Urban Home Austin-San Antonio April/May 2014

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Modern Bungalows art and masters Sustainable Living


1 4 a p r i l / m a y


Invitation To






APRIL 1 - JUNE 30, 2014 6225 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78757 9901 Broadway, Suites 104-105, San Antonio, TX 78217 w w w.k i v a h o me .c o m


From the Editors Through urban development, long established neighborhoods in both San Antonio and Austin are seeing revitalization. Bungalows, the architectural mainstay of these older neighborhoods, are in high demand and refurbishing them goes beyond downsizing; it has stirred a movement in creating “rightsized” homes that maximize space both indoors and out to make smaller homes comfortable and livable through thoughtful and creative space planning. J.C. Schmeil reconstructed his Austin home two times as his family grew. The result is a bright and modern home with features tailored to fit each member’s lifestyles. Also in Austin, David Wilkes Builders updated a 1939 Craftsman-style home using finishes common to the period. While modern touches were included inside, its charming exterior, complete with a white picket fence, adds to its storybook appeal. In San Antonio’s Alamo Heights neighborhood, Craig McMahon was intrigued with the challenge to maximize space in not only his home but on its small lot. Without disturbing the main structure of the home, he arranged what he calls “appropriately sized spaces” whose functions can easily change as his family’s needs change. Fern Santini’s design of a townhome may have been inspired by a single painting but the carefully edited furnishings and other art adorning both the interior and exterior spaces create a showplace to honor artists and masters. Likewise, in Mark Cravotta’s design of an Austin condo, he proves that selected pieces by local artists and strategic placement of this art can define a space as significantly as its furnishings. Farther away from bustling urban life sits a country home that is (almost) a true example of sustainable living. Designed by architects James LaRue and Rez Lankerani, this modern take on a Texas barn is passively designed with large overhangs, geothermal heating and cooling, and a 60,000 gallon cistern. The homeowner says that as technology improves and solar panels are efficient enough to generate all the electricity his family needs, his home will be completely off the grid. As always, we encourage you to recycle or pass this issue on to a friend! On The Cover: Through two extensive remodeling projects that doubled the size of his original home, J.C. Schmeil was able to define his family’s

Trisha Doucette & Leslie Woods, editors

needs and reconfigure living spaces that suited everyone — complete with a teen-sized wall nook and secret door! Page 18

2014 | VOL. 9 | NO. 2 Publisher Louis Doucette Editors Trisha Doucette and Leslie Woods Contributing Editor Bill Evans – ABOR Contributing Writers Jackie Benton, Michelle Burgess, Julie Catalano, Mauri Elbel, Ashley Festa, Dana W. Todd Strategic Media Placement Diane Purcell Advertising Sales Sandy Weatherford, Gerry Lair, Janis Maxymof Photography Dror Baldinger, Paul Bardagjy, Ryann Ford, Coles Hairston, Thomas McConnell, Mark Menjivar, Whit Preston, Red Pants Studio Design and Production Tim Shaw – The Shaw Creative Printing and Direct Mail SmithPrint Phone 512.385.4663, Austin - 210.410.0014, San Antonio Fax 830.981.8887 Business Office 4714 Cambridge / Sugar Land, Texas 77479 Sales Office 10036 Saxet Drive / Boerne, Texas 78006 Email louisd@urbanhomemagazine.com Website www.urbanhomemagazine.com Urban Home Magazine Austin-San Antonio is published by Big City Magazines of Austin, LLC. Advertising rates available upon request. All rights reserved by copyright. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent from publisher. Every effort is made to assure accuracy of the information contained herein. However, the publisher cannot guarantee such accuracy. Advertising is subject to errors, omissions and or other changes without notice. Mention of any product or service does not constitute endorsement from Urban Home Magazine. The information contained in this publication is deemed reliable from third party sources, but not guaranteed. Urban Home Magazine does not act as an agent for any of the advertisers in this publication. It is recommended that you choose a qualified remodeling, home furnishings or home improvement firm based on your own selection criteria. Urban Home Magazine, does not act as an agent for any of the realtors or builders in this publication. It is recommended that you choose a qualified realtor to assist you in your new home purchase. Urban Home Magazine will not knowingly accept advertising for real estate that is a violation of the Fair Housing Act. All real estate advertising in Urban Home Magazine, is subject to the Fair Housing Act that states “We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.”

© Copyright 2014 by Urban Home Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

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April / May 2014



18 Architectural Evolution Photography by Whit Preston

featured homes

26 Charming Character In Hyde Park Photography by Thomas McConnell


32 Maximizing Spaces Photography by Dror Baldinger and Mark Menjivar


40 Rooms With A View 42 Sweet Refuge




Design Trends 46 Showcasing Art And Masters Commercial Design 50 The Granary Off The Grid 54 Going Green Why This Space Works 58 Designer Spotlight: Mark Cravotta



Fabulous Finds 62 Texas Minor League Baseball Essentials 61 New Products: Spring Contributing Editor 53 Bill Evans, ABOR 66 Advertiser Index

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Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


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Architectural Evolution


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Radically reconstructed bungalow becomes modern family’s dream home By Mauri Elbel


Photography by Whit Preston

“This house is really tailored to our lifestyle,” says J.C. Schmeil, owner of Merzbau Design Collective, who orchestrated everything from the design to the construction of their home.


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



ftentimes life becomes the driving force behind design. For architect J.C. Schmeil, it took nearly 15 years of re-edited dreaming and evolutionary designing to transform his family’s 1935-bungalow into what it is today — an amalgam of clean lines, clever nooks, soothing colors and well-lit spaces. Tucked into Austin’s downtown Bouldin Creek neighborhood skirting bustling South Congress Ave., this radically reconstructed bungalow is not only a testament to good design, but one that has evolved with him and his family over the years. “This house is really tailored to our lifestyle,” says Schmeil, owner of Merzbau Design Collective, who orchestrated everything from the design to the construction of their home. “It’s very open — even when people are in separate rooms, we still feel connected. The footprint is small, but there is still enough space to stretch out. It takes advantage of the light and trees, but in a way that still makes an inner city house feel private.” Schmeil and his wife, Ashley McLain, a principal at 20

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

Cox|McLain Environmental Consulting, Inc., bought their 1935 Austin bungalow in 1998. Originally 820 square feet with two bedrooms and one bathroom, the space suited their needs as a couple but they knew they would want to add on when they had children. “I think the moment we moved in I started designing things in my head,” he says. “But as our lifestyle has changed, our needs have changed, too. When we first moved here with no kids, it was the perfect size for us. I even had an idea of having a whole ‘sake lounge’ where the guest bedroom is now. Then you have kids and that idea sounds so ridiculous.” In 2002, Schmeil and McLain almost doubled the size of their house when their first son was born, bringing it up to 1,500 square feet. They called it the stealth addition because they cut the back of the cottage off and added a family room, master and bath behind the original structure, leaving it completely unaltered from the front. But another child and almost a decade later, they felt it was time to expand again. In 2011, the architect finally got the chance to dramatically redesign their home. urbanhomemagazine.com

“This was not a remodel — it was radical reconstruction,” says Schmeil. “I’ve gone through this process a lot before with clients and I know it can be this sort of emotionally taxing but also very exciting process. But I think I didn’t realize what a big deal it really was until I opened up the front door and there was no roof. We kept the bones, but we made everything else new.” Today the 2,150-square-foot, four bedroom, three bathroom house complete with an office and music room offers a practical and playful solution for a family with two growing boys, now 11 and 13. The once cramped bungalow is now both spacious and connected, boasting a soft modern aesthetic characterized by clean lines and sleek finishes but warmed up with white-washed woods and a few traditional elements that were left intact such as the gabled roofline and arched entryway. Schmeil, McLain and their two sons, Corbin and Beckett, lived on-site during the 2012 construction process. Plywood walls were put urbanhomemagazine.com

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


up around construction zones, the master bedroom was used as storage, the boys slept on couches and their bathtub doubled as the kitchen sink. “The kids were great about it, but living there during construction was part of the reason it pushed us to get the whole renovation done so quickly,” McLain says. “It also made it exciting because we could see how much progress was made each day as we came home.” The result was everything they hoped for — a comfortable, open home suited for daily family life as well as social entertaining. Walking into the home, you enter the dining room/library, a towering space featuring floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that frame the front door and rectangular windows that grant treetop views. “This library wall is a huge favorite of mine,” adds McLain. “We are serious book collectors and before we just would have our books stacked all over the place. This is a personal touch that really reflects who we are and what we care about. Looking at this wall, you will see a lot of evidence of our travels, which is very important to us. It’s fun to look at these things and make our travel plans — the next spot in the world we will show our kids.” Schmeil says, according to Austin’s McMansion Ordinance, residents can build a house only as large as 40 percent of their lot’s 22

