South of Mason, Texas, over the crest of a hill, on a site flanked by sandstone bluffs and the teal blue waters that are their namesake, the Llano River Cabins make for a dramatic reveal. That’s cabins, plural, with an "s," because this landscape is home to not one but three inhabitable units. A main house and two smaller structures for guests and overflow lend this property the paradoxical distinction of being both a secluded getaway and an eminently accommodating gathering space.
Entering the site from the northeast, a curving drive loops around to a workshop with a garage and carport. To the south, the property unfolds on a slope populated with scrubby cedars, offering a line of sight through the breezeway between the main cabin’s grand porch and its generous overhang, down to the gentle waters of the Llano River.
The grand porch is the central node of the property. Whether visitors approach from the workshop, one of the secondary cabins, or the river, it’s the space that greets and invites them to congregate. Wrapping around the south and west sides of the main cabin, with room enough for a ping pong table and three sets of tables and chairs, the porch is perfect for large gatherings of family and friends. A dark grey monolith clad in sealed hot rolled plate steel marks its boundary to the west, housing storage and a fireplace. On its south end, a pass-through window from the kitchen permits the quick and easy distribution of refreshments.
As the main cabin extends away from the porch, the interior flows from communal to private spaces. To the west, an open living, kitchen, and dining area maintains dialogue with an adjoining reading nook, set off, but still open to social activity.
To the east, a two-story volume sleeps three bedrooms. On the second floor, above the children’s rooms, the primary suite is an enclave unto itself, abundant with millwork and storage space, and room for not only a couch facing a media wall, but also a desk.
West of the main house, two secondary structures ensure the Llano River Cabins can sleep as many people as they can entertain. In addition to their own porches, each of these cabins features a living area, bedroom, and bathroom on the first floor. A ship’s ladder leads to a second-story loft, which sleeps two more, with additional space for chairs and a desk.
The environment of the site informs the material palette of the Llano River Cabins, which was inspired by elements both hard and soft—cliffs, dirt, and exposed river bedrock, but also the teal of the water, the bright green of the moss, and the purple of the prickly pear on the cacti. Corten steel and white oak create a rich, warm contrast to the coolness of these natural features, distinguishing the Llano River Cabins from their setting, even as they complement it.
Contractor: Mason County Homes