Why is Houston architect Karen Lantz putting up for sale the 1963 split-level cabin near Lake Travis she painstakingly brought back to life and renovated? To free up funds for more on-her-own projects for her family, she tells Swamplot. Of course, a real-estate listing of an architect’s own home can do double marketing duty: There’s always the chance someone might see your home and want to buy it! But there’s also a chance someone might see your home and want something kind of like it, but somewhere else. . . .
So Lantz went a little wild with the online show-and-tell, repurposing many of the images she had had taken and drawn of the property when she submitted it for professional recognition (both Lantz and the home won awards from the AIA last year) into a fancy listing website that pokes into all sorts of different sections of the half-acre lot, pointing out the “drainage swale,” “bamboo grove,” “firefly grotto” (with video of the bugs in action), “firefly patio,” BBQ patio, “arroyo,” swings (above left), and — oh, yeah, the house too:
Lantz purchased the property in Lago Vista with her husband in 2008, then significantly reworked it over the following year. The expanded 1,500-sq.-ft. result has 3 bedrooms on 2 stories and an 800-sq.-ft. deck overlooking the lake. Asking price: $549,000. A few before-and-afters:
- The Hive Lakeside Retreat [Lantz Full Circle]
- 6404 Lakeshore Dr. [Austin Home Search]
Photos: Hester + Hardaway/Lantz Full Circle
My family had a house on Travis, but it was a Mediterranean affair. I have no clue why this lady took the time and expense to redo a very ugly dated property into an arguably uglier reincarnation. It still looks like an out building at Camp Allen in Navasota. It certainly looks cleaner I’ll give you that, but better?–On the plus the view looks nice~
Love this house. Have had a couple fun weekends here and it works for two or up to seven people for a long weekend. Great deck. Great views. Fun fire pit!
I love this house, and I love Karen’s architectural tastes. Her home on Banks St is phenomenal also.
Has Lake Travis begun to rebound from the drought?
I like how she turned some of the cramped spaces in to open see throughs. Karen has done great work so I imagine that selling this must mean she’s cooking up something really neat(er)..
@Carol – Nope. Lake Travis is sitting at 39% of capacity right now. It’s a pretty sad sight.
She knocked a lot more light into the space while making it cozier and homier. Really love it.
I think this house is swell. Love the whimsy of the swings. Appreciate this one way more than a garish Mediterranean affair.
Must we endure “ringers” on Swamplot, waxing nostalgic about some weekend at this Mosquito net, blathering on about reclaiming their bohemian roots–It’s obvious they know this Karen woman, and would say her house was great if she had designed a rote cinderblock hut in Haiti—Hey, we loved our time in Cape Haitian, Karen’s design of the cinderblock outhouse was devine and her take on burglar bars was inspired!, she is AMAZING!!–Thanks Karen, you’re the next Calatrava!–
Despite my better judgement, I will respond to say that I am not a “ringer” as Shannon suggests. I lived in the neighborhood when she was building her Banks St house and witnessed the construction from start to finish. I don’t know Karen and she doesn’t know me. Why, Shannon, do you feel people must be lying if they say they like something that you don’t happen to like?
Why is she ready to give it up? Maybe because there’s no water in that lake. Pray for El Niño.
This is a really lovely ‘cabin’ (amazing that $550k and 1500 sqft constitutes a cabin in some minds – this is a house). The kitchen/dining/deck space is beautiful, only it is a shame that there is hardly any water left to look across.
The transformation of this house was amazing. I know because I happen to own the house next door to it! I don’t know Karen well because we don’t get there that often but the house is very comfortable and perfect for entertaining. There are many “green features” throughout as well. I can tell you that those swings are great fun for all ages! She did a really great job on the landscape – which can be a challenge in deer country. The street it is on has many friendly neighbors yet is very quiet. It backs up to the private homeowners park with picnic tables and boat ramp. Further around in the park are tennis courts, swimming pool, pavilion and playgrounds. Little known fact – the deck is the very best view for the awesome July 4th fireworks shot off in the park directly behind.
I don’t know Karen either. However, I do appreciate scale, light, uniqueness, and the touches of mod while retaining warmth. The fact that Shannon’s familia had a “Mediterranean affair” is pretty telling for her/his taste as well. Someone drawn to the Meds that line Austin, Travis, LBJ, Inks, etc… isn’t going to appreciate something as understated as this.
I’m not saying you’re lying, Carol, I simply think maybe your judgement is impared. You have to allow that maybe your opinion could be influenced by the fact you know this woman by name… I find it absurd that I’m like the only one on this thread that doesn’t feel Karen should win the Pritzker Prize and that this house should be canonized like Fallingwater. I mean, have a little perspective. It makes any body with a brain wonder of this thread really represents most objective peoples opinion of this house. I don’t like it and I’m not the least bit impressed with this woman’s work on this home, it’s hardly worthy of all the gushing on this thread–
@Shannon, there’s also no excuse for your utter contempt for anything you don’t like. It’s OK not to like something. It’s not so OK to call the owner/creator names and impugn their work just because their style isn’t your favorite. There’s a fine line between being a critic and being a jerk.
I like it! I don’t know Karen and have never been to Lake Travis, but the picture from the deck is beautiful. Don’t have $500k+ laying around, nor do I want to spend my weekends near Austin, but the house looks cool to me.
Simply do as I do, Ross–skip over readers comments that upset you. It’s absurd for you to get so worked up over my Comments. I have the right to my opinions—you find my comments abhorant et.al, so just don’t read them, it’s not hard–let this be the last comment that you read, it’s really not worth a trip to the ER because of lil’ ole me, do as Demi Lovoto says–give your great a break.
I find it peculiar that her next door neighbor who probably has never been on this blog in her life all the sudden is giving her two cents and that it seems evey single commenter just adores this house–I mean what are the odds. You can get 10 people to agree that Versailes is a masterpiece, yet everyone on here thinks this lady is the second coming of Frank Lloyd Wright and that this is her Taliesin. I mean is she like calling people to comment on this thread. Hey Mabel, I need to sell my abode on Travis and I’m not getting much traffic, I got Swamplot to do a story, so could you put down your organic water and sea weed soup and fire up your Mac Book and write a comment on what an absolute genius I am and how this house would make Le Corbusier rise up out of his slumber and give me a bow.
Oh for God ‘s sake give it a freaking rest Shannon. We get it. You don’t like it. You’d be better served finding some OCD medication than top posting every twenty minutes.
I’m fine, dude–I’m having a great Sunday, you’re the one giving yourself a coronary over something so trival. Why do you care what I think, Jesus, don’t read my comments if it’s going to cause your blood pressure to go thru the roof–enjoy your Sunday and relax–Christ
This is lovely. I think it belongs in Dwell, and I’d gladly spend a weekend there. It’s also nice that she found a way to restore, rather than demolish — takes more creativity and skill, in my opinion.
As far as comments go, wow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much name-calling and swearing on an architectural blog. Perhaps the reader thought she was on YouTube? ;-)
I think it’s splendid. Spend the day outside, and then in the evening, it would be a cozy place to watch “I Dream of Jeanie.”