Urban Home Austin-San Antonio

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Designs | Lifestyles | Investments | Improvements

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Homes & buildings renewed www.UrbanHomeMagazine.com

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From the Editors

“We shape our buildings; thereafter, our buildings shape us.” Winston Churchill As was wisely stated, buildings definitely shape our communities, but in so many ways they shape our individual lives as well; especially the old buildings with wonderful character and history. We love the thought of saving an old structure. In this issue, we look at some remarkable transformations of living spaces and of historic buildings repurposed to begin life anew. Our cover home underwent a total renovation under the careful and seasoned direction of Stewart Davis and CG&S Design-Build in Austin. This once compartmentalized 1980’s home, which no longer met the needs of the family, metamorphosed into an open, inviting space perfect for entertaining. By transforming the staircase and living areas, the home now exudes sophisticated warmth within its clean, contemporary lines. Jim Poteet of Poteet Architects, LP, believes it is better to “enhance rather than change” when undertaking historic renovations. This carriage house on the property of an 1890’s King William Victorian manor in downtown San Antonio is a perfect example of his re-imagination. A lovely renovation of a tired bungalow in Austin proves that bigger is not always better. By creating a more sensible flow and greater efficiency within the existing structure, Royce Flournoy of Texas Construction Company created a family-friendly home with efficient storage solutions while maintaining the original 1940’s character and style. A backyard update of a Spanish Colonial home in San Antonio’s Olmos Park not only created a relaxing outdoor sanctuary for the homeowner, but unveiled a surprising family creation. When Christopher Voss, Fourth Generation Craftsman, Inc., began updating the existing gates and creating new pieces for this extensive renovation, he came across work by his great grandfather, Theo Voss. San Antonio is one of the oldest cities in Texas and long recognized for its eclectic architectural style contributed by the many cultural groups that settled in this interesting area. In this issue, we take a look at several buildings that began as much different structures than their current incarnation. These beautiful old buildings have been preserved and reinvented into some of San Antonio’s most treasured destinations. We hope that you are enjoying a restful and relaxing end of summer. Until next time, we at Urban Home wish you all the best. Please be encouraged to recycle.

Trisha Doucette & Leslie Woods, editors

P.S. Visit us at our new Facebook page: Facebook.com/UrbanHomeMags

On The Cover: Throughout this home, smart design and a brilliant use of structural elements resulted in a family home that rests somewhere between warm comfort and cool contemporary. Stewart Davis, AIA, Principal Architect and Design Director of CG&S Design-Build, updated and enlarged a once compartmentalized, cluttered home into this now transitional and efficient space. Page 22. Scan to view more features of this home.


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2012 | VOL. 7 | NO. 4 Publisher Louis Doucette Editors Leslie Woods and Trisha Doucette Contributing Editors Leonard Guerrero – ABOR David Davison – Austin NARI Justin Bravo – NARI San Antonio Karen Matuszewski – By Design, Real Estate Services & Custom Home Consulting Chris Pearson – Service Tech AV Contributing Writers Claudia Alarcon, Anne Marie Ashley, Sharla Bell, Jackie Benton, Julie Catalano, Mauri Elbel, Sue-Ella Mueller, Dana W. Todd Strategic Media Placement Diane Purcell Advertising Sales Sandy Weatherford Gerry Lair Photography Robert Amador, Paul Finkel, Ryann Ford, Coles Hairston, Jennifer Siu-Rivera 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.”

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August/September 2012


cover 22 Contemporary Cool Yet Incredibly Warm Photography by Paul Finkel

featured home 30 Waste Not, Want Not: Aspiring to More Photography by Ryann Ford



40 Design Fun, Functional, Family-Friendly Photography by Coles Hairston 60 Outdoor A (Re)Model(ed) Life Photography by Robert Amador 72 Entertainment Take Two



36 Family Style 48 Why Hire A Certified Kitchen & Bath Designer 50 Why This Space Works, Designer Spotlight: Julie Bradshaw 68 Green House Effect 70 Making An Entrance

departments fabulous finds 78 Destination: San Antonio essentials 56 New Products: Surviving The Heat



contributing editors 38 David Davison, Austin NARI & Justin Bravo, NARI San Antonio 54 Karen Matuszewski , By Design - Custom Home Consulting 81 Leonard Guerrero, ABOR 82 Advertiser Index




Mike and Tiffany Greenwood have remodeled, designed and built exclusive luxury and custom homes in San Antonio and the surrounding areas for nearly 10 years. Their homes are acclaimed by the Greater San Antonio Builders Association with awards at the 2008 Parade of Homes, the 2011 Parade of Homes in Champions Ridge and most recently at the 2012 Parade of Homes at The Dominion. Greenwood Custom Homes are renowned for attention to detail, architectural touches, and expansive spaces.

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www.dawnhearn.com Dawn F. Hearn, ASID 512.930.0250 Texas Registered Interior Designer #9501

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Contemporary Cool YET Incredibly Warm By Sharla Bell | Photography by Paul Finkel


ive it zip!” was the plea Stewart Davis, AIA, Principal Architect and Design Director at CG&S DesignBuild, heard from his clients at the start of their whole home remodel. He was charged with re-creating their 3,660-square-foot, late 1980’s home — no small feat given the challenges the homeowners asked him to address. The house was “too compartmentalized, too cramped, not conducive to entertaining, no office for ‘millions of papers,’ no accessible guest suite for aging parents, kids outgrowing rooms, dated kitchen and baths, forgotten back yard, and an uninviting front entry.” Oh, and the house also flooded on occasion! Clearly, it was time for a thorough, all-inclusive renovation and expansion to the “blah and maze-like” two-story house. In response, Davis oversaw a massive remodel: “all existing spaces were updated, enlarged and opened, and a new home office and guest suite were created, increasing the area to 4,910-squarefeet. Outside, a new pool and outdoor living areas were added. New xeriscaped yards include berms and an arroyo to intercept and redirect pesky floodwaters. The finished home integrates two themes: regional rustic charm on the exterior and comfortable contemporary cool (zip!) on the interior.” At the start of any large remodel, one must begin with a vision for the project. In this case, the wife’s mom was an antiques dealer, so she was taught to like traditional interiors, but she realized later that she was more drawn to a clean, contemporary and in her words, “funky” style. Davis says, “That’s what drove the interior design for this project. There was also strong interest


in using rich, natural materials, and a muted color palette.” This preference for natural materials is seen immediately in the beautiful top-grade mesquite wood flooring used throughout the entry level, which gives the home a comfortable and inviting feeling, proving that one can be contemporary cool and still be incredibly warm. And that’s the tone of the whole of the remodel: warm, rich, earthy materials meet modern, linear, clean style. And a beautiful marriage these elements do make. So, let’s begin at the beginning. The stunning entryway and staircase were once upon a time an eyesore for the homeowners. According to Davis, “They wanted more openness and transparency from the front of the house to the rear of the yard.” Originally, the stair felt maze-like, crowding the entryway so that there was no distinct space to greet front door guests. To solve this problem, “the ‘floating’ stair replaced the original, traditional stair in more or less the same location to get more openness and provide architectural sophistication,” explains Davis. The stair is supported by a central, steel beam, and given a dark finish to effectively disappear. The stair treads are mesquite like the flooring, richly stained as well. Davis added a salt water aquarium in the center of the home, visible as one enters, to serve as a dramatic and fun focal point. This aquarium is housed in a most unique structure, which simultaneously provides a base for the staircase, aquarium and appliances in the kitchen as well as defining the entry, dining room and kitchen spaces. When asked about the distinctive piece, Davis explained both its structural and design elements: “The wall panels at the stair, the kitchen and the dining room are made from painstakingly stained MDF (medium density fiberboard), a man-made panel not usually used as a finished material, but with the advantage of being completely homogeneous inside and out, giving a clean, crisp, rich block which contrasts with the surrounding finishes. These panels were carefully installed over conventional wood framed walls and form a distinct volume, which encompasses the stunning aquarium, and integrates as well as separates the various spaces.” As with most remodeling projects, the kitchen in this house was the center of many complaints for the clients. The original kitchen was isolated from the adjacent living and dining areas, and therefore, did not encourage easy interaction between guests and hosts. And according to Davis, the homeowners love to entertain and so, desperately needed a “party kitchen,” with good flow and integration to easily accommodate 10-20 people. Other requests included a built-in refrigerator, 36” gas cook top (for pancakes!), a coffee center and hidden/integrated trash drawers all incorporated into an efficient, low-clutter environment. In keeping with their design preferences for natural materials and clean lines, the homeowners chose frameless cherry cabinetry. To facilitate the “efficient, low-clutter environment,” Davis added a visually shielded “mudroom” between the garage entry and the kitchen, with storage cubbies (for coats, hats, shoes, backpacks, and the like), a drop zone/command center (for mail, keys, cell phones, packages, etc.), and a place for cleaning supplies and equipment. (If like this writer, you find this thorough mudroom to be an absolutely brilliant idea, see the sidebar for more of Stewart Davis’ kitchen design ideas.) The new kitchen opens to the main living area, which also then opens out onto the beautiful back porch through large continued on page 28 Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Strategic Kitchens Since kitchens are frequently at the heart of any homeowner’s desire to remodel, we asked Stewart Davis, AIA, Principal Architect and Design Director at CG&S Design-Build, to share his philosophy regarding important elements in kitchen design. • Good kitchens work beautifully on several levels. They are efficiently laid out for the cook: they function well as a workshop. They accommodate family and friends to both help with the cooking and just hang out: they function well as living space. This means there must be two distinct parts: a work (prep, cooking and cleaning) zone and a play zone. The work zone should not be interrupted by non-essential personnel or traffic! • The best device to get this “open separation” is the island. Guests are welcome on the outside edge of the island, while the serious cooking happens on the inside edge. The kitchen island is essentially a powerful magnet that draws everyone to it. Despite your best intentions otherwise, party central will be found at the island. You might as well accept it and make the most of it! • I find it particularly successful to place the cooking center (range or cooktop) in the island. This allows the cook and his/ her helpers to face guests and be a part of the conversation while working. • It’s usually a good idea to create a drink station or bar on the periphery of the kitchen. This drink center may include a wine fridge, an ice maker and storage. Traffic to and from this area does not want to combine with the kitchen proper. • Good kitchens feature a “back kitchen” which is an adjacent support space away from direct view, ideally on the way in from the family entrance (usually the garage), where a command center/landing zone lives, where bulk pantry items, paper goods, cleaning supplies and equipment are stored, and with storage cubbies for hats, coats, shoes and kids’ stuff. • Good kitchens are pleasantly appointed with beautiful yet durable and cleanable materials. They feature layers of lighting: most importantly is plentiful daylighting, but also bright task lighting over all work surfaces (with no shadows), low level light for evening entertaining mode (often in the form of indirect or under cabinet lighting), and decorative lighting for architectural impact. • Good kitchens have plenty of storage, placed where you need it, easily accessible. All storage below countertops must be pull-out storage. • The best kitchen layouts have zero corner cabinets. Corner storage is always inefficient, despite modern carousels. • Kitchens form the center of most homes, and are by far the most used space. The center of the work zone is the kitchen sink. This is the single most used place in the home for most people. There is a very good argument that the most important design selection you will ever make is your kitchen sink and faucet. Sounds funny, but it’s true! 26

