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Modern timber home lives large with elevated deck

It’s the ultimate family retreat

Timber house with large deck and outdoor seating area. Casey Dunn

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.

Deck wrapping around outside of home. Casey Dunn

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.

Living room with big windows and modern furniture. Casey Dunn
A dining room with wood floors and openings to a deck. Casey Dunn
Wall of white cabinets in kitchen. Casey Dunn
Timber-clad bedroom with a view of a deck and trees. Casey Dunn
Three bunk beds stacked on top of each other. Casey Dunn
Bathroom with white walls and cabinets. Casey Dunn