This new build seamlessly integrates indoor and outdoor spaces by utilizing an abundance of natural light and key MCM features.
“Around here, this is fairly unique,” admits architect and builder Pax Chagnon of the three-bedroom, four-bathroom, Mid Century Modern-inspired home in central Texas. “It’s not built in the conventional way that most houses are.”
But that distinctive look makes this home shine all the more.
The home was built in 2020 and is located on a wooded, 20-acre plot west of San Marcos, Texas, in an area of the state referred to as “Texas Hill Country.”
One of the home’s defining features is its inviting courtyard, which holds a pool and multiple spaces for lounging and entertaining. The courtyard sits at the front of the home, but it still feels quite private—thanks to a surrounding wall and gate.
“The concrete wall and the metal screen support the ‘sequence of entry’ so you don’t necessarily see everything right away,” Chagnon points out.
Instead, you’re rewarded with a slow unveiling of the home. After exiting your car in the nearby carport, you walk up to the concrete wall and geometric metal screen and enter through the gate. Then, the sun-filled courtyard and pool are suddenly revealed. Even so, you must continue to walk along the elevated walkway bordering the courtyard to enter inside and see the home’s equally daylight-filled indoor space.
Bring in the Light
Daylight was one of the key considerations of the central Texas home’s design process. The orientation of the house (which sits perfectly on the north-south axis) was purposely chosen to take advantage of the sunshine: Once the sun hits the courtyard around midmorning, it receives uninterrupted, shadow-free light until the sun finally begins to set later in the day.
“The whole house is designed around the pool, and it was something that was important to the owners,” Pax explains. “The lady of the house really wanted to be able to sit out by the pool and soak up the sun—of which there’s plenty in central Texas!”
Inside, daylight plays an equally important and carefully crafted role. The large, south-facing glass windows that surround the courtyard are protected from hot, direct sunlight by a 13-foot roof overhang. This allows light to still flood the space without having to worry about the daylight’s accompanying heat. The purposeful use of sunlight in the exterior and interior demonstrates Pax’s careful attention to detail.
”The solar exposure… and daylighting design in this home were aspects that we studied and calculated.”
Making it Mid-Mod
This central Texas home also proves that new builds can have plenty of standout MCM style. The focus of sunlight, as well as the floor-to-ceiling windows, create a strong sense of indoor-outdoor living, blurring the border between what’s inside and what’s not.
The post-and-beam structure of the home adds to its “throwback” look. Richly toned glulam beams run perfectly north-south along the ceiling. (The installation of the beams involved a unique process: “A crane flew the beams in,” Pax says. “This doesn’t happen around here too much. It was a fun process.”)
The selection of the furniture inside provides additional MCM details. One of the most notable pieces is the stunning Saarinen table in the dining area. Nearby, a Zircon fireplace from Malm celebrates retro style and is the ideal finishing touch to the living area … despite the challenges of getting the fireplace from California to Texas in the middle of the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Pax.
When reflecting on the design and build processes of this home, one of the biggest takeaways for Pax was how carefully the exterior space was shaped and created in relation to the interior.
“Throughout the design process, attention to design was given equally to the interior and exterior experiences,” he notes.
This balanced approach certainly paid off!
Designing With Daylight
When creating and designing spaces in your home, don’t forget about sunlight! Allowing for natural light is a powerful tool that can set the mood and highlight key features in your space.
Here are three aspects to think about when considering sunlight and your home design:
- Chasing Shadows. Do a “shadow study” of sorts: Look at how light hits and reflects a certain part of your home throughout the day, and take note of what shadows are cast from the outside.
- Think Green. Consider how to provide light without sacrificing energy efficiency. You can build large overhangs such as architect Pax Chagnon did in this central Texas home. Alternatively, you can opt for a more user-friendly solution with strategically planted trees, which can create shade, or via semi-opaque white window shades that let in muted, indirect sunlight.
- Keeping Privacy. Large windows are great for daylight, but they can create privacy issues as the sun begins to set. This can be prevented with sleek, hidden window shades that come down at night; or, you can use tinted windows for a similar effect.
Love this Texas home? Check out related articles like Architect John Chase, A Groundbreaker Of Modernism In Texas; Kimber Modern: Comfort Deep In The Heart Of Texas; and Mid Century Modern Living In Lively Austin, Texas.
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