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


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years before. CG&S commissioned a drainage study by a local civil engineer, who then assisted with the design of the site work. Another highlight of the renovation, the master bathroom exudes tranquility and functionality. The homeowners’ wish for the master bath was simple: “Nuke the tub and give us a ‘party shower!’” And that is exactly what Davis did, albeit it a stunningly attractive way. The striking gray striated porcelain tile, ‘Xilo’ by Walker Zanger, covers both the walls and floor, and is accented by a 1x2 glass mosaic tile from Architerra. The absolute black granite countertop from Moe Fried contrasts beautifully. The white oak vanity cabinet, custom fabricated by QSI in Austin, floats above the sea of gray. Davis also added a spacious dressing room for the homeowners to enjoy. Finally, a few features add much to the remodel, but are so subtly incorporated, they might be missed if not mentioned. Across the board in this renovation, there is a consistent use of ceiling coves and indirect lighting to define newly opened spaces. Also, Davis used an “exposed steel structure between the kitchen and living to support level two while making a strong design statement. Miniature down lights were added between the two steal channels that make up this beam to complete the unique design feature.” With the project complete, the homeowners can now entertain in their new space. When asked which was his favorite space in the new house, Davis replied the way any designer “with zip” should: “I like to sit at the bar next to the aquarium and enjoy being at the center of the party zone!” v




doors in both the breakfast room and living room. Davis explains, “Our goal here was to get away from the old, cramped living space, and add space, daylight and seamless integration to the kitchen and to the new outdoor living areas to the rear. We wanted to create a fine media center (the husband loves his A/V systems) where the seats were not so tight to the TV screen. The wife is originally from a northern climate and loves to burn a fire, so a central fireplace was essential.” Speaking of the fireplace, it is simply gorgeous; featuring a contemporary linear flame gas firebox, open to two sides, surrounded by four contrasting components: a floating custom concrete hearth, a black granite side block, a custom metal hood made of brushed steal with a lacquered copper wash finish, and a stacked stone sidewall. “These distinctly different elements combine to form a balanced, yet dynamic whole, with varying textures, colors and weights. The fireplace also serves as a space divider between the living area and a small library area behind. Additionally, the library area serves as the passage to the new home office and the guest suite we added to the southwest end of the existing home,” adds Davis. The guest suite was added as comfortable accommodations for aging parents, and the home office houses the “millions of papers” for two busy professionals. In the newly revised backyard beyond the living area, the homeowners can enjoy all new landscaping, a shady outdoor living room, an outdoor kitchen, and swimming pool and spa. Seamlessly integrated into this new landscaping, a flood control berm and drainage arroyo in the front and side yards insure that the homeowners will never again experience a major flood similar to the one that devastated the front of their house several


Waste Not, Want Not: Aspiring to MORE Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

A little over a year ago, I met Jim Poteet, Architect and Designer for Poteet Architects, LP, while writing about a beautiful restoration he had completed of a 1890’s Victorian manor in King William (Urban Home April/ May, 2011). I fell in love with the project but also with

By Sharla Bell | Photography by Ryann Ford


the vision of the man who had helmed the project.

im is soft-spoken, ever polite and speaks with a humble authority and passion regarding the spaces he most often re-imagines: he is simply brilliant with old buildings. He believes in the integrity of an original structure. In his words, he has “a modest approach to architecture, seeking to enhance rather than change what is already there.” This is certainly the attitude with which he approached the carriage house located on the property of the Victorian manor mentioned before. Since the owners needed a place to stay while the construction was ongoing in the main house, the carriage house was actually completed prior to beginning restoration on the main house. Afterwards, when the main house was complete, the carriage house became a guesthouse for visiting relatives and friends. Poteet explains, “I think the owners of the property were unsure of how the carriage house could be opened up and what it could become beyond their programmatic needs.” However, the owners and Poteet share a similar sense of style and taste, discovered during their previous collaboration on a repurposed industrial loft, and so the carriage house (and the main house later) became “a continuation of and development from that experience.” While clearly sharing an affinity for antiquated buildings, Poteet and the homeowners also enjoy clean, modern lines, a soft, white palette, bright pops of color, and a distinctly contemporary feel to a space. Another charge to Poteet was to make the renovation economical: the main house and carriage house would share a similar vision and direction, but the carriage house would “be more casual and use less expensive materials to accomplish that vision and direction.” To that end, Poteet used much that was already present in the carriage house — beadboard, wainscoting, pressed tin ceiling panels—and added to them, painted them, made them new again. He also found creative, cost-effective solutions all the while staying true to the original character of the carriage house. But first he had to find the original character of the carriage house. The previous owner of the property was in the movie industry, and the carriage house was his screening room. “It was dark and out of date. The colors were Kelly green and tartan plaid. The first floor was Saltillo tile.”



As happens with many vintage homes, this property had been “updated,” first in the 1960s and then again in the ‘80s. But Poteet knew that “the building really had been a carriage house at one time. We found the remnants of the carriage house doors which had been walled off to the interior.” So, Poteet and the owners made the decision to leave the outside fairly well alone, mostly fortifying and repairing rather than changing. They restructured the rotting porch and redesigned how the exterior columns worked. They added new doors and repaired the roof. “The owner liked the authentic, abraded quality of the exterior, reserving the right to redo that someday. The biggest thing that we did on the exterior — and that which had the biggest effect on the interior — was to remake the carriage house doors in their original openings and add glass to create huge window openings onto the pool area.” By creating the carriage house doors to double as beautiful, open, substantial windows from the living area out to the pool area, he “brought a lightness, the play of light into this dark cave.” Another problem, the Saltillo tile, which definitely did not fit the character of a carriage house or the taste of the client, was solved by applying gray epoxy over the tile. “This was less expensive than removing the tile, which we knew had to completely disappear. The floor is smooth and reflective — it helps the light bounce deep into the space.” To lighten the space further, Poteet chose to remove two small walls on the first floor. Poteet emphasizes that they did not move walls; rather, the goal was to open up the space, making a large room approximately 15x25 feet in size. The pressed tin ceiling panels, which were not original but were there when the renovation started, were in one room. Poteet sourced them and purchased more, and then painted them all gloss white — which became one of Poteet’s favorite finishes in the project. “Some of the trim details, the wainscoting and beadboard were there — painted dark. We painted them white to emphasize the texture and the play of light, particularly in the small spaces.” And while white certainly helps keep the spaces light and bright, it furthermore serves as the ideal backdrop for the owners’ contemporary art collection. According to Poteet, “This white color also becomes the ground for pops of 32

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


color which become art pieces in themselves — the orange kitchen, yellow headboard/closet and lavender bath.” The orange kitchen is one of the areas where cost was effectively maximized. The storage and counters are plastic laminate — sleek, reflective, modern and economical. Upstairs, Poteet resolved several potential problems with an oversized yellow headboard, which doubles as a closet on the other side. Poteet explains, “The room didn’t have an obvious place to situate a bed and there was not enough storage. Again using plastic laminate, we were able to anchor the bed and create more storage space.” The bathroom next door has quite an interesting story: “I went with the owner to an architectural salvage yard to look for the pedestal lavatory and tub. The only lavatory in acceptable condition was a purplish pink — and my client liked it! I knew that I would have to use more of a similar color to neutralize it. We picked a similar color with a good bit more gray and pulled it down one wall from the ceiling. I really like how the hospital track shower curtain and the rectangular light fixture and mirror bring this assemblage in to the 21st century,” adds Poteet. Finally, the original wood floor found upstairs was painted black, keeping the wood out of a landfill and contrasting beautifully with the white walls and trim. Overall, the clients and the designer were quite happy with the finished carriage house. In fact, Poteet has a special place in his heart for this project: “It shows what’s possible in a modest space with a modest budget and a client who aspires to more.” v ARCHITECT Poteet Architects, LP | 210.281.9818 Poteetarchitects.com CONTRACTOR Rubiola Construction Company 210.738.2900 | Rubiolaconstruction.com woodwork Nick’s Custom Woodworking 210.212.7044 | Nickscustomwoodworkingsa.org


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Never be without power AGAIN!


