Addressing the passive solar energy program requirement, most west and south facing fenestration is protected by either overhangs, awnings or conventionally framed heavy timber brise-soleil.

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Templeton Residence

Westlake Hills, Texas - 4,400 Square Feet

Consisting of a main house, detached garage, pool, spa, outdoor shower and extensive landscaping, this project is on a heavily wooded, sloping lot with spectacular views to the west and north of the Texas Hill Country. A young family with three children, the client's program requirements were quite simple and direct:

  • Take optimum advantage of the west and north facing views while protecting the house and outdoor living areas from the street and adjoining neighborsUtilize passive solar energy design techniques.
  • Protect the west facing view glass from the harsh summer sun while allowing the winter sun to passively heat the interiors.
  • Encourage natural ventilation through the proper placement of operable windows utilizing the thermal siphoning effect and natural convectionThe "style" should be neither traditional nor ostentatious

For purposes of reducing scale and creating visual interest the main living area has been designed and built differently than the rest of the structure. At first glance the center of the house appears to be an adaptive reuse of an old stone cottage in the German style, reminiscent of Fredericksburg, Texas cottages built 150 years ago by German immigrants. The 500 square foot entry and living room might have been the 2 story stone shell from an original cottage. This "remodel" is now the nucleus of a much larger contemporary house. A study in contrasts of antique and contemporary detailing and materials makes for an intellectually interesting dichotomy.

The main living area appears to be built of 18" thick solid load bearing masonry walls as cottages were built 150 years ago in Fredericksburg, Texas. Large stone entry columns and heavy fir trusses at the portal add an element of age and old world detailing to the entry. Stone floors and single pane divided light wood windows further project the illusion of age.

But upon entering, it's obvious the old stone cottage has benefited from a substantial "remodel." Instead of being a restored house the cottage is one large 2-story living room. The rear wall is contemporary glass framing expansive views of the Texas Hill Country. Custom copper light fixtures wash the interior stone walls with warm lighting. A balcony above connects the second floor of the contemporary "additions" flanking the "original" cottage.

The "additions" to the "remodeled" stone cottage are contemporary adaptations of the original. Sensitive to their predecessor, yet more modern in appearance, they define a contrast of old and new materials and spaces. What is perhaps the most surprising outcome between the interplay of old and new building techniques is that you do not expect to see such daylight filled interiors in a traditional stone cottage. A traditionally framed, heavy fir timber veranda and ramada further articulate the style and reduce scale, while tying the "additions" to the "original" cottage.

Romantic illusions have their limits. By design, the charade is not intended to fool an historian, but rather to lend substance and importance to the main room in the house. As architects it is our firm's design philosophy a custom residence does not need to look as if it was designed by one architect and built by one builder, respectively. A house project takes on new meaning and interest when it appears it has evolved over time and been built over several generations using different building techniques. With this method of organizing and building we can prioritize spaces and as a result lend quality throughout.

Addressing the passive solar energy program requirement, most west and south facing fenestration is protected by either overhangs, awnings or conventionally framed heavy timber brise-soleil. Fenestration has been carefully positioned to encourage natural ventilation throughout the long and narrow floor plan.

Maximizing views of the Texas Hill Country is achieved through careful design of glazing for each room, while both standing and sitting. Exterior decks are lowered below the interior's floors so as to be unobtrusive. A welded wire mesh railing system was developed and used due to its transparency.

Privacy and seclusion were achieved through careful siting of the house and pool behind a buffer of native trees and undergrowth. The natural vegetation was supplemented with native landscaping to provide a dense and lush outdoor environment for recreation, enjoyment and privacy.

The American Institute of Architects honored this project by selecting it to be in the 1993 AIA homes Tour.

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Germans in Texas

"The largest ethnic group in Texas derived directly from Europe was persons of German birth or descent. As early as 1850, they constituted more than 5 percent of the total Texas population, a proportion that remained constant through the remainder of the nineteenth century."

TSHA Online

Amiral Nimitz Portrait
U.S. Navy Admiral and Hero
Chester William Nimitz

About Admiral Nimitz

Fleet Admiral Admiral Chester Nimitz, of German descent and born in Fredericksburg, Texas, commanded five thousand ships, twenty thousand airplanes, and two million men in World II.