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So I walked around inside one of the Urban Nature homes...

by tom mot last modified Apr 25, 2005 03:36 PM
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So I walked around inside one of the Urban Nature homes...

Posted by tom mot at April 25. 2005

Over the weekend we continued our quest to find a house to rent, and by default, ran across tons of cool modernist homes in South Austin. It really seems to be catching on down there. In any case, we decided to peer in the windows of one of the Urban Nature homes, the two story one on South 2nd to be exact. Walking around back, I tried the sliding glass door just to see if it was open - and it was! Like a kid in a candy store I walked on in and proceeded to look around and pretend this was my new home. Here's a link to some images of the home followed by some of my thoughts on it.

[url href=]1900 South 2nd St. (2000sf @ $493,000)[/url]

Overall the only thing that really impressed me with this home was the kitchen. I'm a sucker for stainless steel applicances and cabinetry, and this one had it in spades. Everything was stainless, except for a few frosted glass cabinets above the range along the back wall of the room - a nice contrast. The island facing the living area was huge. About 10 feet long and 2.5 to 3ft wide - with a dishwasher built in, a sink, tons of cabinets and drawers and a unfinished concrete top. One thing though, the space between the island and the cooking area behind it was a bit too narrow. I would have preferred to have it another foot out so two people could move back and forth without bumping into each other.

The main living area was nice and open, with nice windows all around. The ceiling heigh for the majority of the downstairs is probably around 10-12ft, only soaring to 20ft or so at the front 8-10 feet of the living room. It would have been nice to have the soaring ceilings above most of the living area, but that's just my preference I guess. There's also a concrete fireplace.

There's stairs made of square tubing and wood winding to the second level. To me this was the most unimpressive area of the home. The floors looked like a laminate that I saw in an McApartment kitchen last week, and the master bedroom's bathroom was basically like the downstairs half-bath, just a bit larger and with an off-the-shelf bathtub. There was a nice deck off of the master though.

The house was nice, don't get me wrong, but all in all I just wasn't that impressed, especially for one that costs nearly half a million dollars. At that price point I expected to see some serious high-end finish in the bathrooms, perhaps some nice flooring upstairs, maybe some stained and finished concrete on the countertops, fireplace, etc.

Has anyone else looked inside these homes? Any similar thoughts, or alternate views? I know Mark has said he'd do some things differently with these ones. I'm curious to hear his thoughts on this particular home.

- Derek

Re: So I walked around inside one of the Urban Nature homes...

Posted by Mark Meyer at April 25. 2005

Well... I think they are mediocre at best. None of the spaces feel right. There is something uncomfortable about the main rooms. The kitchens are composed of IKEA cabinets (which are done well). I'm unimpressed with the stucco finish. I do like the windows (RAM industries) and sliding doors (FleetWood) and Entry doors (Vistawall or Kawneer). The landscaping is too busy for my taste, although I like the idea of mounds and clumps.

I'm frankly shocked they are asking so much for the houses. If we assume the lots were $150K a piece, then the project is going for $172/s.f., and based on the finishes I just don't see it. There must be a pretty hefty profit marging bundled into that price point. I imagine it is something along 20% which would mean thet the cost/s.f. was around $138/s.f. I'd personally expect more quality for that amount of money.

Just my $.02.


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