Style T By Jackie Benton

he family that plays together, stays together – but the games families play together these days have taken a whole new twist. In addition to playing traditional board games or watching movies, families now get together for an evening of interactive digital fun playing on a Wii™, PlayStation® or Xbox® 360, and need a family room that will accommodate all the pieces for both their beloved old games as well as the Courtesy of ikea new electronic ones. Whether the final room design is ultra-modern and edgy, or rooms on display, getting more inspiration and ideas in a realtraditional and coordinated, the family room needs to fit the life setting. Open the cabinets, snoop through the drawers, sit essential needs of the family itself, says Jill Siegel, Creative Director on the sofas, we don’t mind,” encourages Roebuck. “At IKEA, for California Closets of the Texas Hill Country. Using a CAD we have an in-store staff of interior designers and furnishing program to lay out preliminary ideas and get customer feedback experts that create each room and home based on different living makes the design process a collaborative one. “Every family is situations and budgets. We even communicate the paint colors different, and they store things differently. Most people don’t have chosen for each room.” adjustable shelving or baskets they can use as accessories to hold For those who prefer to plan and play with several ideas before specific items that will maximize the space available,” says Siegel. visiting the store, IKEA has an interactive online program. “Some “Another factor is the kids’ ages. A game room for a family with people really like to do their homework,” says Roebuck. “Use very young children is going to be very different from one with the free online planning tools at www.IKEA.com. Create your teenagers. What we design really varies from family to family and furnishing solution online to see how it fits your home and your their specific lifestyles.” wallet. When you have decided, just print out your shopping list For those families who want to create their own unique family and pick up the products at the store.” “Organize!” is IKEA’s rallying cry, and a stylized, comfy, organized family room is one that the family will enjoy spending time in. “Well organized, your room will start working for you instead of the opposite. Organization can also make your room more beautiful. For instance, your most precious things can come to new life in a glass door cabinet. And all those not so pretty things can be hidden behind solid doors. That’s what we call good organizing principles.” IKEA also has tips to make furnishings do double-duty. “An upholstered footstool with hidden storage is the perfect place to store all the gaming handsets, batteries and accessories that would otherwise be left lying around, and you have extra seating when needed,” Roebuck says. “Add a large tray on top of the footstool and you have a coffee table. Toddler-friendly, too!” v Courtesy of California Closets of the Texas Hill Country space, IKEA has built their business on easy storage solutions with affordable style. Everyone has their own way of creating a new space says Michelle Roebuck, local Public Relations and Marketing for IKEA Round Rock. “You can come into the store and explore all the different 36

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

California Closets of the Texas Hill Country Austin: 512.441.6061 | San Antonio: 210.829.1991 Californiaclosets.com IKEA | 512.828.4532 | Ikea.com urbanhomemagazine.com



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Remodeling Homeowners Create

Outdoor Retreats


entral Texas’ mild climate allows homeowners the opportunity to enjoy outdoor living year-round. And our backyards are no longer just about decks and swimming pools. They often resemble a family’s favorite vacation spot blended with their home’s style, and include outdoor kitchens and living areas. Creating a space designed specifically for outdoor living that allows homeowners the opportunity to spend time outside enjoying cooking and socializing with friends and family ranks high on many remodel wish lists. Members of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) report across the nation an increase in homeowners requesting multi-level decks, spas, fireplaces and outdoor kitchens in their backyards. David Davison, From wood fire pizza ovens to cabinets and President, Austin NARI countertops, outdoor kitchens are no longer unattainable. Increasingly, products that remodelers would normally use for indoor kitchen remodels are now being designed for outdoor use, including range hoods and fans to keep cooking heat and smoke away from a homeowner’s guests. Customizable grill islands, much like indoor kitchen islands, are also becoming increasingly popular, along Justin Bravo, President, with dishwashers and refrigerators that are NARI San Antonio designed to be used outdoors. Gas patio heaters even make it possible to entertain when the weather is chilly. No outside activity is enjoyable if it is a constant battle against mosquitoes and other flying pests, which explains the recent popularity of timed-release outdoor residential misting systems. Fine mist spray nozzles are mounted around the perimeter of a home in the lawn or landscaping, or on parts of the house or fence, and may be turned on at preset intervals or by using a remote control. A spray of fine mist pesticide creates a barrier to keep flying insects out of the area. Eliminating the worry of biting pests, and the health risks that they pose, makes enjoying an outdoor living area even more relaxing. As with any major renovation project, the outcome is best if the planning and execution are well thought out, with material selections and considerations made as part of the initial plan and not as an afterthought. This type of planning and design are an integral part of working with a qualified remodeling professional. v

If an outdoor kitchen and entertaining area is in your plans, contact NARI to find a contractor with the expertise to create the space of your dreams. Austin NARI: Austinnari.org, NARI San Antonio: Remodelsanantonio.org.


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design n Trends

Fun, Functional, FamilyFriendly: Transforming a Tired Home into a Tarrytown Treasure By Mauri Elbel | Photography by Coles Hairston

When it comes to renovating an existing home, people often think bigger is better. But as Royce Flournoy, President of Texas Construction Company, will tell you: it’s not always a matter of increasing the square footage of a home to make it more livable. Sometimes, the key to a more functional and inviting space lies in the ability to redesign a home in a way that creates more sensible flow and greater efficiency within its existing parameters. 40

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



oo often people think the only way to realize the value of the renovation is to add square footage, and in reality, the value comes from organizing the space you have well,” says Flournoy. Case in point: a 1,313-square-foot 1940’s Tarrytown bungalow occupied by a young family with two active boys. After years of live-in wear and tear, the cozy three-bedroom, two-bathroom cottage was in sore need of a refreshing touch. But when the owners decided to embark on a remodel, they knew they wanted a design that gave them more efficient storage solutions and functionality without taking away from the home’s original style. “It was really important to the clients that the home kept the same feel as before and still blended in with the other homes in the neighborhood,” says Flournoy. “The main objective was to organize the original spaces to become more functional.” With FAB Architecture commissioned for the top-to-bottom home renovation, which included everything from creating continuity and flow in the home to selecting new interior furnishings, and Texas Construction Company contracted to transform the new designs into reality, the end result is a refreshed and happy home that’s maintained its original charm. “The home had been a rental house so it was really tired,” says Pam Chandler, Designer/Architect at FAB Architecture. “It needed a whole new life breathed back into it. We wanted to help the family still have a great style, but in a real, livable, family-friendly way.” Before, the home’s in-between areas were riddled with clutter. But because of space limitations, the designers knew basic functions such as utilities, storage and closets needed to remain in the same place. By simply cleaning up corridors and opening up the flow between the rooms, even heavy-function areas such as the washer/dryer utility area between the master and front bedroom now have a more concealed and clean feel. “This is one of the things FAB Architecture did very well – they organized the spaces and used built-ins to streamline, which allowed everything to flow a little better,” Flournoy says. “Builtin cabinets were used a lot in this project to get as much use out of the space as possible. With closets, you are often very limited, but cabinets give you the ability to think through the design of the shelving units to maximize flexibility and storage.” Not unusual for houses built during this time period, this bungalow had a closed-off kitchen with an L-shaped countertop that isolated the room from the rest of the house. To solve the dated design flaw that had become a source of frustration for its modern-day homeowners, Chandler wanted to create flow and functionality without changing the layout of the home. “The renovation plans for this house were a bit of a nobrainer,” Chandler says. “The clients weren’t looking for any heroic changes to the original home – they just needed it to function better and wanted to bring it up to a more current way of living.” Removing the wall previously separating the kitchen and dining areas was the biggest revision to the original floor plan, a move that created openness and fluidity in the home without changing its layout. A central island was added to further define the space and serve as an essential transition into the dining area, but it also remains a functional element of the kitchen. A wall of built-in kirfed doors, drawers and cabinets painted in


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


the same gray (Gunmetal by Benjamin Moore) as the home’s exterior are an appealing and super-efficient reach-in storage solution to the previously dated kitchen. “For a small kitchen, it now functions really well,” Chandler says. “The island serves as a place for the kids to sit and eat breakfast, but it is also cooking central for the chef. Before, the base and upper cabinets left a lot of life living on the counter. There was nowhere for anything to go.” The new design included an extension of the home’s living space with a new back deck and covered roof. Before, the rear of 44

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

the house was defined by a poorly integrated bedroom addition with a single sloped shed roof, but the new design integrated the original architecture by adding a covered porch to create a more cohesive gabled end. “Before, it was an expanse of deck that didn’t create a very nice place to be,” Chandler says. “Footprint wise, we actually made the deck smaller, but it brought it to an appropriate scale for the house. Now, it feels natural, and the new design allowed us to tie the deck into the existing roof to feel like it had always been there.” urbanhomemagazine.com

Similarly, the expressed shed ceiling in the master bedroom was modified to a gable referencing the more traditional style of the original house. The master’s built-in shelves and desk in front of white-paned windows provide the ideal vantage point to the inviting and cozy backyard porch just beyond. Without deviating from the home’s original lines, FAB Architecture was able to modernize an old home into a much more livable space fitting for a young family. But it was the finishing touches – the muted color palette of grays balanced with crisp white trim used throughout its interior and exterior, urbanhomemagazine.com

updated fixtures, and a risky yet brilliant decision to paint the original wood floors a bright chartreuse – which breathed an element of happiness back into the home. “The home straddles the line between being relaxed and having a sophistication that ties the entire house all together,” Chandler says. “The exterior walls are the same Gunmetal gray we used on the kitchen cabinets so there is a consistent hand.” Using the same color palette for both the interior and exterior of the house provides a continuity of flavor throughout the home that leaves room for boldness. Chandler capitalized Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Don ’t M ov e ,

I mp rove · Keep your great location · See your new design in 3D · Transform your house · Keep your memories at home

2011 Coty Award-Winner in the following categories: • Best Master Bathroom under $30,000 • Best Kitchen $80,000-$120,000 • Best Interior Remodel over $100,000 Winner of Best Overall Remodel – 2011 Tour of Remodeled Homes 106 Lacey Oak San Antonio, Texas 78230 210.882.6263 www.jangelodesignbuild.com

on color punch when it came to the floors – a daring move she says creates a whimsical touch that plays against the home’s neutral gray palette and remains a central conversation piece for everyone who enters the home. Chandler chose relaxed furnishings that would withstand wear-and-tear from children such as low-maintenance furniture, custom-made vinyl rugs in the master and living areas, and low-brow materials like white burlap drapes – all which exude elegance and style while remaining easy-going and family-friendly. From the bungalow’s redesigned, streamlined spaces to its casual and stylish interior touches, there is a newly-revived spirit in the home that speaks the same language of the family and the neighborhood. “It was very gratifying to take a tired house which had had lots of living-in and abuse, and get to bring a new life to it,” Chandler says. “The remodel did a lot for this family and a lot for this neighborhood – it allows this home to have so much more longevity for years to come.” v ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN FAB Architecture | 512.469.0775 Fabarchitecture.com BUILDER Texas Construction Company | 512.451.8050 Txconstruct.com 46

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


why hire

A Certified

Kitchen & Bath Designer By Anne Marie Ashley and leslie woods

When remodeling a home, the kitchen and bathrooms top the list of important areas requiring special attention. The kitchen is the hub of the home these days. Not just for cooking meals anymore, it’s the gathering area for family and guests to relax, chat and enjoy food together. Bathrooms are the hardest rooms to renovate as space is often limited with a long wish list of amenities to include. The demands of both kitchen and bath spaces to meet homeowners’ needs is greater than ever before. We spoke with two Certified Kitchen and Bath Designers (CKBD) to find out why having a professional design these two very important rooms can make all the difference in your home. Michele DeCorby of KitchenCraft® in Austin is President of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) – Texas Hill Country Chapter and Secretary of the National Kitchen and Bath Association – National Chapter. R. M. “Skip” Shingledecker owns SA Home Designer and is an instructor at St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas - Kitchen and Bath Design Courses. How can a CKBD benefit homeowners? “Certified Kitchen and Bath Designers are uniquely qualified through education, examination and experience to earn their certification (minimum of seven years). The NKBA requirements include the knowledge of the 31 guidelines for kitchen design and the 27 guidelines for bath design. This knowledge assures the homeowner that a CKD or CBD can guide the homeowner through the choices of appliances, cabinetry, countertop systems, plumbing fixtures, lighting choices and many more decisions to be made before a project can start, and these parts can be assembled for a safe, healthy and functional area that looks great,” explains Shingledecker. What does a CKBD do? Designers have the vision to oversee the project to completion and help communicate with the different trades involved with

