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Specht Novak

Austin, TX
Photo: Taggart Sorensen

Regions Served

  • Boston & New England
  • Chicago & Midwest
  • Hawaii
  • Los Angeles & S. CA
  • New York City & Mid-Atlantic
  • Pacific Northwest
  • Rocky Mountains
  • San Francisco & Bay Area
  • Texas & Southwest

Specht Novak was founded on the vision of creating elegant, comfortable, and timeless buildings that are rooted in the unique environments in which they exist and shaped by the character of the people who will inhabit them.

Led by founding partner Scott Specht and partner Jakeb Novak, Specht Novak has over the past 30 years built a reputation as a forward-thinking, award-winning, modern architecture firm with a strong philosophy regarding the importance of craftsmanship, detailing and client service.

The firm’s work has been featured in over 250 publications worldwide including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Architectural Digest, Forbes, Travel + Leisure, and many others.

Specht Novak has also received numerous awards, including multiple honors from the American Institute of Architects, Texas
Society of Architects, LUXE, Architizer, NYC X Design, and a “Record House” award from Architectural Record.  The partners are frequently featured on podcasts, television shows, lectures (including TEDx), and other media outlets as thought leaders on the future of residential design.

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Details

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Contact

Locations

  • 5306 Middle Fiskville Rd., Suite A
    Austin, TX 78751
    512-382-7938

Featured Projects

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Preston Hollow Residence | Dallas, Texas

The Preston Hollow House blurs the lines between indoors and out. A floating pavilion roof hovers over the interior and exterior spaces while sliding glass panels and corrugated concrete walls define its courtyards. The house is open and light-filled yet provides seclusion from the street.

“It’s right in the middle of the city, yet you really can’t perceive any other houses.”
– Scott Specht, principal architect

Water helps link the exterior and interior spaces. A narrow channel, punctuated by cascading terraces and a gentle waterfall near the main entry, flows through the house and into the swimming pool. At night, lighting within the stream casts changing patterns on the textured walls.

The concrete walls were cast using custom formwork that creates a corrugated appearance on one side while remaining smooth on the other. Unlike the brutalist architecture of the 1960s, however, the monolithic walls are countered by delicate steel columns, frameless windows, and flowing water.

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Photos: Casey Dunn & Manolo Langis
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Casa Annunziata | Sheffield, Massachusetts

Annunziata means “spiritual announcement” in Italian— and it is an appropriate descriptor for this immaculately minimalist space and the intensely ornamental art collection inside.

Set toward the back of a 4.5 acre field surrounded by large trees, the symmetrical home is on-axis with the entry road, so that on approach you see a perfectly balanced composition. The drive curves around the home providing a variety of perspectives before reaching the entry to the house, which has a view back through the glass walls to the field beyond.

“It’s magical living in a glass house, living in nature, in the garden, together with deer, wild turkeys and lots of birds.”
– The Annunziatas

The home is a 2,000 square foot single-story pavilion with a thin floating roof that cantilevers 15’ from the perimeter walls — an extreme departure from the owners’ previous 18th century farm house. The open interior features a central living space with a bedroom suite at each end. It serves as a rotating gallery for the owners’ collection of ornamental objects and art collected over a lifetime.

(Visited 396 times, 1 visits today)
Photos: Dror Baldinger
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Sangre de Cristo House | Santa Fe, New Mexico

Set into a ridge-top in Santa Fe, two large, perpendicular board-formed concrete walls create this home’s structure. The walls link the interior and exterior spaces with the arid landscape while providing a true sense of shelter. A narrow skylight runs the entire 125′ of one of the walls and casts shifting shadows on the rough concrete throughout the day.

“There’s a nice progression of sunlight through the house, not unlike a sundial. It’s just beautiful.”
– S. Claire Conroy, Residential Design

You enter through a recessed courtyard into a cool, private vestibule. An opening cut into the wall leads into the body of the house where large expanses of glass reveal panoramic views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. A cantilevered roof shades the large windows as well as the porches tucked around the perimeter.

(Visited 396 times, 1 visits today)
Photos: Taggart Sorensen, Casey Dunn
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Bridgehampton House | Bridgehampton, New York

The Bridgehampton House is a major renovation and reconstruction of an existing 1980’s house near the Long Island shore. We added large windows and clerestory glazing, letting the views and natural light be the focus of the interior spaces. Simple, utilitarian materials such as sealed plywood and bleached cedar complement the architecture, and provide for a bright, comfortable coastal home.

