Houston Architecture Office Doubles as Beautiful Eco Home

After several years of working in a downtown warehouse loft, Houston architects Russell and Rame Hruska, owners of Intexure, decided to move their studio and combine it with their home. Thus they designed and built this stunning live-work studio with office space on the ground floor and personal living space upstairs. The combined footprint of the office and eco home condenses their life into one space, which features a ton of green design strategies and even achieves LEED standards for an urban lot.

The architects snatched up an abandoned lot, which for some time had served as a garbage dump. Then they began work to transform the lot into their eco home and office space with a heavy focus on simple, cost effective and sustainable design solutions. The exterior of the home is clad in Galvalume metal siding and concrete fiberboard siding that includes recycled content. Materials were sourced from within 500 miles when possible and all the windows were produced locally.

A lot with a good southern orientation allowed the couple to align the eco home to take advantage of passive solar design. Lots of south facing windows take in the heat during the winter, but large overhangs on the south and west facades from the butterfly roof protect it from the high summer sun. Shading is also aided by a large 75 year old, 60 foot tall red oak tree, which the home / live-work studio was designed around and incorporated into the passive solar design..


butterfly roof collects and directs rainwater into a pond at the front of the house and the landscaping and vegetation is drought tolerant, low maintenance and encourages the activity of neighborhood butterflies.  The butterfly roof also helps maximize daylighting. Hybridized native buffalo grass was used for the lawn and looks like a typical lush turf grass, but uses much less water and doesn’t need to be mowed. Gravel was used to create the driveway and parking areas, which improves stormwater infiltration. Behind the home is a year round vegetable garden supported by a compost system at the rear of the property.

Inside, the home / live-work studio is minimally decorated in order to reduce the use of materials, much of which was left in a natural state. For example, steel columns were left exposed and the first floor wood ceiling became the wood flooring for the second story. Spaces double for both work and home, like the Architectural Materials Library, which serves as a dining space after the work day has ended. Ample glazing allows for a ton of natural daylight, which is appealing for the employees as well as the owners of the home. Operable windows encourage breezes in the spring and fall.