Photography courtesy of NKBA

the project. “A designer will create a layout and present options to achieve a client’s goal. Space planning and access are important to the function of kitchens and baths, and an experienced designer is critical to achieving those objectives. They will review products and help homeowners discern all the material options available to them. They will assist with reviewing codes, specifications and provide the road map to execute the project in a cost effective manner,” says DeCorby. What should a homeowner know before hiring a CKBD? Both DeCorby and Shingledecker stress the importance of doing your homework before meeting with a designer. Look through magazines like Urban Home to see what style and functionality appeals to you. If you don’t have industry language to communicate your likes and desires, having photos can really move the process along. “Be sure to ask the designer for the extent of services that they provide. Ask to see their portfolio and a referral list. Interview two or three designers and find one that you feel comfortable with,” adds Shingledecker. What should a homeowner expect from a CKBD and what costs are involved? Some designers are turn-key, designing the project, providing the products and managing the installation. Others provide design only or design and materials only. “Fees will vary. Some designers will charge per room based on size and complexity, while others offer an hourly rate anywhere from $80.00 - $100.00 per hour, and some designers will be compensated through materials and products purchased,” says DeCorby. Hiring a certified design professional will help ensure that the kitchen or bath of your dreams will be the outcome of your remodel or building project. Find a local CKBD by visiting www.nkba.org. v Michele DeCorby KitchenCraft® Cabinetry | 512.302.3700 Kitchencraftaustin.com R. M. “Skip” Shingledecker, CKD/CBD SA Home Designer | 210.520.3100 | Sahomedesigner.com

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During a recent remodeling project, San Antonio Designer Julie Bradshaw knew instantly that the master bathroom would require a major update to achieve the serene feel her clients desired. “More than any other space in the house it needed help,” says Bradshaw, who shares how she and her Associate Designer, Crystal Romero, transformed an outdated master bath into a spa-like retreat. How would you describe the problems of the original bathroom? My client wanted to remodel her home, but she wasn’t sure which rooms to include. As soon as she ushered us into the master bath, it was obvious it needed a major update. At first glance, the bath was outdated and less-than-serene due to the unusual combination of black wallpaper and pink faux marble on the tub, shower and floors. Half of the floor was made of this material and the other half was dark wood, which I had never seen before. A second look revealed another challenge. The walls were placed at awkward angles creating a disjointed feeling. It wasn’t at all conducive to the peaceful spa retreat she was seeking. What were the goals for this bathroom renovation? The clients were looking for an update with clean lines and a fresh look. We wanted the bathroom to be a very soothing room where the clients could relax. What was the inspiration behind the new design? Architectural features frequently inspire us. And we feel it’s important that the space being remodeled relates to the rest of the home architecturally. The hexagon stone flooring speaks to a hex-shaped living room while softening the angles in the bath. Using one stone color for the entire floor, including the shower and behind the tub, makes the room feel cohesive – one more step toward creating a soothing spa retreat. Another inspiration was the row of six beautifully arched windows. The curved arches not only inspired a focal point for the curvaceous freestanding tub, but we repeated those curves throughout the bath with the curved glass tile niche in the shower, the scalloped pendant light above the tub and curved mirrors above the sinks. Again, we were focusing on softening the harsh angles.

works WHY THIS


Do you have any tips for those wanting to create a spa-like feel in their bathroom? Paint colors. A serene blue/gray color palette was selected for the walls and cabinets. When selecting blue paint, choose a sample that appears more gray than blue because paint becomes bluer once it’s on the wall. A few of our favorite spa blue paint colors are: Sherwin Williams®’ Comfort Gray and Oyster Bay, and Benjamin Moore’s® Boothbay Gray.


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

Designer Spotlight: Julie Bradshaw of Bradshaw Designs By Mauri Elbel | Photography by Jennifer Siu-Rivera



Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Locally owned and managed, Texas Water Solutions is the exclusive dealer for Puronics® Water Conditioning Systems. Given Hill Country water, the Puronics® Terminator™ is the intelligent solution for high quality water providing great taste, softer skin and hair, without calcium build-up in the home. Puronics® stainless steel water conditioning systems are EPA registered and certified to NSF/ANSI 44 standards. Puronics systems feature a 316L stainless steel food grade tank with SilverShield™ bacteriostatic What makes this space special? It’s all in the details. Custom vanity cabinets were made to look like furniture by using unique drawer pulls, mirrors in the doors and full-extension drawer glides to maximize every inch of storage. Medicine cabinets are carefully concealed behind arched mirrors. Shampoo niches are placed strategically out of sight to avoid the view of plastic bottles. A curbless shower allows for wheelchair access if needed. A towel warmer adds a touch of luxury as you envelop yourself in warmth when stepping out of the shower and it has a practical side as well because it warms the room in cooler months. Taking this recent master bath renovation into consideration, do you have any words of advice for those wanting to remodel their bathroom? First of all, you need to have a plan before construction begins. Of course I am biased, but I think enlisting a professional, like an interior designer who specializes in plans for kitchen and bath remodeling, is a wise investment. Also, it’s important to choose a reputable contractor experienced in remodeling. 52

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

I would advise people to choose neutral tubs, sinks and tiles because they are the most costly elements in a bathroom. Paint, towels and artwork are a much less expensive way to change the look of a space, but keep your fixtures neutral because those are very pricey to replace. Finally, repeat details from other areas of the home for a smooth transition. A common mistake is a space that screams ‘here’s the addition.’ The goal of remodeling is to enhance the existing architecture, increase function and storage, and make the room look like it’s always been there – only better. When you think about this bathroom before, and when you walk through it now, what are you most pleased with? The bathroom turned out beautifully, and I love every detail. However, what’s most important is that my clients were pleased with the renovation. We have the best job in the world and the nicest clients. Our clients’ satisfaction is our ultimate goal. v Bradshaw Designs | 210.824.1535 Bradshawdesignsusa.com

protection, and carry a Limited Lifetime warranty.

Austin: 512.858.2525 San Antonio: 210.977.8300

TexasWaterSolutions.net urbanhomemagazine.com




or Move?

By Karen Matuszewski, By Design – Custom Home Consulting


t isn’t where you live that is in question. The neighborhood, community, schools and friends are all meeting your family’s needs. And there are many things about your current home that you would hate to leave. However, there are some things that need to be updated or changed. Making sure you have the right building professional for your remodel project can make all the difference between living the dream of your newly remodeled home or experiencing a nightmare. Not all new home builders are skilled at remodeling existing homes. This requires a professional who is experienced in working on existing structures. Depending on the size of your remodel project, you may be living in your home during construction. The professional you choose will need to have a system where they can section off the area of the home being worked on. Be sure that you and your contractor have an understanding about what days and times your home will be available for the work being done. Another important factor for many remodels is the unexpected “surprises” that arise. Renovation professionals are used to dealing with the unknown and are accustomed to handling those situations. I visited with Stewart Davis, AIA, Principal Architect and Design Director at CG&S Design-Buildv and here are some other thoughts he had to share: 1. Renovation contractors are accustomed to working on homes while the owners live in them. This introduces a multitude of challenges to the construction process. For example, keeping the jobsite clean every day becomes very important. 2. Making sure the family cat doesn’t get stuck in the attic becomes an issue. 3. Protecting existing finishes, carefully cutting and patching, dealing with out of plumb walls and uneven floors as well as seamlessly blending the new work into the existing structure requires an experienced contractor. 4. Dealing with these issues successfully, with the homeowner living in the construction site, takes a lot of experience, time and effort. Do your research and choose wisely when selecting a renovation professional. Check credentials – are they part of their trade associations like NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry), have they won awards for their work and do they have verifiable prior client references as well as bank references? As with any project, we dream, we plan, we budget, we execute and we ENJOY! v

Have a question about the home building or remodeling process? Email me at Karen_Matuszewski@yahoo.com and you might find the next Custom Home Advice column written especially for you!

Using the services of a professional to help assemble your new home team can save you time, money and frustration. Karen and Rob Matuszewski are custom home consultants who have been helping clients build new homes for 10 years. They have earned numerous designations in home construction from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and can provide references and credentials. Call us today for your complimentary consultation. Services include: Lifestyle Analysis • Community Selection • Lot Evaluation Builder Interviews • Architect Interviews Call in and talk to us live on • Plan Design Assistance Project Financing Options • Construction Visits E Interior Design/Landscape/Pool Referrals HE AID • Current Home Marketing AID Gettin’ It Done @ Home & Sale Representation Saturdays 6 to 8pm Talk Radio 96.3 FM & 1370 AM • Interim Housing Assistance




Proud partners in the URBAN


Dream Home

By Design Custom Home Consulting Karen & Rob Matuszewski

Real Estate Services & Custom Home Consulting Karen • Karen_Matuszewski@yahoo.com • 512.917.2653 Rob • txrpm@yahoo.com • 512.695.6498 www.KarenSellsAustin.com

essentials new products

surviving the heat

J. Angelo Design-Build 1

1. Create your own oasis of peace and relaxation with the Eclipse Relaxer. Hand-woven from the highest quality man-made fiber, each one is completely unique. The Eclipse offers a combination of innovative design and comfort with the performance of a fully outdoor product. Available exclusively at the Greenhouse Mall. Greenhouse Mall. Austin: 512.250.0000 or 512.617.8888, San Antonio: 210.558.1818, Greenhousemall.com. 2. ECO Logical Skin Care is passionate about offering an affordable, chemical-free, all-natural sunscreen with great feel and zero fragrance. Say adios to your greasy sunscreen, and feel how silky and moisturizing ECO is. It’s great even under makeup! Eco Logical Skin Care. 949.218.2665, Ecologicalskin.com.

