Mark Gunderson Designed House in Southwest Texas

House on the Pecos River

The house is located in remote southwest Texas, on a limestone bluff 240 feet above a bend on the Pecos River. The Rio Grande River and Mexico are less than two miles to the south and the area, known as Schumla Bend, is rich with ancient pictographs and Indian artifacts.

A simple stone volume constructed of 6 inch limestone veneer on 2×6 wood stud walls; the house has a standing seam steel roof and cedar porch alluding to the traditions of 19th century structures in this part of Texas. Interior walls are tongue and groove cedar boarding, as are the floor and ceiling in the main living space. This room functions as the kitchen, dining, living and sleeping area for the house. Natural light is from operable, clad wood windows of small aperture and east windows covered by the porch roof.

A second room, with saltillo tile floors and cedar walls and ceiling, is open for its thirteen foot width to the river canyon to the north. This room contains lavatories, a hot tub and a steam shower of porcelain ceramic tiles and tempered glass. The hot tub enjoys the river view and two doors open to an exterior cedar deck which extends over the edge of the bluff.

A limestone fireplace opens into each of these two rooms and provides an internal focus as counterpoint to the fine views in all directions.

A porch along the east facade of the house serves as the entry ( and exterior “living room” ) and is permeated with the sound of the river below.

The primary considerations in the project were the use of indigenous materials assembled to last for decades, if not centuries, and minimal disruption to the site as a whole.

A separate steel frame structure with galvanized steel siding and roof provides storage, work area and protection of water treatment equipment. A freestanding cypress water tank stores 3,000 gallons of well water on an adjacent hill.