Urban Home Austin-San Antonio December 2013

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Architecture + Design Fireplace trends DiRoNA Restaurants


1 4 1 3 / j a n d e c


From the Editors Central Texas is diverse in so many ways. Hobbies, food trends and design styles are as varied as the landscape and the heritage of the people who are lucky enough to live here. So when it’s time to select home projects that cover the wide range of interests and preferences in a relatively small area (compared to rest of Texas!), it’s amazing to see the distinct styles found in just a short hour’s drive from each other. This issue reflects the contrasting architecture and interiors as influenced by the many different people who call it home. On our cover, a sprawling 17,000-square-foot home was the vision of owner Betty Martin and executed by the design team of project manager Judy Ramsey, designer Catrina Kendrick and countless contractors and vendors who made the trek to this far corner of the Texas Hill Country many times over three years. Taking inspiration from traditional Spanish haciendas and South Texas ranch houses, this trio of talented women didn’t miss a single detail — from the real bell tower to over 50 chandeliers and every piece of furniture — right down to the custom candle holders. Architect Donovan Davis of Danze & Davis Architects, along with Doug Casey of Casey Homes, created a home with a contemporary vibe that harmonizes perfectly with the Lake Travis surroundings. Davis credits the homeowners’ colorful glass collection and furnishings for providing the inspiration behind the clean lines and warm materials that showcase the art on display. For the San Antonio 2013 Spring Parade of Homes™, builder Wayne Moravitz of Monticello Homes teamed with Mary DeWalt of Mary DeWalt Design Group to create an award-winning home. Earning eight individual awards plus the coveted President’s Award, this home incorporates forward design and building trends resulting in a home that is both innovative yet comfortable for a multi-generational family. If you’re in search of a unique shopping experience, museum gifts shops have evolved into true treasure troves. Artist collections range from jewelry, textiles and art, both regional and international, while exhibition-related items offer educational gifts for lucky recipients. With so many varieties of bright and luscious citrus in season, it’s no wonder we all dream of growing our own to harvest in coming years. Citrus expert John Panzarella offers planting and care tips along with the best varieties suited for our area — just in time to plan for spring planting. DiRōNA, Distinguished Restaurants of North America, is the highly sought recognition of excellence in the restaurant community — and not an easy award to acquire. However, San Antonio is fortunate to boast four such award-winning restaurants. Bohanan’s Prime Steaks & Seafood, both Ruth’s Chris Steak House locations, Fig Tree Restaurant, and August E’s, just down the road in Fredericksburg, have all received this honor and continue to provide the most memorable dining experiences plate after plate. Our state is full of incredibly talented artisans. In our New Masters section, we introduce you to Michael Colca who creates heirloom quality furniture with timely styling and appeal. We look forward to introducing you to other great Texas craftsmen in coming issues. As we come to the end of 2013 and look forward to 2014, we wish all of you a wonderful holiday season and blessings in the New Year.

Trisha Doucette & Leslie Woods, editors

On The Cover: Not a single detail was overlooked during the three-year construction process of this Hill Country hacienda — a perfectly blended combination of Spanish and South Texas ranch styles. Page 22

Scan to view more features of this home.


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


2013 | VOL. 8 | NO. 6 Publisher Louis Doucette Editors Trisha Doucette and Leslie Woods Contributing Editors Cathy Coneway – ABOR Catrina Kendrick – Catrina’s Ranch Interiors John Martin – Austin NARI Justin Bravo – NARI San Antonio Contributing Writers Jackie Benton, Michelle Burgess, Julie Catalano, Mauri Elbel, Ashley Festa, Laura Jackson Strategic Media Placement Diane Purcell Advertising Sales Sandy Weatherford, Gerry Lair, Janis Maxymof Photography Paul Bardagjy, Matt Garcia, Michelle Jones, Rachel Kay, Chip Pankey, Jason Roberts, Gary Russ Design and Production Tim Shaw – The Shaw Creative Printing and Direct Mail SmithPrint Phone 512.385.4663, Austin - 210.410.0014, San Antonio Fax 830.981.8887 Business Office 4714 Cambridge / Sugar Land, Texas 77479 Sales Office 10036 Saxet Drive / Boerne, Texas 78006 Email louisd@urbanhomemagazine.com Website www.urbanhomemagazine.com Urban Home Magazine Austin-San Antonio is published by Big City Magazines of Austin, LLC. Advertising rates available upon request. All rights reserved by copyright. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent from publisher. Every effort is made to assure accuracy of the information contained herein. However, the publisher cannot guarantee such accuracy. Advertising is subject to errors, omissions and or other changes without notice. Mention of any product or service does not constitute endorsement from Urban Home Magazine. The information contained in this publication is deemed reliable from third party sources, but not guaranteed. Urban Home Magazine does not act as an agent for any of the advertisers in this publication. It is recommended that you choose a qualified remodeling, home furnishings or home improvement firm based on your own selection criteria. Urban Home Magazine, does not act as an agent for any of the realtors or builders in this publication. It is recommended that you choose a qualified realtor to assist you in your new home purchase. Urban Home Magazine will not knowingly accept advertising for real estate that is a violation of the Fair Housing Act. All real estate advertising in Urban Home Magazine, is subject to the Fair Housing Act that states “We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.”

© Copyright 2013 by Urban Home Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

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December 2013 / January 2014

Contents cover 22 Hill Country Hacienda Photography by Jason Roberts

featured homes 30 Light, Warm & Contemporary Photography by Gary Russ 38 Unified Vision, Timeless Appeal Photography by Rachel Kay



46 Beginning Anew 48 Playing With Fire

departments Commercial Design 50 History Tucked In The Hill Country Great Design 54 Charles And Ray Eames Elements 56 Fabulous Fireplaces



Why This Space Works 58 Designer Spotlight: Laura Burton New Masters 64 The Art And Craft Of Timeless Design Garden Trends 70 Growing Citrus In Texas Community Service 72 To Infinity And Beyond Food Design 74 DiRoNA Deserving



Fabulous Finds 78 Museum Shops Essentials 62 New Products: Homemade Artisan Foods 67 New Products: Electronics Contributing Editors 66 Cathy Coneway, ABOR 68 John Martin, Austin NARI & Justin Bravo, NARI San Antonio 69 Catrina Kendrick, Catrina’s Ranch Interiors

74 14

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Hacienda By Michelle Burgess


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Photography by Jason Roberts



Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


When it comes to building and decorating homes, this ain’t John and Betty Martin’s first rodeo. 24

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hen the couple met and married in 1978, John’s work in the oil and gas industry took them to Houston from their native Mississippi. In the ensuing 36 years, their home base in Katy was joined first by a ranch in Wharton, then a lake house in Canyon Lake. The weekend getaway spots fulfilled the Martins’ yearning for, as Betty puts it, a return to “the country style of living” that these rural-raised transplants had grown up with and wanted to share with their own two children. Once the kids were grown and married, the Martins sold the ranch just outside Houston and began a quest to find a larger property, ideally about 2,000 acres. Additional musthaves beyond size included space for John’s big-game trophies and live-water access for wildlife; most of the couple’s other urbanhomemagazine.com

requirements were architectural or design-based. “We wanted a home that fit the beautiful hills of Texas where the American Indians had lived,” Betty says. But it wasn’t until John stopped in to visit a friend in Utopia while on a hunting trip that he — and soon Betty — realized that they had found their promiseland. It was in this, the southernmost corner of the Hill Country, where they found the ranch they would dub Kemosabe, the backdrop for the dream home it would take them years to plan, build and decorate. And what a home it is. Incorporating influences from Spanish-style haciendas and classic ranches of Texas and the Southwest, the 17,000-squarefoot stunner features rough-beam ceilings, dark wood and heavy iron accents, and dramatic touches throughout — urbanhomemagazine.com

arches, stained-glass windows, richly detailed boveda ceilings and statement pieces such as the stand-alone copper vanities in the bathrooms and the two colossal 7-foot antler chandeliers in the trophy room. Built around a large center courtyard, the home’s outdoor living features are as comfortable as those indoors. As artistic as it is inviting is the infinity-edged “spool” — “bigger than a spa, smaller than a pool,” Betty says. Regularly spaced nichos display crosses, pathways meander, and a prominent tower facilitates stargazing. The outdoor gardens are xeriscaped to be water-friendly — one of many “green” features of the property, which also include reclaimed wood and rafters, walls plastered with earthen clay, hand-made clay tiles, geothermal heating and cooling, and double-paned windows and doors. Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


No detail was overlooked during the three-year construction and design process, says Betty, who worked with architect Dale Dibello of New Braunfels, project manager Judy Ramsey of Utopia, designer Catrina Kendrick of Boerne, and countless other subcontractors and suppliers throughout the Hill Country and beyond. “All of the many details that made the project successful took major detailed lists and follow-through,” Betty says. “Just finding the hardware for the doors and windows with a rustic authentic design took major research.” In the thick of things with the Martins was Judy Ramsey, with whom Betty became close friends during the building process. Having moved to Utopia at the age of 7, Judy is a near-native of the area who says that her rearing taught her 26

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“to treat people with respect and honesty” and to give 100 percent in all that she does. These character traits served her well during the Martin project. “When you take on a project of this magnitude out in the rural area of Utopia, you know without a doubt there are going to be some big challenges,” she says. “I realized after a few weeks with Mrs. Martin that this was not going to be your run-of-the-mill house. I knew there was going to be a ton of research because of all of the intricate details and specialty items the Martins wanted.” Judy’s first step was to address drainage and lay out the house accordingly. But despite the magnitude of the project and possibility of things going wrong, she insists that “God truly blessed” the entire process and says she is in awe of the urbanhomemagazine.com

dedication of the contractors, subcontractors and vendors, whom she calls “the cream of the crop.” Like Betty, Judy found the home’s remote location to be the biggest challenge. From the transport of supplies to the overseeing of workers, the intricacies of constructing the mammoth showstopper required extensive forethought and planning. And that’s before the interior design process even began. “Betty and I spent many days and nights hashing things out,” she says. “We had many miles on the roads and many hours on computers. My goal was to make sure without a doubt these homeowners were going to have the house of their dreams.” Because of their close bond, Judy continued to work with Betty after the point when her role traditionally would have ended; typically, interior design is not part of her services. Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


It was in every way, Judy says, a once-in-a-lifetime professional and personal experience. “My favorite part of this project was the glow on John and Betty’s faces upon the completion of the hacienda,” she says. “They became not only satisfied clients, but friends for life. It was very challenging but so rewarding.” Helping her and the Martins embrace the home’s challenges was Catrina Kendrick, who has been in the design business for more than 40 years. Despite her long career, Catrina admits to being speechless when she first viewed the ranch’s blueprints and renderings. “The central courtyard had a bell tower over the front entrance gate — a real one,” she says. “The main house had an observation tower that overlooked the dammed-up river and a picturesque view of heaven on earth. There was a magnificent outdoor kitchen off of an enormous porch. This home was to have all the bells and whistles, with unimaginable details, while sparing no expense.” All three women embraced the challenges of creating the Kemosabe Ranch abode, including designing and building 58 chandeliers and sconces, dozens of custom doors and cabinets, two fully tricked-out kitchens — one inside, one out — and myriad accessories such as candle holders. Regardless of a 28