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

square footage or under 2,300 square feet. To avoid exceeding the square footage allotment, Schmeil tore the original roof off and vaulted the ceiling in the front room — an effect that creates dramatic appeal upon entering the home. “Another part of the impetus for going up was that we have two heritage oak trees and we wanted to keep some element of yard,” he says. “Going up also gave us the views. It feels a little like a tree house up here.” To the right of the entry dining/library is a charming guest room they refer to as the “gran-suite” because it is where McLain’s mother stays when she comes to visit. The bedroom is connected to an office via a small stretch of storage lockers, unique built-in cabinets perfect for storing their boys’ sports equipment, and a bathroom outfitted with slate floors and cool blue glass tiles. Maple plywood with a white wash finish is replicated in several areas of the home — on the lockers, stair rails, media cabinet and the fabulous panelized plywood tile wall in the entry, resulting in a visually cohesive yet cost-effective design choice. Schmeil collaborated with longtime friends Paul Wintle of Texas Trim and Jeffery Bennett of Bennetthaus for the unique custom cabinetry and storage spaces seen throughout the house. Schmeil was able to double the size of their kitchen by removing a wall between the kitchen and former dining room. urbanhomemagazine.com

The couple says the kitchen is now undeniably the heart of their home where they spend ample time talking, eating and cooking together. It’s an inviting space with walls painted in Benjamin Moore’s Beach Glass, custom cabinets from Texas Trim painted in Healing Aloe and white HanStone® countertops. The bungalow’s original white oak floors remain in the entry and kitchen while stained concrete floors make up the family room and master bedroom. Salvaged longleaf pine planks from the home’s original interior walls were reused for flooring throughout the second story addition. The boys share a bedroom, complete with a reading nook carved out of the wall which duals as a twin bed loft during sleep overs. If desired, the adjoining play room space can easily be converted into a separate bedroom. 24

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“Beckett loves to perch in the corner window and read books and Corbin likes to relax, play games and read in the nook,” says McLain. But one of the coolest design features sits adjacent to the boys’ bedroom/playroom — a secret room accessed via a “Scooby Doo” bookshelf. A large bookcase set on heavy duty skateboard wheels slides open to reveal a hidden music room outfitted with a set of drums, a guitar and a keyboard. “The boys love it,” Schmeil says. “Whenever they have someone over that is the first thing they show them. They will say, ‘do you like the bookshelf?’ Then they open it up for their friends and you can hear them saying ‘wow, cool!’.” Green elements were utilized throughout the house — an investment both Schmeil and McLain felt was important given their commitment to sustainability. The home’s original pine was reused for the flooring upstairs and the original oak flooring was kept downstairs, travertine from the LBJ Library at The University of Texas where both Schmeil and McLain attended graduate school was salvaged for the front porch, and recessed LED lights were installed through the house. A tankless water heater, open cell foam insulation and Andersen® 100 series windows increase the efficiency of the old home. The redesign makes great use of natural light — windows bathe sunlight throughout the home and those placed high give way to views of neighboring trees during the day and stars at night. A soothing palette plays throughout the house in variations of watery blues and greens with bolder punches like Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Grass wall color seen in the music and laundry rooms and the boys’ reading nook. The home’s design is both open and inviting, creating flexible communal spaces that work for both private and public uses. “I realize one of the main things I appreciate about the house is that I can work at home at any time, which I often have to do at odd hours, and I love being able to look out the big windows at our beautiful Live Oak trees,” says McLain. “Quite often, one or both boys are in here in the evenings, too, doing homework on the computer or projects on the floor. And when I do find a little free time, there’s plenty of room to practice yoga.” Schmeil admits designing a home for his family was a difficult undertaking but one that proved to be incredibly rewarding — a modern-day answer to urban family living. “I like the fact that we can walk to a ridiculous amount of restaurants within a three-block radius, there are multiple grocery stores, coffee shops and public transit options as well as hike and bike trails all around us,” says Schmeil. “We are really happy with how it turned out, and it suits us well.” v ARCHITECT Merzbau Design Collective 512.636.5900 | Merzbau.com CABINETRY Paul Wintle/Texas Trim 512.799.1090 | Texastrim.com Jeffrey Bennett/Bennetthaus 512.801.2339 | Bennetthaus.com urbanhomemagazine.com

Charming Character in Hyde Park By Dana W. Todd | Photography by Thomas McConnell

Like most Craftsman homes of the 1900s to 1930s, the Hyde Park house’s features hail to a time period focused on originality, hand craftsmanship and simplicity.


hances are, if you’ve ever dreamed

renovated and updated 1939 American Craftsman

of living in a house with a white picket

in historic Hyde Park. Its charm starts at the sidewalk

fence, you pictured a certain kind of home behind

with a perfect picket fence and moves through the

that fence. The fairy tale house usually involves an

upstairs and downstairs with enchanting features

American Craftsman style house, like this beautifully

that live in a modern way.


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Built during the heyday of the American Arts and Crafts movement, houses like this were the antonym of Victorian excess and the Industrial Revolution’s mass production. Someone built this 1939 charmer during Hyde Park’s construction boom. The boom took place during a second wave of building in the neighborhood from the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s to accommodate a rapidly expanding middle class’s need for (at that time) suburban homes. Now in the urbanhomemagazine.com

heart of downtown Austin, this modest bungalow needed an expansion and a facelift to accommodate a modern lifestyle. David Wilkes Builders accepted the challenge to increase the size of the cramped house and add storage and spaciousness while retaining and enhancing its inherent charms and antique character. To add bedrooms and living space, the builder increased the footprint from 1,700 square feet to more than 2,400 square feet Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


by adding a second story. According to Remodeling magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report, a two-story addition provides a homeowner with an 88 percent return on investment when he sells the property. That figure is up from 2013. The new top-level story added a master suite with attached screened-in sleeper porch, a guest suite and a utility room. To 28

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

blend the addition with the original floor plan, the builder also renovated the rest of the house. Careful material selections and thoughtful interior design ensure the new rooms integrate with the remainder of the house’s character. To retain the home’s architectural integrity and stay true to the era’s Craftsman appeal, the new rooms continue the white urbanhomemagazine.com

oak flooring of the first floor, stained with a dark walnut finish. The new stairway seamlessly blends the original and new floors, challenging anyone to determine they weren’t all installed in the 1930s. As a practical yet beautiful design measure, David Wilkes Builders installed wall art niches up the stairwell and into the redesigned kitchen downstairs, to coordinate the old with the urbanhomemagazine.com

new and provide storage for the homeowner’s travel treasures, family heirlooms and Peter Lik photography collection. Period woodworking details, such as those on the stairway, remain true to Craftsman style. “The new style features painted white trim on the staircase as opposed to the traditional stained wood,” says Leslie Castillo of David Wilkes Builders. “This simple addition creates a high level of contrast with the stained steps and handrail that many people find quite appealing.” The builder used simple blank newel posts and box newels, adding specialized trim detail to provide another hint of Craftsman style. Five-panel walnut doors in the new spaces coordinate seamlessly with the original wood doors. To keep the interior true to the 1930s era, the builder minimized the use of hallways in order to maximize square footage for storage and livability. He also added a true throwback type of room — a screened sleeper porch off the master Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


bedroom to increase the suite’s size and provide a relaxation spot for catching cool breezes. In the past, sleeper porches were used to provide some overnight relief from the muggy, humid nights when winds weren’t stirring. In this Hyde Park beauty, the sleeping porch adds valuable and practical square footage to the master suite. Vertical planks serve as the wainscoting underneath wraparound windows in this rectangular space, a design common to homes of this period. The home is not all about the addition of period details, however. To provide modern touches, the team built a cast 30

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

concrete sink and countertop in the master bathroom, with a matching vanity and center spanning bridge. “We opted for cast concrete in order to create a ‘wow factor’ statement piece for the master suite,” Castillo says. Other creature comforts make the master bath live like a masterpiece. A BainUltra® bathtub with a heated back rest takes the stress out of a long day. An elegant Hansgrohe® showerhead is finished in brushed nickel, and the shower’s digital temperature control and Steamist® steam system is just as relaxing as the tub. “The space offers understated sophistication, with a practical floor plan and artful details,” Castillo adds. David Wilkes Builders completely renovated the floor plan downstairs, enlarging the kitchen by claiming square footage from an old back porch and removing the living room fireplace that restricted traffic flow. In the kitchen, new appliances, cabinetry, woodworking and lighted art niches above the kitchen cabinets stand next to salvaged period details. Ceasarstone® Artic White countertops and stainless steel appliances paired with a cool blue Moroccan style tile backsplash cool the kitchen. White oak floors and pendant lighting warm it up a bit, creating balance. “The cabinets are in the Shaker style consistent with the 1939 Craftsman era,” says Castillo. “To continue the 1939 style, we beaded the ceiling and added wainscoting to complete the look.” As a final nod to an antique aesthetic, the builder used as many green materials as possible, one of the hallmarks of American urbanhomemagazine.com

