Prairie Revival

A rustic Texas Hill Country ranch gets a complete redo, while respecting its hardscrabble past.

The new standing-seam metal roof follows longtime vernacular practice in the area. For the porch, another traditional detail — wood shingles on lath — helps to avoid the glare the metal roof would have cast into second-floor windows.

Occupied for more than a century by the ranching family that built it, the house had seen better days. But its honest form and sturdy bones made it well worth resurrecting.

Five generations of the same family have lived and worked on Squaw Creek Ranch, built in the 1880s in the Texas Hill Country.

A restored original fireplace anchors the living room. Once shut away in a back corner of the house, the kitchen now communicates freely with the adjacent living and dining areas.

Furniture-like painted cabinets in varied colors make the room feel even more of a piece with the rest of the house.

Reflecting the pioneer era in which it was built, the original homestead had a simple configuration: two rooms downstairs and a loft above.

In the remodel,the stone-walled core is devoted to daytime living spaces. A two-bedroom suite fills the wood-framed 1970s-era addition at the rear. A master bedroom suite occupies the entire second-floor loft (not shown).

A low-headroom attic space above the dining room contains central heating and air conditioning equipment and a pair of gas-fired demand-type water heaters. Also hidden from view is a full envelope of sprayed foam insulation.

The remodel exposed the home’s original 18-inch–thick limestone masonry walls. The gypsum board ceilings on the first floor were removed to expose the original joists and decking above.

Salvaged pine treads and risers grace the new stair. For the hand rail, the remodeler salvaged some wagon-tire iron that a blacksmith unrolled and hammered flat before it was mounted it to the wall.

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