Traditional Texas farmhouse vernacular inspired this family retreat set in rural central Texas, between Austin and Houston. The compound consists of two buildings: a main building that houses living areas and a kitchen on the ground floor and a series of guest rooms upstairs, and a bedroom wing that houses the master suite in a large tower adjacent to the children's bedroom.

Lawrence applied the simple elemental materials of rural vernacular corrugated metal, wood, stone, and concrete to create a palette that tie the buildings to the land and evoked the area's traditional forms. Drill stem, metal pipes used primarily in oil fields and a frequent structural element in farm outbuildings in the region, were site welded to create sculptural elements for the carport and the connector bridge between buildings.

The buildings are composed in simplicity with buttoned-down detailing to keep the planes of the box volumes crisp. All materials-stone base, corrugated siding, and wood trim-were carefully applied to be coplanar to enhance the simple modern aesthetic while referenced in the massing of the building whose deep porches are dramatically exaggerated and chopped out of the building volume. Each material and planar join is carefully executed to meet cleanly without unnecessary trim or flourish.

Office Project Team: Mell Lawrence & Rebecca Devine

Contractor: Santini Construction, Inc.

Structural Engineer: Structures

Interiors: Abode-Fern Santini

Landscape: Gardens

© Mell Lawrence Architects 2013
© Hester + Hardaway Photographers 2006