Award Winning Contemporary Home in the Hill Country

Curved courtyard walls soften the angular lines of this contemporary home on acreage in the country.  Rather than drill a well, the owners have metal roofs and a large rainwater collection cistern proudly displayed on the west side of the home.  The home is very much designed with passive solar principles in mind.  The west side which has only closets, bath and garage has very few windows (shaded with awning roofs); even the porch has a solid masonry wall to block the west sun.   Store front glass at the south facing back of the great room opens to wide views and is protected by a large porch overhang.  One portion of the porch is screened for outdoor dining.  A stone wall in the great room extends out through the storefront glass for a seamless contemporary look. 

The most unique feature of this home is that it has only two bedrooms – both virtually identical (except that the upstairs one has a study nook), both master suites.  This dual master is a trend we are seeing more and more with this country’s shifting demographics.

Everything for this couple, one a local and one a European transplant, both in high tech careers, is simple, angular and contemporary reflecting the harshness of the local environment and the design sensibilities of modern Europe but softened by natural materials and function as reflected in the corrugated metal wrapped rainwater collection cistern and stone walls. 

Energy efficiency and resource management are evidenced not just by the rainwater system, but also by other energy strategies:  all air conditioning equipment and ducts in conditioned space (note exposed ductwork in upstairs master), correct orientation to the sun and passive solar as described earlier, good daylighting from high windows throughout and a band of windows at the kitchen, spray foam insulation at attic and blown in insulation in wall cavities, floor trusses (to save on lumber), stained concrete floors, walls to 8’ between master and bath for air and light in both spaces, and recyclable materials wherever possible (including a glass backsplash).

This home won First Place in the 2011 American Residential Design Award competition, Green Design Category.

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