Maybe the biggest national exposure for Austin's hip and modern design came from the Season 16 of MTV's Real World. Downtown Austin has tons of other reasons to be both hip and modern. The views and svelte loft-style design offset more traditional or edgy furnishings. The nightlife and the music scene complement the design aesthetic.
Scott (recently moved from Dallas to Austin) has a fabulous Blog called Mies and Carrots that covers nice design in Austin and beyond. His most recent post features the Ultimate Tree Houses exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum! Even better, he's from the same mindset that I am: good, modern design is in evolution, meaning that we're always on the lookout for something new, and even better if it's a bargain. The modern eye appreciates the interaction between man-made and natural beauty and the contrast of crisp lines and organic forms. As Scott writes, "beautifully simple, and on sale". The savvy design fan's trifecta.
ModernAustin.com is another fabulous site that is devoted to cataloging the modern homes in the Austin area, as a way of documenting and preserving non-McMansion architecture. While some of them are for sale, others are presented for appreciation.