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Small or Large, Design Matters: Quality Architectural Design in Every Home

When it comes to designing a custom home, many people assume that bigger is always better. Cornerstone Architects is committed to providing a high level of service and high-end, quality architectural design to our clients, no matter the size of their project. Our process involves listening, allocating resources, and creating a design that will be unique to each client, each unique site, and down to each space, while taking into consideration sustainability and value. To that point, our residential portfolio is made up of homes of all sizes. The following projects are all under 4,000 total heated square feet and represent a few examples of why it is not necessary to sacrifice architectural design and quality when designing a smaller home.


Site limitations, materiality and simplicity define the architecture for this transitional home in the Barton Creek neighborhood in West Austin. The lot presented a challenge being only 69 feet wide and dropping substantially to the rear side making the single-story plan even more challenging.

“Working within the constraints of the site, the home evolved from thoughtful design which defines its own scale despite the tight footprint.” Ranjit Gupta, Architect

The plan organizes itself into two distinct wings: the more private bedrooms fall to the left and the larger public spaces open to the back and east with large glazing walls that did not require screening. The spaces are simple with clean lines defined by simple beams and ceiling breaks. Warm wood textures and neutral grays become playfully interspersed with this language. The Norman brick cladding is used to define the scale of this transitional home as it sets the tone for the architecture.


Located in the sought-after Tarrytown neighborhood of Austin, this project maximizes the buildable envelope of a smaller lot, while adhering to stringent city and neighborhood design guidelines. Strategically placing the house footprint between protected mature trees allowed for the classic, sophisticated architectural design to seamlessly merge into the established neighborhood as if the home had been there for decades.

“In a smaller home, every detail counts and you can focus on the features that matter most to you. By incorporating unique design elements that might not be feasible in a larger home, and focusing on quality materials and finishes, you can create a home that is both distinctive and luxurious.” Rodney Palmer, Architect

The simple material palette of stucco and wood creates a smooth transition from the high tree canopy outside into a calm and relaxing interior program. The elimination of barriers in the open layout of the main living area allows for unobstructed views to the outdoors while maintaining an approachable scale that many clients desire in a custom home. With limited lot parameters, every inch of space was planned to function at full capacity, which developed into a more straightforward and cohesive overall design.


Winner of an Austin Home Magazine Home & Design Award, this hill country contemporary home was designed to work with the land and existing trees to create the clients’ forever home with plenty of space and a Texas-sized hill country view. The design nestles the home within the existing live oak trees and includes a patio designed around a large live oak next to the pool. Natural light and open spaces were key elements and remote-controlled operable transom windows were incorporated to act as a thermal chimney to cool off the main rooms.

“Maximizing natural light helps create a sense of spaciousness and enhances the overall aesthetic appeal of the home.” Bob Wetmore, Architect

Warm and natural materials, integrated with contemporary elements give the casual home stylish, yet rustic appeal.


Featured in LUXE Interiors + Design Magazine, as well as the AIA Austin Homes Tour, the Westover Residence presented a unique challenge in balancing the owner’s program with the McMansion parameters and the historic distinctiveness of the Pemberton Heights neighborhood. The genteel, symmetric elevation is reflective of those around it, with touches of modern elements tying into the interior. Clean lines and soft colors run throughout the home giving a sense of balance from the outside in.

“The design efficiently utilizes every bit of allowable space, creating open and inviting areas with distinctive nook spaces.” Mark Carlson, Architect

The outdoor living area makes the most of the limited lot, incorporating a pool within the setback, an entertaining area and washer pits. The home visually suits the stately charm of its established neighborhood, yet refreshingly stands alone in design and originality.


Cornerstone Architects crafts each home to reflect each unique client's character and meet their needs while maximizing their site. This is evident in our diverse residential portfolio which showcases functional, aesthetically pleasing architectural design of all shapes and sizes. By focusing on thoughtful design, quality materials and finishes, natural light and efficient use of space, achieving a stunning, well-designed home at any scale is possible.

If you are inspired by our portfolio and are ready to design your own custom dream home, we would love to work with you! Contact us today at 512-329-0007 or for more information on our process and to start working with our team of architects!


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