German Sunday House Reimagined

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Photography by Mark Menjivar

Architect/Designer: Craig McMahon Architects
Builder: Cavan McMahon- Halfinch of Water Studios Ltd.
Developer: Half Inch of Water Studios

This contemporary family home and studio is located in the small city of Fredericksburg, in the Texas Hill Country. The compact 2,400 sq. ft., 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home is conceived around the original German Sunday Houses that offered weekend retreats for families leaving the larger cities for a weekend getaway in the early 1800’s. These homes, located on ranch lands or close to the Main Street shopping areas, were centered on a main living building which took on a “barn” like form and was then framed by a series of attached porches. As families grew, small shed additions were added to the main structure as needed. These smaller weekend retreats dot the landscape of the region and use local materials of stone and exposed wood rafter in a barn-like fashion. As families grew, small shed additions were added to the main structure as needed.

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The design concept for this home was influenced by vernacular buildings of the area while incorporating a contemporary focus. The 2.5 acre parcel of land offers a unique hidden compound, away from the street surrounded by mature oak trees and bounded by a river to the East. The shed additions engage the year round outdoor living lifestyle of the area. Outdoor connections are reinforced with screen porches as well as open areas on all sides to connect the home with its surroundings.

The simplicity of materials are organized around the primary building elements in ordered fashion- masonry stucco for the main central building, corrugated metal roofs with exposed Douglas fir timber framing and clad in naturally rusting steel to continue the historical barn feel but in a contemporary nature. The home and detached garage carefully connect the historical scaled structures with contemporary usefulness through open and modern interior living spaces. The shed additions engage the year round outdoor living lifestyle of the area. Outdoor connections are reinforced with screen porches as well as open areas on all sides to connect the home with its surroundings.

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