Green Lantern Residence is an innovative and sustainable single family home designed by John Grable Architects, sited in one of San Antonio, Texas’s oldest neighborhoods, Alamo Heights. The 4,000 square foot home was built upon the architect and client’s mutual respect for the environment. With the foundation of sustainability as a responsible and moral obligation, the challenge was to balance innovative technologies with time honored techniques while also integrating with the historic context of the neighborhood.
While the project achieves 67% offset with photovoltaic panels, and incorporates a green roof, LED lighting, grey-water and rain-water harvesting; there was additional effort to reduce impact through careful planning and consideration of the site. New construction was designed to re-use the existing foundation as well as wood from the previous structure. Passive systems such as arbors and overhangs were implemented to reduce solar gain, while the entire project was sited to protect the number of existing heritage oaks throughout the site.
At the ground floor changes in level, stepping up over the pool along the main entry bridge and back down again from the kitchen to the living area, provide a playful dialogue and transition between public spaces, even as a largely open floor plan and generous windows act to connect these spaces to each other and the outdoors. Additionally, wall-to-wall sliding doors in the living area open up to expand the room out into the pool and landscape that provides additional outdoor space for entertaining and gathering of friends and loved ones. The entry bridge spanning the pool enlivens these outdoor spaces with a grotto waterfall niche that compliments the cool shade of the heritage trees that reside throughout the yard. This rhythm is mirrored at the second floor as a series of folding doors in the ‘party room’ open to a large out-door terrace in the tree canopies, which again steps down to its own ‘landscape’ green roof garden with hot tub that takes in distance vistas of downtown.
These forms not only provide elegant spaces, but also a stage for promotion of the core sustainability principles that produced it. Meeting and exceeding sustainability standards (Energy Star – Gold, NAHB Green Building – Emerald, and Build SA Green – Level 3) acts as a catalyst to encourage sustainability and responsible design in future projects with-in San Antonio and beyond.
Westlake Homestead is a contemporary remodel and addition to an existing treetop home that has been designed by Michael Hsu Office Of Architecture in west Austin, Texas. The existing Fred-Day treetop home was modified to create a gourmet kitchen, an enlarged master closet, a laundry room, powder room, and a bridge to the addition. Other updates to the original house included an upgraded geothermal air-conditioning system, updates to make the envelope more energy efficient and expanding the front deck to accommodate dining. The addition, an elegant ‘shotgun’ style form, contains bedrooms, an exercise room, family room, garage and an herb garden. Using materials of glass, metal and concrete, the addition was placed at the back of the sloping lot so that it would not impede upon the unobstructed views to downtown and hill country beyond.
Photos: Ryan Farnau
This contemporary loft is situated in the historic Hermann Lofts Building in downtown Houston, Texas, designed by local C O N T E N T Architecture. The seventh-floor, 1,275 square foot apartment features wall-to-wall windows throughout, flooding the home with light. This unit was renovated in 2011, with the design utilizing an internal core to liberate the unit’s generous 180 degree view of the city. The exposed brick and concrete ceilings of the nearly century-old building remained untouched, while the flow of the apartment was increased by separating the internal walls in the kitchen and bedroom from the rear of the apartment, adding a second walk-through space. The set-up of the kitchen was also reversed, moving the range to the island so that the owner, who is an avid cook, could appreciate the view and interact with guests in the living room as she cooked. In the bedroom, a large wardrobe was added to delineate the space, and the entrance to the master bathroom was shifted to make room for a larger closet area.
As the hallway transitions into the open loft space, a makeshift dining area includes a striped reclaimed-wood table by Houstonian Bob Card flanked by Arne Jacobsen chairs, a trio of framed lotus leaves and a modern light fixture by Pelle.
Dividing the public areas and the bedroom is a flex-space that accommodates both a home office and yoga area. Custom millwork throughout increases storage while providing a backdrop to the owner’s eclectic art, library, and furniture collection.
Photos: Peter Molick
Caruth Boulevard Residence is a modern LEED Gold designed home by owner and architect Tom Reisenbichler, located in Dallas, Texas. When the architect built his 8,300 square foot family dream home, he was determined to prove that being environmentally friendly does not have to rule out luxury. “You can do luxury without being wasteful,” says Tom Reisenbichler, an architect with Perkins+Will who primarily designs hospitals and medical buildings. There is no shortage of either eco-friendly strategies in this three-story home, from photovoltaic solar panels on the roof to flooring made from recycled television tubes and countertops of recycled mirror glass, materials were chosen carefully; ninety percent of them are recycled or reclaimed.
In our world where many associate sustainable (green) design with a bohemian lifestyle, while others consider luxury wasteful, this house is designed to prove they are not exclusive. Integrated tightly into the large iconic trees on the site, this house uses traditional home proportions to blend with the neighborhood. The horizontal lines of the design tie the home to the land, while the roof and balcony reach into the trees making them integral to the home.
The design concepts emphasize the entertaining lifestyle of the owner / architect, with open plans that integrate indoor and outdoor spaces. The first level uses a central core (wooden box) as the main organizing element around which public spaces flow. This LEED Gold designed home features many sustainable strategies, from photovoltaic solar panels and recycled materials to native plants that are drought tolerant, every detail of sustainability is considered.
