PaperCity Magazine

January 2015 - Houston

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B Y S T E P H E N F O X . A R T D I R E C T I O N M I C H E L L E A V I Ñ A . P H O T O G R A P H Y C A S E Y D U N N . ARCHITECT KAREN LANTZ MAKES A CASE FOR SUSTAINABILITY WITH SOLAR TUBES, RAIN-GATHERING CISTERNS AND A SUBTERRANEAN PARTY ROOM. A rchitect Karen Lantz wanted to make a design statement with the house she built in the Museum District for herself and her husband, dentist Andrew Farkas. She wanted to demonstrate that it's feasible to design a house in Houston that incorporates sustainable practices, respects its neighborhood setting and is still stylish, fun and exciting. Her (Almost) All-American Home makes the case that you can be a serious environmental steward and still have a blast dancing all night to the music of DJ Kalkutta in your underground party room. Lantz started with the small structure occupying her lot on Banks Street in the Ranch Estates subdivision. Rather than scraping it with a backhoe, she had the 60-plus-year-old ranch house dismantled so its materials could be recycled by the City of Houston's Building Materials ReUse Warehouse and by Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Harris County's Deconstruction program. Next, she ensured the durability of her new house with steel framing. Not only is steel superior to wood as a construction material, but it, too, can be dismantled and recycled, should her new house ever be replaced. Serving as her own contractor, Lantz designed and constructed the house with precision, directing stonemasons, metalworkers and other skilled craftspeople, and focusing on high durability and low maintenance materials. All floor slabs in the house — ground floor, second floor and basement — are surfaced with polished terrazzo; the roof, with standing-seam metal. The exterior walls are faced in part with acid- etched steel paneling or horizontally corrugated steel siding, while rich, ruddy slabs of Lueders limestone, quarried in Texas, coat the walls. The gray-blue marble chips embedded in the terrazzo floors come (Almost) All-American Home In the entry hall, the poured terrazzo flooring is made of marble from Marble Falls, Texas. The vertical perforated- brass wall-mounted fixture to the right is a dimmable LED branch wall sconce by RBW, Brooklyn.

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