Celebrity Homes: Laura and George W Bush’s Texas Country House – Central Texas, especially that sweet spot halfway between Dallas and Austin where small swaths of the legendary old prairies remain, is an earthly paradise. Blowsy live oaks spread their heavy limbs beneath cloud-spattered skies, while creeks and rivers—most prominently the meandering Brazos—ripple alongside gently rolling pastures gilded with waving grasses.
These natural glories are precisely what led Laura and George W. Bush to choose the area for their Prairie Chapel Ranch, the retreat they completed in 2001, just after he became the 43rd president of the United States. Occupying some 1,600 acres near the flyspeck town of Crawford, about 25 miles west of Waco, the property is anchored by a strong but relatively modest home that quietly honors its location.
The former first lady notes that when she was growing up in Midland, Texas, her father built spec houses—”one story and low to the ground, a style you saw a lot in the ’50s and ’60s.” She and Mr. Bush had a similar type of residence in mind for Crawford, mainly, she explains, “because we wanted the house to fit into the landscape.”
And she means fit literally. Heymann’s design carefully nestled a single-level, three-bedroom limestone structure and an adjacent two-suite guesthouse into an almost imperceptible rise amid an existing grove of live oaks and cedar elms.
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