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proposed element’s complexity, like the hammered copper panels in the cabinet doors, Catrina’s response was the same: “No problem.” Betty Martin is as apt to talk reverently about all of the craftsmen, contractors and suppliers who worked on her home’s features, from the 10-foot Mexican limestone fountain in the courtyard to the outdoor fossil art wall, as she is to want to bask in the grandeur of the finished project. That’s not surprising, given its scope to rival that of the Taj Mahal. But having been so intimately involved in the process has given her an even greater sense of pride in ownership of her dazzling dwelling. “It’s hard for me to pick out the part of the project that I love the most,” she says. “I confess that all of it was a major challenge. I loved it all. I especially love sitting on the porches and in the courtyard with family and with friends from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and even Africa, making memories.” v Project Manager Judy Ramsey 210.414.6362 | Jmramsey321@yahoo.com Design Catrina’s Ranch Interiors 830.755.6355 | Catrinasranchinteriors.com urbanhomemagazine.com


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Light, Warm &

Contemporary By Mauri Elbel | Photography by Gary Russ

It takes great clients to create great architecture. These words might not have made much sense to Donovan R. Davis, AIA, partner at Danze & Davis Architects, during his college days, but it’s a lesson that has proved true in various projects over the years including the recent home he designed for an Austin couple. “They were really interesting clients,” says Davis, adding that he was immediately inspired by their colorful glass art collection and rectilinear Rietveld chair. “Part of the vision for this house just came from working with the clients.” urbanhomemagazine.com

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



erched above the north shores of Lake Travis, this warm and open contemporary home blends into its surroundings while celebrating its spectacular hillside and water views. “We were very deliberate in how we placed the home and we took full advantage of the views looking out from the site and down the street,” says Davis. “I know I made at least four trips out there before construction, and I don’t always get to do that.” The home’s simple, clean design allows the homeowners’ furniture collection and vibrant glass artwork to take center stage while providing seamless visual and physical connections to the outdoors. The addition of a roof deck with a private entry off of the study maximizes outdoor space while offering 270-degree views onto Lake Travis. “The very first time we were on the site, we knew that they had a great view to the rear but I noticed they have a great, unobstructed 32

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

view down the street also so we added the roof deck over the garage,” Davis says. “We wanted to create a place where they could take full advantage of this view — a nice, open, livable house.” The natural materials selected for this Lake Travis home harmonize beautifully within its Hill Country and lake surroundings. Veering away from the originally planned corrugated metal on the home’s exterior which would create a heavily urban look, natural stone and wood was selected to soften the design. On the home’s exterior, a gray-toned sand-finished stucco combines with white limestone swirled with browns and grays, warm A-grade pine beneath the overhangs, and Angel’s Heart wood paneled walls. While modern homes often have a museum-like quality to them, these materials combine to create a warmer aesthetic. “This is a contemporary home but instead of a clinical look, there are a lot of natural materials to tie in with the Hill urbanhomemagazine.com

The architecture is clean and has a subliminal light and airy feel so what you see is the great furniture and glass collection. I didn’t want the architecture to detract from the inspiration that they provided. – Donovan R. Davis


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Country surroundings,” says Doug Casey, president of Doug Casey Homes, Inc. Inside the home, a Durango Plank vein cut travertine tile was selected for the main living area, dictating an array of other material choices that follow suit with the neutral palette. Angular corners are found throughout both the inside and outside, furthering the home’s modern feel. The clean, open design and neutral tones combine to allow the bolder furnishings and art pieces stand out. “The architecture is clean and has a subliminal light and airy feel so what you see is the great furniture and glass collection,” says Davis. “I didn’t want the architecture to detract from the inspiration that they provided.” Now empty nesters, the clients wanted to downsize from their previous residence so this three bedroom, three and a half bathroom home sits at just 2,665 square feet. The home’s open 34

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living space provides an ideal gathering place, when it is just the two of them or when they are entertaining guests, Davis points out. The design separates public and private spaces, and single room ductless air conditioning units allow the residents to shut down unused zones in the house to significantly reduce energy consumption. Unlike central air conditioning systems, each room can be cooled individually which saves on energy and costs when certain sections of the home aren’t in use. Two guest rooms, one downstairs opposite of the master suite and the other in the upstairs loft, suit both mobile and nonambulatory guests. But one of the most surprising elements of this home is that it was relatively inexpensive when considering all of the custom touches and high-quality materials it contains. “For a house that costs about a half a million dollars, there is a tremendous amount of value in it,” says Casey. “This is a truly urbanhomemagazine.com

one-of-a-kind custom home with a lot of high end finishes.” In the master suite, Italian porcelain tile in varied shapes cover the bathroom floor, shower and free standing walls, providing visual interest with the different patterns, sizes and directions while blending together for one homogeneous look. All the cabinets throughout the house are clear alder, a rarer and more expensive alternative to the more typically seen knotty alder. Cabinets in the master bath are mounted, illuminated by lights above and below. Clear alder natural finish cabinets in the kitchen have a muted reddish hue that works well with bolder statements like the Ferrari red glass backsplash and absolute black granite countertops. A chandelier imported from Italy hovers above the dining room table, its folded glass design giving off the appearance of a cloud. In the living room, a rolling panel was integrated into the bookcases to conceal the television when not in use. Exposed stairs with a tubular steel stringer with two inch maple treads connect the two floors. Anderson® Series 100 Composite windows wrap the home’s living space, providing enough reading light during the day without ever turning on a switch. An 8- by 16-foot door separates the living area and the back deck, bringing the outside in without ever having to open the doors when it is hot, cold or humid. Cantilevered roofs on the rear patio shade windows that capture southwestern views of the lake below and greatly enhance the enjoyability of their outdoor living areas. Although the roof lines appear flat, they are slanted and shed water in a traditional way. A parapet wraps the house providing a more modern look to the metal roofed home. While a slightly challenging design from a structural standpoint, the resulting effect shades the house and makes it more comfortable yearround, Davis says. “The cantilevered roofs add a drama that gives that floating sensation to it,” says Davis. “It lifts the house — this house almost feels as if it could fly away which is what I like about it so much.” But the home’s floating feel is grounded by the warmth of the colors and materials. “The home has a great tension to it, between the airy feel and the grounded warmth,” says Davis. “The roofs appear floating and light. But the design remains warm and contemporary. The stone, the wood and the urbanhomemagazine.com

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


stucco are a warm tone selected by physically going out to the site and staining them there.” The home’s streamlined design never detracts from its functionality — ample cabinets and storage space were incorporated to ensure the home would work well for the homeowners. Hallway space is less than five percent of the floor plan, minimizing the amount of space dedicated to the conveyance from one room to another. “Everything was designed to tie the house into its surroundings while still reflecting the taste of the homeowners,” says Casey. “The whole concept of this house was to celebrate where it was in the world.” v Architect Danze & Davis Architects, Inc. 512.343.0714 | Danze-davis.com Builder 512.267.0254 | Casey-homes.com 36

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


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

512.443.3200 www.bellavillads.com

Unified Vision,

Timeless Appeal By Ashley Festa | Photography by Rachel Kay, Applebox Imaging

A builder and a designer made merry with a design that brought home nine awards in the San Antonio 2013 Spring Parade of Homes™. Wayne Moravits, of Monticello Homes, and Mary DeWalt, of Mary DeWalt Design Group, invoked their innermost creative talents for this home, which was featured in the Parade of Homes™ held in Cibolo Canyons. The home earned eight individual awards, including Best Floor Plan and Best Interior Design, plus the coveted President’s Award, given to the most outstanding residence.


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


DeWalt’s color and texture choices support Moravits’ vision for a unified flow of spaces, both inside the home and out.


ecause this home was built without a buyer’s custom decisions, Moravits and DeWalt catered to their own whimsy to create the warm contemporary elegance found throughout the house. “We were willing to take risks,” says Moravits. “You would either love it, or you wouldn’t understand what it’s all about.” Though no one supervised their choice of materials, flooring, colors, textures and fabrics, the two did work within some restraints. “You want to make sure what you’re doing will have market acceptance, but at same time you don’t want it to be trite and typical,” says DeWalt. “We try to show emerging trends in everything we do, but at the same time not have it be so far in the future that people don’t relate to it.” To accomplish that task, DeWalt, along with her assistant designer Kate Souquette, took on the challenge of creating a contemporary design that’s warm and inviting rather than cold 40

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and sterile. By weaving cozy colors throughout the modern details, DeWalt achieved her goal. “You have a whole package that’s innovative and new and fresh, but at the same time is comfortable for the consumer,” she says. Moravits’ objective was also to create a comfortable space for all who live there. Keeping in mind current trends, Moravits wanted to build a home that offers privacy while maintaining an open floor plan. “This house was designed for the multigenerational family, with different generations living together that probably lived apart at some point,” Moravits says. “If you look at what’s happening today, kids grow up, then kids come back. Then you may have an elderly parent that lives with you.” To appeal to families that need extra privacy, Moravits designed the home around a central courtyard which offers a transitional space going to the casita, or guesthouse. The casita living area is urbanhomemagazine.com


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


structurally attached to the home, but features a kitchenette and a separate entrance, offering added privacy for a guest, child or parent who may lodge there, either for short visits or longer stays. The courtyard also blends indoor and outdoor living areas. DeWalt’s color and texture choices support Moravits’ vision for a unified flow of spaces, both inside the home and out. One of her favorite elements is the recurring zigzag pattern. From the floor to the walls to the accents, the pattern adds drama to each room. Take the unique backsplash in the kitchen, for example. The zigzag tile from Palmer Todd is an Artistic Tile éclat gris (“gray luster” in French) material hand-carved in India. The zero-grout tile creates the effect of being one integrated piece. Similarly, the Mohawk® Stage Pointe herringbone tile floor in Stormy Gray in the kitchen and great room keeps the pattern flowing into multiple spaces. The pattern doesn’t stop at the door, either. DeWalt’s well-chosen accents carry the theme outside. “People don’t always take indoor and outdoor space into account when choosing materials,” she says. “The chevron pattern (on the outdoor pillows) reinforces the zigzag pattern inside the house, creating a continuous flow all the way through.” Not only do patterns maintain harmony throughout the home, but color also draws the eye from one space to the next, tying them together for a finished look. Shades of cool gray are offset with splashes of warm accents. In the great room and kitchen, the master bath and bedroom, the media room and wet bar, and even outdoors in the courtyard and poolside, corals and oranges liven up each space, chasing away the cold that can sometimes settle in with a contemporary look. DeWalt’s reason for the pattern and color repetition is simple: “It makes it more memorable.” Certainly memorable in the great room is the unusual light fixture by David Trubridge. Seemingly floating in the room, the crisscross ball brings attention to the layered ceiling. The outside is natural wood, but the “added treat was the inside being painted orange,” DeWalt says. “It brings in color without being glitzy. It has that organic, natural look to it. You want people to say ‘Oh wow, look at that.’ We like to have something that’s unique in every room.” DeWalt also wanted a unique quality in the media room, but this time, she was going for the glitz. urbanhomemagazine.com

