LAKE ATHENS TEXAS FAMILY RETREAT: DOGWOOD TRAIL
This is the main house for an East Texas lake escape and retreat from the big city in a development of nine ten-acre lots called Dogwood Trail. Dallas architect, Steve Chambers, AIA, designed it for a couple who wanted a universal design and accessibility to one main level. Guest rooms and bath are on the second floor.
The Setting and History
The lake home and fishing camp features a treehouse design and is located on Lake Athens, Texas in the Neches River basin, eight miles east of Athens in Henderson County. This region has wooded, rolling terrain surfaced by deep sandy loams and sands. Several varieties of pine, sweet gum, oaks, and flowering dogwoods grow in this region. Throughout this region, many colorful native grasses and trees allow for the protected nesting of Bald Eagle pairs.
Challenges of the Site and Design
The owners have a deep affection and history with this area of Texas, along with a strong connection to nature and the outdoors. They owned a food business and already had a home in Fort Worth that provided a vegetable and cutting garden to enhance their epicurean lifestyle. Their goal with the East Texas property was to recreate Tom’s boyhood memories of weekends and holidays on the Lake Athens with his parents and encourage the protection and development of as much of the natural amenities as possible eighty-eight acre site. They selected a property in a secluded cove on the lake that did not expose them to high traffic on the water, dense neighborhoods, or noise. The natural landscape of their area provides the sensory separation necessary for the appreciation of the natural plant and animal life. The challenge of the placing a home in this setting was to sustain this pristine setting with as little impact as possible and still be able to observe and appreciate it natural amenities.