Craftsman design and its focus on using local raw supplies. “The use of natural materials creates an organic feel throughout the home,” Castillo says. Custom white oak flooring, another sustainable choice, also provides a surface durable enough to withstand high traffic and enables fuss-free maintenance. Other sustainable features include the use of foam insulation, low toxicity paints and floor finishes, and efficient EnergyStar® appliances. To increase the efficiency of the home in addition to using energy-smart products, the builder designed the rooms “just large enough” with creative built-in cabinetry and space usage. The team also added a large front porch during the downstairs renovation, a relatively inexpensive feature that adds pleasing sidewalk appeal but that is also a green choice. “Porches showcase the structural elements of roof construction and exterior walls, create additional shade, foster cross ventilation, and most importantly, provide pleasant and exciting spaces that maximize the connection with the outdoors,” says Castillo. The new porch, along with the picturesque white picket fence, is a welcoming introduction to the authenticity that lies within the house’s new footprint. v BUILDER David Wilkes Builders 512.328.9888 | Davidwilkesbuilders.com urbanhomemagazine.com

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



Maximizing Spaces

By Michelle Burgess | Photography by Dror Baldinger and Mark Menjivar

It takes a bold individual to build a home as “an experiment,” but that’s just what San Antonio architect Craig McMahon and his interior designer wife did when they decided to downsize. 32

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio




heir older children in college, the McMahons and their 9-year-old daughter were flush with space — much of it no longer used — in their home of 11+ years on Lamont Avenue in Alamo Heights. So when clients were continually turning down the smaller lots in the areas due to zoning limitations, McMahon was intrigued by what he could imagine doing for his own family as well as for neighbors who had expressed to him over the years their own frustrations with being space-challenged. When he found a squat, unassuming bungalow in his neighborhood, he immediately recognized its potential. Similar to many of the historic homes in Alamo Heights, the boxy, 1940s-era, 1,200-square-foot house the McMahons purchased rested on a 7,500-square-foot lot — downright Lilliputian when compared to many suburban neighborhoods, where yards are often twice times that size.


But McMahon welcomed the opportunity to turn what he calls an “odd” abode into something magnificent. Most important to the family was having “a modern, contextual home offering both inside and outside living,” with areas sized according to the amount of time they are used. “I wanted to show a new way of living, one that offers the same opportunities that we find on our ranch-retreat properties,” he says. “That meant an open floor plan, appropriately sized spaces, and no wasted space for things such as hallways or large dedicated rooms used as closets.” In addition to the obvious space restrictions, McMahon was also constrained by zoning laws dictating the positioning of the requiring detached garage to be located to the rear of the property. But he did have some advantages; for one thing, he could take all the time he needed. “Since I was the architect, owner and builder, I started without Urban Home Austin – San Antonio




Urban Home Austin – San Antonio





Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



a complete idea of where I was heading, design-wise,” he says. Because he wanted the existing bamboo around the property to become a screen between their house and the neighbors’, the new 220-square-foot cabana was designed as a pavilion in the landscape and now serves as a guest house and office. Other design ideas evolved organically as well. To compensate for a lack of yard and maximize space found on similar sized lots, McMahon introduced a new approach to the typical concrete drive by adding a sliding barn gate and reclaiming the space with gravel bedding and transforming it into a true backyard. Additionally, to expand the outside living concept, a rooftop deck accessed by a spiral staircase was built to act as the home’s outdoor relaxation and entertainment area, and what eventually might become a third bedroom was left open for use as a dining room. “Each of these items helped us be satisfied with less square footage,” says McMahon, of the house’s flexibility. 36

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio




Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


“The 2-bed, 2.5-bath space meets our needs right now,” he says. “We also designed each of the living areas of the living/ dining/family area to be changeable … and ceiling fans and light fixtures can change as well if the use of the space need changed later. We are really happy with the flow of the open (area).” And indeed, while the overall space is definitely cozy in the best possible way, the McMahons’ refurbished home feels anything but cramped. Light, airy and modern, the house is furnished with timeless pieces and warmed by wood accents and trim throughout. The floors are polished concrete, and the bathroom and kitchen counters and cabinets are a sleek white. Plenty of windows accentuate the feeling of openness. The house would be stunning regardless of its origins, but it is all the more impressive when its provenance is considered. It is simple to build a new home to owners’ specifications, but this was no tear-down. Before-and-after photos clearly show 38

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

the same house — same shape, same overall structure. The beauty is in the details. “The existing home had good ceiling height — 9 feet — and I was able to open it up to get a better, open feel,” McMahon says. “I wanted to respect the original concrete nature of the existing home, which was made with pre-cast concrete exterior panels as well as solid concrete interior walls and beams.” One of the biggest surprises McMahon encountered was just how solidly the original home was built. Constructed by HB Zachry as a precursor to a planned pre-fab hotel on the river, the house featured poured-inplace concrete walls reinforced with 1 1/8thinch-thick steel rebar; McMahon likens the structural changes to “tearing down the Menjivar Berlin Wall” and says that demo of the main house took six months. The challenges didn’t end there, though many of the more time-consuming parts of the process stemmed from McMahon’s own desire to be precise in completing the vision he had in his mind. “I wanted to explore every detail to see what one could do with an open, livable floor plan,” he says. “I spent hours and hours at the lumber yards, culling through every piece of vertical-grain Douglas fir to find the exact pieces I needed to complete the windows and trim. I exhausted those supplies and would wait until the new bundles show up so I could rush over to find the necessary pieces to complete one area of the home.” Ultimately, the entire project took about two years to complete. For McMahon, it was worth every second. Baldinger “My favorite, favorite part of living in this house is waking up in the master bedroom, without any window coverings, just seeing the sunrise peak through the 20-foot-tall bamboo trees. We don’t have a single window blind on the home, and the mornings feel like you are waking up in the mountains somewhere — it’s so transparent and so open.” Also satisfying is the satisfaction McMahon gets from achieving his goal. His home was featured on the 2013 AIA San Antonio Homes Tour, where guests’ reactions were even better than he could have hoped for. “I had someone challenge me that the property could not possibly be a 50-foot lot, as it was too open,” he says. “I bet she walked in and out five times looking at the spaces and going out in front of the house.” v ARCHITECT Craig McMahon Architects, Inc. INTERIOR DESIGN Molly McMahon Builder Craig McMahon 210.710.3874 | Cmarchtx.com urbanhomemagazine.com

Dawn F. Hearn, ASID, NARI, CAPS Texas Registered Interior Designer #9501

New Construction Remodeling Space Planning Consultation Furnishings Accessories

www.dawnhearn.com 512.930.0250

DORMA MANET Single-Point Fitting Sliding Glass Door System

Rooms with a View By Ashley Festa | Photography courtesy of DORMA Marketing Communications

When an open floor plan just isn’t big or bright enough, some homeowners simply remove all the home’s doors.


ell, they still have doors. But instead of traditional wood doors, a sleeker option is to use glass doors to combine spaces, allowing rooms to flow into one another. Glass doors allow more light into each room, and instead of closing off spaces between rooms, they offer an open, yet separate, space. “It’s openness with function,” explains Reece Kuhlmann, the residential manager at Anchor Ventana in Austin, which 40

