The Marfa Suite is a detached addition to an existing single-bed adobe home in Texas. The suite serves as a lounge, art studio and place for the owners to stay when guests visit the home. It is made of compressed earth block inspired by historical architecture in the area, which border the U.S. Mexico divide.

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A low rectangle building in a desert landscape

Furthermore, the landscape and light of the local high desert of west Texas was the inspiration for this home. Desert gardens surround the structure, which is a 36-feet square footprint with 16-feet high walls.

Related: Student-designed shelters respond to the desert landscape

A bedroom with a partition curtain to cover an open doorway

To start, the home opens with a vestibule that serves as a mudroom and visually private entrance from the main house. The DUST designers say this transition space provides sacred darkness and shadows to instill a sense of calm and transition on entry to the suite.

A workspace with an open window and an open doorway with a bookshelf that lines one wall

Inside, interior partition walls are made of the same compressed earth block material as the outside walls. Sliding doors connect the living and work areas to the outside landscape on the east side of the home.

A long desk that covers the entirety of one wall facing an open window

The Marfa Suite receives early morning light and opens to the big Texas sky. An 18-feet-long solid oak desk creates two working spaces and has a view of the Chihuahuan desert garden on the north side of the home. Sliding doors on the south connect the single bedroom with the Sotol and vegetable gardens. On the west side, a large window has a view of the cacti, mesquite garden and the plaster wall of the original home on the property.

A living room area with a black sofa with a throw blanket over it

Additionally, a single bathroom has an open floor plan with privacy in the most important places. A glazed door opens to the outdoors from the bathroom to the east into a private outdoor shower garden. Radiant floors are used to heat all spaces. The windows, skylights and doors offer natural ventilation to help with cooling and heating. These skylights also offer beautiful views of the starry skies at night.

The designers say that suite has become a calm and comfortable series of spaces with unique light characteristics and moods for the owners to live and work.


Photography by Casey Dunn