Built on a tight budget as a family retreat, this timber home in New Braunfels, Texas, employs off-the-shelf materials and dramatic proportions to dazzling effect.
Three siblings wanted the house to serve as a home base for family functions and tasked Austin firm Low Design Office with figuring out how to make the most of the tree-filled site next to the Guadeloupe River.
Built from wood sourced from local lumber suppliers, the River House looks a little like a full-scale log cabin updated for the modern age. A slatted timber base supports the second story, reachable via a steep staircase, giving the home an almost treehouse-like feel.
Much of the house is designed around balancing spaces for gathering and privacy. The open-plan living room and kitchen is the heart of the home with walls of floor-to-ceiling windows that connect directly to the expansive, wraparound deck. Its clerestory windows also offer a peek of the other wing, which contains a kids’ bedroom with a triple bunk built into the pitched roof, plus a skylit bathroom. Glass walls interspersed along the facade also connect other bedrooms and bathrooms to outdoor views.