ISSUE 7  |  Drought Week

Steal This Look: A Minimalist Marfa Exterior Space

February 17, 2015 10:00 AM

BY Julie Carlson

When Houston-based designer Barbara Hill bought a former dance hall in Marfa, Texas, a few years back as a vacation house, the property was in a state of disrepair, and the landscaping was nonexistent (weeds had engulfed the entire yard). After tackling the interior, Hill moved outdoors, ripping out the scraggly undergrowth and installing drought-resistant native plantings like sage, yucca, and great white cactus. Using reclaimed materials, she created a series of paths and a fire pit focal point in the backyard; we pulled together a few ideas for recreating the look.

Above: Four Donald Judd-like concrete walls create a privacy screen. Photograph via Barbara Hill Design

Above: Hill used reclaimed bricks from El Paseo with concrete borders to create pathways throughout the property. Photograph by Misty Keasler

Above: In the open-air breezeway, a row of butterfly chairs.  The underside of the eaves is clad in aluminum/zinc Home Depot-sourced Galvalume panels. A simple polished-concrete slab serves as deck. Photograph courtesy of Barbara Hill Design.

Above: Hill used reclaimed bricks to create a path leading to a circular fire pit with built-in seating and a gas-powered campfire sculpture made of salvaged pipes by artist George Sacaris. Photograph by Misty Keasler via Dwell.

The Elements

Above: Made of spun aluminum, The Sconce is 7 inches wide, 13 inches high, and 9 inches deep and is $198 from Just Modern.  

Above: The French Airborne AA Butterfly Chair with black powder-coated metal frame and white canvas cover is £450 from Bodie and Fou. In the US, Circa 50 offers a black powder-coated metal Butterfly Chair with white canvas cover for $250 (minimum order of two). 

Above: Neutra House Numbers in Aluminum are $27 each from Design Within Reach. 

Above: Gavin Historical Bricks, a family-owned company in Iowa, offers fired-clay brick salvaged from 100-year-old sidewalks; contact them directly for pricing and more information. 

Above: The Cast Iron Fire Bowl from Design Within Reach has two built-in handles for portability. The lower bowl collects ashes and elevates the fire to better dissipate heat; $465 from Design Within Reach (a grill-top accessory is also available).

For more drought tolerant curb appeal, see: