I’m happy to interview Robin and share her story today about designing and building her own house in Austin, Texas. In this interview she talks about her design process, her general contracting work, and how she branched out from journalism to pursue a life of creating and building things, starting with her own house and guest house.
Robin was a journalist with a passion for understanding how things went together and letting her creativity guide her. After her architect convinced her to be her own general contractor, she was all in and hasn’t looked back since.
Building her guest house first (to use as a rental property), she has many lessons learned from that building process. Now ready to build her main house, she’s excited as ever to finalize the design and get to building.
In our interview, we break down Robin’s approach to design. She calls it a “spiritual exercise” in thinking about how a space should feel, how it’s intended to be used, and how big it should be. She describes architecture as being as much about the people inside the design, as it is just the design. Her story is fascinating and well worth the listen if you’re interested in learning how to design a space to fit your climate, your site, and yourself.
- Find a good piece of property in a good neighborhood and design to the site.
- Make sure the design of your house fits you and your lifestyle.
- Use your diverse skill sets from previous vocations, experiences, and personality to help with the project.
- Follow your fascination.
OPEN DOOR Resources
- The dogtrot house plan origin story (by 30×40 Design Workshop)
- Sketchup (free 3d sketching freeware)
- Low Design Office (Ryan’s architecture studio)
- The Ravine House (The conceptual design of Robin’s project by Low Design Office)
All photos courtesy Robin.