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

provides both commercial and residential glass doors and mirrors. Anchor Ventana helps customers choose the right type of door from among several types of DORMA glass doors. The DORMA brand doors provide elegant beauty, safety and architectural door hardware. After removing solid wood doors and replacing them with glass, the amount of light reflecting inside the home is abundant. Most of the time, customers choose to install glass doors urbanhomemagazine.com

on the interior of their home, often to separate an office space from a hallway or to subtly divide a master bedroom from the master bath. Another option is to install glass sliders as the barrier between a bathroom and a separate water closet. Because the clear, frameless style is so alluring, the options are endless. Anchor Ventana’s experience with these types of doors helps create memorable wine room doors and even humidor doors. Homeowners can also choose to install glass doors on the exterior of their home, creating a curb side appeal for passers-by to enjoy. However, homeowners aren’t the only ones wanting to surround themselves with light. Sliding glass doors are an attractive choice for businesses as well. Companies often use glass doors within their workspace to offer privacy to their employees while creating the office’s sense of openness. Business owners and homeowners alike may desire more openness but question the amount of privacy possible with glass. Customers can achieve both openness and privacy just by choosing the right type of glass. The standard selection is a halfinch thick satin glass. Customers can choose from various types of patterns to enhance privacy while maintaining the same ambiance throughout the home or office. And if a customer is invariably attached to traditional doors, DORMA hardware can accommodate wood as well as glass. Cutting down on the visible hardware of glass doors creates a cleaner, European-style look. For customers who prefer a minimalist appearance, Kuhlmann recommends the DORMA Agile doors. The rolling mechanism of these doors is hidden within the track which is installed in the floor and a ceiling or wall. For customers who want a wholly unembellished look, Agile door tracks can even be recessed into the ceiling for a completely frameless appearance. Though “less is more” to some customers, others prefer the visual interest of attractive, attention-grabbing hardware. For them, Kuhlmann suggests the DORMA Manet doors. “The Manet has barn-style doors,” he said. “They roll on a pipe, which can be seen from the outside. You can see the big, two-inch wheels, creating a sophisticated, modern look.” urbanhomemagazine.com

DORMA AGILE 150 Sliding Glass Door System

Manet doors offer an additional option for the customer because they can be designed as classic swing doors or as a sliding door with visible rollers at the top. Regardless of whether a customer wants to see the hardware or not, Kuhlmann emphasized the importance of quality; quality that the DORMA product offers and Anchor Ventana can install. v Anchor Ventana 512.388.9400 | Ventanaman.com Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Sweet Refuge

The Treehouse Offers an Oasis of Calm in Urban Neighborhood By Jackie Benton | Photography by Red Pants Studio


ention the word “treehouse” and many of us recall delightful memories of long afternoons and hours of play spent happily adventuring amidst the treetops. To spend just a few minutes in “The Treehouse,” one of the latest building projects by Wesley Wigginton, Graduate Master Builder, and his company Foursquare Builders, is to tap into those whimsical bygone days of childhood and experience again a magical escape from the ordinary. The two-story home nestled in among heritage oaks and pecan trees on the banks of Bouldin Creek in South 42

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

Austin is right in the heart of the city’s famously funky 78704 zip code and offers a sweet spot of refuge from the nearby bustle of urban life. “The house is affectionately called ‘The Treehouse,’ as it’s shoehorned in around several significant heritage oaks and quite a few protected pecan trees. There was quite a bit of work done to protect the trees as we built this space. And now, when you’re upstairs, you feel as though you’re in this magical canopy of trees,” Wigginton explains. When presented with this project, Wigginton found urbanhomemagazine.com

himself enchanted with the home’s location, and intrigued with the idea of creating a natural, woodsy space in a popular city neighborhood. The home itself presented some challenges, such as how to best preserve the trees on the property, and how to avoid a sense of living in a tiny box for his clients. The design, by Brian Dillard Architecture, was practical and simple, with a beautiful and spacious sensibility. In short, The Treehouse was a masterful balance of function and artistry. At only 26 feet wide, the home is narrow, but with the help of additional windows for natural lighting, natural wood and the view over the creek, the home has an expansive feeling. “While it is a very narrow home, one whole side of the house is literally glass overlooking Bouldin Creek. The location puts it right in the middle of the Bouldin Creek neighborhood. It’s a very cool house designed by Brian Dillard Architecture with a separate and private short-term rental apartment built into it so the owners can share their treehouse with some very fortunate Austin visitors,” says Wigginton. Wigginton, winner of the 2014 HBA of Greater Austin Custom Builder of the Year, describes the floor plan of The Treehouse as an example of the open floor plan combining several living spaces and yet allowing each space to maintain its own identity — a top trend he is noticing more often with new contemporary homes. “It’s a perfect example of the live-dine-kitchen space,” he says. “Brian Dillard Architecture was able to create and maintain that separation of spaces with a brick fireplace placed in the center of the room that faces the living area, and serves as a backdrop for artwork on the dining room side. It serves as a floating wall that you can walk completely around so it provides a little separation, but you’re not completely disconnected. The open floor plan gives you a sense of place within the space he created, so you feel you’re in your dining room or the living room and not like you’re in one big hallway. You urbanhomemagazine.com

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


can navigate all around the space and still feel very connected to all of these rooms.” Wigginton notes today’s homeowners shy away from the sterile color scheme typically associated with modern contemporary architectural styles. “We’re seeing color palettes using warmer tones more often and away from the cooler colors — we’re not seeing three shades of white for the palette, for example. The modern color tones reflect the sensibilities of today’s homeowners who realize they can’t live in a perfect white and sterile museum box. They have to have a house that is somewhat forgiving and allows you to live your life. You can do it with more comfortable furnishings and fixtures. It’s interesting how color plays on people’s psyches. If they had mostly white walls, it would get old quickly. We go with greys and tones that are more forgiving for busy lifestyles.” Wigginton says The Treehouse uniquely captures the current movement in home design that embraces warm, comfy home spaces while still keeping the familiar sleek lines of the American modern contemporary design. “Homeowners now want more natural wood incorporated into their homes, softer tones and more livable spaces. That’s a very common thread right now — they want a comfortable modern architectural style. We’re seeing more of these requests to keep the design soft and simple, and at Foursquare Builders we handle this by using wood floors instead of concrete or stone, installing window systems with white window frames to create that open feeling, and introducing wood accents on ceilings and the exterior itself. These are all small, but significant things that give a house some warmth, and yet it feels very modern in its simple living arrangement.” v BUILDER Foursquare Builders 512.944.4520 Foursquarebuilders.com ARCHITECT Brian Dillard Architecture 512.243.6594 Briandillardarchitecture.com 44

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


AWARD-WINNING INTERIOR DESIGN custom homes • lofts spec homes • commercial Stephanie J. Villavicencio, ASID Texas Registered Interior Designer

512.443.3200 www.bellavillads.com

We’ve got great glass

www.VentanaMan.com 512-388-9400 1609 Chisholm Trail #100, Round Rock

design n trends

Showcasing Art and Masters By Kathryn Hosford


Photography by Paul Bardagjy

Stunning pieces of art can be seen hanging throughout interior designer Fern Santini’s Austin-based urban townhome project, with each piece lending color schemes and patterns as the starting point for the look and feel of the space. 46

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



s frequent entertainers, the townhome owners, who are comprised of an artist and an award-winning author, revel in their own private studio and library, and strive to create “an urbane, cosmopolitan mix to make the most of a dwelling in Central Austin.” Originally a condominium built in the 1980s, the completely remodeled two-bedroom, two and a half-bath townhome houses furnishings that were structured and selected to complement the owners’ extensive art collection, a joint effort by Fern, builder and contractor Don Crowell and architect Paul Lamb. While centered solely on the tradition of eclecticism and timeless design, Fern conjures a juxtaposition of periods and styles to create a space that is everlasting. Fern states that “the entire space is designed to showcase the vivid details of the living room’s painting,” which is an extensive piece created by a fellow Texas artist, David Bates. The artwork boldly enhances the space which hangs over the Parisian neutraltoned Ecart sofa and is lined with pillows radiating deep red hues that can be found throughout the room. Paneling of various colors and heights in the bathroom, living room, stairway and kitchen break up the flat spaces and aids in drawing the eye of the viewer straight to the art and furnishings.


In the living room, one can find a modern floor lamp that subtly lights the reading area where an original Mission Oakstyle Stickley® chair rests. Notable for its easy transition from an indoor to outdoor space, the flow of the home makes it natural for hosting parties where guests can mingle and circulate to where they can find the custom designed fountain by sculptor and stonemason, Berthold Haas. According to Haas’ website, “when creating a fountain, we give equal voice to the materials and the geometry by which we orchestrate them. Thus the form and texture of the rock, the reflection and sound of the water, the lighting and the space surrounding the fountain play together as a harmonious whole: a place for contemplation, renewal and enchantment.” Back inside, the master bedroom decor proves that this home’s art goes above and beyond what is hanging on the walls. Hanging over the bed, designed by Paris artist Christian Astuguevieille, is an early work of art created by acclaimed Austin artist, Lance Letscher. Both pieces are admired by Fern for the combination of texture and interest they add to the room. Continuing the theme of eclecticism and timeless design is the drapery textiles made of handpainted linen by Nomi Fabrics Incorporated, an artisan fabric line from California. Situated on either side of the bed are Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


the impeccable Christian Liagre designed Parisian nightstands and gracing them are lamps from Jan Showers of Dallas, created in the 1930s out of Murano® glass. Today the lamps host new bases, wiring and shades — another eclectic combination of vintage and modern. In the bathroom sits a sleek oval Agape tub that inspires a spa-esque feel in addition to the calming paint choices and beautiful window overlooking the patio below. Perhaps the most premiere example of the Santini, Lamb and Crowell collaboration is a staircase designed by Lamb, modeled after Japanese Tansu cabinets which were meant to maximize cramped quarters and date back to the late 1600s. The exquisite look of the dark wood fits the art-inspired concept as Lamb and Crowell worked to create a storage space under the stairs that is both alluring and functional. Lastly, Fern stated that “all of [her] projects are big team efforts. We were all working on it together from the start, helping select paint colors, cabinets, countertops, finished-out materials and editing their current furniture.” v DESIGN ABODE | fern santini design 512.300.2303 | Fernsantini.com ARCHITECT Paul Lamb Architects 512.478.7316 Paullambarchitects.com BUILDER Don Crowell Builders 512.328.9974 Doncrowellbuilders.com 48