210.882.6263 www.jangelodesignbuild.com



210.690.4663 www.bravidesign.com


3. Lighter than a duvet but heavier than a single sheet, Dohars are a welcomed addition to the Southern home as temperatures climb. These luxe and subtle Indian summer blankets are comprised of three layers of pure cotton, and hand-block printed using natural dyes. Mela & Roam. Melaandroam.com. 4. Never run out of ice cold beverages again! The Cooper Cooler is the fastest way to rapidly chill your warm beverages and allows you to Chill-On-Demand™. The patented process is 40 times faster than a freezer for chilling cans and 10 times faster for wine, and is perfectly safe for chilling carbonated beverages like beer and soda which will not foam over upon opening. Cooper Cooler. 877.C.COOLER, Coopercooler.com.

J. Angelo Design-Build

Bobo Custom Builders

210.882.6263 www.jangelodesignbuild.com

210.349.6160 www.bobocustombuilders.com

Build the home of your dreams without having to move.

View the latest in remodeling trends at seven homes through the Greater San Antonio Area, showcasing some of NARI San Antonio’s most talented remodelers.

Hill Bros. Custom Homes & Renovations 210.621.7990 www.hillbrosconstruction.com

5. Sun or shade on demand! This motorized roof shade structure can be opened or closed by the solar charged battery remote control. The 160˚ range of motion creates a totally customizable structure allowing in the sun when open and waterproof coverage when closed. Equinox. 210.548.3015, Equinoxtexas.com.

October 7, 2012

10:00am to 6:00pm

11:00am to 5:00pm




October 6, 2012

$15.00, includes entry to all homes. Tickets can be purchased through the NARI San Antonio website, and at each home on the days of the Tour. For additional information on the 2012 Tour of Remodeled Homes, NARI San Antonio, or members and services provided, contact the

6. Reduce heat, glare and fading of your interior furnishings all while maintaining your beautiful views with interior roll-up solar screens. Texas Sun & Shade. 512.402.0990, Txsunandshade.com.

Association Office at 210.348.6274, email at info@remodelsanantonio.org or visit our website at



Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


KM Builders, Inc. 210.680.5626 www.kmbuilders1.com

KM Builders, Inc. 210.680.5626 www.kmbuilders1.com

Audino Construction, Inc.

Austin Impressions, Inc.

Avenue B Development, LLC

CG&S Design-Build

CG&S Design-Build

Dylan Martin Homes













Austin NARI, your Central Texas chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, has been servicing

October 27 & 28, 2012 12:00pm to 6:00pm

Austin and a surrounding five county area for over 25 years. NARI is the only trade association dedicated exclusively to the remodeling industry. NARI brings together the best in the remodeling industry. Joining a trade association with other

LOCATION: Greater Austin Area

professionals in the field is a very powerful way to get your job This year’s tour features eleven fabulous remodeled homes

ranch-style home updated with natural colors and textiles, a

throughout the Greater Austin Area, showcasing some of

whole home remodel that includes a state-of-the-art kitchen, a

Austin NARI’s most talented remodelers. The tour allows

renovation to prevent future flood damage, a 1990’s builder

visitors to check out the latest possibilities in remodeling.

home with rich cabinetry throughout, and total reconfigura-

Projects include a 1938 cottage renovation and addition, a

tions of living spaces, kitchen and bath remodels, wine

1942 bungalow updated with energy-efficient and aging in

features and custom pet beds, extraordinary finishes and

place features, a lake house redesigned for entertaining, a

energy products used to create spectacular renovations

1953 mid century-style home outfitted for a family, a

ranging from $75,000 to over $875,000.

done right and on time.

TICKETS: Available October 1, 2012

Platinum Sponsor:

Pre-purchases are $20 for all homes, and are available at Breed & Co. or the NARI website. Tickets are available at all Tour Homes on the days of the event. $25 for all homes or $10 for single homes.

Ticket Locations:

718 W. 29th St., Austin 3663 Bee Cave Rd., Austin

Realty Restoration

Realty Restoration

Sky West Builders, LLC

Watermark & Co.

David Wilkes Builders











For additional information on the 2012 Tour of Remodeled Homes, Austin NARI, or members and services provided, contact the Association Office at 512.997.6274, email at info@austinnari.org or visit our website at www.AUSTINNARI.org.

Outdoor n Trends


hen Mark Vickery decided to overhaul the outdated landscaping of his residence, he hired landscape architect Matt Stevens, RLA, to take on the challenging task of modernizing the space while respecting its historical integrity. The job included removing and rebuilding hardscapes, revamping the pool, adding metal gates and architectural details, and enhancing the landscape with new plant material. One of the most important objectives for the homeowner was the addition of a spa to the existing pool, which he wanted not only for relaxation and enjoyment, but also for visual interest. With this as the focal point, Stevens got to work on the plans, which were reviewed and critiqued by the homeowner, and together they arrived at the final design. “This correspondence between idea-design-solution occurred on every single component of the project,” says Stevens. “There’s a lot of preparation and planning that goes into scheduling the construction activities for a project of this scale. I developed a contractor bid sheet that itemized all the different components. Once the bids were received, I worked with the client and contractors to proceed, overseeing the different construction tasks.” To begin the project, the crews removed existing grass and soil, graded the site, updated the irrigation system and trimmed the trees in both the front and back yards to allow more light for new sod installation. The next step was to repair or replace all hardscaping in both yards. For this work, Stevens relied on contractor Joe Olmos of Olmos Prime Coating. “Joe paid close attention to detail and really helped out with a diligent ‘can do’ attitude,” says Stevens. In the back yard, Olmos and his crew replastered the stucco walls, and rebuilt retaining walls and stone planter beds for ornamental and vegetable gardens. They built an outdoor fireplace, and new walkways, landings and patios using a combination of brick, Oklahoma flagstone and Hadrian stone to match the pool coping. In the front of the house, they replaced a portion of the concrete walk with a wider brick paver landing, and added new stone columns. As the main focus of the remodel, the pool was completely overhauled with new tile, Hadrian stone coping and Pebbletec replastering, plus wider steps, a seat-bench and a shallow shelf in the deep end. The spa was added to the deep end of the pool by removing a portion of gunite shell to expose reinforcing rebar, and connecting the new spa rebar and gunite to that existing structure. Stone scuppers and a center spillway allow water to cascade into the swimming pool creating a beautiful visual focus and the soothing sound of falling water. Final architectural details included replacing and updating the landscape lighting and ironwork in both front and back yards. Existing metal handrails and light fixtures received a faux finish to match new metal work to be installed, including both front and back gates. The client had already contacted renowned metal artist Christopher Voss, a fourth generation iron craftsman, to fabricate and replace the existing gates. For the arched door in the back of the house, designed to be the main entrance from the courtyard continued on page 64

A (RE)Model(ed)


By Claudia Alarcon | Photography by Robert Amador

The city of Olmos Park is well known for its historic homes.

Built in the heart of San Antonio in the mid-1920s by H.C. Thorman, a renowned oilman and real estate tycoon, this serene community amid century-old oaks boasts spectacular homes in a variety of styles including English Tudor, Georgian and, of course, Spanish Colonial. 60

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Golf Greens

Water Features


22101 State Hwy 71 West, Spicewood TX 78669 512-264-2622 Monday-Saturday 9-6 • Sunday 10-3 9 miles west of Hill Country Galleria Mall Next to Angels Restaurant



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Outdoor Living

Landscape Supply

ADJUSTABLE ROOFS Open or Closed with the Touch of a Button.

Open for Ventalation or Sun Adjustable • Solar Powered • Maintenance Free 10 Year Warranty • Rain Proof Opens to let the light in, or closed to keep summer sun and rain out. The roofing system can be positioned by remote control to any angle. Structures can be free standing or attached to your home and are ideal for courtyards, entry ways outdoor kitchens, patio and spa areas.


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Closed for Shade or Rain Call for your FREE consultation 210.548.3015 www.equinoxtexas.com

to the home, Voss hand bent the 2”x4” tubing to achieve the arch shape, using the same technique his great grandfather, Theo Voss, did 90 years ago. He powder coated the door and frame a bronze color, and then added a copper faux finish. Stevens was very pleased with the outcome. “Christopher took the sketches that we produced and brought the concepts to life. Great work.” For the finishing touch, Stevens added color with new plant material that would make a big impact but be sustainable with the existing sun and shade conditions. The end product meets the homeowner’s needs, provides much improved curb appeal and a welcoming back yard oasis where he can relax or entertain. “I had an amazing opportunity to work with a great team of diligent individuals, both client and contractors alike, which allowed for the project’s success,” concludes Stevens. “Without the collective effort by all parties involved, I don’t think the project would have resulted as it did.” v LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Matt W. Stevens Landscape Architect 210.887.3694 | Mwsla.com HARDSCAPE Joe Olmos Olmos Prime Coating 210.913.2017 Olmosprimecoating.com POOL Ray Salinas, Keith Zars Pools 210.889.5973 | Keithzarspools.com LIGHTING Kelly Francis Illumination 210.414.0896 Kellyfrancisillumination.com CUSTOM METAL WORK Christopher Voss Fourth Generation Craftsman, Inc. 210.843.4332 | Christophervoss.com 64

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


A dream yard for your dream house. Investing in a Sport Court® game court does more than add value to your home. You’re investing in a place for families to bond and friendships to blossom. Our high-performance game courts help reduce injuries and can be custom built to fit your backyard. For more information contact at 1-800-880-0234 or visit us online www.sportcourt-texas.com ©2007 Sport Court® is a registered trademark of Connor Sport Court International, Inc.

O R I G IN A L . A U T H EN T I C B R A N D . S IN C E 1 9 7 4

A Family Legacy Christopher Voss comes from a long line of fine metal craftsmen. His great grandfather, Theo Voss, started his career as an apprentice for an old-school blacksmith in Germany when he was only 14 years old, working only for room and board. At age 20, he returned to the U.S., where he’d been born in 1901 in California, to claim his citizenship. He came to San Antonio because he had an uncle who lived here, like many other German immigrants did. It was eight years before he could save enough money to bring his wife, Meta, to the U.S. from Germany as well. Theo worked for a lighting company until he was able to start his own business in 1926, Theo Voss Artistic Scroll Metal Works.

