MAINSTREET Architects Inc.
Caddo Lake is the largest natural lake in Texas and is an internationally designated Ramsar Wetland site. The home’s wooded site overlooks the lake and largest naturally occurring bald cypress forest in the world. It is inhabited by blue herons, owls, giant egrets, ibis and is home to more than 200 bird species. It is a favorite destination for birding and fishing enthusiasts, and local residents enjoy a low-key, quiet life surrounded by the interplay of nature.
The owners bought their site with several goals in mind: retain its wooded character; provide views to the lake; build a timeless yet energy-efficient light-filled low maintenance home that blended into the natural environment; incorporating sustainable principles through design and materials usage.
The home is constructed out of 5 ½” x 7” ½” dead standing spruce in a system perfected by the supplier who states:
“logs are cut from dead standing Engelmann Spruce found high in the Rocky Mountains (usually Colorado & Utah). The trees at the edge of this alpine meadow are at 10,000 ft. and have been dead for over 40 years.
The log home is constructed on a structural concrete slab that is established to finish above the flood level of the lake, and as such, provides space below the porches to store kayaks. The log system complies with TPI Grade: Wall Log 40 or better and is protected on all sides by porches constructed out of draw-knifed round-stock pine posts and heavy section rough sawn cedar beams. Interior tree-stock posts, beams and balusters are draw-knifed spruce. All second-floor exposed timber cladding is 1”x 6” shiplap cedar.
To maintain a sense of flow between the outdoors and inside, interior wall finishes are primarily the inner face of the natural spruce D-logs, contrasted by painted 1”x6” No. 2 pine butt- joint horizontal cladding on stud frame interior walls. The ceilings are natural finished Aspen 1”x 6” boards. The interior is enhanced through polishing of the concrete slab that creates a sense of being firmly grounded in keeping with the heavy timber house structure. Half log treads are exposed on the first flight of the stair.
The architects set the ground floor window and door head heights at 8’ above floor level in order to allow for as much daylighting into the house as possible as well as providing wonderful views of the surrounding tree canopy. Daylighting is enhanced through the use of Velux roof windows in the living area as well as the screened porch. Window screens are installed on the windows and doors to allow these to remain open for natural ventilation.
The house, while timelessly designed, blends well into its low-key neighborhood and affords the owners and their guests ADA compliant access to the home through the use of an elevated connector walkway between the driveway, garage and the lower level of the house.
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