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Commercial n Design



Merging old and new for brew and ‘cue By Mauri Elbel



tep into The Granary ‘Cue & Brew, nestled in a historic 1900’s building in San Antonio’s Pearl Brewery complex, and you will find globally-inspired barbecue, hand-crafted beer and a thoughtful design that flawlessly blends old and new. With chef Timothy Rattray’s culinary skills responsible for the mouth-watering fare churned out of the kitchen and Alex Rattray serving as brewmaster, this brother/owner duo merges their collective talents and passions to create an upscale yet approachable — and completely out-of-this-world — craft beer meets barbecue 50

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

Photography by Ryann Ford

experience. It doesn’t take long to figure out this isn’t your run-ofthe-mill chain barbecue/beer joint. The Granary serves humanelyraised, vegetarian-fed meats that are hormone- and antibiotic-free and something much more enticing than sweet tea to wash it all down: house-brewed beer chock-full of character and flavor. Indulge in the barbecue board, market-style fare served with baked beans, potato salad, homemade buttermilk bread, pickles and ‘cue sauce, and wrap up the meal by tucking into a slice of buttermilk chess pie accompanied by a house-brewed brown ale that boasts coffee notes and a bitter finish. urbanhomemagazine.com

But it’s not just the ‘cue and brew that sets The Granary apart — the design is equally impressive. Looking around the room, you will discover a unique experience that spans beyond the mouth-watering dishes set before you. It’s the backstory of the restaurant and brewery itself, a little piece of history brought back to life to be enjoyed by anyone who sets foot through the door. More than a century ago, this building was the home of Ernst Mueller, chief cooper (barrel maker) at Pearl Brewery, built for his new bride and soon to be family of six in 1906 sitting across the street from the brewery on Avenue A. It wasn’t until Silver Ventures, the company behind the redevelopment of the former Pearl Brewery site, hired DADO Group, LLC, that the centuryold structure was brought back to life. “We loved the Pearl Brewery and we were always interested in being part of it somehow so we contacted Silver Ventures and expressed interest in getting involved,” says Kristin Wiese Hefty, an architect and partner in the San Antonio-based firm that offers clients single-source architectural design and construction services. “One of the biggest aspects of the project was figuring out how we could make this house into a restaurant while still respecting its history.” The Mueller house had no working utilities, its interiors were worn and outdated, and the space configuration wasn’t suitable for a modern day restaurant’s needs. For starters, the design build firm knew they needed to add square footage for a kitchen and a side porch addition. “One of the biggest challenges on the design side was respecting what was there while taking a 100-plus-year-old house and turning it into a restaurant and brewery,” says Wiese Hefty. “It was like performing surgery on this building — taking urbanhomemagazine.com

boards off one area and reusing them somewhere else. We had to be very careful and thorough with what we did.” Rather than trying to match the original materials, the architect sought out materials that would compliment what was already there. Adding a kitchen, dining porch and screened porch to accommodate the meat smoker, Wiese Hefty wrapped the new elements around three sides of the house. “We weren’t trying to match the house exactly but we wanted to compliment it and thought a brick structure lent itself to a barbecue feel,” says Wiese Hefty. “When you try to match an old material, it reads like you are faking it. We wanted to do something that wasn’t an exact replica but something that worked with the old structure.” The contemporary brick kitchen was constructed of repurposed bricks from a dismantled West Texas mercantile warehouse — a material selection that lets the vintage building speak. Instead of using round columns on the side porch, DADO Group designed square columns to provide a linear straight edge that plays off the old look while employing new techniques, says Wiese Hefty. It integrates the language of the historic front porch in a more modern, simplistic way. Throughout the entire renovation, DADO Group strived to use reclaimed and recycled materials in an effort to balance the traditional elements that were already in place. “Very little material went into the dumpster on this project,” says Clay Hefty, construction project manager and partner. Many of the original materials were carefully removed and put back in areas of the project where they were needed, he says. For example, the beam in the kitchen is covered with the home’s original siding, and the lumber salvaged from interior walls is reused in other areas of the space. The bar is constructed from Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


pieces of old plank wood found in a warehouse on the property while the current bathroom doors as well as the swinging kitchen door are reused from the original home’s bedrooms. Even the tables, built by woodworker Rain Gilbert, were made with reclaimed materials. Other local artisans helped achieve the look now enjoyed by The Granary’s patrons. Custom light fixtures were made by local glassblower, Jake Harper of Zollie Glass Studio; Amada Miller painted a large pig mural on the exterior brick wall; Studio Lumina was responsible for lighting design, and artist Greg Mannino collaborated on interior decor selections and painted the chalkboard mural that frames the walk-in beer cooler facing the bar. Standing inside the space, it is easy to see how the design selections mesh together harmoniously, allowing certain modern touches to pop without competing with the traditional elements that were there to begin with. For example, the barbecue porch as well as the vats and kettles used for the micro brewing process function as visual focal points. Original windows along the home’s east exterior now serve as the pass 52

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

through from the new kitchen to the bar service area. The dining rooms, formally the home’s bedrooms, feature solid board walls exposed and stained to reveal carpenter marks and building supplier signatures. Reclaimed sinker cypress flooring continues out to the dining porches and serves as rafters on the smoker porch. These sinker cypress logs were actually reclaimed from the bayous, preserved under water for more than a century before being extracted, dried and shipped, says Hefty, adding that they chose the wood for its beautiful graining and interesting background. The thoughtful design selections and attention to detail is what creates the vibrant ambiance that flourishes inside the reconstructed space‚ a careful blending of historic past and urban present. “That sense of place and the family traditions that evoke those feelings when guests enter the structure were paramount in our design process,” says Wiese Hefty. “And we were sensitive to our client’s desire to create an urban setting, fusing the two into a cohesive whole that would continue to serve merriment and laughter, not to mention excellent food, well into the twentyfirst century.” Restaurants have become one of DADO Group’s design build strengths and it is easy to see why — they are exacting and stringent in their process and The Granary serves as solid testament. “One of my favorite things to do after a project is to stand outside where it is quiet and look through the windows and see all the activity and what has been accomplished,” says Hefty. “You see the public using the space and interacting and enjoying something you have created. It is a pretty rewarding experience, especially when you have seen it beforehand. Once it is done, you get to see it come alive.” v DESIGN-BUILD DADO Group 210.828.4599 | Dado-group.com urbanhomemagazine.com


Green Up Your Home

For Sale

By Bill Evans, 2014 President, Austin Board of REALTORS®


ne of the easiest and most cost effective ways homeowners can save money while increasing the resale value of their home is to improve its energy efficiency. Energy improvements can help your home sell faster as well, as more and more homebuyers are seeking out homes that are energy efficient. Pick some of these “lowhanging fruits” that will green up your home for sale in a hurry. Energy Star® Appliances - Before you upgrade appliances, look for Energy Star-certified products that can dramatically reduce your home’s energy consumption. Energy Star appliances can slash your energy bills by hundreds of dollars per year and may qualify for a federal tax credit or even a City of Austin rebate. The State of Texas offers a tax-free weekend on Energy Star appliance purchases every Memorial Day weekend (May 24-26, 2014). Recycled and Sustainable Materials - Sustainable materials not only help the environment, their long-term durability increases the value of your home. Reclaimed wood and etched concrete are a few of the popular long-lasting flooring choices, and recycled glass countertops offer a stylish alternative to less-hardy granite and marble. Bamboo flooring is an attractive choice and it is sustainable product, but it is not native to the US and a lot of energy is consumed transporting the product to us.

