Bookhouse Residence – Cornerstone Architects

Perched on the side of a hill, the Bookhouse Residence, designed by Cornerstone Architects, proves that sometimes the best views are not to be found at the top of the hill, but from the side of the hill with the added benefits of more cover and less visual disruption of the landscape. Photographs by Adam Steiner.

Seeing Red – Wild Haire Ranch and Lake LBJ House

Red is the preferred accent color of American vernacular architecture (think red barns). It is also the signature color of Frank Lloyd Wright, the father of organic architecture. The perfect combination of both warmth and light, red can be incorporated into virtually any style of regional modern architecture. The following two Hill Country homes illustrate its timeless appeal.

Wild Haire Ranch, designed by Mell Lawrence Architects, is located in a rural subdivision west of Austin.

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Although red is utilized only as an accent color in this getaway home on Lake LBJ designed by Black & Vernooy Architects, the visual interest created by its juxtaposition against the darkness of the lake is one of the home’s defining features.

Mackey Ranch – LaRue Architects

This Hill Country ranch house designed by James D. LaRue Architects is entirely off the grid. Utilities are provided via photovoltaic solar panels and a rainwater collection system. Exterior materials consist of native limestone and standing seam metal panels making the exterior virtually maintenance-free. Smart design is good design. All photos by Coles Hairston.

Hill Country Retreat – Vanguard Studio

Modernist design has its roots in the Arts & Crafts movement, and this eclectic Hill Country retreat designed by Vanguard Studio is a fairly accurate interpretation of a classic Arts & Crafts home that mixes old and new with ease. Green features include a 4 star energy rating and a rainwater harvesting system. Photos by Tre Dunham .

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Auberty Ranch – Nimmo American Studio for Progressive Architecture

‘Tis a gift to be simple, ’tis a gift to be free, ’tis a gift to come down where we ought to be. And when we find ourselves in the place just right, ’twill be in the valley of love and delight — Joseph Brackett

If the old Shaker hymn, Simple Gifts, was translated into a building, it would look like the Auberty Ranch house. Designed by Dallas-based architect Joshua Nimmo, the simple materials and simple form of this home reflects vernacular ranch buildings of yesterday, yet the structure is thoroughly modern and refined in its styling. Auberty Ranch is located in Glen Rose, Texas.

Ranch House – Cottam Hargrave

Here is a house perfectly suited for the middle of nowhere. Built in 1995 on a ranch in Georgetown, this house was outside coming in before outside coming in was cool. I had to chuckle at the description of it on The Architect’s List “Situated on a secluded ranch this project represented an opportunity to build a building without many of the constraints that one is faced with in real situations.”  However impractical the stark openness may seem, its appeal and beauty, much like Phillip Johnson’s Glass House in New York, is undeniable.  Sitting on a limestone base, reclaimed cedar, brick, steel, and glass come together to form an artful structure that appears at first glance to have been in its location for generations.

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Jay Hargrave, the architect, also designs furniture as well as dog houses that double as play houses for both the dog and the owner alike.

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Hargrave Stools

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Photos of the Glass House are by Patrick Y. Wong

Truax Camp – John Grable Architects, Inc.

The Truax Camp, designed by John Grable Architects, is located on 11 acres of land in Bulverde. While the property has vista views, the architect encouraged the client to site the house at a lower elevation in a stand of live oak trees, which had been utilized as a family campsite, to take advantage of the shade and privacy afforded there. Given the increasing number of people moving into the area, the architect surmised that the undisturbed, pristine view would quickly cease to exist and that maintaining privacy would become a priority. One doesn’t have to venture too far up 281 to see houses perched directly on top of the hills battling it out with the sun and Mother Nature. The value of preserving and building in and around trees, even old growth Cedar, is often underestimated. Natural materials, both new and reclaimed were utilized throughout the residence.

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Cascading Creek – Bercy Chen Studio

This residence east of Austin, designed by Bercy Chen Studio, takes rain water-harvesting to an art form. Inspired by the vernal pools around Enchanted Rock, the design centers around the roof-mounted photovoltaic solar panels and the capture of rainwater which provide energy for the heating and cooling system that is the metabolic engine of this home. Rainwater harvesting has received much attention over the last year both in the Hill Country and in Texas at large as new ways are sought to meet the impending water shortages facing the state. Its application in this home’s design showcases  yet another benefit of rainwater harvesting as a source of potential energy.

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The Trails and Loneman Creek Retreat – Burleson Design Group

The design mantra of the Burleson Design Group is client, climate, land.  The following two homes by this Wimberley-based architecture firm illustrate that these three entities are essential to the development of  visually – pleasing residential design irrespective of any particular architectural style.  Both of these residences are dog-trots oriented south so that their breezeways harness the prevailing southern winds.  Just like siblings who may vary in eye color, hair color, and personality, they still bear a family resemblance because they are born of the same principles.

The Trails is located in Horseshoe Bay.

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Loneman Creek Retreat, a small retreat east of Wimberley, fronts a 200 ft curved, limestone cliff. This site characteristic is reflected back in the roof design and the curve of the living/kitchen area of the home. Floor to ceiling glazing provides a seamless transition with the dramatic views.

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All photos by Burleson Design Group.