Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tired of "Texas Tuscan"

Am so tired of "Texas Tuscan" style homes seen all over; once a style is deftly done -its success and appeal is multiplied many times over.  Like a recopied Xerox, the look gets thoughtlessly rehashed until it's reduced to stamped-out cookie-cutter lookalikes.  NOT SO with Architect Rick O'Donnell's contemporary approach to this large Hill Country home we labored over.  To me, it has a timeless image of familiar architectural elements spread over contemporary volumes with a skilled combination of stucco, steel, stone and glass.  It's all crowned with simple hipped roofs of ceramic tiles -not the overly complex, "gerrymandered"  roof that most builders end up on top.

 We refined this home again and again like a car design studio pares away at their fine clay models until the whole mass of rooms and volumes comes together like a real hill town in the real Tuscany.  All the major interior walls were designed and refined along with cabinet elevation layouts.  We took care to design all ceilings with beam layouts and an uncluttered arrangement of elements: light fixtures, HVAC registers, etc.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Awesome adobe in far west Texas

Always wanted to live in an adobe casita way out West; Architect Craig Kinney and I created this guest house for the el Rancho Escondido.  The adobe construction was updated with 8 and 12-inch CMU blocks plastered with rough stucco. 

I chose Santa Fe-style detailing and copied a historical corbel bracket to top off the peeled log posts across the porch.  Large exposed metal straps with bolt heads are as rugged as western living and tradition.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Soaring, curved window wall at custom lakeside home!

Architect Kay Henryson and I worked on this home so many years that I thought it would never be built, but I am so glad I was wrong!  

The client recently emailed these wonderful photographs and said "the window wall...is absolutely the most stunning feature in the house."

This curved wall faces the sunrise and a view of the lake through many tall pine trees. 
Simply stacking windows in a grid would be the conventional method to fill this wall, but I 
decided to use various sizes of stock windows available to create a casual pattern of horizontal bars appropriate to a relaxed, lakeside setting. Also, this arrangement emphasizes the vertical mullions that rise up over 18 feet into the sky and are reminiscent of the tall thin trees outside. The small awning windows at the bottom can open to draw in that lake air, too. I need to get myself invited over soon. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The designer is the only one you will hire who cares about the entire outcome of your new custom home.

Every new custom home has a hundred salesman, craftsman, suppliers, engineers, and the like who have a handle on their part of a new house, but the designer is focussed on how it all will come together.  Each individual can be passionate or careless about their part, but they rarely can see past that one thing they do for the house.  A sunroom salesman believes his product is the thing that will crown your lifestyle with recreational pleasure; the countertop supplier, who dreams about all the stone he or she has seen, pushes for the latest exotic textures available; but all these wonderful things apart do not mean they should be joined together.

Builders start thinking about the ground and the foundation; they dream about getting the best framing crew after that, and then the process goes all the way to the end result, but what will it be, ultimately?

The designer begins with a vision of the end in mind; he works in the opposite direction of the builder.  In order to get the lines and shadows of beautiful exterior walls and roof, the designer envisions the the structure, roof, and rooms on the interior that must be created first. The designer cares about the steps that must precede to render a beautiful, useful, and enjoyable new home.