Native Plants and Shade Trees - Fill your flowerbeds with native Texas plants, which are naturally drought tolerant and require significantly less water and maintenance. In addition, plant shade trees on the east and west sides of your home. As they grow, they will shield your home from the sun and keep it cooler overall. Efficient HVAC - Your heating and cooling systems use much more energy than any other items in the home. Installing a programmable thermostat and replacing your HVAC filters at least every month will help your system run as efficiently as possible. In addition, sealing and insulating your air ducts as well as insulating your attic can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 20 percent. Get an ECAD Audit - The City of Austin’s Energy Conservation Audit & Disclosure Ordinance requires all homes 10 years or older to undergo an ECAD audit, which lists all possible energy improvements and what the benefits of those improvements would be. For more information, go to www.austinenergy.com/go/ecad. Improving your home’s energy efficiency doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming, but it’s definitely important. What will you do this weekend to green up your home? v

Going Green Building a sustainable, livable, meaningful home By Mauri Elbel


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Photography by Coles Hairston


There is more than meets the eye behind this contemporary ranch home perched on a gently sloping 150-acre property located northwest of the sleepy town of Moody, Texas. This barn-inspired, cranberry-colored house serves as an icon for sustainability.


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



n what feels like the middle of nowhere, a rolling rural landscape just outside of Waco, Calvin and Bonnie Capshaw set out to build a self-sufficient living environment on an emotionally significant area of their family farmland. “This creek area is where my wife played when she was a little girl — she loved that creek,” says Calvin Capshaw of the property his wife grew up on. “She actually grew up thinking that was her creek, and I wanted to build her a house here where she played.” The goals were twofold: to build a home situated around the trickling creek and to create a dwelling that could eventually be completely off the grid. “We wanted to be off the grid,” Capshaw says. “In the future, with electrical and water supplies, it looks like there may be times when we don’t have those resources. For us, a lot of this was about having healthier, cleaner water and conserving energy by using less electricity. We wanted the home to be more sustainable and less dependent on the supplies you don’t know whether you will be able to rely on in 10 years. That is a lot of what motivated us to go in that direction.” But in order to rethink the design elements needed to create 56

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

a sustainable living environment — construction materials, passive strategies, active energy systems and the important relationship between design and environment — the Capshaws called on the expertise of Austin-based architect Jim LaRue. “To be able to do this, we had to have somebody like Jim who had the ability and knowledge in geothermal energy and rainwater collection to integrate that into the design,” says Capshaw. “Jim designed the home around the creek, but also incorporated all those things for us. If we wouldn’t have had that kind of architect, we wouldn’t have known how to do these things.” As the project’s principal architect, LaRue collaborated with project architect Rez Lankerani to come up with the barn-like design that took advantage of the tree-lined creek now wrapping three sides of the house. The team called on interior designer Paula Ables to help incorporate their design concept into the interior of the home. “We wanted this home to look sort of like a barn in the landscape but not in the traditional sense of a barn,” says LaRue of his contemporary interpretation of a Texas barn. “It is a giant wedge in the landscape. We just exaggerated it and urbanhomemagazine.com

made it an asymmetrical gable in a cranberry red color. From a glimpse, it hints at the look of a barn because of its shape and color, but it has more of a siloesque feel because of the stacked bedrooms.” The home was initially designed to serve as a weekend house for the Capshaws and their two daughters, but this year the four bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom, 4,300-plus squarefoot home will become their permanent residence. The home’s main structure boasts a casual, open floor plan with ample windows. A separate tower stacks three bedrooms on top of one another, featuring a terrace 35 feet up in the air for stargazing, taking in panoramic views of the farm and looking down onto the creek. “All of the things my wife loved about the creek, Jim imagined in the house and worked to take advantage of those features,” says Capshaw. “There is an outward look at the creek, the house steps down to the creek — everything is positioned based on the sunrise and sunset. It was really neat the way he envisioned what our goals were.” LaRue designed the rotation and orientation of the house to optimize the performance of the solar panels, which upon installation, will generate more electricity than needed during most times of the year. The solar orientation of the home, as well as the 2x6 wall framing which is spray foam insulated, is designed to keep the heat out and the cool air in. “We always try to tackle the easy stuff first,” says LaRue. “To orient the home on the property properly and to do all the things that are design-driven because it doesn’t cost anything to do that. That is all easy to do.” Materials were chosen to minimize impact as well — a mix of locally quarried stone provides a unique color variation and the metal roof is both economical and long-lasting. Rather than hauling in concrete, LaRue designed a pier and beam system that lifts the building out of the floodplain while providing a better foundation solution for the area’s expansive ground soil. Local materials and tradespeople were utilized to minimize exterior costs. Durable materials such as the cement panels on the exterior and metal roofing panels used as wall cladding will hold paint longer and require zero maintenance — up until recently, the house was used as a second home therefore was designed to endure nature’s elements. But LaRue claims the home’s biggest green asset is its passive design strategies. “This house is passively designed — it features very excessive overhangs, in some places the overhangs are eight to nine feet,” says LaRue. “We have covered outdoor living spaces. Most of the glass is protected and we have incorporated really high energy efficient windows indoors.” A full rainwater collection system with a 60,000-gallon cistern installed by Lakota Water Company supplies all the water needs for the house. Since they had to design the home in a way that would collect water from the roof anyway, LaRue says adding a rainwater collection system was a logical next-step. Simple design choices — like the four wood-burning fireplaces designed throughout the home –– are capable of heating certain rooms of the house during the winter without requiring any extra energy. And the screened porch is a space that uses zero energy, positioned to take advantage of the natural breezes year-round. urbanhomemagazine.com

“Bonnie came in wanting this home to be very little maintenance, very little energy demand,” says LaRue. “She wanted it as off the grid as she could get it. And I think it does that.” It’s only when a client chooses to install the more active green systems that a bigger financial commitment is needed, says LaRue. With the exception of the home’s reliance on electricity, which is pending the implementation of solar panels, the Capshaw’s home is currently self sufficient. “Really, it is just the electrical that we depend on now,” says Capshaw. “If we went solar, then we would be completely off the grid.” But for the Capshaws, going solar is a waiting game on technology. At the time the home was being built, they say the solar technology available was not efficient enough to supply the large home with enough electricity to be considered completely off the grid. “We had the capability of putting the solar panels in,” says Capshaw. “But the capability at the time we were building the home had a payback of about 17 years. You could spend anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 depending on how many panels you added, and it would take 17 years to get your investment back. But the panels are improving all the time. I think when it gets to the point where the panels are efficient enough to generate all of our energy, if not a majority of it, then we will do it. I think in the next five years the panels will become advanced enough.” Once the home goes solar, it will be completely off the grid and the Capshaws plan to purchase a generator to use as a backup system. But even without the panels, the home is remarkably self-sufficient for its size, supplying its own water needs from its rainwater collection system and saving on energy usage with its geothermal heating and cooling system. “We wanted to use rainwater because we didn’t necessarily want to have to be committed to the local water supply,” says Capshaw. “There were a few reasons for that — water safety, pollution, and environmental and health concerns — rainwater is cleaner and goes through our own multiple filter system and then an ultraviolet light that kills remaining bacteria.” The Capshaws started out with a 10,000-gallon tank, but have since replaced it with Lakota’s 60,000-gallon cistern in order to supply water for the entire home. “Everything runs off rainwater unless the cistern runs dry — sometimes in Texas it doesn’t rain when you want it to rain,” he says. “So far, the tank has gone dry only once in mid-2012 during our severe drought. It’s been fine ever since.” Geothermal heating and cooling allows the home to be heated and cooled with a very small compressor saving big in terms of energy. For a house that is nearly 5,000 square feet, its electric bills average $200 a month, an amount Capshaw says would easily be doubled or tripled without the system. While the geothermal system was more costly upfront, it paid for itself in less than three years, he says. “We already use very little energy because the home is geothermal,” says Capshaw. “We are on propane tanks so there is no natural gas dependence. Really the only thing we are dependent on is the electricity, and in the next couple of years we will be off the grid on that, too.” v ARCHITECT LaRue Architects 512.347.1688 | Larue-architects.com Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


works WHY THIS

SPACE Designer Spotlight: Mark Cravotta By Mauri Elbel | Photography by Paul Bardagjy

Austin-based Mark Cravotta, owner of Cravotta Interiors, is known for his creative designs that have made him a highly sought out interior designer with an impressive client list ranging from A-list celebrities to CEOs. Cravotta meets his clients’ desires by designing spaces that exude livable luxury, subtle warmth and inspiring beauty. When Cravotta’s friend and globally-renowned jewelry designer Kendra Scott asked him to revamp her former downtown Austin condo, he came to the rescue by breathing color and sophistication into a previously bland and monotonous space. We sat down with the passionate designer to talk about how he converted this previously sterile Austin City Lofts condo overlooking downtown Austin into a rich, warm and chic urban space to live and entertain.