Construction of the iron doors for Texas A&M University. ca 1930s

His first studio was located on Columbia Ave., near today’s Our Lady of the Lake University. In 1929, he moved his studio to the old Lone Star Feed & Seed building at 214 Regent Street, and changed the company name to Theo Voss Metals. Theo’s first big commission was for the Aztec Theater in San Antonio. They wanted an impressive chandelier to compete with the Majestic Theater, which was being constructed at the time. Under a tight deadline, it took his entire crew 30 days and 30 nights to complete it. All pieces were cut at the studio and assembled onsite at the theater, creating the largest iron chandelier in North America at the time. “During the depression, labor was cheap and plentiful, and he was able to do amazing work. He was the go-to guy in the state,” explains Christopher Voss. 66

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

The first workshop and crew of Theo Voss Artistic Scroll Metal Works. ca 1926-1929

Other notable projects include iron railings and stairways for the McNay Estate, signage at Sunken Gardens, chandeliers and ironwork for the original Joske’s building and the Spanish Governor’s Palace, and metalwork details for personal residences, including those of Dolph Briscoe and John Connally, as well as many in Olmos Park. In 1934, he was commissioned to create the bronze and wrought iron gates and doors for various Texas A&M University buildings, including the Library and Agricultural Buildings. In 1935, he was commissioned by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to work on the restoration of the Alamo, which entailed all metalwork including the grand chandeliers, front doors, wrought-iron gates and light fixtures. He was also commissioned by the Godart family in San Antonio to build a gate of grape vines and scrolls in memory of their daughter, Anne Ray Godart. This work was donated to the Washington Cathedral in Washington, D.C. where it can still be viewed today. After his death, his son and grandsons continued his ironworking tradition. Christopher Voss began welding at age 11. In 1993 he opened his own shop, Christopher Voss Fourth Generation Craftsman, Inc. A Theo Voss Original gate While working at the Vickery’s from the 1930s which includes the “voss” stamp, found home, he discovered an existing during renovation of gate that had been fabricated the vickery courtyard. by Theo. “I actually run into his work all the time, especially in the older affluent neighborhoods in the San Antonio area,” says Voss. “He also did a lot of work around the country as well.” But he was surprised to see that this gate was from his great grandfather’s original shop, which he recognized by the “Voss” stamp on the gate. “Later on, when he moved closer to downtown, he stamped ‘Voss Metals,’" he recalls. “The design was made from a handmade wood pattern and then cast in aluminum. Because you cannot weld aluminum to steel, he drilled and counter sunk screws through the gate to the aluminum, which was very time consuming, but labor was inexpensive at that time, during the Great Depression." While Christopher Voss has been influenced by the work of his forbearers, he has developed a unique style of his own. “I have tried to design my ironwork out of the box. That is why my company's slogan is ‘Tradition Meets Innovation.’” urbanhomemagazine.com

Green House

Effect By Jackie Benton


“Green House” effect took place during the 82nd Texas Legislative Session, and resulted in meaningful changes to Homeowners’ Association regulations regarding the installation of solar and rainwater systems. HB 362 pushed the issue of sustainability from “Crunchy Granola-land” out into mainstream neighborhoods, permitting the use of roof-mounted systems that are energy efficient or solar-generating providing the quality and appearance are comparable to the Homeowners’ Association’s prescribed standard (also called a “lookalike law”), and the neighborhood’s aesthetic guidelines are followed. Texas leads the nation in ENERGY STAR® homes, the availability of which is driven by market, and the Homeowners’ Associations have a strong role in encouraging this. For some neighborhoods, such as Steiner Ranch, solar energy has been part of the plan all along. “The installation of solar panels has always been allowed in Steiner Ranch,” says Scott Selman, Executive Director of Steiner Ranch Homeowners’ Association. “We had already approved guidelines that specified certain design requirements. I think we had this in place because we are a new neighborhood, and the builders and developers were forwardthinking and supportive of alternative means of energy.” Selman says that the application process for a homeowner in Steiner Ranch to install solar is a relatively painless one. “We have an application for any home modification, and you do have to go through the approval process, but we would never deny someone their right to put up solar panels,” Selman asserts. “We do have certain restrictions that must be observed, such as the conduit has to be painted to match the home, the trim needs to be of non-reflective material so that it matches the roof, and the inverter box needs to be screened or painted to match the house and make it blend in as much as possible. When people submit their application, this is what we are reviewing, to make sure they are in compliance,” says Selman. Whether HB 362 will significantly change the sustainable energy industry in Texas remains to be seen. “I wouldn’t actually classify it [HB 362] as a game changer – it’s mostly been business as usual for us,” admits JC Shore, “HOAs have their rules for a reason: there are a lot of companies out there, and if they do their jobs in a half-hearted manner, it might affect property values negatively. The correct design and installation of a solar system is about aesthetics, safety and preserving property 68

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

Photo courtesy of CIRCULAR ENERGY

values for the community at large, just as much as it is about optimizing energy production.” JC Shore, CEO and Founder of solar energy design and installation company Circular Energy, believes the HOA approval process for solar installations goes smoothly when planned for properly. “I think the good solar designers and installers are more than willing to collaborate with their clients in advance and see what that particular HOA cares about. These responsible companies prepare designs that are likely to be approved on the first try about 95 percent of the time,” he says. “Many times we offer to handle this process for our customers. In most cases, the homeowner works with us on the design, and then we work with the HOA to get the design approved.” For Shore, design is an important part of the solar industry that is mistakenly understated. “We place a big focus on design and getting the system right from the beginning. Every chance I get to evangelize the importance of design, I do so. Solar design is much like an architect’s work on a house. There are not a whole lot of houses where the builder just shows up and builds a home without a set of plans,” says Shore. Shore notes that his company prides itself on bringing their high standard of excellence and professionalism to their clients, and works hard to provide accurate and timely information. Educational seminars hosted by Circular Energy several times a month have translated into savvy homeowners who are able to understand not only the benefits of solar energy for their own home energy bills, but also the benefits renewable energy provides the planet. “The community as a whole has embraced solar energy and understands it’s a wise thing to do in this day and age. I think everyone is looking for it to be as integrated as possible in the design of the home,” says Selman. “Circular Energy met with us in Steiner Ranch,” says Selman. “We are very careful not to endorse one company over another and we do have several different solar energy companies working in our community, but we do open up to local businesses for educational seminars. Our meeting with them here was about our guidelines in Steiner Ranch. They wanted to make sure people were aware that they had the right to install a solar system, and wanted to work together to make sure our homeowners understood the importance of complying with our guidelines.” v Circular Energy | 866.274.5578 | Circularenergy.com urbanhomemagazine.com

Making an

Entrance By Jackie Benton


rom the moment visitors approach your home, they should feel they are about to discover a new world – your world. From first setting foot on the lawn to crossing your threshold, they’ll find that world a welcoming one when a few special style details set the stage to present your home at its personal best. Landscape designers think of the space outside a home the way an artist thinks of a blank canvas or a slab of stone from which to create a masterpiece, says Grant Wilbanks, Landscape Architect of Land Art Garden Center. “I start with the fundamentals of design. I go back to the existing, natural conditions and see what nature is providing. This is what makes bringing the project to life easier to do, when I have something to work with, such as a large boulder, a large tree or a little hill. If there’s something neat and interesting to work with, I try to balance it and make it part of the design,” he explains. “Once I have an idea of that balance, I can start working out the details such as placement of top dressings like rock aggregate, where to use mulch and stone boulders, and plant selection,” says Wilbanks. “Color is another design 70

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

fundamental, as well as texture – and I use all these fundamentals in my profession as much as any other art or design field.” Working out the artistic details of a home’s entryway has become a specialty of Travis Burns, owner of Burns Garden Center & Landscape. Burns has been called in to consult and design entryways for everything from individual homes in suburban neighborhoods to multi-million dollar ranches in the Central and South Texas area. “Every project is so unique, and we never design anything that is cookiecutter,” says Burns. Burns maintains that the entry has to be inviting, and must guide foot traffic to the main entryway. “You want to direct your guests so they are knocking on the main door, not the side, private door that the owners use,” he says, “and that is accomplished through careful creation of a path that invites them to the main entrance.” Some of the ways Burns achieves this is through the use of large pottery, urns, plants and even herbs. “A lot can be done with colorful plants and pots. Many of the homes we landscape use Texas native drought resistant plants that are also deer resistant, as well as southwestern cacti,” he says. “I also love to use herbs with entryways. We lay in large flagstone slabs, or even formal rectangular- or squareshaped footstones, and plant herbs such as creeping oregano or creeping thyme in between so that when people walk across their feet are brushing up against the herbs and releasing that fragrance. You can use dwarf monkey grass, or even a great turf grass in between the stones.” Burns believes that the hardscape is just as much a part of the overall artistic vision as any landscaping done with plants. Even if someone has a regular concrete entryway, it’s so easy to add interest by breaking up the walkway from one continuous concrete slab into two or more smaller ones and planting herbs or grass in between. “You could do a stain or stamp, as well as joining it using the greenery. You want to avoid one big, concrete slab.” And just as some artists love watercolor paints, Burns loves using water features to add color to his entryway designs. “I use pottery and different urns with water spilling out. Pottery with water may be featured out on the patio, or along a walkway. And they are so versatile – you can use anything from vases to a glazed pot to stone. They add so much color, capture your visitors’ interest, and keep things lively.” v Land Art Garden Center 512-264-2622 | Landartgardencenter.com Burns Garden Center & LANDSCAPE 210-698-9669 | Burnsnursery.com urbanhomemagazine.com

entertaining n Trends

Take Two By Claudia Alarcon | Photography courtesy of Two Step Restaurant & Cantina

At first glance, the popular Two Step Restaurant & Cantina appears to be a modern roadhouse in the middle of a strip mall in Northwest San Antonio. But as diners settle in over an ice cold margarita made with fresh-squeezed limes, layers of history and tradition that date back to the 1860s slowly become apparent.


he site is part of the 20 acre property that once was the Ruempel Homestead, a large farming complex originally constructed in 1869 by Phillip Ruempel, a German immigrant who was among the earliest settlers of Helotes and lived in the property with his wife Carolina Braun and their ten children. The homestead’s original two structures, the house and the barn, were constructed as a gift for Ruempel’s bride and were ultimately part of a larger complex that included a smokehouse. It is believed that the first house he built was later used as a barn, based on a comparison of the stonework by the Historic Farm and Ranch Complexes Committee of the San Antonio Conservation Society. However, the lumber indicates that the house was built prior to the barn: 72