(Visited 396 times, 1 visits today)
Photos: Taggart Sorenson
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New Canaan Residence | New Canaan, Conneticut

This residence, nestled into a clearing in a lush forested landscape, was designed to immerse its occupants in the full range of environments that the site offers. A winding drive brings visitors through the forest to arrive at an open hilltop court that is defined by the low, embracing form of the house. The house is built on a steep grade, with the entry on the second level, so as you move inside, the feeling of grounded horizontality becomes one of floating in the treetops. The tree canopy enfolds the interior space and creates a visual perimeter that changes with the seasons.
A staircase tucked behind the free-standing fireplace leads down to the lower level of the house, which is carved into the earth and gives onto the forest floor. The cozy nature of the lower level provides an experiential contrast to the expansive and light-filled level above.

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Photos: Elizabeth Felicella
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Casa Xixim | Tulum, Mexico

This villa hotel, on a narrow lot fronting a protected bay in Tulum, Mexico, is designed to be fully self-sufficient, and to immerse its occupants in the range of environments that the site offers. A narrow path brings visitors through dense vegetation to a large living- dining-kitchen space that is fully open to the beach beyond. The living spaces can be closed at night by a bank of large wooden louver panels that pocket into the walls.
Both sides of all bedrooms can also be fully opened, maximizing views and allowing prevailing winds to provide cooling. The house is powered by a photovoltaic canopy that shades a large rooftop hammock terrace. The terrace also collects rainwater that is filtered and stored for use. The house is grid-tied, produces no excess, and works in harmony with its surroundings.

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Photos: Taggart Sorensen
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Manhattan MicroLoft | Manhattan, New York

This project involved the radical transformation of a tiny, awkward apartment at the top of a six-story building. The existing apartment had only 425 square feet of floor area, but a ceiling height of over 24 feet. The new design creates a flowing interior landscape that takes advantage of this height, allowing light to spill down from above, and creating a bright, open, and comfortable home.
The architectural strategy was to create four “living platforms” that accommodate everything necessary, while still allowing vertical space between the platforms. The spaces are stacked and interleaved, with a cantilevered bed that hovers out over the main living space, an ultra-compact bath tucked beneath the stair, and a roof garden with windows that allows light to cascade through the house. Every inch is put to use, with stairs featuring built-in storage units below, similar to Japanese kaidan dansu. The apartment is crafted like a piece of furniture, with hidden and transforming spaces for things and people.

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Photos: Taggart Sorensen
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Beach Haven Residence | Long Beach Island, New Jersey

Our Beach Haven Home sits tucked away on a narrow lot along the Atlantic coast in New Jersey. We’ve built something open and light-filled that takes advantage of its beautiful setting while adhering to the strict square-footage and height restrictions required by law.

The house can comfortably accommodate a family of five. The upper level features an ocean-facing master suite, while each child has their own, uniquely styled “ship’s cabin.” The lower level includes a guest room / office, lounge, elevated hot tub area, and a large living space with a kitchen. All of this fits nicely within its compact 2,500 square foot envelope.

Boat building techniques were used in the home’s construction. The roof is completely fiberglass while the exterior components are stainless steel. The glass in the windows has the highest hurricane-rating available. Two types of cedar are used on the exterior, providing a contrasting sculptural form to the house.

“The result is a striking contemporary design that maximizes the lot’s compact space, complies with all FEMA regulations, is robust enough to withstand the Jersey Shore’s often harsh and unforgiving climate, yet delivers a stylish and very comfortable family vacation home.”
– Andrew Conway, Ocean Home

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Photos: Taggart Sorensen
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Cliffside Residence | Austin, Texas

Suspended on a narrow limestone ridge halfway down a cliff overlooking Lake Austin, this home was designed to enhance the drama of living in such an unusual natural setting. We opened up both the water side and the cliff-face side with large windows, and provided decks for outdoor living at multiple levels.
This was a major renovation of a deteriorating 1970’s-era house. The original entry was via a dangerous exterior ramp that ran from street level down to a front door 25’ below. The entry is now via a light-filled pavilion that overlooks the lake and opens onto a large rooftop herb garden. A sequence of stairs, supplemented by an elevator, descends through the three levels of the house, revealing views of both the lake and the limestone cliff as you work your way down.
Materials incorporated into the house include flooring that the owners salvaged, furniture made from a collection of industrial parts they collected, and stone from a quarry they frequented during vacations. The house expresses the unique and charming character of its owners

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Photos: Andrea Calo, Taggart Sorensen
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Modern Barn | Wilton, Conneticut

We created this modern home out of a 19th-century gambrel barn once part of a working dairy farm. The structure, which was burned to its frame in a fire years ago, has been transformed into a weekend retreat for a couple actively engaged in the arts – he as a Broadway producer, she as a fashion editor – and their two Labrador Retrievers.

