Lone Star State Goes Modern

Texas—not California—setting for 29-home new MCM neighborhood 'Starlight Village'
Lone Star State Goes Modern
Surprise, surprise: 29-home neighborhood of house designs inspired by mid-century modern, Starlight Village, is coming together in suburbs north of Austin, Texas.
Lone Star State Goes Modern
Lone Star State Goes Modern
Two of the Starlight Village single-story models: the Cocoa Beach (top) and the Gemini (above).

You've noticed how popular mid-century modern homes are today, and now you're looking for a prime market for building a new MCM housing development. You look around for a location—but where will it be?

Perhaps you're thinking "somewhere in California," state with the most MCM homes and hotbed of the hyper-expensive housing sticker price.

But how about Texas?

Willie and Mike Kopecky like their chances in the 'Lone Star state,' as do Matt and Lynda Jones. The Joneses, with their company KLM Design Build, are currently building their first mid-century modern-styled homes, as Starlight Village, a new neighborhood in the burgeoning Austin suburb of Leander.

"I'm doing seven homes right now and they'll be ready for walk-throughs late June to early July," Matt Jones said last week of the 29-home tract, adding, "We've pre-sold three or four in the past couple of days."

Austin is not as unlikely a market as one might think when it comes to modern homes. Modernist developer A.D. Stenger built about 100 homes there in the 1960s, and perceptions about the area have evolved rapidly in recent decades.

"Austin used to be the city that the rest of Texas made fun of," says Mike Kopecky, a native, noting the role of the local music scene in the change. "Then, the perception started to change, and now it's the hippest place on the planet!"

The Kopeckys both retired from careers in the U.S. Air Force, Willie as a navigator and son Mike as an intelligence officer. Mike's fond memories of living in the vaguely modernist military housing named for its proponent, Indiana Senator Homer Capehart, is the inspiration for Starlight Village.

Kopecky was also inspired by a childhood visit to an Eichler development in Sacramento, recalling, "They were new, they were cool, they reminded me of the Jetsons."

"The thing that attracts me is the inherent optimism of the period," he said of design for the new development, done primarily by Kopecky and Sean Eubanks of College Station-based Woodhill Studios Inc. "I tried to take that optimism to our designs."