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

the lumber in the house is hand-hewn while the barn lumber is machine done. The property changed hands through time and suffered many years of neglect, until brothers Jack and Steve Braha, owners of the Fulcrum Property Group, purchased and began developing the land into the Braun Pointe Shopping Center at the corner of West Loop 1604 and Braun Road. Although the property had no historic designation at the time, the Brahas made an agreement at the time of the purchase that the primary structures would not be demolished. They worked with the City of San Antonio to research the history of the property and the structures, and based on the research, the City felt the only two structures with historic significance were the house and the barn. These buildings were preserved. Between 2006 and 2011, the Brahas developed the land around the buildings, not knowing exactly what they would do with them. Then the opportunity arose to partner with San Antonio native Steve Warner, a chef who has opened over 25 restaurants in his professional career and most recently held the job of Executive Chef at Wildfish Seafood Grille. At the time, Warner was looking for a space to open his own restaurant, so the pieces just fell into place. The new partners assembled a design team, coordinated through Fulcrum Property Group, to develop this unique space that maintains its historic character yet has a comfortable, modern aesthetic. Villa Park Architects designed the new addition, which connects the historic buildings and houses the kitchen and cantina area. Contractor Gary Palmeiri, with Batchelder Construction, reinforced the original stone buildings and incorurbanhomemagazine.com

porated them into the new addition seamlessly, adding judges paneling in the bar area and salvaging material from other demolished original structures to reuse in creative ways. The wood ceiling visible in the structures is all original, and where repairs were necessary, Palmeiri used materials salvaged from the homestead. Partner Michelle Youngdale spearheaded much of the interior design and outside spaces. She also used salvaged lumber for decorative shelving, parapet walls, screen walls, and in patio construction, and made interior light fixtures out of the original rusted tin roof. The counters in the front of the restaurant, as well as the planter beds and walls encompassing the patio were made from salvaged limestone. The airy and comfortable patio faces southwest for splendid sunset views, has plenty of shade and a laid back vibe that does justice to the original homestead’s front porch and breezeway. Just over the stone wall is a grassy lawn where children can play in full view of their parents: a winwin for everyone. When it comes to the menu concept, the original homestead buildings also had a say. “Two Step Restaurant was originally conceived to be a burger joint/ roadhouse type establishment, which was the inspiration of the retro neon sign out front,” says Steve Braha. “During construction, the buildings really took on a life of their own and evolved in their own direction.” Much of that direction came from Warner, who also found inspiration in the old homestead buildings to create his slightly upscale, modern Texas menu. However, GermanTexan dishes are notably absent from the menu. “There were some German-Texan dishes that we considered in the beginning,” says Adrienne Munoz-Warner, Steve’s wife and business partner. “But we ultimately decided not to do anything too location-centric. We decided to stick with Texas classics that would make as much sense in a shopping center in Stone Oak as in a 150-year old building on Braun Road.” Another factor that limited the original menu was the size of the kitchen, which is small for a restaurant with capacity for 400 diners. “We listened to what our guests requested. What we heard was urbanhomemagazine.com

people wanted lighter, lower calorie dishes that were less expensive and quick, so we added our wraps, tacos and sandwiches,” she adds. Yet, it is the Warners’ signature dishes, family recipes and traditions that steal the show. Take the pecan pie, a recipe straight from Steve’s mother, Brenda Warner, who’s been baking the dish for over 40 years – always in a cast-iron skillet. Another signature dish is the “loaded” beef rib, which is trimmed to leave a marbleized, tender piece of meat on one side of the bone - a cut that Warner learned from his father-in-law, Joe Muñoz, who was a butcher at a shop in Edinburg, Texas. At Two Step, the cooks simply season the meat with salt and pepper and smoke it for 12 hours to achieve falling-off-the-bone perfection. Warner has also paid homage to his mother-in-law, Edna (“Nana”) Muñoz, whose recipes for borracho beans and macaroni and cheese are amongst the most popular side dishes. Sharing these recipes and traditions is part of what makes it all worth it to the Warners. It’s like having an extended family that includes their business partners, everyone who works there, and every single customer that comes through the doors. The key, according to Warner, is to use only fresh ingredients and prepare them with care. He prides himself on the fact that the only frozen item served in his restaurant is ice cream - and some of the margaritas, of course. v RESTAURANT Two Step Restaurant & Cantina 210.688.2686 | Twosteprestaurant.com DEVELOPER Fulcrum Property Group | 210.593.0777 Fulcrumsa.com ARCHITECT Villa Park Architecture | 210.384.8900 Villapark-sa.com BUILDER Batchelder Construction, Inc. | 210.340.3710 Batchelderconstruction.com Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Loaded Beef Rib

Inspired by Chef Steve Warner’s father-in-law, Joe Munoz

2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon melted butter, cooled 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 to 1 1/2 cups pecan halves Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs until blended, but not frothy. Add remaining ingredients except pecans. Beat slightly with a fork. Spread pecan halves in the bottom of a pie shell, lining a cast-iron skillet. Carefully pour mixture over pecans. Place in oven. Immediately reduce heat to 325 degrees. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.

Nana’s Award-Winning Borracho-Style Pinto Beans

a statement “ Make without saying a word.

Recipe Corner

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. As always, we provide professional estimates and installation at no charge.

Inspired by Chef Steve Warner’s mother-in-law, Edna (“Nana”) Munoz

Directions: Rub a trimmed beef rib with salt and pepper. Slow smoke for 12 hours.

Pecan Pie

Inspired by Chef Steve Warner’s mother, Brenda Warner

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio




Directions: Place beans in a big stock pot. Add chicken stock, garlic, Serrano peppers and oregano. Place pot on stove at a very low heat and simmer for about 3 hours. Add remaining ingredients and cook for an additional 3 hours. urbanhomemagazine.com


PHONE 512.608.0302 12918 SHOPS PARKWAY, SUITE 700

Hill Country Galleria

HWY 71



Visit our new showroom 620

Ingredients: 4 eggs 1 cup sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup dark corn syrup 3/4 cup light corn syrup

Ingredients: 1 1/4 pounds pinto beans 1/4 cup garlic, minced 7 or 8 Serrano peppers, sliced 1 1/2 gallons chicken stock 1 1/4 pounds bacon, diced 1 cup chorizo 2 quarts tomato, diced 2 quarts white onion, diced 1 quart fresh cilantro, roughly chopped 2 ounces kosher salt 1/8 cup fresh oregano, chopped

HWY 71 shops at the galleria

We are located at the intersections


of Bee Caves Rd/Hwy 71/Hwy 620 at

512 608 0302

from the Hill Country Galleria) next


the Shops at the Galleria (across door to Barbeques Galore.

LIVE on Saturday Night

Austin’s hottest call-in talk show, He Said – She Said Radio ‘Gettin’ It Done @ Home’ is now primetime Saturday night! Join us from 6 to 8pm every Saturday night on TALK Radio 96.3 FM & 1370 AM WEEK IN REVIEW – Current events were never this much fun in school! Hear He Said’s colorful commentary on Sports and Around the World. Take a look into the She Said mind for Entertainment, Lifestyle and the always Austin popular, Keepin’ It Weird!

Brought to you by:

Lighting Inc.

BISTROS & BARS – Have a favorite neighborhood restaurant you love? Submit your favorite restaurant, trailer, hole in the wall or bar happy hour, and if we have them on the show, you get a $25 gift certificate. Post your favorites on our Facebook page and tell us (1) what you love about them, and (2) why you think we should pick them to be on the show OR call the show and tell us live!

Established 1959

Call in numbers are

512.390.1370 or TOLL FREE


MARS vs. VENUS GAME SHOW – Alex Tribec move over! We’re gettin’ our game on with the fun, multiple choice game show where YOU call in and play with the host. If your side wins, you get a $25 gift certificate to the featured ‘Bistros & Bars’ restaurant. GETTIN’ IT DONE @ HOME – Have a product you want to know more about? A project that’s got you puzzled? Looking to create a Man Cave or She Den? Each week we invite guests who are knowledgeable in home-related subjects and anything else you tell us you want to hear about.




08 2012



Photography courtesy of Omni La Mansion Del Rio ca 1980s


San Antonio Then and Now

Omni La Mansión Del Rio McNay Art Museum

By Julie Catalano

Sunset Station

St. Mary’s College Downtown/ Omni La Mansion Del Rio

Pearl Stable

McNay Estate, ca 1929

Guenther House ca early 1900s

Sunset Station As one of the oldest cities in Texas, San Antonio has long respected the tradition of renovation and restoration. But sometimes a project goes beyond transformation to reincarnation. Like all cities, San Antonio has lost some precious landmarks forever. Others, like these five, were lucky enough to be reinvented in ways the

Sunset-station.com 210.222.9481 Built in 1902 for the princely sum of $115,000, the Spanish Colonial Revivalstyle Southern Pacific Depot was a main stop along the famous Sunset Limited route that connected San Francisco to San Antonio and New Orleans. After the continuing decline of the 50s and 60s, by the late 1990s the station and the entire St. Paul Square area was prime for a $52 million renovation. Now a huge special event venue, the site is host to hundreds of private events and public concerts, and home of Aldaco’s restaurant (Depot 2).

Depot 1 features two striking stained glass creations: The original Texas Seal Window overlooking the grand staircases; and the meticulously recreated north facing Rose Window. “The legend is that a Southern Pacific CEO removed the Rose Window and had it shipped to his home in California,” says marketing manager Caroline Buckley. It was never seen again. Art glass

expert Adrian Cavallini spent countless hours researching photographs from the Southern Pacific office, the San Antonio Public Library and the Institute of Texan Cultures to recreate the 16-foot window “right down to the incorrect Roman numerals.” Another on site treasure: Engine #794, the original Southern Pacific “Mikado,” is one of only four left in the U.S.

original builders never could have imagined. Now we can’t imagine the city without them.

