"Into the pool."
"How about that. Yeah this is the famous little door, and you step right into the pool."
Homeowner Dr. Allen Gaw is showing a tiny door that leads directly from a master suite into an angular swimming pool. It's one of the many distinctive features of Frank Lloyd Wright's Thaxton House, which sits on a secluded acre in Bunker Hill Village. An open floor plan moves through a sweeping living area. The room has a large fireplace and built-in seating that faces floor-to-celing windows. There's views of the patio outside. Gaw says the indirect lighting and tilt of the roof give the house a special feel.
"It projects your field of vision down so that it doesn't allow you to go up. And with the overhang, this room, or this house, and that's the answer to my question, is that the peace, the serenity, and the tranquility, it's — you just can't describe it."
The home is named for William Thaxton. He was a real estate developer who comissioned Wright to design the home for a proposed subdivision in 1954. The Gaw family bought the home in 1991. As part of their renovations they built a large addition that wraps around the back of the house which increased the total size to about 8000 square feet. That addition was designed by Houston architecture firm Kirksey Meyers. The Wright house was left intact and restored to its original look. Architectural Historian Stephen Fox says Thaxton House had been altered over the years by owners who didn't like Wright's style.
"They didn't like the dark plywood finishes, they didn't like the exposed concrete block, so they tried every way they could to sort of erase Frank Lloyd Wright from the house. They put columns underneath the cantilevered overhangs on the exterior."
The Gaws are now looking to downsize and they're hoping to sell the house to a preservation-minded buyer. The asking price is now a little over three million dollars. Fox says Thaxton House is a significant example of Wright's later work.
"It's a house by a master that's very, very modest and doesn't try to call attention to itself. But instead, really kind of invests all that design effort in making a wonderfully livable space. "