A 400-Year-Old Oak Tree Shades a Revitalized Midcentury Ranch Home in Austin



A 1955 home is brightened up and reimagined by Austin-based Lemmo Architecture and Design.

The real stars of this 1950s ranch home are the two giant live oaks that live in the front and back yards. To let the landscaping stand out, the Lemmos painted the exterior Woodland White by Benjamin Moore and matched the front door to the beautiful blue master bathroom vanity.

After a year of searching, San Francisco transplants Liz Armistead and Bill Broome found their dream home—a 1,400-square-foot ranch house in Austin’s Travis Heights neighborhood. The residence was outdated, but the 400-year-old live oak tree on the back of the property was just too enticing to pass up. They fell in love with its potential and reached out to Stephanie and Ryan Lemmo, the principals of Lemmo Architecture and Design, for a full remodel and contemporary master suite addition. 

The existing patio was updated and stained. Neutral furniture matches the interiors and plays against the black-framed windows.

The existing patio was updated and stained. Neutral furniture matches the interiors and plays against the black-framed windows.

Photo: Chase Daniel

“The house was in pretty good shape and had been renovated not too long ago, but was very dark and closed off,” Ryan Lemmo explains. “The spaces were chopped up, there was no real master bedroom, and they had few closets and little natural light.”

The real stars of this 1950s ranch home are the two giant live oaks that live in the front and back yards. To let the landscaping stand out, the Lemmos painted the exterior Woodland White by Benjamin Moore and matched the front door to the beautiful blue master bathroom vanity.

The real stars of this 1950s ranch home are the two giant live oaks that live in the front and back yards. To let the landscaping stand out, the Lemmos painted the exterior Woodland White by Benjamin Moore and matched the front door to the beautiful blue master bathroom vanity.

Photo: Chase Daniel

For the homeowners, it was all about being able to live in their very own oasis—one that was light, bright, and airy and that provided shelter from the sweltering Texas summers. Thus, they also requested a pool inspired by their favorite Austin hangout: Hotel San Jose.

The first task the husband-and-wife architects tackled was the lack of natural light. They added more windows and removed the grey paint covering the entire interior, replacing  it with a clean and crisp white. 

The couple had spent a lot of time in Palm Springs, as well as at Austin's Hotel San Jose, and they knew they wanted a pool to provide relief from the Texas heat. Ryan Lemmo sketched out the pool location so the couple could enjoy the live oaks and landscaping during their daily summer swims.

The couple had spent a lot of time in Palm Springs, as well as at Austin’s Hotel San Jose, and they knew they wanted a pool to provide relief from the Texas heat. Ryan Lemmo sketched out the pool location so the couple could enjoy the live oaks and landscaping during their daily summer swims.

Photo: Chase Daniel

See the full story on Dwell.com: A 400-Year-Old Oak Tree Shades a Revitalized Midcentury Ranch Home in Austin
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