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


“Dark walls, bright coral pillows, graphic artwork — it’s a dark room, but has contrast with the white pillows, ottomans and light carpet,” she says. “The bar area has shiny, reflective tile on the backsplash, giving it a sparkly quality.” Another room that boasts a memorable feature is the master suite, with its dramatic built-in — bookcase, television area, desk and plenty of storage space — that covers an entire wall. The built-in combines the utility of a den with the private retreat of the bedroom, creating a space that’s as useful as it is stylish. Moravits and DeWalt continued the theme of contemporary elegance into the master bath with its luxurious, spa-inspired décor. A shower built for two and a freestanding tub create a focal point. Despite its simplicity, the tub, an MTI® Series Alissa 3, 44

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

creates a bold look with clean lines. The shower, with two Moen® Series 90 Degree faucets and a four-faucet body spray system, provides an indulgent spa experience every single day. To keep the modern design warm and inviting, Moravits wrapped the shower around the tub. “It evokes a Hollywood look,” says DeWalt. The unusual fireplace in the great room also warms up the home, literally and figuratively. The refreshing, beach-inspired tile is from Stone Solutions in San Antonio. “It looks like the wind blowing across the sand,” says DeWalt. “It’s really simple and classic looking.” And it’s more than just a pretty feature — sealed gas units generate an enormous amount of heat at the flip of a switch. You’d never guess this was the first time DeWalt and Moravits worked together on a home, thanks to their unified vision for the project. “We controlled the entire experience,” says Moravits of working with DeWalt without having a buyer upfront. But they weren’t worried about finding a taker, and it didn’t take long for someone to snatch it up. “The buyer says it’s the absolute perfect environment,” thanks to ample natural light and the comfortable flow of spaces. “It’s timeless in its appeal,” says Moravits. “There’s nothing trendy about this house.” v BUILDER Monticello Homes 210.479.1978 | Monticellohomes.com DESIGNER Mary DeWalt Design Group 512.236.0017 | Marydewaltdesigngroup.com urbanhomemagazine.com

Beginning Anew Empty Nests Aren’t So Empty With European Contemporary Designs By Jackie Benton

Empty Nesters, those whose children have grown up and moved out, find themselves in the process of making decisions based on their new lives without the kids — and Jens Hansen, owner of Copenhagen furniture, couldn’t be more delighted. For Hansen, the opportunity to offer a little assistance by introducing the beauty and appeal of European Contemporary styling as Empty Nesters create this new chapter in their lives is irresistible.


hat I see are many Empty Nesters deciding to downsize and go to a home with a smaller footprint or more convenience,” says Hansen. “They’re looking to change their lives in more than just one way. There’s a new lifestyle that seems to follow along with getting rid of the old and welcoming the new. It’s a time for a breath of fresh air, the opportunity to concentrate on themselves and their needs instead of family members and other obligations.” Changing lifestyles can mean embracing décor that before would be considered impractical, if not impossible, to maintain with a family (No white rugs! No white furniture! No white anything!). And rather than go with heavy, overstuffed furnishings selected more for their ability to hide stains or withstand the constant abuse that comes with raising a young family, Empty Nesters find they may now select décor based on its aesthetics and how it fits into their new home environment. “Many Empty Nesters are newcomers to contemporary design,” says Hansen. “They’re almost forced into it, such as when they move into a new high-rise condo, and most especially 46

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in Austin, where these structures are always contemporary in design and they almost always have to redo their décor. They simply cannot bring everything with them, and what they have probably won’t work in the new space.” Many of those new condominium spaces share similarities where it’s common to walk into a cavernous great room that encompasses the living, dining and open kitchen area, with concrete or wood floors throughout. Hansen recommends resisting the urge to use large, bulky items and keep furnishings light and simple. “The idea in a home design such as this is to create a sense of space, so moving your big, old furniture can easily overwhelm your new living area with furniture that is just too large in proportion,” he explains. “Simplicity is where it’s at. Solid colors give you a better, cleaner feeling, as well as a lot of leather upholstery. You would use a main seating area with a leather piece, dress it up with rugs and throw pillows, and think about replacing your current sofa or sectional with something that will be the core of the design in the contemporary design direction you are now taking. It’s important to remember that you are coming from a cluttered space and now creating a simple, open living space.” Doing more with less is the key to loving your new space, Jens advises. And while storage isn’t a priority, it is a consideration Copenhagen has come to factor into the new equation of helping their clientele create their new space. “In the dining area, one of the most important things is to be able to extend your table. You want a smaller table for your daily use, but when Empty Nesters have friends and family come to visit, they will need an expansion table of some sort that will allow seating for four to six. There are even expansion tables that will allow you to seat up to 14 people with very unique extension systems. Normally what we suggest is that you purchase a single set of matching chairs to fit the smallest size of your table and create a nice look with those. I’m not a big fan of having extra chairs that exactly match the dining table. For family gatherings you can pull out an office chair or a stool from the bedroom vanity and put those around the extended table. Six matching chairs and four additional ones you’ve gathered from around the house can be kind of fun. We also carry stacking chairs that could be conveniently placed next to a sideboard, or you can buy additional chairs that are styled to work with what you have, but it’s not necessary.” Downsizing doesn’t have to stop with the living and dining areas. Downsizing change-ups may be made in the bedroom, too, by moving away from a traditional king-size bed, vanity and two night stands. “The European platform beds are smaller in dimension and take up less space. A lower, smaller bed with a low headboard will give the appearance of space in the room,” says Hansen. “There might be built-ins in the closet for sufficient storage, so you can forget about a highboy dresser. And you can create a little workstation of some sort that will easily double as a vanity.” Some may be put off by European Contemporary furnishings because the perception is they are priced higher than other furniture designs, but Hansen says that buyers can find wellmade contemporary furnishings at reasonable pricing. “The really hard part is finding good design and value and putting the two together. Copenhagen has done this for our clientele for years, and we bring the best bang for our customers’ buck. We offer the largest showrooms in all of our markets, and give our customers the opportunity to see and touch. We don’t dabble in urbanhomemagazine.com

the market — we are dedicated solely to contemporary design.” Copenhagen has more than 43 years of experience combining excellent value and good design, and takes pride in featuring furniture reflective of European Contemporary styles. “The most fun for us is finding really great designs at fantastic prices, or introducing our clients to a designer they have never heard of before,” says Hansen. “At Copenhagen, we make it easy for our clients to find the quality, price point and design they want.” v Copenhagen Austin: 512.451.1233 | San Antonio: 210.545.4366 Copenhagenliving.com Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Playing with


By Jackie Benton



Photography courtesy of Ortal USA

iving in Texas means enjoying more days of warm and sunny weather, but if you’re a traditionalist who loves curling up in front of a roaring fire in the winter, you might find yourself out of luck. Texas winters typically last a few short weeks, and there’s many a winter spent in short sleeves and shorts. But take heart, those of you who miss the crackling appeal of a fireplace’s flickering flames. Dale Ponder, owner of Cozy Outdoor Escapes, wants you to know that just as technology has advanced your phone and entertainment options, it’s also been busy updating the hearth of your home. These upgrades mean you no longer have to miss out on that cozy experience you love about your home’s fireplace — in fact, you can enjoy it any time of year, no matter what the season — and it can even be installed to act as an accent piece for any room. “The fireplace is still viewed as a central piece in a home,” says Ponder. “The changes that we have seen are more around 48

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the style versus the function. In our environment, heat is not as important as aesthetics.” Texas interior designers and architects who shunned rarely used traditional fireplaces for taking too much space are now embracing modern gas fireboxes with innovative design features. Ponder is pleased his store carries firebox designs by Ortal USA, considered by many to be the premiere designer of modern gas fireboxes. Since entering the North American hearth market three years ago, Ortal has quickly caught the eye of those in the building trades, offering cutting-edge designs with a focus on craftsmanship and high efficiency. Ortal’s nine basic designs and more than 60 standard products provide a wealth of styles to choose from, and their direct-vent gas fireplaces make them versatile enough to be installed in any room and any structure, from a single family home to a high rise condo. Ortal is known for creating a firebox as easy and safe to operate as it is beautiful and efficient. And while Ortal has a urbanhomemagazine.com

diverse catalog of firebox designs, the company is best known for its signature frameless glass-to-glass applications. “The design possibilities of the Ortal units are almost endless,” says Ponder. “The trim can be very minimalistic, and they have a Clean-Face design, meaning you do not see the structure of the box. This allows you to completely fill an area with flames, where you could not do that in the past.” Ponder says another reason why Ortal is so versatile is its inherent design. Traditional fireplaces can take up quite a bit of a room’s footprint, and can limit the placement of other amenities and home furnishings. “Modern fireboxes are better able to incorporate into a home’s overall design because they take up much less room,” Ponder explains. “A standard firebox can require 28 to 32 inches of space for framing and venting. These boxes are much more shallow and do not require as large a footprint in the room that it is being installed. Minimal urbanhomemagazine.com

clearances that are normal with any fireplace must be considered, but really, these Ortal fireplaces can be installed almost anywhere and will function just fine.” Those who would love to incorporate the beauty of an Ortal fireplace into their home design should accept only the limits of their imaginations. “Let your imagination run wild,” encourages Ponder. “Work hand in hand with a designer or a contractor to make sure you don’t create a structural issue or plan for something that cannot be built. With Ortal’s 60 different standard configurations, it’s almost impossible to have a location or purpose that cannot utilize one of their units. The ‘Wow!’ factor comes when you chose one of their long linear boxes and CRANK up the gas!” v Cozy Outdoor Escapes 210.276.0734 | Cozyoutdoorescapes.com Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Commercial n Design

The Settlement - Circa 1850

History tucked in

the Hill Country


By Mauri Elbel | Photography by Michelle jones

ometimes the path we set out on leads to something wonderfully unexpected just around the corner — or in Joe Miller’s case, across the creek. Less than three years ago Miller had his sights on the Bulverde Airpark until he stumbled on 78 acres of historical beauty nestled in the foothills of the Texas Hill Country for sale nearby. Now known as The Settlement – Circa 1850, a modern day countryside event venue managed by Don Strange of Texas, the Millers purchased the property in April, 2011 after visiting the sprawling plot of Hill Country land with a rich story to tell. “I was looking to purchase the Bulverde airport and expand the runway and make it a north side jetport for the city of San Antonio,” says Miller. “But the property across the creek was available, too, so 50

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we scheduled a time to see it one Sunday afternoon and my wife and I fell in love with this property right away.” Located in Bulverde, just 25 minutes from downtown San Antonio, The Settlement – Circa 1850 sits just a mile away from Highway 281 but feels hours away from the buzz of civilization. “It is something very unique,” says Miller of the property he and his wife, Whitney Solcher Miller, own. “There is something magical about this property with about a mile of frontage on the Cibolo. We really wanted a place to go to to get away. It just needed so much love, and I like fixing things up.” A walk on the available property revealed three historical buildings. The Settlement, the first home built in Bulverde in 1851, is made from limestone rock that was pulled by teams urbanhomemagazine.com

of oxen from nearby Cibolo Creek. The structure was known for miles as a stage coach stop, a trading post and a place for a warm meal and friendly hospitality. The Homestead was constructed shortly after in 1856, becoming the hearth and home of the original landowners and their growing family. The structure still contains the original antique rafters, thatch ceiling and underground root cellar which now serves as a wine cellar. The Farmhouse has been revamped into a charming Hill Country bungalow, built in 1911 but furnished with 21st century comforts. But it is the story of The Settlement – Circa 1850 that starts with August Anton Pieper which sets the property apart. Pieper was born in 1824 in Klein Bergwedel, Hanover, Germany where he purchased a land contract for 320 acres in the Fischer-Mueller Grant, an area on the Colorado River, before arriving in Texas. He soon found his way to Cibolo Creek where he and fellow German immigrants Johann

