Texas is known for a lot of things: oil fields, barbecue, cowboy hats and oversized belt buckles, and high school football games under Friday night lights. But when you think about the Lone Star state, architecture is probably not something that crosses your mind, box stores and stucco strip malls notwithstanding. Architectural words such as modernism and post-modernism might be used to describe the wide open spaces, vast grazing lands and panoramic loneliness of the Texas landscape, but they’re rarely employed to describe residential homes or public buildings. Of course, that’s not to say you won’t find any white box minimalist architecture in Texas. It just doesn’t crowd the landscape like Alvar Aalto’s homes of Finland.

terra cotta flooring austin

Everything is Bigger in Texas

The architecture in Texas is a unique amalgamation of the state’s Mexican and Spanish roots. However, the size of the state and its variations in geography and climate resulted in an eclectic mix of architectural styles and aesthetics. To put it another way: a diversity of people, wielding a wide variety of building materials and artistic visions, have left a mark on the Texas landscape. The most unique Texas homes combine the simplicity of a Tuscan design with the sprawling elegance of a Spanish hacienda (the word hacienda means “estate” in Spanish). It’s a big, lush, brash style (everything is bigger in Texas, right?), part Tuscan villa, part sprawling ranch, and one hundred percent Texan.

The classic, Texas hacienda-inspired home has a romantic and rugged beauty. It’s typically made of adobe and stone, features cornices and friezes, and is defined by its intricate indoor and outdoor space. The sunlit courtyards and colonnaded silhouettes are elegantly balanced with rich, earthy colors and natural materials. Breeze blocks are a common architectural feature of haciendas; used in warm climates to let the breezes through the house, breeze blocks have decorative hole patterns (snowflake, cloverleaf) and are used as screen walls or fences.

Warm Days, Cool Floors

Ceramic, porcelain tile, and natural stone are the best flooring options for homes in warm and humid climates. The materials won’t buckle or peel, and if excessive humidity causes the tile to shift, it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to repair. Terra cotta tile can be traced back to early civilizations and continues to be one of the most favorable building materials for architects and interior designers. The Old World flooring material is the ideal representation of Texas’ Mexican and Spanish roots. Glazed, high-fired, in Spanish Mission Red or Sevilla, Mexican-inspired tile flooring comes in an array of shapes, designs, and colors. Most terra cotta tile, however, is beige, an organic shade that perfectly magnifies a hacienda-inspired home’s sun soaked interior. Patterned terra cotta, on the other hand, is popular in Tuscany and the Mediterranean and often used in recesses and alcoves to add flair to an interior. But remember: too many patterned tiles on a large surface area can be overwhelming. You want your Texas home to have a big, brash style, but you don’t want the flooring to give you a headache.

Contact our local Austin experts at Floor Coverings International for a free consultation!

Photo Credit: pics721