1101 Canyon Edge Drive (Austin, TX)
First and foremost, this home isn’t in San Francisco, or the Bay Area, or even California. It’s in Austin (as in Texas). So what’s it doing on SocketSite? Here’s the two point pitch from the agent:

First, many people migrate between Austin and San Francisco, often due to common high-tech employers, but also because many in the ‘creative class’ consider Austin and San Francisco great places to live. Second, this home’s design and finish-out are amazing, winning an award from the Austin AIA in 2007.

Sounds reasonable enough, we’re suckers for homes built into the side of a hill, and it definitely pays to be polite.
1101 Canyon Edge Drive (Austin, TX)
And no, we’re not getting anything for this post.
∙ Listing: 1101 Canyon Edge Drive (3/2) – $649,900 (Austin, Texas) [inspiredaustin.com]
JustQuotes: What’s/Who’s To Blame For “Bad” Building Design In SF? [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by 94114

    It’s refreshing to see an interesting piece of architecture without the emphasis on the trophy kitchen and fancy appliances.

  2. Posted by redseca2

    Now I do have a headache. How many millions would it go for in SF?

  3. Posted by SmugCloud

    Way, way too expensive for that in Austin. Pretty cool view, but the cement block wall and kitchen are ugly. Whoever buys this house will have a hard time unloading it at this price in Austin. It might have to go down to 450k to clear.

  4. Posted by secki007

    oh. I just bought a house for 1.1M and its not this house. Inside Voice: Should I move to Austin…because I really don’t like it there – I like SF. I’m torn.

  5. Posted by anon94123

    I think I am going to be sick. There was a studio in the building near to me that sold for that without parking. I could sell my home in the Marina, even in this market, buy this and pocket about 2 million. If I needed an urban fix I could hop on a plane to NYC for the weekend with all the extra spending income I would have.

  6. Posted by redseca2

    anon94123,
    I agree. There are upper end houses in SF that if you can afford it here, you already can afford to buy the equivalent home in another market and retire.

  7. Posted by warrenpease

    I was born and raised in Texas and lived in Austin for 2.5 years. I can say without hesitation that Austin and San Francisco are not very comparable. Austin is great for Texas standards, but remember the rest of Texas is flat and oppressively hot, with little natural beauty.

    Austin is more like a “hipper” Sacramento with a better job base or an Ugly San Diego with no beach. Austin’s “high tech” is limited to Dell (which is in crappy suburb) and outsourced chip manufacturing, like AMD.

    Therefore, I can see why you can purchase a home like this in Austin for $300 per square foot as compared to the Bay Area. The area where this house is located is similar to a San Ramon or Danville. Nice areas but hard to compare to SF proper, Marin, or even the Peninsula.

    I have no idea how this house is appraising, but I would assume this list price may even be high.

  8. Posted by Robert

    Open letter to anon94123:
    Your priorities are so horribly misplaced, or at best you are simply not thinking. Let’s get this straight, you are UNHAPPY that you are lucky enough to own a home in the Marina that is worth at least $2.7 million?? And that if you so chose, you could buy another beautiful home, pocket $2 million, and then spend weekends in New York??
    I’d hate to think how much unhappier you would be if you DIDN’T have the option to do these things!!

  9. Posted by anon94123

    Hi, thanks for the personal attack. I said “I think I am going to be sick” regarding NOT my own life, BUT because I was sad for how UNJUST the cost of housing in this city has become. I was writing about a studio that sold near my home for the same cost as the asking price of this home. IF I were young again today, San Francisco would not even be an option. I would probably be in Austin, Chicago or some other town. As I have mentioned here before, I bought in the Marina after the 89 quake, and would never be able to even afford a 1bd. in the Marina today. In fact, I chose the Marina because for a short period, it was almost cheap compared to other neighborhoods. Nobody wanted to take the risk of living here.
    AND PLEASE don’t tell me that many owners in the Bay Area who have paid off their homes do not daydream about cashing out and going to retire in a less expensive part of the country. That is not being selfish, but rather being smart.

  10. Posted by viewlover

    anon94123, what an eloquent response to that moronic attack. And I’m sure your are correct about the daydreaming.