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Upon first glance, what were your original impressions of this space? MC: My first impression was that it had good bones but it was really dark and cold and drab. Honestly, it conjured thoughts of a well-appointed prison. This condo is on the western edge of downtown with views looking over west Austin. But everything inside was brown or gray — the concrete ceiling, brown leather sofa, brown reclaimed wood coffee and side tables. They didn’t have any art, any rugs, any pillows, any color. I was happy they called me. What did you envision in terms of potential for this condo? MC: The main objective was to soften the space and infuse it with color so that it felt more warm and inviting without losing its masculinity. I knew we needed to get some color in here and we needed to marry the textures. The client really liked these reclaimed wood pieces (the coffee table and the side table) but we needed to make sure not all the furnishings were the same color — all the surfaces were gray and the furniture was all brown and leather. I wanted to get some variation in color and texture. They didn’t want to waste the furniture that they had already spent money on, which is understandable, so I worked with both of them to see what they were open to. I tried to bring other elements into the space to up the sophistication and soften the overall aesthetic. urbanhomemagazine.com

What elements did you bring into the condo to help you achieve this look? MC: I brought in the table running behind the sofa, a chrome frame with a black glass top, that helped make the space a little more sophisticated and modernized it a bit. I wanted to make sure those reclaimed wood tables worked well with the overall composition of the room so I brought in some tribal pillows and throws to help break up the sea of brown. I brought in an antique Turkish Oushak rug which was over 100 years old. You can imagine the brown wood tables with brown sofa on the brown floor before — everything receded into itself and there was a real lack of dimension. That rug was really important — that and the triptych art piece on the wall were probably the most important elements in establishing some life and dimension into this room. The clean lines and open feel in these rooms really allow your interior furnishings and art selections to take center stage — please tell us about some of your specific design and art choices. MC: All the architectural detailing was there when I became involved. The only thing we had to do was paint and furnish the space. I shifted the paint color on some of the walls and warmed up the grays. We reupholstered a basic chair in the living room in a vibrant green mohair and anchored the room with the amazing 100-year-old Oushak rug to add color, pattern Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Were there any lines in particular that you gravitated toward in terms of furniture selection? MC: The space was done on a relatively small budget. We kept many of the pieces the client already owned and then added pieces that I either found or designed to achieve the overall aesthetic. I love the paneled art hanging above the wooden benches — please tell us where you found these pieces. MC: I commissioned the hall art from another Austin artist, Jennifer Prichard, whose work I’ve long admired. Jennifer Prichard typically attaches her ceramic creations directly to walls and ceilings. I wanted something more contained, and though she had never done anything like this before, she was willing to explore the idea with me. I asked her to create a series of ceramic bowls in many hues of blue and green and arrange them in a way that creates an ombre effect as it progresses down the hall. I love the way it turned out on these five white canvases. I designed the walnut benches in the hall, each with four slabs of claro walnut, and from the front, you can still see the wall behind them. This hallway has a view that overlooks South Austin. These clients had a lot of parties and entertained frequently so we really wanted to create a gallery space out of this dark hall that leads from one section of the condo to the other as people are walking through the space. What are your favorite elements in this space — what words do you feel best describe this space when you are standing in the room? MC: The art. Vibrant. Art-infused. Expansive. Comfortable. One of the things that was exciting about this space is that we filled it almost exclusively with works from local artists. It really contains the crème de la crème of Austin art. I think these talents stand with the best artists, anywhere. All of these pieces have a magical luminescent quality to them, from the Jennifer Chenoweth painting to the piece by Roi James. We made sure they were all properly lit so none of their vibrance is lost. and soul. The floor lamp is a functional sculpture bringing art into the space along with the triptych painting by Austin artist Jennifer Chenoweth. Placing an architectural planting in the corner provides texture, color and real life. The kitchen just had to be cleaned up and styled with a few elements of interest. The painting seen just beyond the kitchen to the left is by one of my favorite local artists, Roi James. 60

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For your clients, why did this space work? What did they most love about it? MC: They wanted a cool, hip downtown living experience and I think they would agree we achieved that. v CRAVOTTA INTERIORS 512.499.0400 | Cravottainteriors.com urbanhomemagazine.com


new products


1. This matte-laminated shoulder bag by Orla Kiely has cotton twill lining with a small slit front pocket and mushroom colored webbing tape handles reinforced with natural vegetable tan leather. Orla Kiely. Orlakiely.com.



2. The Library of Flowers are carefully crafted to create memorable journeys through sight and scent. Wildflower and Fern is perfect for your journey into spring. Library of Flowers, Libraryofflowers.com. 3. Bring springtime indoors with Carey Lind Design’s pink and green Sea Flowers wallpaper. Made from harvested renewable resources with low VOC’s and no ozone depleting chemicals, this wallcovering is as eco-friendly as it is beautiful. York Wallcoverings. Yorkwall.com. 4. Harvest Rainwater ... The Beautiful Way. The OngTM Jar by Big Grass is the attractive alternative to plastic and metal rainwater harvesting containers. Handcrafted from durable cement and easy to install, the OngTM Jar collects hundreds of gallons of precious rainwater. Big Grass. 210.735.7999, Biggrassliving.com, Ongjar.com.

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5. The bouquets that grace the dining rooms and parlors of stately Southern homes are beautiful and elegant, but they need not be complicated or expensive. Bigner and Barrie celebrate favorite homegrown flowers in unique bouquets. Filled with breathtaking photos, Southern Bouquets gives readers a guided tour of the South’s classic flowers. Gibbs Smith. Gibbs-smith.com. 6. Global Views’ Italian ceramic Carnation Wall Flowers measure 19” in diameter and 8” deep, and include a hole in the back to accommodate for wire hanging. Their extensive line of wall décor features other flowers such as poppies and roses. Available through Bella Villa Design Studio. 512.443.3200, Bellavillads.com. 7





Capture Spring forever with Floral Play, a hand embellished giclee canvas. Available in multiple sizes and frame options through Dawn Hearn Interior Design. 512.930.0250, Dawnhearn.com.

8. To celebrate Pantone’s pick for color of the year, Atlas Homewares is introducing the addition of Wild Orchid Knobs to their Dream Glass Collection. These knobs are the perfect pop of the oh-so-popular new color. Atlas Homewares. Atlashomewares.com.


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Fabulous n Finds

Texas Minor League Baseball Corpus Christi Hooks

By Julie Catalano

Cotton Club at Whataburger Field

Round Rock Express

San Antonio Missions

Sugar Land Skeeters

Take us out to the ball game. That’s what we’ll be singing from April to September, when Texas minor league teams are winding up to throw another great season of affordable, feel-good family fun, tons of special events, and ties to worthy charitable causes. Try some traditional ballpark fare for a birthday party, a corporate event, or just to

Corpus Christi Whataburger Field

spend a day with friends, and you’ll be a hit (plus the boys of summer are so darn cute). This travel season, stop at one of these fields of dreams to enjoy America’s favorite pastime. Play ball! 62

Corpus Christi Hooks Whataburger Field, 734 E. Port Avenue, Corpus Christi 361.561.4677 | cchooks.com Photography courtesy of the Corpus Christi Hooks To look at beautiful, ultramodern Whataburger Field,

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

you would never know its history: the ballpark is the site of long-ago cotton warehouses at the Port of Corpus Christi. Today, the $25 million field is home to the Hooks, DoubleA Texas League affiliate of the Houston Astros, and it’s famous for its signature feature: urbanhomemagazine.com

a fabulous view of Harbor Bridge. During games, fans can see massive vessels and their tiny tugboat escorts clear the bridge as they navigate through Corpus Christi Bay and on to the Gulf of Mexico. It’s almost impossible to take your eyes off the magnificent span, but the field designers made sure that even when standing in concession lines for fresh-squeezed lemonade or shrimp boats with sweet potato fries, patrons never lose sight of the game. “Ken Schrom is our team president and a former major league pitcher,” explains Matt Rogers, senior director of communications. “He’s been here from the beginning of the franchise,” including setting franchise records for victories in 2012 and 2013. For its 10th season, the Hooks have a new Daktronics 972-square-foot video board. The sizable kids’ play area features a full size Little League field, basketball court and a swimming pool. The field continues to commemorate its past with architectural touches including the scoreboard framed by antique cotton presses. And the name of the stadium club where Hooks season ticket holders can enjoy the area before and during games? The Cotton Club, of course. Round Rock Express Dell Diamond, 3400 E. Palm Valley Boulevard, Round Rock 512.255.2255 | rrexpress.com Photography courtesy of the Round Rock Express Major league icon and native Texan Nolan Ryan’s famous fastball — he was regularly clocked at more than 100mph — earned him the nickname “The Ryan Express,” and with its 15th anniversary season, the team he co-owns is more than living up to its moniker. As a Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers — “I like to say we’re the Baby Rangers,” says general manager Chris Almendarez — this baby is on the move. Recently ranked at #3 on Forbes’ list of urbanhomemagazine.com

