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Camp Frio by Tim Cuppett – Project of the Week

posted October 29, 2019

Location: Leakey, Texas

Architect: Tim Cuppett ArchitectsPhotography: Whit Preston Photography


“Cozy… but ample and gracious; dark and moody…but bright and airy.” That was the homeowners’ impression of Camp Frio after spending their first weekend at the Texan multi-family vacation property. The young family wanted a retreat where they could bring other friends and family. They turned to Tim Cuppett Architects for a solution, and they delivered. The award-winning Austin-based firm designed a compound of four independent structures: main house, two guest cottages, and a garage/art studio/meditation loft. And as Cuppett explains, the final product is many things all at once.

“It’s rural, agrarian, rustic,” he says, “at first glance, the buildings might appear to have been there for decades but with further study, composition and details look more modern.”

Camp Frio by Tim Cuppett AIA


Timeless Design

It also looks like the kind of place that inspires outlaw country songs. In other words, timeless, just like the wood that clads all of the structures. For this, they chose a beautiful knotty grade of Western Red Cedar, a classic siding material that stands the test of time for two reasons. The wood’s warm textured surface only gets better with age. Especially if left to weather naturally or in this case, finished with a weather-enhancing stain.

Secondly, the wood is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insects so it’s a durable building material as rich in history as it is in tonal range. He also selected cedar for exterior flooring and elevated decking, which encourages interaction between the screened porches and guest cottages of Camp Frio.

Cedar’s also a green choice. In fact, sustainably harvested woods such as Western Red Cedar leave the smallest carbon footprint than any other building material. Which is important for a parcel of land that’s deep in a grassy Texan valley where the Frio River winds through.

“One goal was to have a minimal impact on the site,” confirms Cuppett.

Camp Frio by Tim Cuppett

WRC Specifications

Grade: #1 Appearance Grade

Size: Various

Fastening: 2” galvanized trim nails (15g.) with 1 x4 treated cleats behind, notched 8” o.c. for ventilation with ½” zip board sheathing on studs.

Applied Finish: Eco wood stain. Black on main house, red on other buildings