Houston, We've Solved a Problem

written by:
photos by:
January 25, 2009
A bird flying over Houston, Texas, sees only a sprawling canopy of trees. It seems the perfect nesting place for creatures both avian and human alike; unfortunately, the green ends at the tree line. All of those leafy branches shade a city that appears to care little for sustainable design, with cars that chug gas by the low-mileage gallon and oversized houses that dominate the persistently expanding cityscape. Read Full Article
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    Photo by: Jack Thompson

    Photo by: Jack Thompson

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  Designers Matt and Tina Ford created the concrete planters that dot the gravel courtyard.  Photo by: Jack Thompson
    Designers Matt and Tina Ford created the concrete planters that dot the gravel courtyard.

    Photo by: Jack Thompson

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  Weathered wood tempers the gray stucco siding and provides a pleasant refuge in the community garden space.  Photo by: Jack Thompson
    Weathered wood tempers the gray stucco siding and provides a pleasant refuge in the community garden space.

    Photo by: Jack Thompson

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  Inside the condos, the Fords’ penchant for rescuing and renewing is evident, from the many refugee animals that contentedly lounge about the house, to the salvaged gym floors in the kitchen.  Photo by: Jack Thompson
    Inside the condos, the Fords’ penchant for rescuing and renewing is evident, from the many refugee animals that contentedly lounge about the house, to the salvaged gym floors in the kitchen.

    Photo by: Jack Thompson

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  The metal used for the railing and wood for the stair treads in the hall were saved from destruction and reused.  Photo by: Jack Thompson
    The metal used for the railing and wood for the stair treads in the hall were saved from destruction and reused.

    Photo by: Jack Thompson

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  Naturally subtle tones predominate in the bathroom, with Walker Zanger stone floors complemented by sanded concrete walls and dark mahogany cabinets topped by a slab of white marble.  Photo by: Jack Thompson
    Naturally subtle tones predominate in the bathroom, with Walker Zanger stone floors complemented by sanded concrete walls and dark mahogany cabinets topped by a slab of white marble.

    Photo by: Jack Thompson

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  In the living area, the family’s dogs Kirby and Forest commandeer beds that Matt custom designed for them, enjoying the view of the trees floating outside the floor-to-ceiling windows reflected in the recycled steel-frame mirror.  Photo by: Jack Thompson
    In the living area, the family’s dogs Kirby and Forest commandeer beds that Matt custom designed for them, enjoying the view of the trees floating outside the floor-to-ceiling windows reflected in the recycled steel-frame mirror.

    Photo by: Jack Thompson

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  Unlike most Houston yards, there’s no grass to cut around these houses. Instead, the garden is gravel interspersed with low-maintenance plants like black bamboo, agave cacti, and foxtail ferns. Set inside concrete and steel planters that the Fords made themselves, 
the landscaping also hides protruding air conditioners.  Photo by: Jack Thompson
    Unlike most Houston yards, there’s no grass to cut around these houses. Instead, the garden is gravel interspersed with low-maintenance plants like black bamboo, agave cacti, and foxtail ferns. Set inside concrete and steel planters that the Fords made themselves, the landscaping also hides protruding air conditioners.

    Photo by: Jack Thompson

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