Small energy-efficient farmhouse in Austin designed for a bachelor

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This modern farmhouse style property was designed by architects Rauser Design and built by Risinger Homes, located in Austin, Texas. The concept for this project called the “Perfect Wall” was developed by Joe Lstiburek, the founder of Building Science Corporation—a consulting and full service architecture firm specializing in building technology. The wall and roof systems of this home pushes the insulation to the outside, which enables the framing to be exposed.

This two-story residence was designed for a bachelor, featuring just 1,450 square feet of living space. The home boasts a 500 year life span, as it is amazingly durable, efficient, healthy, and simple to retrofit in the future. All materials selected for the design of this home were based on their durability and that they will beautifully age over time. Overall, it is a triumph of building science and design.

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The home rests on a concrete pier-and-beam foundation, which makes its simple to access all areas of the house for repairs.

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The exterior facade is constructed with a timber framing, consisting of 1-inch by 6-inch pine boards, 1/2-in OSB, a 40-mil peel-and-stick air/water/vapor barrier, 4-in silver foil-faced polyisocyanurate insulation, 1-inch by 4-inch pressure-treated lathing, and a 24-gauge corrugated metal siding, all pre-painted white.

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The roof structure was designed similarly—the only difference is that it has six inches of insulation and a thicker weather barrier. Since the dwelling was designed without overhangs, this barrier is able to wrap the entire house without breaks.

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On the interior you will find exposed wood framing painted white— in standard 2×4’s on 16-inch centers. This lends a rustic aesthetic to the space while also making it easy to spot leaks, while also making it easy for the structure to dry out if it gets wet.

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What We Love: This farmhouse style home boasts the perfect wall system, with incredible thermal performance that gives this structure a long lifespan. The interior living spaces are bright and airy with an open layout that is functional and relaxing. Clean lines and sleek aesthetics makes this the perfect home for a bachelor.

Readers, please share with us your overall impressions on this home in the comments below. Are there any details that you would have done differently?

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Sustainability: This home earned a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) rating of 39. This is an index system to which a home’s energy efficiency is measured. It is also the nationally recognized system for inspecting, testing and calculating a home’s energy performance. This home’s rating is better than a HERS 100 rating, which is for a standard new home, which puts this home close to net zero status!

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Photos: Courtesy of Rauser Design 

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9 months ago

Where did the steel wood box under the stove come from. We’ve been looking to source one.

Scott Higgins
2 years ago

Are the blueprints for this house available to purchase?

3 years ago

What would I do differently? Not have a window open outward into the traffic pattern, e.g. from driveway to living room entrance. Omit shelves built between studs to eliminate high maintenance cleaning. Avoid overhead, scattered lighting and replace with mid-level ambient lighting. Beautiful design. Function can be improved.

Danny Quijano Photo
4 years ago

As a California native, I was really impressed by the transition from the steampunk fire resistant exterior to the beach house interior. Awesome!

4 years ago

I would love to see the floor plan for this house. Would you ever share? Would love to build this

5 years ago

I absolutely love this design and the efficiency of the home!

Dena Crownover
6 years ago

I think this is amazing! I love it! Will be researching for more info since I will be building this year.

6 years ago

Since when does 1450 square feet equal a space only suitable for “a bachelor” ? First, it’s implying it’s only a space for a man, and second, it’s implying that you need tons more space for anyone else to fit in it. We live in a 1500 s.f. HOUSE and my husband and I only occupy/use 800 s.f. of it with the other two rooms empty…I’d hardly say we live in a “bachelor” size spot, we just aren’t so materialistic that we need to be able to do cartwheels indoors. Might think about your wording again before you write an… Read more »