The cabin typology redux came out of the owner’s desire to have a house that is warm and familiar, but also “feels like you are on vacation.” The basis of the “Hewn House” design starts with a cabin’s simple form and materiality: a gable roof, a wood-clad body, a prominent fireplace that acts as the hearth, and integrated indoor-outdoor spaces. However, rather than a purely rustic aesthetic, the scheme proposes a clean-lined and “hewned” form, sculpted, to best fit on its urban infill lot.
Architect: Matt Fajkus Architecture
Architecture Design Team: Sarah Wassel, David Birt, Matt Fajkus
Contractor: Capstone Custom Homes
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Lot size: 0.145 acres
GFA: 2,509 sqf
Photography: Charles Davis Smith, FAIA
Exterior wood cladding: Knotted Cedar, Western Red Cedar
Sliding Glass Doors: Western Windows & Doors
Iron Spot Bricks: Acme
Kitchen appliances: Kitchenaid
The plan and elevation geometries are responsive to the unique site conditions. Existing prominent trees determined the faceted shape of the main house, while providing shade that projecting eaves of a traditional log cabin would otherwise offer. Deferring to the trees also allows the house to more readily tuck into its leafy East Austin neighborhood, and is therefore more quiet and secluded.
Natural light and coziness are key inside the home. Both the common zone and the private quarters extend to sheltered outdoor spaces of varying scales: the front porch, the private patios, and the back porch which acts as a transition to the backyard. Similar to the front of the house, a large cedar elm was preserved in the center of the yard.
Sliding glass doors open up the interior living zone to the backyard life while clerestory windows bring in additional ambient light and tree canopy views. The wood ceiling adds warmth and connection to the exterior knotted cedar tongue & groove. The iron spot bricks with an earthy, reddish tone around the fireplace cast a new material interest both inside and outside. The gable roof is clad with standing seam to reinforced the clean-lined and faceted form. Furthermore, a dark gray shade of stucco contrasts and complements the warmth of the cedar with its coolness.