"Fish Camp" Family Retreat 31 photos

"Fish Camp" is an affectionate name for a rustic, camp style family retreat where three generations come together and enjoy the outdoors and each other. The site is 35 acres of oaks and juniper outside of Fredericksburg, Texas. The site was left completely wild, with only a gravel road disturbing the natural setting. We built the house in a small, linear clearing among some oak trees and dug a small lake nearby for swimming, fishing, and canoeing.

The compound is composed of three buildings: the Gathering Room (kitchen, dining, and living), the Bunk House (sleeping for six, and the Owner's Retreat (Master Bedroom Suite for the grandparents, who live there full time). These buildings are loosely tied together with open and covered decks and screened porches. The three buildings were laid out between the existing oaks so that no trees had to be removed.

We used cedar, stone, concrete, and galvanized pipe as the major materials. All interior and exterior floors are stained and sealed concrete. Exterior siding is split cedar shake and local stone. Roof is Galvalume steel standing seam. The Gathering room structure is traditional mortise and tenon timber frame.

Fish Camp

Gathering Room under construction. The building structure is traditional mortise and tenon timber frame similar to local historic barns and homes.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

Gathering Room under construction. The building structure is traditional mortise and tenon timber frame..
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

Three words guided us throughout the design/build process --- simple, rustic, and informal. The lighting for the kitchen and great room were inexpensive outdoor flood lights for ambient lighting and clamp-on bowls for task lighting. Ceiling is stained pine. Walls are plastered.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

The main entry features a welcoming porte cochere. Screen doors are employed everywhere to naturally ventilate the buildings. We used industrial light fixtures throughout the retreat.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

The split shake cedar siding seemed a natural response to the woodsy environment and recalls Adirondack Camps.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

A screened porch connects the Gathering Room to the Bunk House.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

Detail of pipe door handle using galvanized pipe and Kee Klamp pipe fittings.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

Detail of screened porch that connects the Gathering Room and the Bunk House. It is used for family meals in summer for bug-free dining.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

We notched the roof instead of the tree. The trees surrounding the compound add to the ambiance of living outdoors.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

We dug a small pond (called "tank" in Texas) below the house in a low spot that gathers rainfall from the surrounding land.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

Gathering Room as seen from the lake. We used large limestone slabs to extend the steps toward the lake. We kept new landscaping to a minimum, using only native, drought-resistant plants.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

Main porch off the Gathering Room, with exposed cedar rafters, beams, and columns. The floor is stained and sealed concrete. We used vintage hand-hewn wood beams for the lintels over the sliding glass doors.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

Poured and stained concrete stairs lead to the lake below. Pipe railings are made of galvanized pipe and Kee Klamp pipe fittings. The Owner's Retreat is in the background.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

Inside the screened porch during construction, with the Bunk House on the left. Floor is stained and sealed concrete.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

The beauty of the roof structure, including the galvanized steel roof, is left exposed and serves as architectural ornament in the screened porch. Traditional Hunter fans with traditional school-house globes keep with the historical character of the Camp style.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

The buildings of the retreat are linked by open decks, covered walkways, and porches. This is the entry to the Owner's Retreat.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

Porch connecting Owner's Retreat to the Gathering Room, with open deck to the left.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

One of the fun aspects of the Fish Camp is that a lot of activities, even menial ones, take place outdoors.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

We did very little landscaping, preferring to leave the site as wild and natural as possible. We did introduce some large rockwork for patios and walkways. Any new landscaping included native, drought-resistant plants that required little watering.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

Porches off the Gathering Room and Bunk House.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

We used Kee Klamp fittings and galvanized pipe to build roof overhang supports and railings for the camp. Here they support the six-foot roof overhang of the Bunk House.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

The main building, the Gathering Room, is on the right.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

Entry to the Owner's Retreat.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

One of the out-buildings of the complex is a carport and storage building for outdoor equipment.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

Detail of shelf supports using galvanized pipe and Kee Klamp pipe fittings.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

Lots of storage for gear and linens. Classic cast-aluminum pulls and metal insect screen are traditional camp-style details.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

Exterior of Bunk House showing the sitting library alcove. Cedar shake siding.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

Bathroom of Owner's Retreat. The tiled shower leads to a sunken tub surrounded by picture windows that open to the bucolic setting.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

We used the same blue-green mosaic tile throughout the bathroom, tying everything together and giving an orderly, homogeneous look. For the photo I left the real-life clutter on the counter to show that it doesn't spoil the overall tidiness of the design. Cast aluminum pulls on the vanity drawers and steel insect screen on the doors, reminiscent of pie safes. We had the carpenter cut ventilation slots in the upper fascias, a detail harking back to the days before air conditioning. If you look closely, you'll notice that the panel on the right was was the first one cut, and the one on the left was cut after lessons learned on the first panel. These little details subconsciously connect us to the past. Windows give panoramic views of the woods.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

Bedroom in the Bunk House. We used beadboard planks for the ceiling and a combination of 1x12s and 1x3s for the walls. The 1x3s were stained a darker shade than the 1x12s. Floor is stained and sealed concrete. Furnishings are family heirlooms.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara

Fish Camp

This is the Owner's Retreat with its own porch overlooking the lake below.
PHOTO: Ignacio Salas-Humara