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The homeowners desire to fully enjoy waterfront living initiated this project.  The dilapidated boat dock, boathouse, and storage room needed to be replaced with a functioning boat dock, all-weather, sustainable cabana, boathouse, and storage room.  In addition to the basic functions of the boat area, a day dock and sunning deck large enough to entertain guest boaters and sunbathers were to be incorporated into the project.  Also, in keeping with entertaining family and friends, a cabana outdoor living space complete with kitchen, fireplace, television, bathroom, and pool with hot tub were requested to create an oasis in the backyard on the lake.

Being located on the lake, the building materials had to be all-weather and sustainable to the Texas heat and occasional harsh weather conditions.  Constructing a kitchen and a bathroom in the floodplain created a design challenge in itself just to secure permits.  The clients wanted the shower as close to the lake as possible, which required multiple elevation changes directly off of the headwall of the lake.  The boat dock was required to be a separate structure from the cabana for both permitting and for property insurance purposes.  The final challenge was creating this custom space with unique, distinctive features and products that are noticeable but not overpowering. 

In addressing the challenge of the materials to be used, IPE (a Brazilian hardwood) was utilized which is naturally resistant to rot and decay and a beautiful product that will not only hold up the Texas heat but also the constant lake moisture.  In order to meet the bathroom elevation requirements, the architect used creative design and a combination of natural stone and IPE to create a smooth transition from the lake level to the approved elevation.  Two unique freestanding structures were created with overlapping roofs that appear to be one, which does not detract your eye from the angle of the roof.  To address the distinctiveness of the project, we designed the curved wall of the kitchen and fireplace area using native natural stone, niches in the stone wall, and a pool which flows seamlessly with the lake.    

Balancing the objectives with the challenges was a task that was solved by a team dedicated to creating a cabana outdoor living space that was sustainable, functional, and beautiful, along with honoring the homeowner’s desires.


Steve Reitz Company

Rhotenberry Wellen Architects of Midland Texas

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PO Box 321, Marble Falls, TX 78654 • 830.693.7553 •
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