This Texas Hill Country House Oozes With European Charm

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By Michele Koh Morollo
A 2,380-square-foot abode strikes the perfect match between Scandinavian form and English decor.

After having spent time in Scandinavia and lived in England for three years, the owners of this Texas Hills Country property were looking for a simple, humble home that combined design elements from both of these parts of the world. 

Eager to help, Austin architect Tim Brown brought their vision to life by designing what is now known as Low Prairie House—a rural residence with a Scandinavian–inspired form that incorporates plenty of English art and furniture, along with an intersecting mass for maximizing natural light and ventilation.

The house features a simple gable roof.

The house features a simple gable roof.

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A red barn door adds color and whimsy to the facade.

A red barn door adds color and whimsy to the facade.

Steel columns echo the Norwegian folk form.

Steel columns echo the Norwegian folk form.

The house has an acid-etched, paint-grip metal roof, cementitious lap siding—along with natural wood siding—and custom steel porch columns. 

An up-close look at the Scandi-style steel porch columns.

An up-close look at the Scandi-style steel porch columns.

The exterior door adds a pop of color to the subdued white and gray facade.

The exterior door adds a pop of color to the subdued white and gray facade.

The views and topography of the pastoral site guided the placement of house. Brown says that the house was in part inspired by the Saarinen Residence at Cranbrook Academy in Detroit.

The media console by Shields Custom Carpentry is made of walnut, steel, and soapstone.

The media console by Shields Custom Carpentry is made of walnut, steel, and soapstone.

Similar to the Saarinen Residence, the home has a linear design that allows for plenty of natural light and cross breezes. 

Gray custom cabinetry were created by Shields Custom Carpentry.

Gray custom cabinetry were created by Shields Custom Carpentry.

A simple, T-shaped plan creates a hub at the intersection where a spacious kitchen—the heart of the communal and social activities—is located. 

The splash of red repeats itself in the kitchen oven.

The splash of red repeats itself in the kitchen oven.

This open-plan kitchen has a large marble island at its center, a butler pantry, and high vaulted ceilings to create a lovely entertaining space. 

Stools fit nicely under the lowest shelf along the hallway.

Stools fit nicely under the lowest shelf along the hallway.

This simplified floor plan creates circulation in small, cozy pockets, rather than long, austere hallways. 

Californian furniture maker Pete Deeble created the bed and nightstands.

Californian furniture maker Pete Deeble created the bed and nightstands.

Drywall used for the walls and ceilings, along with engineered wood and encaustic tile floors result in clean, bright interiors.

Brass handles and pulls add a touch of luxury to the bathroom.

Brass handles and pulls add a touch of luxury to the bathroom.

Large glass doors were installed along the south wall to not only provide shade, but also break up the boxy form of facade. 

The office desk was made onsite by Shields Custom Carpentry.

The office desk was made onsite by Shields Custom Carpentry.

In order to free up extra outdoor space for entertaining, Brown and his team decided on a carport, instead of an enclosed garage, for parking. 

A child's bedroom has a toy tepee and small desk.

A child's bedroom has a toy tepee and small desk.

"The joining of English art and furniture with Scandinavian form was challenging. Fundamentally, the folk aspect of each have much in common. The English form tends to follow more ornate European styles. The juxtaposition of the two make Low Prairie House a space that is unique to the clients and their experiences," explains Brown.

A carport enables more outdoor deck space.

A carport enables more outdoor deck space.

Project Credits: 

Architecture: Tim Brown Architecture / @timbrownarch

Builder: Andrew Peeler 

Structural engineering: Tucker Engineering

Cabinetry: Shields Custom Carpentry