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Inexpensive Materials Pay Off Big

By Dwell @dwell
Industrial kitchen built on a budget.

A tight construction budget informed the choices Sean Guess made as he designed a house for a couple in Austin, Texas. Budget-minded materials, like the James Hardie fiber-cement siding, helped hold construction costs to $130 per square foot. Sherwin-Williams’s Cyberspace hue colors the exterior and Parakeet coats the custom kitchen cabinets by Austin Wood Works. The planter is made from Cor-Ten steel.

Project  Pine House Architect  Faye and Walker Architecture

Architect Sean Guess makes a sport of devising novel ways to use inexpensive materials. “It’s a creative opportunity, without a doubt,” he says. When Austin residents Kristin and Lowell Galindo approached Guess to create a low-cost and livable house with a raw aesthetic, their desires dovetailed with his proclivity for rough-hewn materials. “The project was about keeping a simple, modern approach,” Kristin says. In the kitchen, Guess designed a poured-in-place concrete island and concrete countertops, and he created bookcases and a surround for the refrigerator from unfinished pine. To form a strong connection to the patio, Guess extended the exposed floor joists beyond the Western Window Systems sliding glass doors, creating a cantilevered porch roof. “One of my main tenets from a design standpoint is rhythm,” he says. “I like being in the kitchen and sensing the rhythm and extension to the outside.” 

 
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