Derrington Building Studio

Derrington Building Studio

Austin, TX


EcoTone Home

A weekend retreat that focuses on combining sustainable principals with a reflective and considered lifestyle.


It is our belief that buildings should distill multiple functions from its systems and components. An example of this is parabolic solar water heater that ties the roof eaves together on the lake side of the house, provides hot water, and creates a landmark on the lake.


A multi-function detached studio is situated over the water. The concrete retaining wall reduces erosion potential and becomes an architectural element strongly separating the studio from the main house. This distance allows the user to become lost in their thoughts as they are isolated with the vast tranquility of the lake. When guests decide to spend the night, the studio easily becomes a bedroom suite with its built-in Murphy bed.


The EcoTone house is situated at the end of a driveway.  With the site minimally disturbed, the house veils your view upon arrival. The simple bareness of the durable material excites the visitor as they know that just beyond the entry is the great expanse of the lake.


The clients’ love for gardening becomes a bucolic bedroom view to offset the reflective void of the lake beyond. Raised planters discourage erosion and reduce the gardener’s bending and joint stress by bringing the plants and soil closer to the waist. Rainwater collection barrels provide a simple irrigation system that feeds the plants without a pump – less energy and less noise.


The modular storage wall in the living area was designed to shelve and display the clients’ massive book collection. To keep interior maintenance a low priority, most surfaces are durable from the hardwood floors to the engineered quartz countertops to the glass that comprises much of the exterior walls.  The interior spaces are simple, open, and clean with clear access to daylight and the outside.


The EcoTone House is built on piers to minimally disturb the fragile shoreline. Low awning windows take advantage of the cool breezes that are naturally vent through high hopper windows on the opposite wall. The clients have plenty of natural light, but are protected from the harsh summer sun by a long overhang on the south deck as well as super durable perforated metal solar screens. The reed garden on the left provides a simple architectural buffer as well as a mini percolation field to safely process graywater.

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Status: Unbuilt
Location: Lake Travis, Texas
Firm Role: Architect

View from kitchen
View from kitchen
View from master bedroom
View from master bedroom