Photography courtesy of Sunset Station


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Omnihotels.com/findahotel/sanantonio lamansiondelrio.aspx 210.518.1000 In 1853, a mere 17 years after the fall of the Alamo, four teaching brothers of the Society of Mary built a 60 x 80foot limestone school on the San Antonio River banks. It flourished through several iterations, eventually becoming St. Mary’s College Downtown that moved to the Woodlawn campus in 1966. “I think lobby guests are surprised to learn that they are standing in what was the original schoolhouse,” says Rusty Wallace, general manager of Omni La Mansión Del Rio and Mokara Hotel & Spa. “Then they begin to get engaged by the property and notice things like historic photographs of the boys’ basketball team from 1904 or a play production from the 1920s.” Now one of the most romantic hotels on the River Walk, the 338-room Omni La Mansión treats hotel guests to historic tours every weekend, stopping at lobby bar El Colegio, once the headmaster’s office and then the law library. Diners can also feast on sumptuous fare at Las Canarias restaurant – a far cry from the cornbread and river water served three times a day to 19th century boarding students. Bonus: The Mokara Hotel across the way, says Wallace, “was originally a saddle factory from 1900 to 1923, employing 500 artisans who made saddles for Teddy Roosevelt and Pancho Villa.”

Photo by Scott Martin

storage area when the brewery closed in 2001. Now, its rustically elegant interior hosts weddings, presentations and any kind of good old-fashioned Texas-style party on the grounds of the renovated mixed-use Pearl District. Highlights of the round 5,525-square-foot interior are two nine-foot bronze chandeliers (old beer bottles found on site were incorporated into the design) and 655-foot stage. Experts were needed to remove layers of paint, some more than 70 years old, “to take it back to the original brick,” according to Pearl’s chief marketing officer Elizabeth Fauerso. Removing the dropped ceiling revealed not only the original in good condition but also a message from the wood’s source: “You can see ‘Steves and Co.’ written on the beams.” Scaled-down recreations of the horse stalls serve as a poignant reminder of the building’s original inhabitants. If the stable is not booked, catch a free property tour every Saturday morning at 9 and 11; or the open house every Sunday from 2-4 p.m.

McNay Art Museum Mcnayart.org 210.824.5368 If you feel like you’re walking into a grand home when you visit the McNay Art Museum, it’s because you are. The 24-room Spanish Colonial Revival house was built in 1929, commissioned by Ohio-born oil heiress, educator and artist Marion Koogler McNay. The house, designed by architects Atlee and Robert Ayres, became the state’s first museum of modern art in 1954, just as McNay intended after her death in 1950. “A lot had to happen to make the house ready to be a museum,” says Heather Ferguson, library and archives public services coordinator. “There wasn’t a whole lot of wall

Photography courtesy of Pearl District

Pearl Stable Atpearl.com 210.212.9539 Even in its day, this was no ordinary horse barn. Built in 1894 to house the large-bodied breeds such as Clydesdales that pulled the Pearl Brewery beer wagons, Pearl Stable is one of the city’s most fascinating reincarnations. It had several lives after delivery trucks replaced the horse and wagon in the early 1900s: the Pearl Corral with its Western theme, followed by the Gay 90s-style Jersey Lilly, and finally a dusty urbanhomemagazine.com

Photography courtesy of McNay Art Museum

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


space.” Some of McNay’s specific instructions, according to Lois Wood Burkhalter’s 1968 biography included “lighting of paintings...removal of wall sconces...retention of original porches, patios and terraces, and the stenciled ceilings and ceramic and glazed tiles.” Seven additions to the home occurred between 1970 and 1994, along with an extensive house renovation in 1998 and the spectacular Stieren Center for Exhibitions in 2008. Now, each year more than 100,000 visitors go through the mansion and its galleries, viewing nearly 20,000 works (from the original 700 that McNay left from her personal collection) of 19th-21st century European paintings, sculptures and photographs. But it’s the mansion that remains the most captivating, with its grand staircases, courtyard, towering trees, and the sensibility of a true art lover who believed that the experience of great art should be available to everyone.

The Guenther House Guentherhouse.com 210.227.1061 You can thank Hilmar Guenther, founder of Pioneer Flour Mills, for the home he built for wife Henrietta and their seven children after relocating his flour mill business from Fredericksburg to the San Antonio River in 1860. But it’s Erhard Guenther, Hilmar’s youngest son and later president of Pioneer, who did the major remodeling that gave the home – now a mill-themed museum, restaurant and store – the romantic and elegant look it has today. To the Victorian-style parlor he added plaster cornice, ceiling medallion, window coverings of Rosini lace imported from Germany, and an

Hardy Plants

for the Hill Country


Today’s Fashion, Photography courtesy of Guenther

Photography courtesy of The Guenther House

original piano made in Stuttgart. The restaurant is 1920s Art Nouveau featuring light fixtures of solid copper and ballroom-style seating popular at the turn of the century. Special hand-rolled replacement glass used throughout the house is produced only in Germany for restoration work. The library-turned-museum features antique baking accessories, cookie cutters and a hand-carved Victorian marble-top table. You can pick up gourmet mixes, preserves and butters, coffee, sauces, syrups and baking tools at the River Mill store to whip up your own southern buttermilk biscuits and sweet cream waffles at home. v

Tomorrow’s Faux Pas?

By Leonard Guerrero, Chairman, Austin Board of REALTORS®


ince the recession, more and more homeowners are forgoing buying and selling to revitalizing or expanding their existing spaces. When you decide to remodel, the limitless options of the latest colors, styles and trends are exciting and tempting. But fashion is fickle, and trends often go out as quickly as they come in. Here’s how to keep your remodeling projects off of the “out” list: Harmonize. The style of your remodeling projects should be consistent with the style of your house. In the same way, the styles of each room in your home should blend together, not contrast from one another. To ensure a harmonizing flow from room to room, choose from a single palette of subtle colors and tones. Renovate Smarter. Timeless remodeling designs are those that put function before fashion and increase your home’s livability. Open family spaces, wider walkways, energy-efficient upgrades and increased natural lighting will never go out of style. Big is out, small is in. Major kitchen overhauls, high-tech media and game rooms, big budget master suites and other splashy remodels are a thing of the past. The same goes for pricey, fancy materials, such as intricate cabinetry and marble countertops. You often won’t see the return on investment, neither in your home’s value or the pleasure you get out of using it. Less is more. Remodeling styles with a long lifespan are those that are not too formal or contemporary, with simple, clean design. If you like experimenting with color and pattern, do so in smaller amounts – such as painting an accent wall versus the entire room, or putting eye-catching rugs over neutral flooring instead of installing a colorful, patterned carpet.



Landscape Designs and Consultations www.floresflowers.com • info@floresflowers.com

Quality over Quantity. Above all, choose quality materials. Even if the trend is seemingly timeless, I don’t recommend cutting corners with cheaply made materials. Quality materials will last longer than low-cost materials, saving you more money in the long run. These guidelines are especially important if you’re planning on selling your home. The broader appeal your home has, the more likely someone will want to buy it. What renovations could you make to your home? v

A DV E RT I S E R I N D E X Antiques

Texas Casual Cottages by Trendmaker www.texascasualcottages.com 979.278.3015

Morrison Supply Company www.morsco.com 512.928.1110


Texas Timber Frames www.texastimberframes.com 877.680.1680

Wilson AC & Appliance www.wilsonappliance.com 512.894.0907


BRAVI www.bravidesign.com 210.690.4663

Land Art Garden Center www.landartgardencenter.com 512.264.2622

Case Handyman & Remodeling www.austin.caseremodeling.com 512.300.2273

Manuel Flores www.floresflowers.com

Houston Antiques Dealers Association www.hadaantiques.com 281.536.2147 C. Reese Design, Inc. www.c-reesedesign.com 512.291.5717 Service Tech Audio Visual www.servicetechav.com 512.456.2800


Austin NARI www.austinnari.org 512.997.NARI

NARI San Antonio www.remodelsanantonio.org 210.348.6274



CG&S Design-Build www.cgsdb.com 512.444.1580 David Wilkes Builders www.davidwilkesbuilders.com 512.328.9888

Schroeder Flooring & Carpet Specialists www.schroedercarpet.com 512.462.1551

Dylan Martin Homes and Remodeling www.dylanmartinhomes.com 512.692.9212


J. Angelo Design-Build www.jangelodesignbuild.com 210.882.6263

California Closets of the Texas Hill Country Austin: 512.441.6061 www.californiaclosets.com/austin San Antonio: 210.829.1991 www.californiaclosets.com/san-antonio


Trim-A-Slab www.trim-a-slab.com 512.943.7655


Realty Restoration www.realtyrestoration.com 512.454.1661 Straight and Level Construction Company, Inc. www.straight-level.biz 512.577.9297


Anchor Ventana www.ventanaman.com 512.388.9400


Fine Stone Gallery www.finestonegallery.com 210.889.4809 QDI Stone www.qdistone.com 512.832.0500


Foursquare Builders www.foursquarebuilders.com 512.944.4520 Greenwood Custom Homes www.greenwoodcustomhomes.com 210.723.7233


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Cozy Outdoor Escapes www.cozyoutdoorescapes.com 210.276.0734 Equinox Louvered Roof www.equinoxtexas.com 210.548.3015


Bella Villa Design www.bellavillads.com 512.443.3200

Austin Generator www.austingenerator.net 512.251.2247/800.288.5582

Lights Fantastic www.lightsfantastic.com 512.452.9511

Sport Court www.austincourtbuilders.com 512.335.9779




Lighting, Inc. www.lightinginc.com Austin: 512.491.6444 San Antonio: 210.541.8500


Homes of Distinction www.homesofdistinction.com

IKEA IKEA-USA.com/livingroom

Pearson Landscape Services www.pearsonlandscape.com 512.386.5900

HomeField www.homefieldliving.com 830.626.1971

By Design Custom Home Consulting www.karensellsaustin.com 512.917.2653 Catrina’s at the Ranch www.catrinasattheranch.com 830.755.6355 / 210.535.3070


Dawn Hearn Interior Design www.dawnhearn.com 512.930.0250 Nine Design Group www.ninedesigngroup.com 630.715.8875 Panache Interiors www.panacheinteriors.com 512.452.7773


Liquid Assets www.liquidassets-pools.com Austin: 512.444.5444 San Antonio: 210.680.7665


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



Texas Water Solutions www.texaswatersolutions.net Austin: 512.858.2525 San Antonio: 210.977.8300

Countertop Valet www.countertopvalet.com 1.888.50.VALET


Austin Countertops www.austincountertops.com 512.835.5100

Homewerks www.homewerkssa.com 210.499.5760 KitchenCraft® Cabinetry www.kitchencraftaustin.com 512.302.3700

Austintatious Blinds & Shutters www.austintatiousblinds.com 512.608.0302 Texas Sun & Shade www.txsunandshade.com 512.402.0990

Miele www.mieleusa.com 1.800.843.7231 urbanhomemagazine.com

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