“Most Valuable Minor League Baseball Teams” with a team value of $26 million, the Express doesn’t let any of its (newly replaced) grass at Dell Diamond grow under its cleats. New concessionaire Ryan-Sanders Sports Dell diamond Services will result in more diverse “storefronts” with signature items from area eateries. A partnership with Budweiser brings a new Party Porch hospitality area available for rental, and the team’s involvement in RBI Austin (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) “hosts underprivileged kids quite a few times during the season,” says Almendarez. Right now “we are creating the Round Rock Express Hall of Fame,” he adds. “We’ll have an alumni weekend in August, and the first inductee will be Jackie Moore, the team’s first manager,” with additional inductees being chosen by fan vote. It’s all about the fans, says Almendarez. “We want to take people away, for three hours, from whatever is going on in their lives and enjoy a game.” San Antonio Missions Nelson Wolff Stadium, 5757 U.S. 90, San Antonio 210.675.7275 | samissions.com Photography courtesy of the San Antonio Missions Director of public relations Rich Weimert has just finished a business luncheon sales presentation to show off Wolff Stadium’s hospitality areas, including two new hospitality suites and

Nelson wolff stadium

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


a new patio setting. It helps that the Double-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres has 13 Texas League Championship wins. “That’s a big part of our marketing,” says Weimert. The team also has two of the most unusual mascots — the tasty Ballapeno and Henry the Puffy Taco — but which make perfect sense in the Tex-Mex food paradise of San Antonio. As for retail, Weimert describes one of their hottest items. “We usually get new uniforms each year so we will sometimes sell last year’s team jerseys, if the player doesn’t buy it himself.” Their big promotion this year will be Hall of Fame jerseys from Brooks Robinson, Billy Williams, Joe Morgan and Dennis Eckersley. In a city that’s basketball-crazy, how do the Missions hold their own? Just fine, says Weimert. “The Spurs have been incredibly successful, and because they’re always advancing far into the playoffs, they cut into a lot of our season.” But it doesn’t deter diehard fans. “You see a lot of people who are just baseball people who love coming to the ballpark.” They’re going to love it even more: The city has poured approximately $750,000 into redoing — among other things — the bathrooms all over the ballpark. To which we say, thank you. Sugar Land Skeeters Constellation Field, 1 Stadium Drive, Sugar Land 281.240.4487 | sugarlandskeeters.com Photography courtesy of the Sugar Land Skeeters The new kids on the baseball block — their inaugural season was in 2012 — the Sugar Land Skeeters are not affiliated with

hosts a variety of non-baseball activities: graduations, proms, cricket tournaments, worship services and more. At about 100 feet above the field, the Texas-shaped scoreboard is one of the largest in minor league baseball. Burns says they “really put a focus on family entertainment. We recognize that people are looking for a safe, affordable place to take their family.” The grounds feature a huge playground, covered swimming pool for kids’ birthday parties, and a carousel.” Unlike other teams, they hold spring training at their facility, and at press time the spotlight was on NBA star Tracy McGrady’s mission to pitch for the Skeeters. In addition to the Insperity Club, the ballpark has 21 skyboxes and four individual party suites that stay pretty busy. “Everybody in Sugar Land really got on board with this project early on.” Burns says that the league is looking into expansion. “We’re definitely looking at more Atlantic League independent teams coming into Texas.” v

Play (more) Ball!

Need more baseball? Texas has it. Here are a few more teams worth a look and worth the drive. El Paso Chihuahuas Southwest University Park, Downtown El Paso 915.533.BASE | epchihuahuas.com. The newest Triple-A baseball team in the country and the Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. All kinds of special event venues. Frisco RoughRiders Dr. Pepper Ballpark, 7300 Rough Riders, Frisco 972.731.9200 | ridersbaseball.com. Know some kids who want a chance to play like a big leaguer? The 2014 Frisco RoughRiders Baseball Academy will be held June 25-27 for children ages 9-12.

Midland RockHounds Security Bank Ballpark, Constellation field 5514 Champions Drive, Midland 432.520.2255 | midlandrockhounds.org Free, year-round tours give a behind-the-scenes look at a pro ball one major league team. “We are independent,” says M.J. Burns, club. For reservations, 432.520.2255. marketing and communications director. “We operate out of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball [atlanticleague.com], an For more information on minor league baseball, visit the official independent league with independent owners.” Constellation site at milb.com. Field is a brand new, $37 million state-of-the-art ballpark that 64

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


At last, a 21st century technology designed for a more efficient home storage solution and improved home value. Auto-Lad is a fully electronically controlled ladder. At the press of a button or of a remote, it’s advanced circuit board allows the electronic unlatching of the panel, its opening, extending and de-energizing of the electric motor when Auto-Lad is fully extended. Depressing the same push button or remote allows retracting of Auto-Lad and when fully retracted, the closure of the panel and it’s automatic re-latching followed by the de-energizing of the electric motor. For high reliability and safety of operation, Auto-Lad has no position sensors but will stop if an obstacle is in it’s way. While designed for a typical attic space, this structurally superior and sophisticated operating ladder can also be used to substitute stairs in a loft to add privacy and additional room space below. Call eLAIR ENTERPRISES, LLC today for more information about the Auto-Lad system.

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Push Pull Open Close

WE BRING THE SHOWROOM TO YOU. To set an appointment call 512.694.7762 or jdhiebert@pushpullopenclose.com.





Austin NARI www.austinnari.org 512.997.NARI

Anchor Ventana www.ventanaman.com 512.388.9400

Big Grass www.biggrassliving.com 210.735.7999

NARI San Antonio www.remodelsanantonio.org 210.348.6274

BMC Window Center www.buildwithbmc.com Austin: 512.977.7440 San Antonio: 210.494.8889

Cozy Outdoor Escapes www.cozyoutdoorescapes.com 210.276.0734


Schroeder Carpet www.schroedercarpet.com 512.462.1551



HomeField www.homefieldliving.com 830.6261971


Artesian Pools www.artesianpoolstx.com 210.251.3211

Push Pull Open Close www.pushpullopenclose.com 512.694.7762

N House Design & Build www.nhousedb.com 210.384.2588

Foursquare Builders www.foursquarebuilders.com 512.944.4520



eLair Enterprises, LLC www.elairenterprises.com 855.288.LAIR

CG&S Design-Build www.cgsdb.com 512.444.1580


David Wilkes Builders www.davidwilkesbuilders.com 512.328.9888

Christopher Voss Inc. Fourth Generation Iron Craftsman www.christophervoss.com 210.843.4332

Bella Villa Design www.bellavillads.com 512.443.3200

Centuries Ago www.centuries-ago.com 405.659.7576


Catrina’s Ranch Interiors www.catrinasranchinteriors.com 830.755.6355 / 210.535.3070 Copenhagen Contemporary Furniture & Accessories www.copenhagenliving.com San Antonio: 210.545.4366 Austin: 512.451.1233 Scott + Cooner www.scottcooner.com Austin: 512.480.0436 Dallas: 214.748.9838 66

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Dawn Hearn Interior Design www.dawnhearn.com 512.930.0250


KIVA Kitchen & Bath www.kivahome.com Austin: 512.454.4526 / 800.856.4488 San Antonio: 210.826.9652 / 800.846.9652


Lights Fantastic www.lightsfantastic.com 512.452.9511


Designer Pools & Outdoor Living www.designerpoolstx.com 512.561.4211


Austin Board of Realtors www.austinhomesearch.com Phyllis Browning Company www.phyllisbrowning.com 210.824.7878

WINDOW COVERINGS & AWNINGS Austintatious Blinds and Shutters www.austintatiousblinds.com 512.608.0302 The Louver Shop www.louvershop.com Austin: 512.236.9706 San Antonio: 210.590.3956 Texas Sun & Shade www.txsunandshade.com 512.402.0990


a statement “ Make without saying a word.

Let one of our window covering experts inspire you to make your own statement. Our new showroom has a fantastic selection of blinds, solar control window film, automated shades, plantation shutters, custom draperies and much more.

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Hill Country Galleria

HWY 71




HWY 71 shops at the galleria

We are located at the intersections of Bee Caves Rd/Hwy 71/Hwy 620 at the Shops at the Galleria (across from the Hill Country Galleria) next door to Faraday’s Kitchen Store.

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