The couple, who entertain frequently and have welcomed nearly 3,000 guests since they moved into the University Park house last January, made sure that the residence works for gatherings both large and intimate. With its open concept, expansive rooms and walls of glass that slide open to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces, the first floor is a hostess’ dream.
What really wows guests, Reisenbichler says, is when they flip up the wood panel on the living room wall to create a serving bar from the wine room off the kitchen. Opposite the bar is another showstopper: an 8-foot-long gas fireplace that is positioned halfway up a stone wall. “It appeals to so many people, even if they’re not a modernist,” Reisenbichler says.
The spare design and hard lines of the architecture are softened by visual textures, richly colored rugs and warm wood walls, including teak that was salvaged from a monastery in Thailand.
“Most of the home’s finishes are pretty neutral,” Reisenbichler says. “It’s the art and furnishings that bring life to the space.” The art, including oversize sculptural pieces, canvases and African jewelry, is a collection of memories from the family’s travels juxtaposed with works from North Texas artists.
The six-bedroom, 10-bath house, includes mother-in-law quarters on the second floor. Rooms are full of sleek leather furniture, chrome accents, animal hides and graphic prints.
Photos: Bret Janak
Spanish Oaks Tour Home showcases a Texas Hill Country Contemporary style that makes the best of each space, designed by Cornerstone Architects in Austin, Texas. The property focuses on using a heavily treed lot and providing multiple indoor and outdoor living experiences. The experience of the home begins across a breezy Lanai, which opens to the courtyard and highlights a sitting area as well as a detached casita. The Foyer opens across to another outdoor living area featuring a one-of-a-kind “fire trough” that blends into the spa and serves as a contemporary fire pit for the backyard. Flanked on both sides by large doors and transoms, the home has the ability to open the courtyard through to the back of the house via the prime living areas. An especially stunning feature is the design of the sanctuary Master Bath. A glass pivot wall opens the slate and stone room, which features a hand-cut stone soaking tub, to a luxurious outdoor shower experience. Care was taken in every aspect of the home’s design, creating each space to be distinctive, providing a unique feature or experience.
The Great Room features a stunning stone fireplace wall with slivers of inset wood to create a beautiful sculpture across the wall.
The master bath is far from ordinary in this exquisite home; it is a spa sanctuary. An especially stunning feature is the design of the bathtub/shower area. Here, the owners can use the glass pivot wall to open the slate and stone room for a luxurious outdoor shower experience with the beauty of nature. The glass pivot wall also allows for the “fire trough”, designed in the outdoor living space near the pool, to tie into the sanctuary master bath for the utmost relaxing ambiance. The bath features a hand-cut, stone soaking tub, which is filled like a waterfall from its faucet in the ceiling above. From the master suite, walking into the master bath feels like a secret, hidden retreat; and once inside, it opens up to a truly beautiful and relaxing spa sanctuary.
Photos: Casey Dunn
This rustic modern home is owned by builder Erin Wright of Wright-Built, situated in a lakeside community in Hawkins, Texas. The 2,157 square foot, three bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom home sits under a 60-foot by 80-foot metal roof canopy that more than doubles the amount of living space. Windows, doors and a garage door open the interior to an outdoor bar, a kitchen, a billiards table, a fire pit and poolside lounging. The home integrates many unique details, from egg basket light fixtures to a master bathroom perched atop a teak deck. Reclaimed materials in this home came from a barn, historic buildings, a hacienda in Mexico, a railroad car, pallets and vintage soda crates.
To the left is the other side of the bottle wall, and to the right is an outdoor kitchen, complete with a vintage Coca-Cola machine that Wright keeps fully stocked. Gooseneck barn lights add to the modern rustic style. She can pull her car right up into this covered area. The metal to the right leads to an outdoor bathroom, and the door on the far right leads to an office that is separate from the rest of the interior spaces.
In the kitchen Wright combined concrete floors and countertops, a copper bar top and sink, egg basket light fixtures and a rusted-tin-roof ceiling. The result is a wide-open contemporary space that’s full of farm materials.
Metal surfaces continue into the kitchen. This bar top and the sinks are copper; the rusty ceiling is reclaimed barn tin. A window between the upper cabinets and the counter lets in more natural light. The window on the right is the pass-through to the outdoor bar.
Wright fashioned the pendant lights from old egg baskets. The alder wood cabinets and shelves are custom, and the countertops are concrete. Stained concrete floors continue from indoors to out. The top of the wood island used to be the floor of a railroad car. Some drawers by the microwave drawer were fashioned from vintage wood soda crates. Wright hand-selected crates with the names of local towns on them.
Wright built the barrel-vault ceiling in the great room from wood reclaimed from a historic building. Look to the left; the garage door that opens to the pool table patio disappears above the ceiling’s wooden planks. The wood-burning Oklahoma stone fireplace can heat up to 3,000 square feet. “Out here in the country, we lose our electricity a lot,” Wright says. The mesquite mantel is an old header from a hacienda. The cowhide-covered window seats hold the electronics for the outdoor speakers. Wright’s boyfriend is an audiophile; serious subwoofers are involved.
