2022 RDAA | Custom on the Boards | Honey Creek Farm | Cotton Estes Architect

“In Texas, when it rains, it pours,” says architect Cotton Estes. This suburban house for a young couple (one is a hydrologist) is designed and engineered to capture those downpours (up to the 500-year storm volume), use the water for the house, and then filter it back into the Honey Creek watershed—cleaner than when it fell from the clouds. 

The long, sloped roof will channel water through a single large gutter into a 40,000‑gallon, board-formed concrete cistern at the low end of the slope. After use in the house, filtered water will irrigate the garden before returning to its natural path. 

The entire house is geared toward immersion in nature, with extensive indoor/outdoor areas that harness views and cooling breezes. “The house is right on the edge of several HOAs in a dense suburb of Austin,” says Cotton. “But our building is a threshold to this incredibly natural and private overlook.”

A solar array will help the house meet net-positive energy goals, and the compact floor plan will flex for future needs—visiting guests from overseas or a growing family in the future. Not only were our judges swayed by the thoughtful, earth-friendly plan for the house, they were also very taken by the architect’s careful and artful presentation of the ideas behind the house: “I love this,” said one judge. “This was a very well put together presentation.”


Custom on the Boards

Cotton Estes Architect

Honey Creek Farm

Lakeway, Texas

Project Credits

Architect: Cotton Estes Architect, San Antonio

Builder: Nick Ryza, BuildNative, Austin, Texas

Cistern: Bowerbird Construction, Dripping Springs, Texas 

Project Size: 1,750 square feet

Site Size: 2.65 acres

Key Products

Cabinetry/Vanities: Ikea with Kokeena custom faces

Cladding: Thermally treated Scots pine by Thermory

Cooktop: Fisher & Paykel

Dishwasher: Blomberg

Entry Doors/Windows: Weather Shield

Faucets: Kohler, Delta

Humidity Control: Ultra Aire by Santa Fe Dehumidifier

HVAC: Mitsubishi

Ovens: Bosch

Paints: Benjamin Moore

Railings: AGS Stainless

Refrigerator/Freezer: Sub-Zero

Roofing: Berridge standing seam roof, Carlisle Residential Membrane Roofs

Thermal/Moisture Barrier: Korwall Industries SIP roof

Underlayment/Sheathing: Huber ZIP System

Water Treatment System: Orenco Advanced Wastewater Treatment

Window Wall Systems: Arcadia thermally broken aluminum sliders

Wine Refrigeration: Summit