Get your Christmas wish list ready. Here's a healthy does of house envy! In Contemporary Texas Architecture, E. Ashley Rooney has assembled a collection of Texas homes that showcase the best examples of recent architectural trends and might make you feel like your house is a little bit (or a lot) dated and shabby.
The examples Rooney selects lean heavily toward angular and boxy, as you might expect, but there is a nice mix of more traditional styling as well. The book description says the houses "vary in style, scale, budget, and site." Style: check. Scale: mostly ranging from big to very big, but there are a few smaller homes thrown in. Site: city and country, large lots and small. Budget: I would love to see a price per square foot on some of these houses. I have a feeling most of these fall into the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" category. Even the smaller examples show their pedigree.
And pedigree is really the point of a book like this. The design innovations the architects featured here use work their way into less expensive homes. More importantly, each of these builders use a variety of creative ways to economize on energy and water use, land use, natural landscaping, and the use of materials. Some are more "green" than others, but nearly all of them have features that can be emulated by builders looking to be more environmentally friendly.
Design innovation and thoughtful environmental features make for an interesting book, but the main focus of Contemporary Texas Architecture is the jaw-droppingly impressive homes. Rooney includes plenty of photographs of each home, emphasizing the beauty of the design, the integration of the design into the site, and, in many cases, the views each design takes advantage of. You will enjoy some of these houses more than others, but I'm sure there will be many of which you'll say, "Yeah, I could live there!"
Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!