Raised on a small, rural farm, Shawn Gottschalk remembers a childhood dominated by carefree activities: fishing, riding his bike, building tree houses, catching fireflies. When the the principal and partner at Houston–based StudioMET Architects and his wife Rachel—who was equally nostalgic for her own summers splashing around the pool—decided to build a new house for their growing family, access to the outdoors was a priority.
Prior to this, they lived in another home that Gottschalk designed for them. "[It was] a modest two-story in a transitional part of town that was undergoing significant re-development. At the time it was perfect for us, but we wanted a bit more outdoor space," he says.
They also desired a single-story abode this time around, and found an ideal location for it in central northwest Houston’s Garden Oaks/Oak Forest neighborhood, fittingly close to parks.
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"It was important to us that everyone be on the same level, connected to each other and the outdoors," says Gottschalk. "The most beautiful thing about our home is also the most functional: I can see our children from every space."
In contrast to the new super-sized dwellings sprouting around them, the Gottschalks took a less-is-more approach, opting for just 2,500 square feet of space conceptualized as a pavilion, with planes of light-colored brick juxtaposed with dark gray board and batten.
The simple form of Pavilion Haus, reading from the street as modern and introverted, as Gottschalk describes it, is designed for breezy, versatile living. "We focused on quality, not size. We wanted flexibility from day to day and knew our needs would evolve as the kids got older," he adds.
An entry courtyard provides a safe, contained place for the little ones to play. Beyond the large pedestrian gate, "which is really the home’s front door," says Gottschalk, "the house begins to reveal its strong indoor and outdoor relationship. Blurring the boundary between the two is a key design element."
Floor-to-ceiling glass, for example, allows for abundant natural light inside and offers views of the backyard's expansive covered deck and pool. Influenced by midcentury style—"design that transcends time," Gottschalk points out—the interiors flaunt clean lines and an earthy palette that pops with touches of yellow and blue.
"Concrete floors were a must for durability and ease of maintenance," says Gottschalk. "Our kiddos often use our great room as a racetrack for their tricycle and scooters."
Builder/General Contractor: Modern Concept Construction
Structural Engineer: Hendricks Engineers
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