When the Millers purchased the property, it was in a state of disrepair, especially The Homestead. Miller consulted Curtis Hunt, a fourth generation mason with a deep appreciation for old historic buildings who has worked on structures as historically significant as The Alamo and has a vast knowledge of proper restoration techniques. “Whenever you try to restore an old limestone building, make sure you go back with a real soft mortar,” says Hunt. “The majority of these old buildings were made from a mixture of lime mortar ground with sand, which is real soft. You don’t want to go back with a hard Portland cement mortar because a building will fight against it, and it also adheres to the stone differently so instead of the mortar joint moving, the stones can break.” Hunt also advises against pressure washing or sand blasting old buildings which can peel off the hard outer layer and make the building more vulnerable to the elements which can break down the stone. Buildings such as the ones found

Kabelmacher and Heinrich Voges were discussing how they had not received their acres yet and that the government was giving land to those who worked and improved it for three years. The men settled along Cibolo Creek and worked long hours building rock fences, digging a well, setting up pens for livestock and clearing land for crops and gardens. Years passed and Pieper and his wife had eight children, all born in the house now known as The Homestead, and life went on beside the Cibolo. Pieper never made a formal application for the 160 acres he had settled on — a decade had passed and he was never questioned until government surveyors arrived to notify Pieper the land he had settled on now belonged to Mrs. Thomas J. Robinson, a widow of a San Jacinto war hero. Pieper, Kabelmacher and Voges were forced to buy back the land they had improved for the past 10 years from Robinson, paying $320 cash for 640 acres. An interesting parallel exists between the stories behind Miller’s recent acquirement of the land as well Pieper’s settlement 160 years ago. Just as Pieper never received the original acres he purchased, Miller never reached a deal on the airpark. But what they both found was something better: a rolling plot of beautiful Texas Hill Country land to build memories on.

on The Settlement are incredibly durable because of their sheer mass and the European building techniques passed down from generation to generation. The rock walls found on the buildings at The Settlement are at least 18 inches thick, says Hunt, whereas modern walls built today are only about five inches thick. These buildings, like many built before the 1900s, have the larger stones at the corners which add to their strength. When renovating historic limestone structures like these, Hunt says careful attention must be paid to the foundation and any signs of structural cracks. It’s also crucial to check for mortar joint erosion and insure there is positive drain away from the building. “Limestone is a wick,” he says. “It sucks moisture out of the ground which can migrate into areas where there is air, and the salt from the water crystallizes and expands and breaks down the limestone.” Based on Hunt’s advice, Miller shored up certain areas in the root cellar where the beams were starting to slip to make it more secure. They were able to keep 80 percent of the root cellar’s original ceiling, made from oxen hair, mud and straw, by adding some supportive columns to keep the structure


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The Homestead

The FarmHouse

stable. The 1911 Farmhouse had already been modernized by the previous owners, but the Millers updated the interior to create an inviting weekend retreat as well as a romantic rental for wedding functions. But aside from replacing rotten wood, patching up damaged roofs and adding some exterior shutters, the historic buildings remain in their original state. “It is really more about what we didn’t do,” says Miller. “We have gone to great efforts to make this property, landscapingwise and lighting-wise, pleasing while not messing with the two 1851 and 1856 structures.” Don Strange of Texas now exclusively manages The Settlement – Circa 1850 as a unique event venue flavored with German history and bursting with country charm. From weddings to corporate events, Don Strange of Texas provides catering, decor and theme, entertainment, transportation, staffing and security for both intimate and large-scale gatherings. Di-Anna Arias, Don Strange of Texas’ director of sales and culinary vision, arranges traditional German dishes such as sauerkraut made from scratch in an antique German crock, and veal, chicken or pork Wiener Schnitzel. For dessert, guests indulge in German chocolate rolls, a thin layer of German chocolate cake filled with coconut, nuts and custard rolled up and dusted with powdered sugar, or fresh 52

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The Homestead Upstairs Photo by Matt garcia

The Homestead

The Homestead Root Cellar Photo by Matt garcia

apple strudel, a puff pastry loaded with Granny Smith apples, cinnamon and nutmeg. Only one structure has been added since the Millers purchased The Settlement — a rustic barn that blends flawlessly into the historical surroundings while adding to the property’s versatility by providing a sheltered structure for events up to 300. Miller flies vintage airplanes and his wife rides horses, and the couple originally wanted a barn to use as a hanger for his vintage plane and a stable for her horses. They called on Oscar Reyes to design the barn built with reclaimed timber Miller had found from a cotton gin in South Carolina and brought in Robert Feuge, a wood carver, timber frame expert and barn preservationist in Fredericksburg. “We wanted to build a barn that fit in with the rest of the farm,” says Reyes. “Everything was done to maintain that look that it has been there for a hundred years. We didn’t want to dominate the other two 1850s buildings — we had to make sure it was still part of the property but not close enough to take away from the existing buildings.” Reyes designed a rustic barn using the reclaimed heavy pine barn wood and beams in various sizes and lengths. The 5,500-squarefoot barn, crafted completely from reclaimed lumber, features urbanhomemagazine.com

The Settlement, the first home built in Bulverde in 1851, is made from limestone rock that was pulled by teams of oxen from nearby Cibolo Creek. The Settlement

antique salvaged windows, a corrugated metal roof aged with a reddish/golden patina, 14-foot porches on both sides, concrete and heavy timber floors, and a 32-foot high cupola. The real beauty of the barn comes from the knowledge that something new was built from something old, says Reyes. While Reyes admits it was architecturally challenging to have the existing materials dictate the design rather than drawing a plan and ordering the materials, he says the barn serves as a great example of a sustainable building with more than 90 percent of the materials used for construction being reclaimed. “I like the way we were able to reuse the reclaimed wood, I love the open air and breezes, and I love that it is intended to provide a shelter but not take away anything from the openness of the farm itself,” says Reyes. “I love the frame itself, it’s very aesthetically pleasing. Once you walk on the inside and look above, you can see the exposed structure of the barn. That is what I enjoy most — it is very authentic, very pure in the way it is seen and in the way it functions.” Pure and authentic seem to define the character at The Settlement – Circa 1850. In a pocket of land experiencing rapid development, Miller plans to keep The Settlement untouched –– a convenient retreat from the big city and a urbanhomemagazine.com

refuge for the wildlife around it. “I went from wanting to buy an airport to discovering this,” says Miller. “I didn’t acquire the airport, but putting in a runway in front of these buildings wasn’t a good idea anyway. This place is calming, very unique and we plan to keep it the way it is. Preserving history gives one a certain pride and we are lucky to be the stewards of this old farm.” v VENUE The Settlement – Circa 1850 The1850settlement.com CATERING & MANAGEMENT Don Strange of Texas, Inc. 210.434.2331 | Donstrange.com ARCHITECT Oscar Reyes 210.317.0004 BUILDER The Barn Preservation Company 830.822.2404 | Robertfeuge.com HISTORIC RESTORATION Curtis Hunt Restorations, Inc. 210.635.8872 Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Great n Design

“ Whoever said that pleasure wasn’t functional?” – Charles Eames

Lounge Chair 670 and ottoman, 1956


he most luxurious chair in the mid-century Modern style was created by American designers Charles and Ray Eames, and known simply as Lounge Chair 670. The chair and its accompanying ottoman marry rich materials (leather upholstery, laminated wood veneered in rosewood, and immaculately finished aluminum) with a purposeful design in which the chair’s main elements are clearly defined. Originally designed as a present for the filmmaker Billy Wilder, a friend of Charles and Ray, the chair was a result of the Eames’s early attempts to bend plywood with heat and pressure in 1940. In the same year, furniture by Charles Eames and fellow designer Eero Saarinen won first prize in a competition sponsored by The Museum of Modern Art in New York, spurring them on to more plywood designs. The 670 was the most lavish and one of the most famous of these. Charles Eames said that the chair’s shape was inspired by the appearance of a “well-used first baseman’s mitt,” and its generous size and plump cushions embrace the sitter as effectively as an old leather club chair. However, the 670 is also undeniably modern, and furniture manufacturer Herman Miller was happy to market it alongside other icons of modern design. The luxurious chair continues to be a surprisingly good seller. 54

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Charles and Ray Eames 1907-78 and 1912-88 Charles Eames trained as an architect and worked for a firm in his native St. Louis, Missouri, USA before setting up his own practice in the town. In 1936, he was awarded a fellowship at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he met both fellow designer Eero Saarinen and his future wife, Ray Kaiser, an abstract artist. Working with Ray, Eames designed a huge range of furniture, as well as creating


exhibition designs and architectural projects and making over 100 short films. Many of these designs were originally attributed solely to Charles, but the close, collaborative nature of the couple’s work and the extent of Ray’s contribution is now recognized. In their prolific career as furniture designers, Charles and Ray Eames were keen to explore the potential of modern materials — few of their other pieces were as traditional in style as the 670 chair, with its rich rosewood and leather. They made extensive use of cast aluminum, wooden dowels for chair and table legs, and steel rods to support chairs. The couple was also pioneers with regard to fiberglass and plastics, seizing on their potential for molding to make a chair’s seat, back and arms in a single piece. They liked to use colorful panels in other types of furniture, integrating them into wooden display units, for example. Some of these units — made for Herman Miller, like much of their work — combine conventional wooden drawers with perforated metal and polychrome panels. These colorful effects, together with the organic forms and narrow legs of some of their chairs, helped Charles and Ray Eames to define the look of many mid-century interiors. v “Great Design” First American Edition, 2013 Published in the United States by DK Publishing. 345 Hudson Street New York, New York 10014 www.dk.com

Rocking chair, 1950

This chair is typical of the Eames’s unlikely combination of materials and distinctive form.