  11. Posted by viewlover

    So much Love in San Francisco. But I guess for people that have actually been smart and fortunate perhaps, who have built up a comfortable nest egg, ( which remember, used to be part of being middle class), well you don’t belong here. San Francisco hates you!

  12. Posted by ex SF-er

    cool house. too modern for me but I enjoy the thought that went behind that place.
    We’ve been pondering moving to Austin the last several years.
    Austin is still a little too small for me… but I’ve found that as I age I need the “big city” stuff less and less, and I appreciate the smaller things (grilling in the back yard, going for bike rides, having friends over for dinner) more and more. I also tolerate the hassles of big city life (parking, crowds, waiting, bums, etc) less and less.
    At THIS point, I’m still a city guy… but it’s not hard to imagine that I may change as I continue to age.
    Definitely would be a nice place to consider retiring.
    I agree with anon94123, it does make one consider selling out and moving to cheaper COL area. There will always be tradeoffs… Austin is nothing like SF… in the same way that SF is nothing like Paris, or Tiburon is nothing like Palm Springs.
    All places have their positives and negatives… in the end one must simply decide which place best suits one’s needs.
    That said, obviously I resonate with Anon94123’s comments, since I left SF. but that’s because I would need at least a $1.5-2 Million home to be “happy” in SF, and if I had $2M I would rather retire than work my butt off to pay off a such a mortgage!

  13. Posted by Adam

    Austin is a great town for sure. The building codes are pretty crazy though – a lot of super ugly weird “modern” stuff has gone up. This place looks nice to me, but I did notice the scrub all around which causes many to have extreme allergies.
    For Austin it’s definitely not a great price given the market right now, and you’d have to put up with the crazy weather. AND you have to fly through George Bush Airport in Houston to connect from the Bay Area! I’d also rather live walking distance to downtown and the river.

  14. Posted by ex SF-er

    Nah… you can go direct SFO to Austin on United… but it’s usually expensive.
    Usually a few hundred bucks cheaper to connect through Houston.
    (my ex was a tech employee… and had to fly back and forth SFO to Austin all the time)

  15. Posted by TexasEx

    I don’t miss Austin one lick. Why? Well, sure it’s a great small city. Don’t be fooled by the population, like San Antonio with a million-plus, what you forget is that with the exception of say Pflugerville (sp), Georgetown and Round Rock there’s no real metro area to speak of…so when you get to those Austin “City Limits”, look for the tumbleweed…in the geography and in the outlook of the people.
    Like to eat out? When I lived in Austin there were about five restaurants we went to routinely; Castle Hill, Fonda San Miguel, Jeffrey’s and a couple others I can’t remember. That’s it. Five. Sure, plenty of restaurants where you could get burgers in red-mesh plastic baskets with waxed paper, but other than that and, yes, really great TexMex, it’s comparitively limited.
    Sure, we had a great house on Robin Hood Trail, yes, that was the name of our street, out near Lake Austin, but big deal.
    So, San Francisco, Austin probably is not your sister city, more like your annoying, but best of your little cousins.
    My two Longhorn cents.
    PS: That house is still pretty darn sweet.

  16. Posted by Ezekiel

    Austin != SF, that’s for sure, and also a good thing. I’ve lived in both places, and current live in Austin.
    If you’re trying to raise a family, Austin is a much better place. The environment is better, housing is affordable, and there is an excellent public school district (Eanes) in the wealthier area.
    As far as restaurant diversity goes, you can’t compare SF to Austin. Personally, I prefer bbq to frou-frou Asian fusion food, but that’s just me. Ethnic food here is horrible.
    I’m in tech and have actually had more fun at Silicon Labs than I ever did in the Valley. It treats engineering as a profession rather than as a hustle. Not sure if that’s good for shareholders, but I think it can be.

  17. Posted by anonarch

    Ezekiel, what is the pay difference in tech. jobs between Austin and SiliValley? I hear people always saying that jobs in the Bay Area pay double, but I don’t believe it. I am in architecture, and our office is actually paying less for experienced project architects than Chicago or Los Angeles at the moment.