The barn and silo exteriors are restored to remain contextual with the other farm buildings while the interiors are radically reconstructed. The entire second floor is removed and an exterior buttress creates a free volume within. The master bedroom sits in a glass “perch” that looks down on the open, public spaces below it.

“The architects create texture and scale with a solid and void plywood band that subtly denotes the upper floor of the structure.”
– Christine Chang Hanway, Remodelista

Materials for the interior consist of simple yet elegant materials, such as polished concrete, second-grade oak flooring, and maple plywood. The interior and exterior connect visually through a wall of glass doors to the garden and the rolling fields beyond.

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Photos: Michael Moran
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Weston Residence | Weston, Conneticut

The Weston Residence nestles in a valley adjacent to the Saugatuck River. This small house blurs the distinction between the built and its breathtaking surroundings.

“The architects immersed the concrete and glass house in the landscape so that a series of green rooftop terraces gently step down from the street to the river below.”
– Architectural Record

The roof is the first thing you’ll see when arriving by the windy road from a cliff above. Thus, it’s been transformed into a lush, green landscape. Terraces planted with year-round, region-specific succulents step down the hill, and bedrooms project out into these roof gardens. You feel immersed in the surrounding forest.

Views, portals, and material continuity join the interior and exterior spaces. A glass-backed fireplace provides an elegant surprise when stepping into the living area. The landscape becomes the decoration for the rooms, playing between transparency during the day and reflectivity at night.

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Photos: Taggart Sorensen, Jasper Lazor
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West Lake Hills Residence | West Lake Hills, Texas

This house was originally a small, 1970s-era “French style” house atop a hill among an expansive oak tree canopy. Our goal was to create a larger more transparent home that allowed the landscape to flow through all the living spaces, all while preserving the live oaks.

“It’s all a stunning example of not just creatively bringing the outside in, but stylishly kicking-up the inside to reflect the outdoor energy even more.”
– Austin Home

A masonry support wall weaves between the trees and lifts the primary mass of the house off the ground. These walls extend to form interior and exterior rooms, defining family spaces on the lower level, while supporting a “floating box” of enclosed bedrooms and private spaces above.

A muted palette of materials at the lower level provides predominate views towards the landscape, while personally-chosen materials and colors express the individuality of each family member at the upper level.

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Photos: Taggart Sorensen & Casey Dunn, Casey Dunn
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Doyle Hall | Austin, Texas

The Doyle Hall renovation and new classrooms wing at St. Edward’s University creates a welcoming space from an unused lot. Parallel wings of faculty offices define a courtyard serviced by a new café in the former chapel. Now, students and faculty can mingle and have coffee beneath a centuries-old oak tree.

The new classrooms wing takes cues from the adjacent 1950s building. Exposed concrete bays and wall panels create both a visual and physical link between the two structures.

“The new wing recasts elements of the old building in an elegant contemporary idiom, a gesture that’s at once compliment and complement.”
– Marc Kristal, Metropolis

The design deploys a “stealth architecture” that works to bind the existing elements together. This allows them to be seen and used in a new way.

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Photos: Taggart Sorensen
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Indeed.com Headquarters | Austin, Tokyo, Dublin, and other cities

Specht Novak has collaborated with Indeed.com on the design of their global headquarters spaces, including several large campus projects in Austin and Stamford CT, as well as offices in Dublin, Tokyo, Hyderabad, Seattle, San Francisco, Scottsdale, and other cities.  We have also developed Design Standards documentation for the company and defined the conceptual framework for future Indeed.com spaces.

Indeed wished to express their forward-looking, people-oriented business through offices that are visually striking, but also warm and comfortable. Textural materials such as wood, brick, and concrete are integrated with large tech-oriented display screens and linear light strips.  Plants, trees, and hand-painted murals are incorporated into most spaces.  The overall feel is a layering of technology, humanity, and nature.

