Burning Creek Retreat

At just over $100 per square foot, this family retreat proves that design on a budget can be extraordinary

By Susan Bady, Senior Contributing Editor | September 10, 2015

This compact retreat is a specifically budget-conscious project that competes with the prefabricated market arising for remote Texas ranches, where labor and location are hard to organize and manage. The home has two bedrooms and two full baths as well as two loft bedrooms for children and visiting families.

Two wet-season creeks gently crisscross in front of the 400-square-foot main porch. Designed to capture prevailing breezes, the single-room-wide retreat also has covered porches with ample windows on both sides. The maintenance-free palette of materials ranges from galvanized, corrugated siding and roofing to commercial aluminum windows and doors, with selective bookends of natural limestone to ground the home at its corners. 

Bronze
Single-Family Production, 2,000 SF or Below
Burning Creek Retreat, San Marcos, Texas
Entrant: Craig McMahon Architects (architect)
Builder: Half Inch of Water Studios
Photographer: Dror Baldinger Photography
Size: 1,500 sf
Hard Cost (excluding land): $115/sf
Sales Price: $450,000
Completion: March 2014

Want to see more of Craig McMahon's award-winning work? Take a look at Rio Estancia, Peach Street, and Countryside Bend.

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