A purposefully tilted house in Austin, TX, is the result of a project bringing together an artist and a newly minted architect with a master’s degree.
“I had bought this vacant lot, and I emailed all my architect friends and asked if any of them wanted to help me build a tiny house on this lot,” says its owner, a gardener and stone artist, Randy Jewart.
Garrett Martin responded to Jewart’s plea. An architect, Martin didn’t have a job and welcomed the chance to work on a real project after spending years solely in an academic setting.
So the duo conjured up a design for what became the slanting house on Meador Avenue on the city’s north side.
There are now three tilted structures on the 8,102-square-foot lot. The biggest structure measures 540 square feet, and the three buildings make up a total of around 900 square feet of living space.
The list price for the cockeyed compound is currently $444,444—a $111,111 increase on the initial $333,333 asking price.
The listing agent, Jonna Juul-Hansen, says the increase was intended to add in the value of the structures instead of just the land beneath them. If a buyer only wants the land, Jewart has a buyer lined up for the structures, with a plan to transport them to another piece of property.
After just a few days on the market, the house has already attracted offers, with some buyers wanting to keep things exactly as is, and others just interested in the plot of land.
Either way, Jewart’s mission is clear. “Randy’s ultimate goal is to not have these torn down,” says Juul-Hansen.
For $333,333, a buyer can acquire the land, and Jewart will sell the structures separately. At the $444,444 price point, a buyer is less likely to tear down the tilted trio of buildings, since they’re factored into the final price.
“We’re trying to use the increase of price as a way to ensure that somebody has made a commitment to actually buy the structures and not just buy a tear-down,” Jewart explains.
As for the quirky torque of the buildings, they’re built on a solid rationale, based on the sun.
“The tilt is a result of … energy efficiency that’s achieved by the shape and the positioning of the house on the lot, in relation to the sun and its path during different times of the year,” Jewart explains. “The unique shape tries to help avoid the sunlight in the middle of the summer, and get more sunlight during the middle of the winter.”
With the help of a few subcontractors, Jewart and his architect did much of the work themselves, using store-bought lumber for framing and repurposed metal cladding for much of the rest of the structure.
Some of the metal came from a house that was being remodeled, and other pieces came from a building at Austin’s former Robert Mueller Municipal Airport.
“Lots of people ask if it’s a shipping-container project, and it was inspired by that. But it’s traditional stick-frame construction,” Juul-Hansen says.
She adds that the structures are completely permitted.
In the main structure, there’s a lofted bedroom area, a kitchen space, and a wild bathroom.
“The shower has an indoor/outdoor feeling, with big plants. Essentially, it feels like you’re outdoors, when you’re in there with the palm,” Juul-Hansen says. “The whole thing just feels super healthy. It feels like the right way to live when you’re out there on that property.”
The walls are mostly pegboard, to allow the occupants to position and hang things wherever they want. There are movable ladders to allow access to higher spaces.
And although the place is small, it doesn’t feel like it.
“The tilts, when you’re on the inside, help it not to feel as claustrophobic and boxy. The way that we’ve constructed the inside makes it surprisingly spacious for such a small house,” Jewart explains.
The other two structures are studios that can also be used as sleeping spaces, but have no bathrooms. A large deck surrounds the structures, and offers nearly 1,000 square feet of outdoor space.
The property also boasts a large garden, an orchard with fruit trees, and a chicken coop.
Jewart says it’s time to sell this passion project, so he can move on to new adventures with his family. He adds he was lucky his building partner was an architect, as well as a former rocket scientist who swoons over precise measurements and planning.
“We were kind of like the odd couple, which worked out great,” Jewart says. “My general approach is to be artistic and impulsive. It was a really a great balance, because if he had tried to do it himself, I think he would still be trying to build seven years later, and if I had tried to build it myself, it probably would have looked horrible and maybe even fallen down.”
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