Peninsula Residence Brings Lake Austin Closer to Home

Photo Courtesy of Bercy Chen Studio LP
Based in Austin, Texas, Bercy Chen Studio LP has been designing and constructing luxury homes since 2001, with a focus on innovative designs that are based on environmentally sustainable business models. The architectural firm collaborates with their clients to ensure a plan is drawn up that is both unique and financially realistic to each particular project. They are also known to take existing structures and make drastic improvements, such as the Peninsula Residence on Lake Austin, originally built in the 1980's.

Prior to Bercy Chen Studio's involvement, the existing design didn't take advantage of the surrounding views, separating the home owner from the lake outside. According to the firm, the home also didn't properly respect the sight's ecological sensitivity. The goal was to create something inventive with the old house and by using glass, steel, detailing and various light allowances, we think they were pretty successful.

"Reflection, translucency, color and geometry conspire to bring natural light deep into the house," says Bercy Chen. The home is filled with floor-to-ceiling windows (as well as a tinted glass sheath surrounding the two chimneys) that work to blend the inside with the outside by reflecting the lake and bringing nature close to home. Shading devices are employed to cut down on need for air conditioning and the Low-E glass used throughout aids in keeping heat out.
The expansive residence has many features on the first floor, including the master bedroom (along with individual his and hers master baths), living and dining room, kitchen and service kitchen, a guest bedroom, and family room. Half of the home's backside is surrounded by water in really neat ways. We like how the outdoor reflecting pool, black granite solarium (an indoor/outdoor area that includes a pool bath and shower), and 45-foot-long pool (with spa jets on one end and shallow areas for kids) work together to appear as extensions of Lake Austin. Also outside is a boat dock that's meant to be the center of all outside gatherings. The deck has many shaded areas for relaxing, as well as an upper sky deck that has a garden and a jetted spa.
The second floor of the Peninsula Residence seems like a haven for kids, with a dedicated playroom that has a climbing wall, a media room that has a large couch and 360 degree mural on the walls, and a bedroom with built-in bunk beds meant to evoke a luxury yacht. Actually, much of the home features custom, built-in home furnishings that really add something interesting to the interior design, which is rounded out with luxury European furniture brands (including Flexform and Team 7). The playful library has a desk that's part of the slanted wall, as well as pull-out platforms and neat red lighting. There's also a hidden reading nook that overlooks the lake and doubles as a great sleeping space for guests.
One of the neatest features upstairs is the Green Roof. Adjacent to the two bedrooms, the deck space has a neat garden full of succulents. According to the firm, the deck employs technology that minimizes water usage and enables the plants to thrive in less than four inches of soil.

Most of the home is made up of custom hardware and we especially love the entry gate that pivots on an off-center post. It adds just the right amount of drama to the entryway, which has a front door made from starfire glass, adding to the home's overall use of transparency.

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