Slideshow

True Grit

A gut rehab of an 1891 homestead in Texas hill country brings out the beauty in an old farmstead.

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Project Info

Architect/Contractor: Richard Laughlin, Laughlin Homes & Restoration, Fredericksburg, Texas

Priorities

  • Update a circa 1891 homestead in the Texas hill country. Existing conditions: a crude kitchen and a makeshift bathroom; stairs on the exterior of the building; a freestanding gas stove as the only heat source
  • Repurpose and modernize the living and kitchen space while respecting the pioneer home’s roots

Solutions

The fifth generation of a family had been living in this homestead until the current owners purchased it and enlisted designer Richard Laughlin to remodel it.

Laughlin’s crew cleaned and repointed the stones, which had been quarried on site in the 1800s, and gutted the interior leaving the stone walls and second floor platform intact. They reclaimed and recycled as much as they could or used historical light fixtures and salvaged doors and lumber to give the project a period feel.

The crew installed a new standing-seam metal roof and “laid wood shingles on the porches and outbuildings to provide a historic feel while reducing glare in the second floor windows,” Laughlin says. The second floor got a new master suite and an interior staircase. To open the kitchen the team created arched openings in the 18-inch-thick solid stone walls.

Judges’ comments

“They saved this house from ... rotting away and they were meticulous in bringing it back to its original condition. It was a farmstead and it still feels like a farmstead. It’s true to its original feel, as if it could have survived [in this way] the whole time.”

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