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Photos: Andrea Calo, Chase Daniel, Donal Murphy
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zeroHouse

The zeroHouse is a compact, prefabricated house that is easily shipped and quickly assembled. It features a full kitchen, bath, and all elements to comfortably support four adults. What sets the zeroHouse apart from other prefab structures is the ability to operate independently, without the need for any external connections. The zeroHouse generates its own power, processes its own waste, collects and stores rainwater, and requires minimal maintenance.

“Best for people who wish the Jetsons were real.”
– Popular Mechanics

zeroHouse can be used in many applications, including residential uses in remote or ecologically sensitive locations, as ecotourism resort units, or as living/office modules for remote employment such as mining, construction, or relief agency uses. With the zeroHouse you can live anywhere – comfortably.

If you’d like more information on the zeroHouse, including detailed specifications, please drop us a line in the contacts section of this site.

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Photos: Renderings
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The Carpenter Hotel | Austin, Texas

In a grove of pecan trees, between the Barton Springs swimming hole and downtown, sits The Carpenter Hotel. A restaurant, café, event pavilion, and 93 guest rooms surround a tree-shaded courtyard and pool.

“It is a new take on the idea of adaptive re-use that doesn’t mimic what was existing, or create a bright line between the “old” and the “new”, but a stealth approach that merges all the parts into an urban collage that feels unforced and authentic.”
– Scott Specht, principal architect, for Forbes

A sense of place drives the design – the desire to create something natural to its location, neighborhood, and the city as a whole. The hotel preserves and incorporates almost all of the original heritage pecan trees growing on the site. Its restaurant and lobby feature pecan wood boards from any fallen or damaged trees. An existing mid-century utilitarian union hall for Carpenter’s Local 1266 is repurposed as the lobby and restaurant. The new hotel building, shade canopies, and Quonset hut-based pavilion have a new and distinct architectural expression. Yet, their forms and materials are harmonious with the existing union hall and local industrial buildings. It’s all a new take on the idea of adaptive re-use that doesn’t mimic what was existing. Instead, it merges all the parts into a collage that feels effortless and authentic.

An exposed rough-concrete frame composes the new hotel building. It’s infill walls are made of locally-sourced clay masonry blocks and recycled steel oil-drilling pipe. All materials are expressed as-is. Spacing and the patterning of basic elements create any decorative effects. There is no attempt to mimic historic styles or follow architectural trends. It is simple and direct, and its power comes from this straightforward expression.

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Photos: Chase Daniel
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New American House | Austin, Texas

New American House inverts the form of the typical freestanding residence, creating a livable oasis in otherwise undesirable areas or lots, such as industrial warehouse zones, abandoned retail sites, parcels next to highways, alley lots, and other seemingly unappealing places to live.

“New American House is modern in every way, but the design brings to mind many ancient design concepts.”
– KC Morgan, Inhabitat

The plan roughly follows a traditional Roman house model but features multiple smaller courtyards that allow for privacy at each bedroom. The exterior is a blank canvas—concrete block walls and a large steel door—which can be left as-is to fade into the background or decorated to stand out. The private roofscape features a garden, solar panels, and landing pad for delivery drones.

The privacy and small footprint of the home allow for immense versatility in location, including as part of growing urban infill trends. Stay tuned, Scott Specht is currently designing and building the first New American House in Austin, Texas. Estimated completion in 2023.

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Photos: NA
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Treetops House | Austin, Texas

The Treetops House is a renovation and expansion of a 1955 suburban ranch home. The original house was typical for its time – a sprawling single-story with small windows and clad entirely in Texas limestone. The new design transforms the house into a bright and inviting modern home.

The history of a place should be preserved. Thus, the design maintains the limestone perimeter wall and adds a second level. This top level has large, frameless glass windows and opens the interior to create double-height spaces. These large windows and open spaces bring in light from above and into the center of the house. The large cantilever overhangs provide shade at all times of the day.

“The new composition is one which is clearly of its time, but also respects and reflects the time and place in which the original house was created.”
– Michele Koh Morollo, Dwell

The design also invites a connection with the outdoor areas. The surrounding treescape provides a beautiful backdrop to the intimate interior spaces. Cladding of charred cypress prevents glare and adds a textural counterpoint. A large kitchen has countertop-height serving windows that open onto a pool terrace and entertaining area. Native grasses and other low-maintenance plantings comprise the landscaping.

