In Texas, a Passive House Blends Style and Sustainability
Forge Craft Architecture + Design and Hugh Jefferson Randolph partner to refresh a 1914 craftsman home, making it hyper energy efficient along the way.
How do you walk the line between respecting history and renovating for modern efficiency standards? That was the challenge Trey Farmer, an architect, and his wife, Adrienne, a designer with Studio Ferme, faced when they moved into their 1914 craftsman-style home in Austin, Texas, in 2011. “It was charming on the outside but there was no insulation, it had single-pane windows, no subfloors and was rattly” due to its location near the highway, remarks Trey Farmer.
Their goal was a complete overhaul that would make the small, century-old home more functional, and highly energy efficient in line with the passive house standard. For help with the renovation, Farmer, an architect with Forge Craft Architecture + Design, turned to someone with experience blending old and new seamlessly: his former boss Hugh Jefferson Randolph. Randolph, also based in Austin, brought extensive experience designing renovations to historic homes in the Farmer’s neighborhood, the Clarksville District—the oldest surviving freedmen’s town west of the Mississippi—to bear on the project and was invaluable in striking a balance between modernization and preservation. Their finished project, dubbed the Theresa Passive House, has helped set the bar for energy efficiency in the Southern U.S.