A 1950s timber home in Terrell Hills, Texas needed a sustainable upgrade, so John Grable Architects transformed it into what the client now calls their "dream home." The entry façade and screened porch both needed attention, but the project was restrained by a shoestring budget, which is why the design team opted to create a welcoming street-facing porch in lieu of a new façade.
The new porch was constructed out of western red cedar native to the western United States, which is ideal for deflecting Texas’ vicious summer sun and yet retains some of the delicacy of southern living. A concrete floor provides thermal massing in the winter and the south-facing, screened porch makes use of prevailing winds in the summer time to keep the casual outdoor gathering space cool and comfortable.
A rainwater catchment system captures all the water that is necessary to irrigate a new zero-scape garden that is also resilient to a sometimes harsh local climate. In a neighborhood where circular driveways are replacing the old-school porches, the Tree House promotes community – particularly at night as the renovated home reveals a warm interior glow that beckons visitors to stop by.