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Triebel-Gist Renovation


West University, Texas

In an affluent neighborhood where small, vernacular homes are typically removed to make room for large, this 1935 brick cottage is an exception. Rather than face the waste of demolition followed by building a new home as large as possible for resale, the owners envisioned saving and upgrading the home’s building envelope by adding sustainable, energy-efficient features and creating a plan for efficient, modern, open living space within.

By eliminating all unnecessary walls and doors, and creating a compact, efficient core of services (storage, closets, bath and laundry), the plan is completely re-oriented and re-configured to afford loft-like open living space. The location of the core in the center of the plan and along the driveway side allows the uninterrupted flow of living/study/sleeping space in a C-shape around the core, taking advantage of light and garden views from front to rear. Circulation is defined by an art wall along the western side of the core, and the multi-purpose island serving as the heart of the home. Similar to the core, the island combines several functions, including sink, cooktop, wine storage, dining, chatting, pottery display and work space. Material upgrades include reflective, long-lasting, recyclable metal roofing over high R-value insulation and radiant barrier in the attic, and low-maintenance, thermally-efficient double-glazed aluminum windows.

Photography: Ralph Smith; Ben Hill

Greater Houston Preservation Alliance
2010 Good Brick Award