Fireplaces By Mauri Elbel

The crackling flames and soft glow generated by a fireplace can warm the room more effectively than any modern day heating system. Often the most timeless element in a home, a fireplace evokes memories, enraptures guests and provides an idyllic gathering space for conversing and relaxing. But it’s the one-of-akind, hand-crafted touches that can transform an ordinary fireplace into a work of art. From reclaimed mantels to fireplace screens and doors, these custom-crafted accessories can make a fireplace the focal point of your home. Christopher Voss Inc. Fourth Generation iron Craftsman 210.843.4332 | Christophervoss.com Christopher Voss has more than one hundred years of craftsmanship history backing his custom wrought iron designs. While Voss offers an array of products ranging from furniture and chandeliers to grand entry gates and spiral staircases, and works with all of the ferrous and non-ferrous metals, his wrought iron fire screen doors are some of the most highly desired. “Fire screens are the most time-consuming thing I do,” he says. “They require the most creativity in craftsmanship. A lot of people can build a gate or a fence, but few are gifted with the ability of original design. I love showing my work to a new client because I can tell they have never seen anything quite like it before, and it shows that I love to push the design limits as much as possible.” Voss hand makes his fire screen latches, hinges and handles the same way his great-grandfather, Theo Voss, did. In the 1930’s, his great-grandfather was commissioned to do the restoration of the Alamo wrought iron work which is still there today. “The way we do it is very interesting,” Voss says. “I drill holes through the frame and pound out the rivets, and fasten and stretch the wire with rivets. Most people want the riveted look of the fire screen –– but not only is it decorative, it is functional, too, because it holds the wire mesh tight.” 56

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After Voss visits a client’s living space, he takes pictures of the fireplace and creates a variety of computer-generated designs for clients to pick and choose from within their budget. Then Voss makes a full size template of the opening and crafts the fire screen. “Every fireplace is not straight and level –– that is a true statement,” says Voss. “I have never found a true square and level opening so I get a diamond blade to cut and make the true opening.” Voss offers freestanding or permanently fixed fireplace screens, finished in high-heat resistant paint or left in a raw state and sealed with an Old World wax finish. Clients can opt for the more industrial-looking stainless steel; brass which has a more elegant feel; or wrought iron, the most popular and least expensive metal to work with. Voss’ doors can blend in or stand out. He recently designed a fireplace door to match a client’s living room furniture set from Europe, tying in the same design elements to create a cohesive flow throughout the room. In another client’s home, he made four unique fireplace doors which serve as distinctive works of art in each room of the home. “There are two ways of doing it,” says Voss. “I can create urbanhomemagazine.com

a fireplace door that flows with the interior design and architecture. But another way is to do more of a stand-alone art piece that has its own flair. It doesn’t really blend in with all the other pieces in the room, but it becomes more of a statement piece of craftsmanship.” Reclaimed DesignWorks 800.243.4030 | Reclaimeddesignworks.com

Reclaimed DesignWorks is a one-stop shop for reclaimed building materials selling one-of-a-kind, turn-of-the-century custom mantels. Offering reclaimed fireplace mantels from premium handselected timbers dismantled from turn-of-the-century barns, farm houses, mills and factories across the country, showroom manager Juli Middleton says these pieces contain original mortise and tenon holes, checking and patina that create a historical point of interest in a modern-day home. “There is a huge difference between old wood and new wood,” says Middleton. “People want these mantels for their beauty and charm. When you put in a reclaimed mantel, it is a conversation piece.” Reclaimed DesignWorks sells two types of mantels: hand hewn and rough sawn. “Hand hewn were made before saw mills existed so these pieces have been squared up by hand,” she says. “Rough sawn is squared up and smoother and will not have the axe marks like the hand hewn –– less distressed; less rustic.” Both mantel styles work well in traditional and contemporary homes, says Middleton, who has noticed a trend toward combining design styles. “We have people with very clean and modern line homes that will purchase a hand hewn mantel for the texture and history to mix it up and to get noticed,” she says. “And we are also seeing a movement toward the more natural raw wood mantel.” Clients can choose from different sizes, textures and woods spanning oak, hickory, maple, poplar, pine and elm. “We have it all,” says Middleton. “Go with the one you first fall in love with –– 99 percent of the time the client will come back for the one they originally loved.”

“You cannot get these anywhere else,” says Centuries Ago owner Mark Vice about his hand-forged iron fireplace doors. “You cannot buy these off the shelf.” Centuries Ago begins the process by making an exact template of a fireplace opening while clients sort through hundreds of previous designs to find elements they like most to guide them in deciding on their own distinctive design. Fireplace doors are as unique as the homeowners themselves, reflecting certain tastes and preferences through hand-crafted designs like the recent one Vice fashioned from horseshoes and barbed wire for a rancher. He says other popular options include integrating a favorite football team’s logo or incorporating family initials into the design. “All our fireplace doors are handmade,” he says. “We come out and make a template to insure an exact fit. It takes about 30 man hours to build one. Everything that we use is out of Texas and the iron is all hand-crafted just like they did in the 1800’s to make horseshoes.” Fireplace doors are custom colored through a variety of handpainted options –– Centuries Ago can give them an antiqued look by hand-rubbing copper or bronze into the metal or can create a weathered look using an all-natural formula. Clients can choose to have screen or glass mounted to the back of their fireplace door. Vice says the biggest benefit of glass fireplace doors is that a wood-burning fire can be smothered by shutting the doors while the greatest advantage of a screen is that it allows heat to escape without opening the doors. Centuries Ago can fit any fireplace opening no matter its shape or size, and Vice has created fireplace doors ranging from two to eight feet tall. Since beginning his business 12 years ago, Vice says the wrought iron designs have blended flawlessly with architecture seen throughout the Hill Country. The company’s fireplace doors require no maintenance and suit both traditional wood burning fireplaces as well as those with gas logs. In addition to being a hot trend, fireplace doors also offer an added element of safety. “The screens prevent logs and any sparks from falling out of the fireplace,” says Vice. “And I’ve gotten many calls from mothers with toddlers who are drawn to the fireplace, and these doors have child safety locks to keep them out.” v

Centuries Ago 405.659.7576 | Centuries-ago.com Centuries Ago builds each one of its custom fireplace doors using only local materials to hand-craft iron the traditional way. urbanhomemagazine.com

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


works WHY THIS



Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

Designer Spotlight: Laura Burton of Laura Burton Interiors By Mauri Elbel | Photography by Chip Pankey


When a British couple relocated from bustling Chicago to settle down in the tiny town of Spicewood, they called on Laura Burton to oversee their remodel. The Austin-based designer successfully incorporated her clients’ English traditional tastes without impeding on the existing Mediterranean aesthetic of their Hill Country home. “One of the key challenges was to satisfy their desire for refined interiors, incorporating their English antiques along with new furnishings in a way that would respect the home’s architecture and not feel out of place,” Burton says. Read on to find out how Burton overcame a few design obstacles to create a space that exudes refined comfort without feeling fussy or untouchable.

What were the goals when remodeling this space? LB: The original space was highly segregated with walls dividing the kitchen, breakfast and dining areas, and there was a very small pantry. Our goal was to open things up, both visually and functionally. We removed several walls and completely reoriented the space to create an anchoring element opposing the fireplace with an oversized island and range, a coffee nook and desk in place of the breakfast area, a large pantry and a newly configured dining room. urbanhomemagazine.com

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


The richness of materials is a key element that makes this home special. We took special care with every detail, beginning with the tone of the wood floors, and then in particular with the unique tile and countertop materials. The custom hand-painted tiles on the fireplace and range backsplash have an aged patina that add character and contribute to the subtle European flair. – Laura Burton

I love the tone of this space — it’s inviting and cozy and looks like a place you would want to curl up with a good book. Tell us about the colors and furnishings you selected to achieve this feel. LB: The homeowners are drawn to soft and soothing colors such as gray, taupe and cream. They prefer understated interiors to anything bold or vibrant. Because we were incorporating family antiques, we wanted the room to have a timeless feeling with a sense of history. We were careful to choose styles and fabrics that would pull all of these items together yet still feel as if you could throw in a unique treasure here or there and not disturb the overall balance. I love the ceiling and light fixtures above the island — please tell us about these. LB: The ceiling was a fun design element. We were looking for ways to add interest in an unexpected way and it occurred to us that from the entry, we were essentially looking up into the main space which was when the idea of a ceiling treatment came to mind. Since we had opened up the space, the ceiling was an area where we could bring it back to a more human scale and also create another visual tie between the areas. The ceilings were not especially high, so we were careful to use a low profile trim — to add just enough depth for effect, but to avoid eating 60

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

into the overall height of the room. I’m very pleased with how that turned out. The light fixtures over the island added some pizzazz — they are the jewelry of this space. The openness provided by the ample windows and light walls in this space are a great counterbalance to the darker floors and cabinets. Please tell us about the materials you selected to create this look. LB: The richness of materials is a key element that makes this home special. We took special care with every detail, beginning with the tone of the wood floors, and then in particular with the unique tile and countertop materials. The custom handpainted tiles on the fireplace and range backsplash have an aged patina that add character and contribute to the subtle European flair. The fireplace surround was crafted from a coordinating stone. We also selected a shapely concrete tile in a customized color palette that serves as an “entry rug” when you first arrive through the large custom iron doors designed by Cantera Doors, the custom iron company that also made the wrought iron railings. These features give a nod to the Mediterranean mood of the house but with a slightly more traditional pattern. We used a variety of countertop materials in the house including soapstone, travertine, leathered granite at the kitchen perimeter and a beautiful slab of Venus Quartzite for the large island. The urbanhomemagazine.com

cabinetry throughout the space was custom crafted and hand finished. We chose a gray stain in the kitchen and then painted the cabinets at the bar and the frame around the fireplace a lighter color to keep the look from feeling heavy. While one large space, this room has several functions. What key piece of advice would you give to those looking to make the most out of a single space with multiple uses? LB: There are a few key pieces of advice I offer when opening up a space. From a practical standpoint, the key consideration is how the area will be utilized, giving careful consideration to personal habits. For example, if you are creating a desk area near the kitchen but there is a tendency for clutter and papers to gather there, be sure to have a clear physical separation of functional space — and potentially a way for closing it off. Similarly, if the desire is a large open space with a central television, consider who will be watching the TV, at what times of day, and what noise issues this could create for various activities planned for the area. Finally, consider traffic flow. If a client entertains often, I take special care to discuss how many guests might be flowing through the area at a time. If they frequently host large parties, the walkways should be planned accordingly to avoid bottlenecks. From a visual standpoint, make a conscious decision to determine your focal point. It is tempting to make each element special, which can result in several items competing for attention and none of them having the desired impact. But essentially the key mistake we are trying to avoid in each of these cases is cluttering the senses. By nature of opening up an area to

accommodate multiple functions, extra effort has to be made to achieve a natural flow and a calm environment. What are your favorite elements in this space? LB: I have many favorites in this space, but if I had to choose I would say I love the specialty tile and the gorgeous Venus Quartzite countertop. It’s a rare, creamy material that has almost the same durability of granite. Were there any lines you gravitated toward when designing this space? LB: One of my favorite upholstery lines is Lee Industries so we incorporated pieces from Lee, Sherrill and Restoration Hardware while sprinkling in some family antiques. In your opinion, what makes this space work? LB: I just love the overall feeling we achieved. The homeowners and I had a joint vision so we were in sync every step of the way and the end result demonstrates that. In fact, it feels odd to say “end result” because the project has been a continual evolution and the home continues to establish its personality. The clients travel often and will jokingly say, “I can’t wait to see your reaction to what we brought home for the coffee table.” Together we continue to dabble in other areas of the house and are now undergoing a master bath remodel. Continual transformations keep this job exciting. v Laura Burton Interiors 512.322.9888 | Lauraburtoninteriors.com


new products

Homemade Artisan Foods 1. Until you’ve tried Baconkit, you’ve never tasted bacon as nature intended it. With The Original Baconkit from 7th West Charcuterie, all you need is a fresh pork belly and in just seven days you will have five pounds of the best bacon you’ve ever tasted! Yep - that’s right you can really make your own bacon! 7th West Charcuterie. 206.395.3515, Baconkit.com.


2. Stylish, easy-to-use Beer Making Kits are designed especially for stove-top brewing with ingredient mixes for seasonally inspired beers. Bring brewing out of the basement and into your kitchen! Brooklyn Brew Shop, Brooklynbrewshop.com. Available at Whole Foods Markets.


3. Urban Cheesecraft provides cheese-making kits for urbanites with country appetites. In less than an hour, you can enjoy fresh mozzarella, ricotta, queso blanco, goat cheese and more — made in your very own kitchen, using the milk of your choice. Try it and you won’t believe you didn’t do it sooner. Urban Cheesecraft. Urbancheesecraft.com.

