Built in the 19th century, this South Texas homestead weathered blistering summer heat, through traffic by neighboring cattle, and an overgrown landscape of thorns and spines. But despite these hardships, it was once a family home consisting of one kitchen, one bedroom, and a small living area. Smithdish was engaged to restore the homestead for the modern generation’s enjoyment and reflection (and comfort!) without stripping the building of its strong spirit and simple forms. The design reworked interior partitions to maximize the Great Room footprint, daylight and views, insulated the shell to support new heating and cooling systems, and articulated details such as operable storm shutters, protecting the home between visits. Even the landscape was wrangled into a South Texas zen garden of mesquites, lawn sedge, and sculpted cactus hedges. Nothing beats bird-watching from the homestead’s front porch, with the soothing spin of the windmill as a backdrop.