Restore the Rhythm
A former Miss Texas saves a 100-year-old Marfa, Texas, dance hall and transforms it into a sleek, minimalist retreat.
After a 15-month-long renovation (and nine Dumpsters full of debris!), designer Barbara Hill was able to restabilize the 30- by 50-foot structure, update the exterior, and return the inside to the original one-room design. Birch plywood covers the floors and vaulted living room ceiling, emphasizing its height. And a new fireplace gives the space a focal point.
Although the building was in ruins, its history and romance told Barbara it was worth restoring. The biggest problem was an unstable structure and featureless walls.
Situating the kitchen along a 30-foot wall takes up less space and creates ample room for dining. To accommodate the wall of windows, Barbara fit all the appliances under the countertops.
When an entire home is one open space, it's important to limit materials for a cohesive look. All the walls are plaster, and new birch plywood was laid on the floors and living room ceiling. Paintgrip steel sheeting covers the fireplace and ceilings in the kitchen and sleeping areas.
The "Make Tacos Not War" wall decal over the sink urges guests to relax and "adds a touch of humor," Barbara says.
Mismatched windows with garish green trim and unkempt plants pleaded for attention. The solution? A new metal roof, commercial windows, and fresh plaster walls that modernize the facade.
New plaster covers the 18-inch-thick adobe walls, made a century ago with dirt dug from under the house. And a breezy 50-foot-long porch runs the length of the home, easing the transition between indoors and out. It's also a shady spot for entertaining guests in the heat. Desert-loving agave plants look like sculpture against the stucco garden wall.
Moving the front entry to the side allows guests to spill out easily into the courtyard—extending the home's living space. Barbara installed a fire pit on axis with the indoor fireplace so when they are both lit, they create a striking display. And the steel pipes in the fire pit outside evoke a campfire when lit.