4. The HomeMade Gin Kit contains everything you need (except a bottle of plain, inexpensive vodka) to create a unique and delicious home blend of your very own gin. And with the two included Italian glass, swing-top flasks, you can give a bottle of your concoction as a one-of-a-kind gift, while keeping the other to enjoy yourself. The HomeMade Gin Kit. 571.482.9657, Homemadegin.com.




Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


5. The Mushroom Kit by Back To The Roots lets you grow gourmet, edible oyster mushrooms right out of the box — in just 10 days! No green thumb required — just mist two times a day with the mister included in your kit, and harvest multiple crops. Makes a great green gift. Back To The Roots. 510.922.9758, Backtotheroots.com.


6. Perfect for the home chef! Mix up a batch of homemade granola with this do-it-yourself kit from Arnabal International. Each compartment has premeasured ingredients that combine to make 12 servings of zesty dried fruit and natural oat granola to enjoy over yogurt, ice cream or just by itself. Arnabal International. 949.861.8820, Arnabal.com.


7. Brys + Edgewood Fondant Cake Kits are designed for beginners who crave a custom result. Each fondant cake kit includes everything needed in one box to make a beautifully delicious fondant cake at home — just add eggs, oil and water, and impress your friends and family with a spectacular dessert! Brys + Edgewood Cake Co. Brysedgewood.com.

8. Average Joe Artisan Bread Kits contain everything needed to create the crusty, chewy, moist, meaty European bread we all dream about. The technique is so simple that anyone can do it! Average Joe offers The Gift Edition, The Cook’s Edition, The Refill Edition and a Bread Pot for purchase online and at stores across the United States. Average Joe Artisan Bread Kit. Breadkit.com.




Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


New Masters

The Art and Craft of

Timeless Design

Michael Colca: Furniture Maker for the Ages In this age of rampant consumerism, with its emphasis on constantly evolving technology and intentionally short product lifecycles, furniture maker Michael Colca is an anomaly: a man whose work is made to last generations. For those who seek heirloom pieces of timeless style, Colca’s work is the embodiment of love and art in the finest tradition. “I am largely motivated by craftsmanship. Some people are very motivated by design, and while I am interested in design, I love craftsmanship,” says Colca.


ot surprisingly, Colca draws much inspiration from the American Arts and Crafts movement of the turn of the 20th century, citing furniture designer Gustav Stickley and architect and interior designer Frank Lloyd Wright as major influences on his own style. His pieces exhibit the lean, crisp lines and balance of proportion of Shaker styling, but with nuanced interpretation of American and international design motifs, all with ornamentation inlaid by hand within the structural elements themselves. “We create a design that is well-proportioned and balanced, using finely executed joinery as detail and ornamentation. 64

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Anywhere you look, whether it’s the front, back or underneath, you’re going to find quality work all done to the same high level of excellence. There’s no compromise anywhere in any of my pieces.” Colca often collaborates with clients to create unique custom pieces for their homes, but draws particular satisfaction from creating custom pieces for churches. “The work I’ve been able to do for places of worship has been very expressive for me as a designer. It doesn’t have to fit into a particular style, such as within an already furnished home. Altar furniture tends to be more sculptural. What you put up on the altar must speak to more than just the functional and aestheturbanhomemagazine.com

ic. It is a humbling and at the same time gratifying experience.” An example of Colca’s freedom of expression with church designs may be seen at St. James Episcopal Church at 1941 Webberville Road in East Austin. “It’s very different from anything I’ve done anywhere else,” Colca admits. “It leans more towards the Arts and Crafts movement styling you see in residential furniture, not the big sculptural pieces. They wanted me to walk through their building and come up with what I thought would be appropriate there. And then Father had some very specific thoughts about one of the pieces in particular: the gospel lectern. He wanted it to rotate so that once he read the gospel, he could spin it around and the Bible would face the congregation. It was very important to him.” Colca’s custom creations are deceptively simple, and Colca takes great delight in his pieces accenting and subtly complementing the lives of his clients. “It’s never been my motivation to create pieces that take center stage. My work doesn’t scream for attention. It is just part of the room and subtly doing the job for which it was intended. And when you relax long enough to take in the full picture, you realize the thing of beauty it is.” But, while his furnishings are subtle and often escape immediate notice, Colca’s excellence in his craft has not escaped the eagle eyes of those who know and appreciate fine quality: his pieces have been regularly featured in highly-regarded publications such as Architectural Digest, Texas Monthly, Arts and Crafts Homes and Cottages and Bungalows. His work is presented in Dennis Blankmeyer’s book, Craft Furniture: The Legacy of the Human Hand along side of the first generation of American craft furniture makers Sam Maloof, James Krenov, Wharton Esherick and George Nakashima. Colca’s exquisite sense of simple design and insistence on using the finest quality woods, such as American black cherry, has also contributed to his reputation as a furniture designer. “Ninety percent of what we do is made of American black cherry, as it’s such a luscious wood and so beautiful to look at. It starts out a light pink, and then becomes the beautiful rich red that we all associate with cherry. We also enjoy working with mahogany, walnut and maple. Each wood brings it own unique personality to the project.” “In 1995, Mark Love came to work for me wanting to learn the craft in order to start his own shop, and I really enjoyed the relationship of having a formal apprentice. Mark’s talent as a designer, communicator and craftsman created a synergy that produced some great pieces in a partnership that lasted seven years. We are currently collaborating to produce a set of dining chairs for a table set of Love’s design.” Colca’s current apprentice, Philip Mark Morley, hails originally from London, and Colca enjoys the collaboration and artistry Morley brings to his shop. In fact, it is his apprentice’s design of a rocking chair that Colca now proudly promotes as part of his catalog of featured creations. “I knew the first time I saw Philip’s rocker that this was a fresh new design that clearly stepped beurbanhomemagazine.com

yond the fine rocker designs of the past. We tweaked the sit and structure until we liked it, and geared up to be able to produce it efficiently in runs of five chairs at a time.” Even the so-called production pieces enjoy the same attention to detail Colca has brought to his custom work for 35 years. To Colca, the most important artistic aspect of any creation is the care the maker puts into the work. “That’s always been the motivation, and what originally got me interested in becoming a builder,” says Colca. “I’ve always been interested in seeing things done well. I grew up wanting to do work that would make other people know I cared about their things and by extension them, too.” v Michael Colca Furniture Maker 800.972.5940 | Michaelcolca.com Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



Closets 2.0 By Cathy Coneway, President, Austin Board of REALTORS®


ho would have ever thought that the smallest room in the house — the closet — would be the one getting the most attention by today’s luxury home designers? Forget organization systems and velvet hangers, luxury homeowners now hire architects to design an ultimate closet with more features than the average kitchen, living room and study — combined! Here are a few ideas for turning an ordinary closet into the luxury closet of your dreams: Custom shoe racks — One of the biggest appeals in luxury closet design is boutique-style custom shoe racks. Today’s luxury closet designers achieve this look by incorporating floor-to-ceiling backlight shelving. These library-style stacking shelves mean more effective organization options for the avid shoe collector. Jewelry trays — The most popular trend among luxury closet designers is pull-out trays for jewelry, cufflinks, watches and sunglasses. Velvet lining and LED-illuminated drawers give your accessories better placement than they received in the store. Seating areas — You’ve heard of walk-in closets — what about lounge-in closets? Adding built-in seating not only adds a comfortable place for you to put on your shoes, it’s also an opportunity for additional storage space. Accessories or off-season clothing can be nicely tucked away in drawers or compartments until needed. Climate-controlled drawers — A well-designed closet has builtin drawers for socks and sweaters, but luxury closets offer climatecontrolled drawers for maintaining expensive items. Furs and other delicate items can be kept at the ideal temperature or humidity level to preserve quality. Island countertops — What used to only be found in the kitchen can now be found in your closet. Marble or granite island countertops provide an ideal place to fold and press clothing or lay out the day’s attire. Camouflaged safes — Expensive possessions need extra protection, which is why today’s most desired luxury closets feature hidden-in-plain-sight safes for high priced items. Compared to standard built-in wall or floor safes, camouflaged safes offer added protection as camouflaged safes can be hidden behind mirrors or disguised to look like ordinary cabinet drawers. Updating your closet is an easy way to create not only order in your home, but extravagance as well. How can you add a little luxury to your closet? v


new products

Electronics 1. SpeeCup is a Bluetooth wireless speaker with gesture control and Siri/S Voice enabled. This portable eight inch tall speaker is designed to play music and function as a hands-free speakerphone in your car, home or office. It’s a snap to set up, and its sound quality, performance and features are amazing. SpeeCup fits perfectly in your car’s cup holder, but also works in a boat, RV, golf cart, backpack or bicycle or on a desk, bar, table or bookshelf. Speecup. Speecup.com.


2. Dynamism, provider of Next-Generation Technology, launches its new leading one-stop shop for 3D printers, featuring eight of the best printers on the market today. With a 3D printer, the user simply loads a design and the printer will build that item by extruding plastic layer by layer until the object is complete. One’s imagination is truly the limit, with the ability to create art, toys, tools, replicas, models and prototypes, figurines and so much more. Dynamism. Dynamism.com.


3. Bowers & Wilkins’ P7 headphones deliver an enveloping, pristine listening experience. Our first over-ear headphones, the P7s provide a truly immersive listening experience, combined with the luxurious comfort and impeccable quality you expect from Bowers & Wilkins. Bowers & Wilkins. Bowerswilkins.com.

4. Nimbus puts your digital life in physical form. Each dial acts as a subtle barometer that syncs in real time, so you don’t have to constantly check your phone. Personalize each gauge using your mobile device to keep an array of info up-to-date and available at a glance. Nimbus can monitor your commute traffic, weather, email, calendar, social media networks and more. Nimbus. Quirky.com.




Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



Make a statement with your entryway

A FAST & EASY WAY TO A BEAUTIFUL DRIVEWAY • Incredibly easy to install • Virtually eliminates weeds • Looks fantastic


ntryways are the ultimate first impression to new visitors when they enter your home. Decorating your entryway is a sure way to express yourself to guests. Knocking on the front door — What’s the first thing you notice when you’re waiting for someone to open the door? New door trends embrace doors with detailing or windows. Consider whether you want a double door versus a single door. Or start by deciding which material is right for you. Wood doors are beautiful but can get damaged over time. Steel doors and fiberglass are also good options. Use windows as a border around your door to create a nicer look that is also convenient for you to see visitors before opening.

• Black or grey • Comes in 50 ft coils • Made in the USA

john martin, President, Austin NARI

Justin Bravo, President, NARI San Antonio

Entryway furniture options — Depending on how large an entryway is, there are options when it comes to furniture. Prioritizing your needs will assist with this. For instance, is it important to have a sitting area where people can wait and linger? Or would it be more convenient to have a table to put keys, mail or art? Maybe you would prefer to have a mirror or a beautiful painting in your entryway. All of these options are what makes each home unique and exciting to visit. From ceiling to floors — From head to toe, entryways can be extravagant. For two-story entryways, you may want to add a dramatic lighting fixture or chandelier. Ask for a dimming system to have more control over mood and energy consumption. Common flooring options include wood, marble, slate or tile. Or, consider adding a beautiful rug. Set the proper stage — Many homeowners tend to neglect their entryways in the following ways: • Clutter, including mail, shoes or coats • Dirty floors and/or windows • No outside light or working doorbell • Nowhere to hang up coats


Innovative entryway ideas • Add shelving to place pictures or other items, so guests are acquainted with members of the family. • Place fresh flowers or candles on a smaller table. • Add an outside light switch near the door to help guests exit and enter. • Have a place beside the door to hold umbrellas and coats. v To find a professional remodeler or interior designer in Austin or San Antonio, visit: Austinnari.org or Remodelsanantonio.org.


