Kebony-clad home comprises four “pods” and utilizes organic materials to complement its surroundings
An expansive four-building modern residence recently completed construction on a former pecan farm a few miles outside of Houston. Developed on his family’s 210-acre ranch, David Wersebe, who works in the mineral royalty business in Houston, designed the nearly 6,000 square-foot project himself and hired an architect to draw up the plans for construction.
The residence, which is currently on the market, blends elements of its original pecan orchard site with materials complementary to the environment. Hand-cut Texas limestone and hand-hewn beams from a 200-year-old Amish barn frame the expansive entry, and large-scale custom metal windows open to the native landscape. Kebony, a global leader in the production of sustainable modified wood, was carefully selected to clad all four facades, reflecting the organic but modern feel of the house.
The home is arranged in four distinct “pods”: the center pod houses the living room, kitchen and other common areas; the north and south pods comprise the guest rooms and master suite, respectively. A separate air-conditioned garage can accommodate four cars and features a hangar door that opens into an awning as well as two elevated workspaces and a rooftop observation deck.
All four structures are roofed in metal with custom-designed awnings with irrigated trellises; the center pod features a two-story white oak living room cathedral ceiling; its back porch includes a cantilevered deck overlooking Lake Lucille with a covered patio and wood-burning fireplace. A glass-walled steel frame bridge with unobstructed views leads to the master suite. This one-of-a-kind home is surrounded by polo fields and equestrian facilities.
Developed in Norway, Kebony’s revolutionary technology is an environmentally friendly and patented process which modifies sustainably sourced softwoods by heating the wood with furfuryl alcohol – an agricultural by-product. By polymerising the wood’s cell wall, the softwoods permanently take on the attributes of tropical hardwood including high durability, hardness and dimensional stability. This unique process also provides Kebony with its characteristic appearance, which only grows more beautiful with time.
David Wersebe explained: “I built this house for me, so if it doesn’t sell, I might move into it. We’re trying to attract a $3 million buyer, and it’s dialed-in for the equestrian culture that’s big down here. The Kebony cladding worked extremely well for this project and as it weathers into its grey patina over time, it will blend beautifully into this environment.”
* Kebony Technology
The Kebony technology is a patented process which enhances the properties of non-durable wood species to give them similar characteristics to the best performing woods. Through a sustainable process wood species such as pines and non-durable woods are impregnated with a bio-based liquid derived from agricultural crop waste. With the addition of heat, the furfuryl polymer is permanently grafted into the wood cell wall, resulting in greatly improved durability and dimensional stability.
Kebony is suitable for both internal and external applications that demand high performance and great aesthetics such as decking, flooring, cladding, roofing, windows, indoor and outdoor furniture. Over time Kebony acquires a silver-grey patina whilst maintaining its performance characteristics. A study by Norwegian environmental consulting firm Bergfald & Co. demonstrated that Kebony has a substantially lower carbon footprint than its tropical hardwood equivalents, with improved durability and dimensional stability the wood is increasingly becoming the choice of leading architects and developers enabling them to use wood without causing environmental degradation. Kebony has been used internationally in commercial, public, residential and marine projects including the site of Youth Winter Olympic Games in Norway, Sweden’s first round Passive House, Rochester Marina in New York and the redevelopment of Cinque Ports Street, Rye.
Interviews, case studies, images available from:
Gordon Cole-Schmidt/Ariella Joel Davison
The Communication Group
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