The Calcasieu Cottages
A Quintessential Austin Renovation Story
View Phase 1 and View Phase 2
Photos: Murray Legge Architecture, Pilgrim Building Co., Amity Worrel Interior Design
Austin’s Original Tiny Houses
This intergenerational rehabilitation, re-design interior design project required careful thought and planning to create authentic spaces, while the execution demanded great care and superb craftsmanship. We had the pleasure of working with both Pilgrim Building Co. and Murray Legge Architects to bring the family’s dream to fruition in various phases.
Preservation Austin hosted a recent event “Greening Your Austin Home” in Travis Heights which featured a wonderful presentation about the history of the Calcasieu Lumber Company.
The following is an excerpt from the Historic Landmark Commission:
“The [Calcasieu Lumber] company had standardized plans, and provided all the materials, even the crews for the construction of these houses on an owner’s site. Bungalow courts corresponded to motel courts of the 1920s and 1930s, but the houses were larger than the typical motel unit, and each one was either singly owned or the entire court was owned by a landlord and the houses rented out. The configuration was not unique to motel and bungalow courts, however; some upper-class residential developments of the era also followed the court configuration, which prized the houses facing each other with a common area for the front yards, and each building connected by a similarity of scale and style.”
This project stemmed from the owner’s unique desire to create a homestead that would blend generations while providing privacy through autonomous spaces. Our goal was to keep the design beautiful, simple, and timeless.
When possible, all the original windows were to be reconstructed and reused. In Phase I, plumbing fixtures from the original cottages were rehabilitated and reused. All of the spaces were maximized with a centralized core anchored by built-in cabinetry, which gives the small scaled home an open feeling while providing abundant storage. For the new construction in Phase II, shiplap from the interior walls of the original cottages will be repurposed for use in the new house’s primary features–the main staircase and the kitchen central volume–without altering the scale.
This Austin renovation project is a beautiful example of a modern-day innovative design that maintains a connection to history, incorporating multiple generations into a single household for living simply, within the much-loved Travis Heights community.
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Amity Worrel is an award-winning interior designer based in Austin, Texas. She has worked on high-end interior design projects for celebrities and tastemakers in NYC, LA, and the Bahamas. In 2008, Amity decided to bring her passion for diverse design back to her hometown of Austin. Her spaces pull from timeless design concepts ranging from coastal contemporary to cozy cottage to Austin eclectic. Emotional connections, functional flow, and a touch of humor remain central to every interior design scheme. Her work has been published in national and local publications, including The Wall Street Journal, House Beautiful, HGTV Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, and Austin Home. In her free time, she loves perusing estate sales and diving into design history. Learn more about Amity.