(Visited 396 times, 1 visits today)
Photos: Casey Dunn
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Recreation and Athletic Center | Austin, Texas

St. Edward’s University initially planned to demolish their Recreation and Athletic Center and construct a completely new facility. We proposed a budget-conscious and environmentally sustainable strategy to repurpose and expand the existing building and turn it into a new landmark of health and wellness.

By reclaiming a parking lot, the addition connects the existing building to the main campus green. This new “active facade” of the center includes and outdoor performance space with stepped seating and a beacon-like studio on the second floor. The glass-enclosed cube creates a connection between the new facility and the heart of the campus.

“Almost jewel box-like in its conception, Specht Architects designed the space to enhance the current athletic center rather than replace it.”
– Katie Friel, Culture Map

This project employed a highly sustainable strategy to re-use as much of the existing building and source new materials both locally and sustainably. The new addition improved functionality and quality for the students while maintaining accordance with Greenguard, EnergyStar, the Forest Stewardship Council, and other relevant groups.

(Visited 396 times, 1 visits today)
Photos: Andrea Calo
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Pelham Manor | Pelham Manor, New York

Built in 1961, the mid-century modern home was the first residential project by female architecture pioneer Judith Edelman and husband Harold, of The Edelman Partnership (now ESKW/A). The Edelmans were modernist architects and this was a case study. They lived in the home for many years before later owners made unfortunate updates to the home that detracted from the original modernist intent.

A fallen tree that leveled a sunroom addition was the final push towards a gut renovation of the home back to its original integrity while bringing it up to present day standards. In addition to rehabilitating the mid-century charm, the renovation also expanded the house from 2,400 square feet, to 3,900 square feet.

“With the goal of maintaining the home’s original spirit while updating it for energy efficiency and a more contemporary way of living, Mr. Specht got to work.”
– Tim McKeough, New York Times

The exterior of the home was completely stripped, rebuilt, and extended to create a modern facade with more privacy and energy efficiency while maintaining the allure of the original cedar wood planks. Inside, white oak floors tie the entire home together from an updated kitchen with custom oak cabinetry through to a fleshed out lower level with new family room and additional bedroom.

The intent was to pay homage to the local New York architecture couple by keeping their legacy alive, updating the home in way that respects the design intent.

(Visited 396 times, 1 visits today)
Photos: Dror Baldinger
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Greenwich Street Loft | Manhattan, New York

Light was the central idea behind the renovation of this industrial loft space in Lower Manhattan. We maintained the open “workshop floor” character while creating a bright and comfortable kitchen, entry hall, and bedroom. A palette of bone-white ash wood paneling and white plaster walls carry the light from the perimeter windows deep into the large living and dining areas.

“This handcrafted approach to each space results in a home that is both modern and timeless.”
– Scott Specht, Principal

Detailing of the space complements the original industrial feel of the building. Vertical battens line the entry hall and conceal hidden doors to a powder room and laundry. Original vaulted concrete ceiling and a steel-clad fire door are maintained and highlighted. A new fireplace has built-in wood storage and niches for art. The home feels livable while remaining true to its utilitarian history.

(Visited 396 times, 1 visits today)
Photos: Andrea Calo
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Ammamma Legacy Residence | Dallas, Texas

Weaving through a lush, densely wooded waterfront site, this house pays homage to both nature and the owner’s South Indian heritage. Designed with utmost respect for the site, the forms of the house are designed to preserve all the towering trees, minimizing disruption to the pristine surroundings.

Elevated on a striking plinth and surrounded by water features, the house floats above its picturesque location. Large, cantilevered terraces and floor-to-ceiling windows blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces, allowing the natural beauty of the site to predominate. Sunlight permeates the tree canopy, casting enchanting patterns within the open living areas.

The South Indian influence is evident in the intricate details and cultural motifs that adorn the interiors. Warm, earthy tones and unusual materials create a harmonious blend of modern and traditional.  A Theravadu, or Heritage Room, surrounded by a large, recessed water feature forms the emotional heart of the house. It is filled with architectural elements fabricated in India and enhancing the sense of direct connection to the owner’s roots.

