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A VERY LONG SKINNY HOUSE

Spring Branch, TX

1995

AIA Houston Design Award, 1999

This project for a retired couple is located on a sloped site with dramatic views of the Texas hill country. Rural forms and materials were explored to provide for ease of maintenance and economy of construction. 

A dogtrot and deck link two separate buildings. The main house, clad in terra cotta colored stucco, sits close to the earth on a low limestone wall and contains the kitchen, living areas and master bedroom. A Galvalume clad volume is perched high above the sloping ground on concrete piers and contains the double-height library, laundry and guest loft.

Deep overhangs and limited western exposure help shade the house. Southeast windows provide varying views along the length of the house and draw in the prevailing breezes that come up the hillside. The owner’s toxic sensitivity led to the selection of low VOC materials and finishes such as Galvalume roofing on 2x4 purlins, locally quarried granite, solid maple cabinetry and hardwood flooring.

Photography by Charles Smith