A master plan to create an integrated homestead grew into a sustainable compound using the principles of passive solar design, natural products — clay, sand, straw, stone and wood — and the restoration of a bare and neglected landscape.

Natural and luxurious elements, both down-to-earth and high tech, coexist on this property. The main house, guest house, school and garage are constructed of site-built Compressed Earth Block (CEB) and straw bale, designed to last hundreds of years. Locally produced and/or sourced materials include light fixtures, cabinets and entry doors, as well as the cedar used in the lintels, columns, trim and porch ceiling. By design, this project minimized the use of materials that off -gas harmful substances.

 Solar PV, solar thermal and highly efficient mini-split systems further the goal of net zero energy. Even the electric car and vehicle charging station don’t strain the power budget. With rainwater as the sole source of domestic and landscape water as well as drip irrigation from a high-performance bio-filtration wastewater system, this homestead is self-sufficient.  Even the natural swimming pool is filled with rainwater and treated primarily by living plants. Beyond the pool is a food forest designed around the principles of Permaculture — the transformation of Hill Country caliche into nourishing soil for fruit trees and raised vegetable beds. Unlike most construction sites, no dumpster was needed for the minimal waste generated during construction; most of it was ground back into the earth.

Located at 9248 Sandstone Street | 78737

Stewardship Inc.
Gayle Borst, RA

Cox Construction
Michael and Nathaniel Cox
512.422.7850, 512.970.6893

Earth Block Texas, LLC
Jim Hallock


Innovative Water Solutions LLC
Chris Maxwell-Gaines

Symbiosis Regenerative Systems
Michael Wolfert

Austin Energy Program Participant
5-Star Austin Energy Green Building rating

Share Your Experience