(Visited 396 times, 1 visits today)
Photos: NA
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Chatham House | Chatham, New Jersey

This house in a small New Jersey town merges modern design with a traditional surrounding neighborhood by thoughtfully modulating scale and materials. The lower level is anchored to the site with solid cast concrete, providing a strong foundation, while the upper level showcases a lighter facade of stucco complemented by warm wood accent panels.

Inside, the house is welcoming, with an extensive use of warm interior materials like wood and stone. A standout feature is the central staircase that serves as the heart of the home. It not only connects the various levels but also acts as a focal point, with a skylight above flooding the core of the house with natural light.

The house maintains an efficient and compact footprint, perfectly suited for its narrow site. This thoughtful layout optimizes space while allowing for an abundance of natural light and seamless integration with the outdoors.

(Visited 396 times, 1 visits today)
Photos: NA
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Halite House | Austin, Texas

This modern urban house in Austin’s Zilker neighborhood is a striking blend of architecture and nature. Nestled on a small, tree-filled lot, the design prioritizes preserving the existing tree canopy while maximizing land usage. The house is composed of cubic crystalline forms, creating an intriguing geometric composition.

To connect the indoors with the lush surroundings, the design incorporates plenty of glass, carefully positioned to ensure privacy. This balance allows residents to enjoy the greenery while maintaining a sense of seclusion. The result is a modern oasis that seamlessly integrates with the natural beauty of Austin’s Zilker neighborhood, where contemporary design meets urban tranquility.

(Visited 396 times, 1 visits today)
Photos: NA
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Jewell House | Austin, Texas

This house seamlessly blends modern design with the rich textures of Mexico and South America. Situated on a compact urban corner lot, it maximizes space and connectivity to the outdoors. The exterior showcases an exposed structural frame filled with panels of glass and terracotta tile, creating a striking fusion of natural and handmade materials.

The clever use of the site includes a sunken garden in the front and multiple levels of terraces that promote indoor-outdoor living, even in a densely populated urban environment. Inside, the interior exudes warmth and character, with hand-painted terra cotta accents, warm wood finishes, and exposed beams. This house is a harmonious melding of modern aesthetics and vibrant, earthy traditional elements, offering a unique and inviting living experience in the heart of the city.

(Visited 396 times, 1 visits today)
Photos: NA
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Kazoku House | Dallas, Texas

Nestled on a small peninsula on Turtle Creek in Dallas, this modern home draws inspiration from traditional Japanese architecture with an expressed post and beam structural frame, cantilevered upper floors, and deep roof overhangs.  These elements are not just aesthetic—the cantilevered upper floors and the broad roof both provide multiple layers of shading from the harsh Texas sun.

The house is anchored to the site with a “plinth” of cast concrete.  The visual weight of this base contrasts the lightness of the structure above and forms a series of terraces for family use.  Inside, a double-height entry and living space form the heart of the home, and a series of interior bridges connect the upper-level rooms.  The interior spaces are minimalist but clad in warm wood tones that make them comfortable and inviting.

This fusion of Japanese aesthetics and modern design creates a tranquil retreat, seamlessly connecting residents with nature while providing a sophisticated and serene living experience.

(Visited 396 times, 1 visits today)
Photos: NA
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Specht Novak portrait 3

Log Tavern Pond House | Milford, Pennsylvania

Many of the neighboring properties of this lakeside site feature “Usonian-style” houses from the 1950’s and ‘60’s that were modeled on the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.  We drew inspiration from this context, and designed our Log Tavern Pond House with the long, low proportions, natural materials, and light-filled spaces that are common in these works.

The street-facing side of the house features a porch with a large cantilevered roof, and narrow ribbon windows. These elements create an entry that is welcoming yet provides a great deal of privacy.  The lake-facing side, however, opens completely to the view, with floor-to-ceiling glass and a second-level terrace with an outdoor spa.  The house is a plane of transition—a place to move from the public sphere to the private, nature-oriented character of the site.

(Visited 396 times, 1 visits today)
Photos: NA
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Meridian House | Indianapolis, Indiana

Designed for an art collector, this house is a harmonious blend of minimalist aesthetics and functional elegance. Its exterior draws inspiration from the clean lines and geometric precision of Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt sculptures, yet it remains grounded in its context through the use of warm, textured brick infill panels.

