“The listing we found just said ‘VIEW,'” says Alyson Fox of the rustic green hilltop she and her husband (creative director Derek Dollahite) would eventually build their future home on. “There were no pictures or anything. And when we finally drove out here, we knew right away it was special.” The two decided to take a chance and leave central Austin for the small town of Spicewood, about 25 miles outside of town. Together, they designed an incredible Neutra-esque hill country escape that fuses concrete, copper, wood, and glass. The project was truly a family affiar — Fox’s brother-in-law served as general contractor and together, the three creatives built the house from the ground up. With massive glass windows and an open floor plan, the home they built serves as a place of creative inspiration that quietly celebrates that most important aspect — the view.
photographed by jessica pages
What things inspired the overall design of your home?
I’ve always liked simple, long shotgun houses. We (my husband and I) both like long and narrow. We wanted to use concrete and as much glass as we could afford… and we didn’t want to distract from what was around us. We wanted to build something that was as “quiet” as possible.
What’s your favorite room in the house and how do you use it?
Probably our living/kitchen room. I love to just stare out into the quiet distance and think. It’s such a part of my creative process. I’m constantly adjusting and arranging things. Two weeks from now all of this will be different!
We love your mix of dining room furniture. Tell us a bit about where you found everything:
Well, I think you can put a DCW chair just about anywhere and it’s going to look great. Those I found at Home Girls on Burnet Road. The table base is from Design Within Reach. We got an incredible deal on it because it didn’t have the top. We were like, “We don’t need the top! Just give us the base,” and we had a piece of glass cut for it.
Was it hard, transitioning to the isolation of this location?
We’re both such homebodies, it really wasn’t. And watching a layer of stress leave my husband in the months after we moved was really wonderful.
Alyson designed the wallpaper in the guest bath behind a rustic wall-mounted sink.
How is it keeping all this glass clean?
(laughter) Well, my step father knows all about window washing so he gave me some tips before we moved in. But we’re not always on top of it.
The weather-watching must be phenomenal.
I’ve always been secretly fascinated with the weather. We love watching it out here. And the stars you see at night are unreal. We’ve even seen a burning comet.
What’s your favorite thing about your home?
All the natural light, quiet surroundings and the outdoor shower. That’s the one thing we wouldn’t budge on with the budget. We had to have the outdoor shower!
Alyson’s love of metals is seen in beautiful touches of copper and brass throughout the house.
You have so many wonderful indoor plants.
Plants are a big thing to me. I put a plant in every room — they’re the best decoration. I love the texture. I like to mix succulents with something like a staghorn fern.
A woven basket and colorful rug brighten up a corner of the house.
Do you miss the easy access to restaurants?
Yes, but we’re really into cooking. You have to be out here! We pump ourselves up when we go to the grocery store and pretend we’re contestants on Top Chef getting our ingredients.
Alyson and Derek cut and sanded over two miles of wood slats to create the stunning textured ceiling in the house.
Great bookshelf. Do you read often?
Not as much as my husband does. He loves to read. It’s nice because he sort of “screens” them for me. If he discovers one that’s really great then I’ll read it, too.
Alyson’s signature playful style is evident in bright, unexpected pops of color throughout the mostly neutral house.
Your best piece of advice on decorating?
Collect things that you love. They always end up working together. And less is more. And easier to clean.
A simple open shower with wood floor adorns the master bath.
A copper towel rod supports a hanging plant over Alyson’s modern standing tub.
We love the neon linen on your guest bed. Did you design it?
No, believe it or not, that was a CB2 find!
Paints and pencils fill Alyson’s home studio where she is currently working on her new clothing line, set to launch early this fall.
What can you tell us about your upcoming line?
The collection is built around seven simple garments. The garments will stay the same, but the textiles will change from season to season. The idea is for the clothing to serve as a canvas for my curiosity in textiles.
We seriously can’t wait to see where your curiosity takes you next. Thanks for inviting us into your gorgeous and serene space, Alyson.
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