Design! By Catrina Kendrick, Catrina’s Ranch Interiors


ust recently I had the pleasure of working on a remarkable ranch in the Texas Hill Country. The ranch belongs to John and Betty Martin, two extraordinary people with impeccable taste. The Martins live in the hustle and bustle of Katy, enjoying life with children and grandchildren. As a family, they share an appreciation of nature. In addition to raising trophy deer and exotic animals, they love to hunt and fish. They also take long nature walks in search of arrowheads, fossils and other treasures which they often incorporate into their own designs on walls, walkways and patios. Having found this remote corner of God’s country, it would not be easy to find a builder who could be on site daily and truly listen to the specific directions, details and overall vision of how this San Miguel de Allende-style ranchero was to be constructed. The amazing Betty Martin ended up with an equally amazing builder named Judy Ramsey. This woman rancher, who raises exotic animals and trophy deer, is involved in real estate, leases her ranch for hunting and builds high-end “casas” for the most discerning clients! Heck, she builds great little cabins, too! When Catrina’s Ranch Interiors became involved with the ambitious project and I first viewed the blue prints and renderings, I was speechless. The plans were for a 17,000-squarefoot home built around a central courtyard. The courtyard has a bell tower over the front entrance gate; a real one. The main house has an observation tower that overlooks the dammed up river and a picturesque view of heaven on earth. There is a magnificent outdoor kitchen off of an enormous porch, and an ornate fountain in the middle of the courtyard. This home was to have all the bells and whistles, with unimaginable details, while sparing no expense. It would take two years to build and finish. Judy, Betty and I had many meetings over the next two years. We designed and built 58 chandeliers and sconces, along with custom doors, custom cabinets, custom kitchens and candle holders. I like to think of myself as a “Can Do” kind of girl, but this job tested my abilities on a regular basis. Antler chandeliers measuring 7 feet by 7 feet would be no problem! Hammered copper panels in the cabinet doors? Not a problem! I have much to tell you about this experience, but nothing says it better than the stunning color photographs taken by Jason Roberts, San Antonio’s most famous magazine photographer. Take a close look at the details of the Martin Ranch project in this issue, and come see us at Catrina’s Ranch Interiors in Boerne. No job is too big or too small. No idea is too far outside the box when making dreams come true. v To design your own custom furniture and accessories, call 830.755.6355 or visit Catrinasranchinteriors.com.

garden n trends

Growing Citrus in Texas

Discover Why It’s So A-peeling


By Laura Jackson

nown to be a super vitamin-C charged, enzymeenhancing, cancer-fighting, immune-building powerhouse, citrus is not only one of the healthiest foods around, but it also grows beautifully in Texas. If you have ever thought about planting your own citrus trees, we found a self-taught expert in the field, John Panzarella. Also a retired chemical engineer turned gardener extraordinaire, he has been growing citrus in his backyard in Lake Jackson, Texas for over 40 years. Today, he is the proud owner of the largest private citrus collection in Texas with over 180 different varieties. How do I begin? Panzarella suggests a Satsuma tree as a good starter citrus tree because it has the characteristics most people look for — it’s seedless and easy to peel. Other benefits include its early ripening and cold-hearty factors. Mandarins, tangelos and Meyer lemons are also popular choices. “Most varieties grow really well here, so it’s mostly about your personal tastes,” recommends Panzarella. Besides teaching master gardener and grafting classes, he also hosts an annual tasting party at his home where visitors have the opportunity to taste and choose among an incredible variety of delicious fruits. When is the magic day to plant? This is an age-old question that comes up in his classes year after year. The basic rule of a green thumb is to plant right after the last freeze. But in Texas where the weather is anything but predictable, that’s not as simple as it sounds. However, Panzarella advises that it’s normally fairly safe to plant in March.

What else do I need to know? Panzarella provides greater detail on all sorts of topics related to citrus on his website, johnpanza.googlepages.com, but here are a few highlights: • If possible, it’s best to plant your citrus tree on the south side of the house because it protects it from northern winds. • Keeping the tree above 26 degrees is always preferable, although some citrus trees have been known to survive colder conditions. • Fertilization is important for healthy citrus. Monthly treatments are recommended and it’s important to find a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content and trace elements such as iron, zinc and magnesium. 70

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

• Regular watering is vital. Check to make sure your water source is not high in sodium. • Citrus loves sunshine and the more the better. Look for the sunniest spots to plant. Why it’s always better in Texas Most native Texans would attest to the absolute truth in that. But as it relates to citrus, we do have the perfect blend of factors here to create juicy, mouth-watering citrus. Our combination of high humidity, sunlight and heat provide the perfect recipe for growing super sweet, luscious citrus. v John Panzarella recommends specific varieties that are best suited for our area. Satsuma: Owari | Brown Select Mandarin: Seedless Kishu | Page | Fairchild | Clementine Grapefruit: Rio Red | Golden | Bloomsweet | Cocktail Orange: Cara Cara Red Navel | N-33 Navel | Moro Blood Lemon: Meyer Lemon | Lisbon seedless Lime (needs to be grown in a pot because it is not cold hardy): Thornless Key | Persian John Panzarella 979.297.2120 | Johnpanza.googlepages.com urbanhomemagazine.com

Community service

To Infinity and Beyond Volunteers Create Planetarium for Aspiring Student Scientists


Photography courtesy of Paul Bardagjy

hile we tend to think of the end-of-the-year holidays as the season for giving and acts of charity, volunteerism knows no season. Central Texans are known for their generosity of spirit, and many volunteer to work selflessly to improve the quality of life and welfare for others in our community. So when David and Catherine Wilkes of David Wilkes Builders learned of Austin’s non-profit Girlstart program, they eagerly stepped up to help with the non-profit’s studio and mini-planetarium expansion, designed to bring the universe indoors. Girlstart provides a year-round, intensive suite of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education programs for kinder through twelfth grade girls, reaching more than 12,000 girls, teachers and parents annually through after-school and summer programs. Their goal is to encourage girls to continue their studies in these fields in order to help address workforce inequities and impact innovation and economic development worldwide. Astronomy and spacerelated programs have long been at the core of the STEM education program. In previous years, the center utilized a mobile, inflatable dome allowing presenters to bring astronomy to students throughout Central Texas. Unfortunately, weather often presented a problem and the space was cramped. The Wilkes donated their time, providing project supervision and construction management services as well as enlisting their subcontractors to provide their services at cost. The new domed portion of the studio accommodates up to 30 students and provides a permanent space for Girlstart’s space science programs. The new studio also includes a room allowing for educators and students alike to study and participate in science. The special dome proved to be a challenge to construct, requiring precision measurements and numerous cuts. Plywood ribs were cut to build the shape of the dome, with two layers of quarter inch sheetrock and skillful finishing creating a perfectly smooth surface. The white dome now serves as a miniplanetarium where the night sky can be projected. “This was a team collaboration of many generous people who donated their time and resources to put this together,” says David Wilkes. v David Wilkes Builders 512.328.9888 | Davidwilkesbuilders.com Girlstart 512.916.4775 | Girlstart.org


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Creating interiors that are sophisticated, simple, elegant and functional. 12118 Valliant, Suite 100 • San Antonio, Texas 78216

210.408.2870 • www.loricaldwelldesigns.com

Food n Design


Deserving By Mauri Elbel

August E’s

Have you ever had a meal so memorable that it lingered on the palette weeks, months — perhaps years –– after you left the restaurant? The high quality of ingredients, skillfully executed techniques and perfectly paired flavors artfully merge together against a canvas of delightful ambiance and impeccable service. Recollecting that epicurean moment likely evokes mouth-watering nostalgia and subconsciously sets the standard for each subsequent dining experience. And if you’ve ever dined at a DiRōNA (Distinguished Restaurants of North America) restaurant, you’ve likely discovered a similar moment.


ess than 800 restaurants across North America have garnered the award, and you have more fingers on your hand than needed to count those in the area that have earned the distinction — San Antonio’s Bohanan’s Prime Steaks & Seafood, Fig Tree Restaurant and its two Ruth’s Chris Steak House locations, and Fredericksburg’s August E’s. For nearly a quarter century, DiRōNA has defined what it means to be distinguished in the dining community, and the restaurants that have earned the distinction are a true testament to their commitment to quality. DiRōNA was founded in 1990 as a nonprofit organization with a mission of raising dining standards throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Its inspection program is both comprehensive and objective — the anonymous process is conducted by an independently contracted company and overseen by a DiRōNA committee to ensure integrity. Eligible restaurants receive a blind rating based on criteria including quality of physical property, environment and decor, cuisine, beverages and service. But talking with those who have earned the distinction brings with it an understanding that it’s no easy feat. It’s a level of perfection that is close to impossible to achieve — a craft that must be replicated plate after plate, night after night, year after year. 74

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio






Bohanans.com Photography courtesy of BOHANAN’S Prime Steaks & seaFood

“It is a simple concept,” says Mark Bohanan, executive chef/ owner. “We are the best, and we are going to work every day to be the best. We live it, we eat it, we breathe it and we drink it every day.” Take one bite of the tender, treasured Japanese Akaushi beef at Bohanan’s — the only restaurant in the country serving it for three years — and you will believe him. Bohanan credits the award-winning restaurant’s success to his 85 employees who stay true to this concept. “They are the true commodity that we cherish, and we hire them with the notion that our place isn’t for everybody,” he says. “If you don’t want to be the best, if you don’t want to go over the top for the guests and yourself professionally, it won’t work.” And there is a certain level of pride in believing in what you do. In a business that attracts diners from all over the world, Bohanan says there is an expectation that is almost impossible to meet. “But we meet it,” Bohanan says. “We shoot for perfection every single day.” For Bohanan’s, the proof is in the accolades. Since opening its doors a decade ago, Bohanan’s has been DiRōNA rated for the past seven years — only because that in order to qualify for the distinction, a restaurant must be in business under the same ownership and concept for at least three years. On an average night, Bohanan’s serves around 200 guests. And one thing is for certain: whether it’s the lump crabmeat-stuffed jumbo shrimp wrapped in hickory-smoked bacon and broiled to perfection or the chateaubriand for two served with sauce béarnaise, duchesse potatoes, jumbo asparagus and hollandaise sauce, it will be an unforgettable meal. FIG TREE RESTAURANT Figtreerestaurant.com Photography courtesy of FIG TREE RESTAURANT

