European Country Style Achieved with Texas Limestone Veneer

April 1, 2009
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
Photos © Paul Finkel / Courtesy of Through the Lens Management
For the design of a private residence in Austin, TX, a variety of local limestone was used to create the look of an old French/English-style farmhouse.


The homeowners of a private residence in Austin, TX, sought a space that exhibited French/English country influences. And to achieve this desired style, they incorporated regional Texas limestone into the home’s design.

“The house picks up on a very rural sensibility found in French/English farmhouses,” said Project Architect David Webber of Webber + Studio, Inc. in Austin, TX. “The front door is almost incidentally located, and the largest most entry-like fronts are large archways that indicate the use being more important than the incidental entry a few steps down the facade.”

The limestone pieces, which all had a thickness of 4 inches, ranged from 6 inches in size to some that measured 24 x 20 inches and even larger.

The architect went on to explain that in old farmhouses, large doors were used to move livestock in and out of the structures. “They were the most prominent aspect [of a farmhouse],” he said. “Whereas, the farmer’s living quarters were often smaller and more modest - almost incidental to the work of running the farm. The same is true with this home. The main windows and doors reflect the largest and most important rooms, such as the living room and the master [bedroom], but the circulation routes along the back of the house are treated less importantly.”

While the home itself measures approximately 7,500 square feet, an additional 3,500 square feet consists of one attached garage and a three-car garage that is connected to the house by a covered porte-cochere breezeway. According to Webber, his clients required that the residence also contain a living room, a dining room, a kitchen with a breakfast area, a master bedroom with a master bath that included “his” and “hers” water closets and closets, a study/library, two children’s bedrooms - each with a suite bath and closet, a children’s television/play area, two full guest suites and associated sitting area, a laundry/dog kennel room, a pool bath and a powder room.

The exterior of the main part of the house consists of a fairly soft, local, whitish, fossilized limestone with cut shellstone quoins. Further texture was added by inserting small ledges into the limestone facade.

“Stone is prominent throughout the design,” said the architect. “The house is large, but we did not want it to feel that way. It also sits on a ridge along the top of a small bluff - offering great views into a valley and natural area. In order to spread the size of the house out, we broke it into two zones - the main house and the kids/guest part of the house.”

Webber explained that by dividing the residence into two zones, it presented the opportunity to differentiate between the two main volumes by utilizing two different stone applications on the exterior. “For the main house, a fairly soft, local, white, chalky, fossilized limestone with cut shellstone quoins was used, while the other [part of the home features] a more slurried application using multi-colored limestones at various levels of weathered appearance, which were locally available,” he said. “Locally, we can get from very white chalky limestone to rusty, brown, tan and even blackish limestones, depending on how much aging they have been exposed to in their creation.”

The other part of the home features a more slurried application for its exterior facade - comprised of multi-colored limestones at various levels of weathered appearance (shown on left).

The mason on the project, Richard Llewellyn, located the stone for the home in a range of stoneyards and supply shops in the Austin region. The homeowners were also very involved in the selection process.

“They had a great awareness for how they wanted it to feel, and the mason wasable to do mock-ups to test out their reaction to the possibilities,” said Webber. “But, before we even got to that point, the clients would drive around for weeks before they finally located a stone that they liked and felt comfortable was the right selection.”

In the end, the chosen limestone varieties proved ideal for creating the French/English-style farmhouse. “The chalky limestone and its softness seemed informal enough for the overall look,” said the architect. “By using it with some ledges inserted into [the stone], and with a cut stone version for the quoins, we achieved both informality with a hint to formality that informal architecture often tries to achieve in spite of itself.”

The rough-cut limestone was also carried into the home’s interior, where it was used for applications such as a fireplace.

Webber added that the slurried stone part of the house needed to have an even more informal quality than the main house. “The stone we picked there - with its multi-colors and its very informal application - would do the trick. Slurried walls were often done as a substrate for stucco. The stone was not intended to be finished.”

While the extensive stonework used for the exterior appears thick, it actually is all veneer stone that has a thickness of only 4 inches. The pieces ranged from 6 inches in dimension to some pieces that measured 24 x 20 inches and some even larger.

According to the architect, not much direct supervision was needed during the stone installation. “We certainly were involved with selecting the stone, but the mason was so talented that, in fact, the stone we did select was generated in the form of a mock-up by him matching a few stone walls that we had seen while driving around,” said Webber. “Because the mason was the one that generated those samples, we really did not need to direct him at all.”

Sidebar: Private Residence

Austin, TX

Architect: Webber + Studio, Inc., Austin, TX

Stone Mason: Richard Llewellyn

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Stone World 

Recent Articles by Jennifer Adams

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

The Stone Fashion Show at Marmomacc in Verona

As usual, stone suppliers from Italy and around the world relied on the Marmomacc fair to showcase some of the latest stone materials to the international marketplace. The following is a look at just some of the stone materials on display in Verona.

Stone World Magazine

Stone World July 2014 cover

2014 July

Check out the latest issue of Stone World, which includes a review of the 2014 Coverings conference.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

CSTD Summer 2014 cover

2014 Summer

Check out articles about the Windy Creek Casino renovation,the El Alear Condominium complex in San Pedro Garza Garcia, and a Coverings product review.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

STONE STANDARD

Are you aware of the new stone standard – ANSI/NSC 373 Sustainability Assessment for Natural Dimension Stone?
View Results Poll Archive

The Stone World Store

How_To_Polish_&_Restore_Mar.gif
How to Polish & Restore Marble Flooring

This video will show you step-by-step how to resurface and polish marble flooring from grinding and removing lippage and scratches to achieving a highly reflective polish.

More Products

Stone Guide

2014 Stone World Stone Guide

The directory for Stone, Equipment and Supplies - the single information resource readers turn to.

Stone Industry Education

stone industry educationStone Industry Education is sponsored by Stone World Magazine and Marble Institute of America. The SIE events will help you: strengthen your skills, build your business, and  increase profit in your shop.  Check out stoneindustryeducation.com to register for upcoming fabricator and installer seminars.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook logo Twitter  YouTubeGoogle+