2023 AIA Houston Design Award
Published in Houstonia

Contractor: CPJ Builders
Structural Engineer: Insight Structures
Photography: César Béjar Studio

Puzzle House

This home for a family of four in Houston Heights nods to the neighborhood’s historic bungalows with oversized 'clapboard' siding and a gable roof form with a distinctly modern reinterpretation. Two mature live oak trees at the front of the site provide a shaded canopy upon entry. The volume of the building tapers slightly from the peak at the center of the site to the primary bedroom at the front of the home where a large window at the foot of the bed frames a view of the tree canopy.

Spaces are carved away from the overall volume in order to bring outdoor space into the interior of the home. In addition to the porches at the front and back of the house that are typical to most homes, each bedroom also opens to a generous private patio recessed within the building’s volume. An interior atrium brings vegetation and natural light into the kitchen and dining spaces while a deep canopy provides shade to a broad opening just outside the living room. At the peak of the gabled roof, a skylight brings daylight into a lofted reading space.

The family’s penchant for puzzles inspired the details within the home. Throughout the house, irregularly shaped millwork door panels overlap with adjacent cabinet boxes to create interlocking planes. Staggered gaps in cabinet doors and drawers serve as handles, creating playful patterns. In the Puzzle Room, a custom designed table allows for puzzles in progress to be stored internally until homework is completed.