I designed this weekend house for our friends in Corpus Christi. In the early seventies, Bonnie and L.J. bought 116 acres of rolling hills blanketed with live oak and juniper outside of historic Goliad, Texas. With a group of friends they constructed a quaint but rough little two room cabin to get away on weekends. We used to stay with them and their young daughter Blair, and it was fun to rough it. As the couple got older, they didn't want to rough it any more. They wanted something a little more refined. Something with plumbing, electricity. And maybe air conditioning.

A flat, prow-shaped hill, the highest spot on the property, was chosen as the building site for ease of construction and because of spectacular 180-degree views of the surrounding countryside and Manahuilla Creek below. The hill is adorned with a large, heritage oak. We went back and forth on the concept for the house. What size should it be? What materials? Rustic or modern? L.J. stood at Rustic end with thoughts of using an antique timber frame barn as the basis for the new house. Bonnie stood at the Contemporary end, with all the modern comforts and conveniences and easy-maintenance materials. They eventually reached a compromise, as all good marriages do, and agreed to build something both rustic and contemporary. The finished product is a modern interpretation of local nineteenth-century farmhouses, barns, and simple cabins. The house is clothed in traditional wood lap siding and galvanized tin roof, and the size and scale is respectful of its local ancestors. The south end of the house is more solid and traditional with small, sparsely spaced windows, but as one moves to the north end of the house the exterior becomes lighter and more transparent; more modern. The two-story main living space has glass walls on three sides to take advantage of the 180-degree views. On the north end, a two-story glass wall frames the massive oak tree and bathes the interior with soft northern light. Covered porches wrap around the main room to shade the glass and provide outdoor dining, lounging, and recreation.

The land is bountiful with fauna. Deer, wild hogs, armadillos, raccoons, ringtails, havelina, and wild turkeys roam the property. One of the many recreational activities at dusk centers around frozen Margaritas, rocking chairs, and binoculars to admire the wildlife.