughout, and the master suite has two walk-in closets, a walk-in shower, and a double vanity.

A cleverly designed outdoor living area keeps cars in the side garage out of site and leads to a fenced backyard.

4005 Knollwood Drive [Gottesman Residential Real Estate]

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There’s an app, and a Facebook page, for that

This article was originally published on June 16, 2017, and has been updated since then.

Swimming season is upon us—at least on some days. When the weather is not flirting with the 100-degree mark, the torrents of rain we’ve been experiencing can cause rapid changes in swimming conditions in the area’s natural swimming spots along the Barton Creek Greenbelt. Heavy rains can cause swift currents, followed by icky/unhealthy runoff in the water.

How to know before you go? Enterprising Austinites have come up with a couple of tech-based ways to keep tabs on your favorite watering holes—at least the ones on the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

Greenbelt Now

One of the quickest ways to inquire is to use an app called Greenbelt Now. Built by UT student Serena Nguyen, it currently contains information about the following spots:

  • Sculpture Falls
  • Twin Falls
  • 360 Loop
  • Gus Fruh
  • Spyglass
  • Campbell's Hole
  • Barton Creek Above Barton Springs Pool
  • Lost Creek
Greenbelt Now Greenbelt Now map

The app is available online only at this point, and while it’s not available through any app store, it’s quite user-friendly. Nguyen told KVUE last year that she uses data from United States Geological Survey water gauges to determine water level and flow and that her next step for what she calls her “simple” app is to connect spots with Google Maps.

Is There Any Water in the Greenbelt?

The Facebook page Is There Any Water in the Greenbelt? is another fine way to get water-flow info. Though a bit more chaotic than the Greenbelt Now app, it’s also a lot of fun, probably has some of your FB friends on it, and even if you’re not going swimming, it’s entertaining. You have to ask to join, but it’s a public group.

Is there any water at the Greenbelt? This new app will tell you [KVUE]

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Zagster gets sole license to launch fleet

Bike-share company Zagster will begin operating its business in Austin on Monday, according to a company representative, with plans to roll out 200 dockless bicycles on city streets by the end of the week.

The representative’s email statement also included the information that the company, headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., is the only one to date that has obtained a license to operate in Austin.

The launch of Zagster’s fleet of Pace bicycles is the latest move by one of the several vehicle-sharing companies jostling to get their electronic scooters and bicycles operating legally in Austin. Previously, companies LimeBike and Bird introduced dockless electric scooters to Austin streets sans licenses or any existing system for obtaining one, leading the city to create a pilot program for both dockless scooters and bicycles and to issue emergency rules to govern the licensing and deployment of the vehicles.

(Somewhere in there, Zagster and similar company Spin asked the city to ban Bird and LimeBike, claiming the two companies gained an unfair market advantage over those that waited until Austin had some regulations in place.)

Zagster’s rep issued a statement earlier this week, asserting that only that company’s Pace and Uber’s Jump dockless bike-share providers have the “lock-to” technology—the built-in capability of being locked to a bike rack or other appropriate object—that the city’s emergency rules require.

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Renovated 1978 home with modern appeal

Home buyers and other real-estate obsessives often think of ranch-style, 1970s homes as unchanging creatures: Either trapped in amber, complete with bright wallpaper and avocado-toned appliances (a love-or-hate thing) or remodeled in the most generic possible way in an attempt to disguise the house’s perfectly noble and righteous origins.

This South Austin home follows a third path. Located in an established neighborhood north of the Cherry Creek area, it retains the practical, family-oriented appeal of a leafy, grown-in suburb while being updated in a manner appropriate to its now fairly urban locale. Borrowing elements that refer to the midcentury period that preceded the home’s era, along with some currently popular rustic-contemporary and farmhouse touches, the house has a look that’s both current and respectful of its original design.

At 1,435 square feet, it has three bedrooms and two bathrooms and features hand-scraped hardwood floors as well as new hardware and lighting, kitchen and bathroom updates, and fresh exterior paint.

The kitchen features open shelving and farmhouse-style cabinets.

The master suite is spacious and features subway tile and marble inlays.

A large, covered deck in the fenced backyard references a Hill Country vernacular while also serving the function of being a fun place to hang out and entertain.

There will be an open house at the residence Saturday (see listing linked below for details).

2908 Bushnell Drive [Realty Austin]

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