Building a house in a pandemic is not easy—but it is essential.
Ask any designer, contractor, or homeowner who’s done a renovation in the past two years. Product and transit delays, material costs shifting weekly. It’s enough to drive a design crew mad. But we had our mission—build the fourth annual Whole Home in just four months. Like so many families filing construction permits and navigating skyrocketing material prices this year, we kept reality in mind: It’s never been more important to have a peaceful, productive, and restorative refuge to call home.
To pull this all off, we went to Fredericksburg, Texas, a German settlement with 175-year-old historic roots smack dab in the heart of Hill Country, and found a 750-acre “agrihood” community called Hidden Springs. There we teamed up with Tyler O’Brien of Agave Custom Homes, who was just insane enough to help us on our journey, and set about proving that building a dream home in a pandemic is possible.
O’Brien’s plan was to build a single-story, Craftsman-inspired farmhouse with two separate wings and an expansive outdoor area. The design is meant to be connected to the landscape, where livestock roam freely on a 30-acre nature preserve.
But in true House Beautiful style, we wanted to give the house more of a purpose—after all, for the past 125 years, this brand has understood that design is as much about humanity as it is about vanity. We enlisted eight Next Wave alumni from across the country to help us define and refine what today’s ideal home should be.
Each designer brought a distinct point of view to their assigned space. From a sunrise-inspired living room that sets an uplifting tone for the whole house, to a cozy kitchen for long, lingering conversations, to a massive party patio fully equipped to go from candlelight to cornhole, every inch has a purpose. During a year in which our homes had to be offices, classrooms, and still (somehow) personal sanctuaries, this one is tailor-made to foster work, play, and pressing pause.
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