Inside, you’ll discover the heart of the house—a true gallery space designed to showcase the owner’s art collection in the best possible light. The roof system features a raised “light monitor” with clerestory windows and reflecting surfaces to provide a gentle, diffuse north light, ensuring that the art is protected and presented as intended.

The living spaces of the house are also galleries in themselves, with white surfaces and lighting that enhance art display.  Other finishes, such as light wood floors and subtly toned stone walls, in selected areas are a warm and inviting complement to the gallery-like nature of the house.

(Visited 396 times, 1 visits today)
Photos: NA
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Mira Vista House | Fort Worth, Texas

This modern house takes direct cues from mid-century design and is located within a wooded area near a golf course, with a picturesque creek as its backdrop. The exterior features natural dry-stack stone walls that ground the structure in its surroundings. Abundant floor-to-ceiling windows connect the indoors with the outdoors, filling the living spaces with natural light and providing panoramic views of the surroundings.

Inside, the house boasts an open and minimalist layout. The kitchen is sleek and functional, designed for both casual family gatherings and formal entertaining.

One of the standout features of this home is its generous outdoor terrace space. These terraces, partially covered, extend from various parts of the house, offering ample room for outdoor dining, relaxation, and socializing. They seamlessly blend with the natural landscape, creating a tranquil retreat where residents can enjoy the serene beauty of the woods and creek that surround the property.

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Photos: NA
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Palomar House | Dallas, Texas

Rising on a corner site in an area of Dallas that is rebuilding after destruction by a tornado, this highly sculptural house will be a bold and prominent presence in the renewed neighborhood. Its dynamic, formal composition features large cantilevers and multiple terraces, creating a compelling and distinctive structure in the landscape.

Inside, the sense of drama continues with soaring ceilings that rise to over 20’.  An abundance of glass ushers in natural light, creating a bright and open interior that blurs the boundaries between indoors and outdoors. The design draws inspiration from pop art, with vibrant colors, glossy finishes, and bold geometric elements defining the interior spaces.

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Photos: NA
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Samsara Arc House | Austin, Texas

Perched dramatically on a cliffside high above the waters of Lake Austin, the form of this modern house is a graceful, sweeping arc that not only responds to the steep and challenging site, but also offers a dynamic interplay of shifting perspectives above the waterfront.

Crafted entirely from concrete, this structure appears to be sculpted from a single monolithic piece, lending it an almost otherworldly quality. The concrete frame is fitted with expansive floor-to-ceiling glass, maximizing natural light, and offering panoramic views of Lake Austin and its surroundings.

The house seems to float atop a carefully designed setback base, enhancing its sculptural character.  Viewed from the water, it is a dramatic presence against the wooded backdrop. At night, it appears as a perforated lantern glowing in the darkness.

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Photos: NA
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specht novak tesuque rendering 01

Tesuque House | Santa Fe, New Mexico

In the enchanting landscape of Tesuque, New Mexico, this modern compound was designed to be a fusion of historical precedent and innovation. Drawing inspiration from the iconic forms found in Santa Fe architecture, the house pays homage to the region’s heritage while embracing the industrial allure of the roadside architectures that trace nearby Route 66. It is not merely a renovation; it’s a complete transformation and harmonization of diverse elements on an existing property.

Comprising an artful assemblage of structures, this compound is composed around a central courtyard, creating a serene oasis for relaxation and contemplation. In the heart of this compound lies a social area with pool, spa, fire pit, and many terraces for seating.

With a design that gracefully nestles into its surroundings, this low-slung composition becomes one with the land, its lines echoing the contours of the natural terrain. This serene retreat within the stunning landscapes of Tesuque celebrates several aspects of the past while embracing the future.

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Photos: NA
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specht novak vashon rendering 01

Vashon Island House | Vashon, Washington

Designed for the lush and heavily forested landscape of northwest Washington state, this modern house harmoniously blends with its natural surroundings. Its exterior is defined by sleek, all-metal roofing and wall cladding, creating a contemporary contrast against the verdant backdrop. Large glass panels at the gable ends of the house frame captivating views of the surrounding forest and bring in ample natural light.

The interior exudes warmth and coziness, with wood accents throughout. A focal point of the house is the large stone-clad hearth at its center, offering both visual intrigue and functional comfort. This long, linear residence gracefully follows the slope of the site, integrating into the terrain while celebrating the unique beauty of its Pacific Northwest setting.

(Visited 396 times, 1 visits today)
Photos: NA

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