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Hot Property: This Preston Hollow Modern Has Limestone as Old as Dinosaurs

Designed by Todd Hamilton, the mansion features lots of organic elements, including a shell stone only found in Texas.
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On either side of its limestone wall, 4321 Valley Ridge Rd. has two living green roofs. Shoot2Sell

Hot Property: This Preston Hollow Modern Has Limestone as Old as Dinosaurs

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As a Central Texas native, I have to make a point not to pick too many Austin stone houses for this column. But I’m a sucker for limestone, and this Preston Hollow modern at 4321 Valley Ridge Rd. took me right back to the Hill Country.

Designed by local architect Todd Hamilton, this 2010 home features a large limestone accent wall that runs the length of the house. The front exterior walls are also made of Texas Cordova shell stone, which can only be found in and around Austin. Also called “Whitestone lentil,” this type of limestone predates the asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs 65 million years ago, from the days when Texas was still underwater. The surface of the stone sometimes shows the fossils of shelled creatures, like snails and clams, that lived in that prehistoric ocean

The owners carried this shell stone through the property, including into the primary bedroom and an outdoor shower. They included other natural elements, too, like mahogany accent walls, other fossilized stones, marble, oak floors, and more. 

Besides those natural elements, the house’s design works well with its environs, listing agent Lisa Gross says. “The home was built with a very ecological mind.” It uses geothermal wells, a type of renewable energy that draws underground temperatures, which are cooler in the summer and hotter in the winter, to heat and cool the home. The house also has foam insulation, 40 solar cells, and two living gardens on the roof. All this results in “lower-than-normal utility bills,” Gross says. 

The layout is thoughtful, too. Hamilton designed the house around the mature trees on the half-acre lot. “The home just really dances around the trees,” Gross says. Inside, the entertainment areas, including the living room, kitchen, and dining room, flow easily between each other and out to the outdoor courtyard in the front as well as the back patio. And the limestone wall, which stretches through the interiors as well as the exteriors, divides the property between its public entertaining spaces and the private rooms, like the primary suite and the office. 

“It’s a great home for entertaining,” Gross says, thanks to that downstairs flow, a play pool and a hot tub in the backyard, and three guest rooms upstairs. But it also has plenty of escapes, including an outdoor shower garden and two separate primary bathrooms. 

Simply put, it’s cool enough for Hill Country ex-pats and Dallas natives to enjoy.

Scroll through the gallery to learn more. 


Catherine Wendlandt

Catherine Wendlandt

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Catherine Wendlandt is the online associate editor for D Magazine’s Living and Home and Garden blogs, where she covers all…