  18. Posted by Ezekiel

    anonarch:
    I only know my experience: I’m an engineer, and I took about a 20% paycut. But, for me, the quality of life is much better (no working on weekends, etc.) My salary is better than median, so I have more purchasing power. YMMV
    If you are thinking of moving, good luck to you. The SF Bay is certainly a special place, but it’s a big world out there!

  19. Posted by Ezekiel

    anonarch: I only know for myself, about 20% paycut

  20. Posted by warrenpease

    I agree that jobs pay about 20% to 25% less. The cost of living in Austin more than makes up for the loss of salary.

    I would also note that the job market in Austin is MUCH smaller than the Bay Area, especially for tech, probably 1/3 to 1/4 the size.

    If you get laid off in Austin, you do not have a lot of options, while the market in SF is much more robust. Here you have Gap, Wells Fargo, HP, Cisco, Google, Ebay, Yahoo, Oracle plus a plethora of internet/software/hardware start ups.

    In Austin, you have Dell, UT, Texas Government, and then everyone else. I believe even Freescale Semiconductor decided that Austin was too small and moved headquarters.

    Friends of mine who lost their jobs had to move to places like Dallas or Houston when layoffs occurred.

  21. Posted by Rich

    For all of those commenting on how wonderful Austin, my suggestion is that you live there and judge for yourself. I spent a year there and hated it. Austin, like the SF Bay Area (like anywhere) has its +/-‘s. If you want a big ass house and a big ass back yard for the kids, Austin is your place….but so is Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, etc, etc.
    Don’t take your best friend’s opinion. Don’t take that “wonderful” night on Sixth Street as an every day occurrence. Certainly don’t take my opinion. Move there, and take it for a test drive for a year. It has got to work for you (and your family if that is part of the equation)!
    It is one of the most overrated towns in this country, in my opinion. It is an OK town, but not worth the grand reviews that it gets. The major Texas cities are more alike than they are different.
    Now all of that being said, I must say that rents are also cheap there. Plus, there is no state income tax (but way huge property taxes if you buy). I do prefer that method where income is not taxed, but property is. You don’t have to buy a home. But a lot of us do have to work for a living. So if you live there and rent, then you’ve got some extra money to invest.
    Do the math, and if it works for you…go for it!
    PS, for those of you (like me) who rant against SF architecture, you will not be swooning in Austin.

  22. Posted by pica1986

    As a native Texan who has lived in Austin and still visits regularly, I second Rich’s post. As far as Texas goes, I think it’s the best city to live in, but it’s all relative. If you don’t like extreme heat and large bugs, you probably won’t enjoy your experience there. And while the rents are cheap, your utilities (think constant air conditioning) and gas (for the car because you will be driving most of the time) will cost you a pretty penny. It’s a very different lifestyle compared to the Bay Area. If you don’t have the luxury of a ‘trial move’, visit in August which usually has the most extreme heat/humidity/traffic. If you still like it, then go for it.

  23. Posted by Chris

    just spent a week in SFO and have to admit you guys have it pretty great out there, but everything comes at a cost. I have lived in Austin for the the last 10 yrs or so and have to say there are certain things here I wouldn’t want to trade….
    I can walk out my door and wakeboard on Lake Austin for an hour and still be in my downtown office by 8:15 if I have to.
    Now.. does anyone know who the architect is that designed that house? I have a lot in Westlake that would be perfect for something in that
    design..

  24. Posted by dan murphy

    Tom Hurt was the Architect, Robert Griffice was the builder, Blue Horse Building and design was the framer, I was the leadman/carpenter, My name is Dan Murphy. I now live in Santa Rosa, Ca If anyone wants needs something cool built. danmur66@yahoo.com
    The frame is 2×6 walls with SIPbLOC roof, tigerwood decks and carport, some of the floors are milled 1×6 paralam, I wish there where better pictures of the floors, they are really cool.

  25. Posted by Tom Hurt

    Someone clued me to this e-page. I appreciate the nice comments about the house. Our office did the architectural design for this house; we used many sustainable approaches to building: above all, we kept the square footage down (2100 sf) while maintaining comfortable and dynamic living spaces. If anyone would like to see more of our work, please visit http://www.hurtpartners.com. While most of our work is in Austin, we have done work in other cities and states. Please enjoy the weather in the Bay Area: I was honored to live and work there in an earlier decade.

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