An Impressively Edgy Cliffside Home To Grow Old In

Sarah Tolle—Homify Canada Sarah Tolle—Homify Canada
homify Modern Houses
Loading admin actions …

This daring home, built by Specht architects is suspended on a narrow limestone ridge halfway down a cliff overlooking the placid Lake Austin, Texas. Built upon the frame of an existing 1970s-era home, the renovated structure has been redesigned to fit the lifestyle of its inhabitants, an elderly couple who have lived in the area for years. While the old structure seemed to totter dangerously at the bottom of a steep exterior ramp that led precariously from the above street to the home below, the new structure has incorporated a more solid framework and convenient access points that enhance its engagement with the surrounding bluff. The renovated model has also been designed to incorporate recycled materials and materials that have a personal meaning for the home's residents, creating space that abounds with personality, increases mobility, and convenience—both inside and out. 

The Old Ramp

Here's a glance at the old home and its ramp, which led from the street down a steep 25 foot decline into the home. As you can see, this entrance isn't the best choice for an elderly couple who require more secure and convenient access to the home. You'll see in the following images how this ramp has been replaced with a light-filled pavilion that overlooks the lake and opens onto a large rooftop herb garden. The home itself, which now incorporates three levels, has been given the addition of an elevator in order to make the coming and going as efficient as possible. 

A lighthearted entrance

This bright, modern, and bold entrance is a far cry from the dark and shadowed entrance of the previous structure. Here, this geometrically-inspired home sits proudly on the bluff, drawing strong horizontal lines with its bold white exterior walls and overhang. No more teetering on a steep ramp—this entrance offers solid footing, luxurious stone floors, and an assortment of herbs planted in a convenient raised bed (perfect for an avid gardener with limited mobility!). 

This is just the first example of many that show how the home has been made as mobile and maneuverable as possible—not an easy feat for such a precarious location! 

Evening paradise

The home now enjoys a backyard patio complete with wooden walkways, low lighting, an assortment of shrubs, and a dining table on wheels. Even this table has been made mobile, as you'll notice that it's made from an old cart and still preserves the functional wheels underneath. This is the first example of the refurbished materials that have been incorporated into the house—the others include flooring that the owners salvaged and saved, furniture made from a collection of industrial treasures, and stone from a quarry they would frequent during vacations.

An Airy Living Room

This living room offers the best possible layout for a cliffside home enjoying panoramic views—everything here is set up to take advantage of the large windows and the expansive views they provide. Devoid of a television, this living space focuses on the views beyond and the conversation within, creating a space that's distraction-free, friendly, and incredibly well-lit. Colour has been added in the dark maroon leather of the chairs, which is reflected on the contrast wall at the far end of the room. This subtle theme makes for a cohesive space drawn together by these colours, despite the fact that the assorted salvaged furniture embodies many different styles. 

A Mobile Kitchen

Here's a kitchen island offering the utmost convenience: a refurbished industrial table makes for a conveniently mobile island for this elderly couple! These rolling islands sit on a salvaged wooden floor that offers a variety of knots and colours in the wood, making for an edgy space that incorporates plenty of industrial elements and raw textures. 

Loving this unique kitchen island? Have a look at this collection of 7 more!


Everywhere you look, this home displays sharp angles and crisp edges, enhancing the cutting-edge appearance of the home. This dining room, especially, offers a unique theme infused with geometrical patterns, from the uniform rectangles in the cabinetry to the puzzling maze-like metal structures in the dining room table. Flanked by angular blue chairs on both sides, this dining room table is a unique and energetic feature of the home, and it's sure to inspire plenty of interesting dinner conversation surrounding its origins. 

Bed on wheels

Just another way that this couple has incorporated mobility into the home! This bed on wheels has been constructed from an industrial cart, making for a conveniently mobile bed!  With an antique chest resting beside it and a few vintage paintings on the walls, this spacious bedroom has been instilled with plenty of historical charm. While most of the home offers modern and industrially-inspired design, this bedroom incorporates more of a soft, furnished feeling, making for a comfortable spot to rest.

Recycling will always be in style—if you're looking for more stylish bedroom inspiration, have a look at these 8 stylish beds for inspiring the sweetest of dreams…

Sliding doors

It turns out that sliding doors aren't just for patios! This salvaged warehouse door makes quite the statement as it slides to reveal the guest room beyond! These architects have done a thorough job of adding a salvaged element to every room, allowing the home to tell many interesting stories through its salvaged features.  Once again, the addition of this industrial piece creates an edgy and unexpected ambience, while providing a high degree of maneuverability and mobility within the home. 

A last look

A final glance at the space shows the home in its environs, with Lake Austin resting below and the bluff's trees shading the left side of the home. What appears here to be a low-profile, simple design has actually revealed itself to be a complex wonder filled with salvaged treasures, interesting stories, and an array of materials and textures. The way these architects have been able to incorporate the couples story, past times, and favorite objects has turned this home into a stylish space infused with personality!

Need help with your home project?
Get in touch!

Highlights from our magazine