Ranches and Second Homes: living in natural settings.
Many Texans own historic ranches that have been in their families for generations, some from the early 1800’s. Others seek a rustic weekend setting as respite from city life to be with family in a meditative settings where nature is the star. Texas architect, Steve Chambers, AIA, analyzes these sites for special views as part of the process in the development of the design for a custom ranch home. The site itself informs the architect what the building wants to be. The vastness of the setting frequently determines the manner in which the forms relate to each other. A ranch home is not a city house, and is without the limitations of urban lots. Ranch activities are more physical, casual, and relaxed. Whether a ranch home is located in Texas Hill Country, West Texas, the Panhandle, or East Texas, families want to reflect their rural roots and use the indigenous materials, shapes, and forms that emphasize simplicity in the design, whether its modern, traditional or a ranch preservation project. Existing trees, topography, prevailing winds, angles of sun, and views, important to any design, become even more emphasized when compared with the scale and starkness of West and Central Texas. Leaving the city expands a view of things, opens up, looks inward and outward, zooming out or zooming in on details of life and nature. The intention is to enlighten and revive the spirit of the observer by disconnecting from the noise of everyday life.
“Families seek to reflect their rural roots in the design and want to use the local materials, shapes, and forms that are indigenous and emphasize simplicity, whether the custom ranch home design is modern, traditional or a ranch preservation project. The site becomes the design’s most important feature and tells us what the building wants to be.”
Steve Chambers, AIA
There are often more terraces, verandas, porches, and areas where the family can appreciate their solitude and togetherness. Private areas like bathtubs/showers can relate to the outside, as well as kitchen and eating areas, taking in the openness with vast areas of glass provided with proper overhangs so the sun doesn’t overheat home’s interior. The nature of the layout of a plan can be more casual and the spaces shared: casual finishes, fewer walls where the kitchen/eating/family are open to each other rather than using formal dining rooms, and the use of bunk rooms. Texas firm, Stephen B. Chambers Architects, Inc., creates unique custom ranch home design solutions through collaboration with its clients and other professionals associated with these projects.