The pool table survives outdoors just fine: The top is an outdoor felt, there’s a cover, and the legs rest on rubber spacers. Wright used creosote lumber outdoors because it holds its color and stands up to the elements. Why did she choose red for the window and door trim? “Because it looks so good!” she says.
“As a builder, I see how much we waste with high-pitched roofs with attics underneath,” says Wright. “This way there is a cross flow of air between the roofs over the rooms and the large roof canopy.”
Hydraulic activators make the bar’s pass-through window easy to flip open and closed. “The house opens up to the outdoors in many ways, but when it’s buggy or too hot, it’s easy for me to close off parts of the house to keep them cool,” says Wright. This wall is made of Cor-Ten steel; Wright sprayed it with salt water to speed the rusting process.
This is Barley, Wright’s dog. “Canton Trades Days is about an hour from me, and I get a lot of items there for my houses,” she says.”The doors are from Mexico; I get them from a man at Canton Trades Days. He also made the pantry doors and shipped them to me from Mexico.” She bought the mantel and the guest bathroom vanity from him, too.
In the master bath, the counter is black walnut and the sinks are stainless steel. “I used corner sinks to leave room in the middle for my hair dryer,” Wright says. “In my last house I was always leaving it in one of the sinks, which is not a good idea.”
Compartments in the top drawer keep her jewelry organized. She fashioned the light fixture from an old wooden yoke and Edison bulbs. The window above the mirror makes the most of the natural light.
Wright fashioned almost all the interior doors from wood pallets. Some of the doors slide on barn door tracks, while others are on hinges.
The round cedar bathtub is from Snorkel Hot Tubs. Wright made the faucet from an old-fashioned water pump. The tub is 3 feet deep; the teak deck hides the bottom half. In the shower, water goes through the deck and drains below.
The bottle wall was quite a labor of love: Bottles were cut in half and then secured to another half bottle with duct tape, or the long neck of a beer bottle was stuffed into a mason jar and then the two were joined with duct tape. This way, both sides of the wall have a bottle bottom sticking out, and light can travel through. Unseen beer can spacers cut down on the amount of mortar required.
This bathroom, which serves two bedrooms, is full of reclaimed items. “The tile in the shower is a ceramic, digitally imprinted to look like barn wood. The sink is a wooden bowl that I bought for $30, and the brick is from a house demo we did in Hawkins at a hunting and fishing club that was built in the 1900s,” says Wright. It is a rare brick called Whiteselle Cherry Reds Corsicana Brick. “The brick in the guest bath, on the mantel, and the reclaimed wood in the ceiling of the great room are all over 100 years old,” she adds.
This incredibly designed contemporary loft in downtown Houston, Texas has been designed by interior design firm Kristina Wilson Design. With exposed concrete ceilings and brick wall in the living room, this open plan home has plenty of fabulous industrial features. There is also beautiful wooden flooring throughout and eclectic details, exuding a warm and welcoming atmosphere for the homeowner and guests.
Kristina Wilson Design’s unique approach to interior design and eclectic use of patterns and materials are a reflection of Kristina’s colorful personality. Her style and demeanor are best described as bold, clever and concise, making KWD a favorite amongst national and international clients. KWD is focused on being an accessible, honest and fearless interior design leader in an industry filled with vagueness and ambiguities.
Photos: Courtesy of Kristina Wilson Design
This gorgeous home recalls the scale and charm of a comfortable modern farm house, which has been designed by Tim Cuppett Architects in Austin, Texas. The dwelling is set on a beautiful property with lots of trees adding privacy and shade. The spacious two-storey interior features cozy and welcoming design with warm wooden flooring throughout, neutral color scheme with colorful texture and materials flourishing around every corner.
Photos: Ryann Ford
Shasta Residence is a gorgeous custom designed traditional style home situated in Houston, Texas that has been designed by Thompson Custom Homes. The stunning two-storey residence features spacious light-filled interiors with wood flooring throughout most of the home with area rugs used to define the different living spaces.
Photos: Courtesy of Thompson Custom Homes
Spanish Oaks Residence is a stunning coastal contemporary home designed by Cornerstone Architects to evoke a coastal design feeling while maintaining a Hill Country style native to its environment in Austin, Texas. The final design resulted in a beautifully minimalistic, transparent, and very inviting home. The light exterior stucco paired with geometric forms and contemporary details such as galvanized brackets, frameless windows and linear railings achieved the exact coastal contemporary look the clients desired. The open floor plan visually connects multiple rooms to each other, creating a seamless flow from the formal living, kitchen and family rooms and ties the upper floor to the lower. This transparent theme even begins at the front door and extends all the way through to the exterior porches and views beyond through large frameless windows. The overall design is kept basic in form, allowing the architecture to shine through in the detailing. The sensational interior design was carried out by Joy Kling Interior Design, offering warm and welcoming textures and materials.
Photos: Merrick Ales