Fig Tree Restaurant, the culinary gem in the heart of La Villita, has been offering exquisite food and ambiance for more than four decades, but it is still capable of whisking its diners away to another place entirely. “When you are sitting on that patio, you could be anywhere in the world,” says Moe Lazri, president and general manager of Fig Tree, Little Rhein Steak House and Dashiell House. If you don’t believe him, dine on Fig Tree’s outdoor villa-style terrace perched above the San Antonio River and watch as visions of Tuscany or Provence begin to surface. If you’re in need of worldly inspiration, open Fig Tree’s award-winning wine list which features more than 300 selections from just about anywhere — from Chile to New Zealand and France to California. The simple yet elegant vibe continues inside where the cozy house-turned-restaurant provides the perfect creamy linen and urbanhomemagazine.com


fine china backdrop to signature meals such as tournedos rossini with perigourdine sauce. Fig Tree was the first restaurant in San Antonio to earn the DiRōNA distinction in 1998 and has held on tightly to it ever since. “Our standards are the highest — we can not only meet, but we surpass our guests’ expectations in everything,” says Lazri. “Many guests come from the street and don’t expect to see what is out there overlooking the river.” RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE Ruthschris.com Photography courtesy of RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE

As Ruth’s Chris founder, Ruth Fertel used to say: “If you’ve ever had a filet this good, welcome back.” And this motto still holds true today. “The memory of a great meal stays with you long after the table’s been cleared,” says Kathy Glascock, director of public relations. “That is why we use only the freshest and finest ingredients.” At Ruth’s Chris, quality is not a trend — it is their signature. “We credit our success on the commitment of our restaurant to Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Ruth’s Chris North Airport

Ruth’s Chris RIVER WALK

providing a world class dining experience with the finest prime beef to be found,” she says. Ruth’s Chris’ steaks are broiled to perfection at 1800 degrees to lock in the juices and served sizzling on 500-degree plates to keep them hot throughout the entire meal. “Ruth’s Chris Steak House epitomizes fine dining excellence in all aspects of the culinary experience, from the quality of our steaks, to the depth of wine offerings, atmosphere and ambiance, consistent presentation, private dining accommodations and of course world class service,” says Glascock. “As a first-time winner of the DiRōNA, the entire Ruth’s Chris family is extremely proud that both San Antonio restaurants have earned this recognition and plan to maintain it for a very long time.”

August E’s

it is the grilled Diamond H. quail stuffed with wild rice, cranberries and house made sausage topped with au jus or the sashimi salad, each bite tastes authentic — because it is. Executive chef/ co-owner Leu Savanh is Thai, has studied under a Japanese sushi master and only works with sashimi-grade fish, usually flown in from Hawaii and Alaska. While August E’s nouveau Texas cuisine pays respect to classic European prep standards, the kitchen isn’t afraid of adding vibrant twists and borrowing across cultures. “We have six fabulous chefs in the kitchen and they all have such diverse backgrounds — there is such a range of talent,” she says. “Whether a dish may be French, Thai, German or Mexican, we are doing it with complete authenticity.” v

AUGUST E’s August-es.com Photography courtesy of AUGUST E’S

“I think what I love most about August E’s is the fact that we source the best food we possibly can, and do so locally as much as possible, without ever over preparing it,” says Dawn Savanh, co-owner and general manager of August E’s. “With a tiny freezer and a 20-by-20 walk-in, we are really all about bringing freshness to the table,” she says. The only DiRōNA restaurant in Fredericksburg makes everything from scratch, and Savanh can rattle off a list of ingredients for any item on the menu. As someone who has sat on the DiRōNA board herself, Savanh knows what it means to earn the distinction. “DiRōNA evaluators know the difference from a bordelaise, béchamel, or a béarnaise,” she says. “You have someone evaluating you with a skill set that can understand what you are trying to do.” One meal at August E’s and there will be no doubt in your mind that the restaurant is deserving. Whether 76

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

August E’s


We’ve got great glass

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

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Fabulous n Finds


Shops By Julie Catalano

National Museum of the Pacific War

The mcnay

Dallas Museum of Art

The Dali Museum

Graceland Photo By Julie Catalano

Think of them as treasures within a treasure. Museum gift shops have evolved into sparkling collections of their own — fine jewelry, textiles and art books share space with the fun, the funky and the fabulous from regional, national and international artists and artisans. Think beyond the big box stores for the holidays or year round, with gifts galore for birthdays, anniversaries or just because. Here are a few Texas institutions to help you turn shopping into an art form.


The McNay, San Antonio

210.805.1732 | Mcnayart.org Photography courtesy of The McNay Housed in the sleek Stieren Center for Exhibitions, the longtime favorite McNay gift shop has grown into a fullfledged go-to place for selective shoppers. Janet Goddard, manager/buyer, says she looks “for items that reflect the exhibitions, for all budgets and all ages.” For example, the current “Cut! Costume and the Cinema” exhibit — on display until January 19 — is represented in four popular stoneware plates depicting fashion

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

illustrations in a hatbox-style container (Savannah College of Art and Design, $42). Budding fashion designers can cut their teeth on the variety of paper doll kits ($5.95-$8.95). The store also has a handsome collection of art books, note cards, prints, home accessories and an eye-popping way to brighten up a rainy day — the Color Wheel umbrella ($28). For history buffs, a fascinating guide to the museum, including the story of the residence of Marion Koogler McNay that started it all, can be found in the recently published McNay Art Museum: An Introduction ($9.95).

Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin

512.480.9373 Mexic-artemuseum.org Photography courtesy of Mexic-Arte Museum Day of the Dead aficionados need look no further than the store that makes almost every day Dia de los Muertos, with the “best selection available in the fall,” says artist, co-founder and executive director Sylvia Orozco about the huge celebration in Mexico “and now in Austin.” Many items are straight from Mexico — tiles from Dolores, Guanajuato; and clay skulls and boxes from Guerrero. The store is a vibrant, colorful showcase urbanhomemagazine.com

for local aspiring and professional talent. Mix ‘n’ Mash Art Boards in a panoply of styles, media and themes from more than 100 artists are on sale throughout the year ($100-$250), and signature Screen It! products are fresh off the press from the museum’s screen printing program, where young students create their own stencils and a final poster project that integrates text and image. The result is a line of unique T-shirts and produce bags that will have everyone asking “Where did you get that?”

National Museum of the Pacific War, Fredericksburg

830.997.8600 | Pacificwarmuseum.org Photography courtesy of National Museum of the Pacific War

Prince Charles for our upcoming Magna Carta exhibit, he took an Adopt a Dino [toy set] for the infant Prince George.” That’s Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge to the rest of us.

More in Store:

The Art of Shopping Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas 214.922.1256 | Dallasmuseumofart.org Photography courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art As the only museum in the country dedicated exclusively to the history of the Pacific and Asiatic Theaters in World War II, the military-themed gifts here are plentiful. Books range from serious tomes to “Cooking on the Home Front,” featuring 38 recipes from an era when necessity was the mother of invention (eggless, butterless, milkless cake, anyone?). Check out limited edition prints like “Guadalcanal Marine,” each personally signed by Sid Phillips and artist Matt Hall (16” x 22”, $95). Stocking stuffers include coins, medallions, dog tag jewelry, first aid kits, camo briefcase and the U.S. olive drab field blanket (62” x 80”, 70 percent virgin wool, $29.95). In the spring of 2013, The Command Post, the new extension of the store, opened in the historic Nauwald Building next to the Nimitz Hotel on Main Street. “We are trying to move toward more ‘Made in America’ merchandise starting with shirts and hats,” says Brandon Vinyard, director of marketing and public relations.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston

713.639.6445 | Museumstore.hmns.org Photography courtesy of The Houston Museum of Natural Science Touted as one of the top ten most attended museums in the United States, it has a store to match: 7,000 square feet of top-drawer goods like exclusive jewelry lines by Annie Hammer of Phoenix, native Houstonian-turned-New Yorker Assad Mounser, and Jessica Winzelberg of San Francisco. In all, “we have 28 and counting designer jewelry lines including local favorite Rebecca Lankford,” says HMNS museum merchandiser Jennifer King. The McFerrin Collection is another showstopper with more than 350 items from the world’s premiere Faberge collection. Need some fossil mammoth jewelry (and who doesn’t)? You’ll find it here, and tons more. The store also has a royal connection. “When our president Joel Bartsch visited with urbanhomemagazine.com

Find textiles, prints, books, gifts and collectibles, with a beautifully quirky collection of kitchen and tableware, like an Alessi Mediterraneo stainless steel fruit bowl ($170) or a bone china Pantone® Color mug with authentic book swatch attached to the handle ($18).

San Antonio Museum of Art

210.978.8100 | Samuseum.org Photography courtesy of San Antonio Museum of Art

Highlights are outstanding jewelry by Mexican artist Lorena Angulo, unique toys and learning kits, high quality yet affordUrban Home Austin – San Antonio


able posters, past SAMA exhibition catalogues, and gloriously illustrated books representing American, Latin American, Asian, European, Oceanic, Ancient Mediterranean, Contemporary and Islamic art and more.

Dick’s Classic Garage, San Marcos

512.878.2406 | Dicksclassicgarage.com/store Photography courtesy of Dick’s Classic Garage Car buffs will delight in the selection of special edition and limited run Hot Wheels. Remember the Depression-era Kit Kat Clock with the roving eyes and wagging tail that survives to this day? Dick’s is an authorized dealer (4” x 15.5”, black, $54.11).

Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin

512.471.7324 | Blantonmuseum.org Photography courtesy of Blanton Museum of Art Featured are locally handcrafted, eco-friendly items as well as lines from internationally acclaimed designers like Alessi and NAVA. Austin artist Emily Brown blends form and function in pieces from her Rivers and Stones collection ($22-$89).

Titanic Attraction, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Branson, Missouri

800.381.7670 | Titanicbranson.com Photography courtesy of Titanicbranson.com Replicas of 1st Class dinnerware (teapot, $109.00), Rose’s hair comb ($44.99), and Heart of the Ocean jewelry will make sure your love goes on and on. If it needs a push there’s the remote control Titanic, at 1/325 scale of approximately 4” x 32”, lights, propellers, four-channel remote and detailed deck superstructure ($165.99).

Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum, Nashville, Tennessee 615.416.2001 | Store.countrymusichalloffame.com Photography courtesy of Dove Wedding Photography

Got Fans?

Order Collectibles Online The Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida

727.623.4720 | Shop.thedali.org Photography courtesy of The Dali Museum

Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Flatt & Scruggs, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and hundreds more — the gang’s all here in a huge collection of recordings and videos to relive the golden oldies, catch up on the latest artists, or start “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” (Brenda Lee: The Definitive Collection, CD, $14.98).

Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee

Eccentric master and “mad genius” Salvador Dali himself couldn’t have dreamed up a bigger and better store for scads of prints, jewelry, stationery, toys and more melting clocks than you’ll ever see except maybe in your nightmares. Crazy beautiful. 80

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

888.TCB.ELVIS (888.822.3584) | Shopelvis.com The King lives — and he’s on everything from mugs, shirts, duffle bags and keychains to an Elvis Week 2013 Limited Edition Aloha Banner (48” x 120”, $500) celebrating the 40th anniversary of the album “Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii.” This gargantuan, official Elvis site will keep you hopping and bopping for days. Better yet, an electronic gift certificate ($25-$150, good only at shopelvis.com) will have the lucky recipient saying thank you, thank you very much. Elvis, Elvis Presley and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved. v urbanhomemagazine.com

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

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Copenhagen Contemporary Furniture & Accessories www.copenhagenliving.com San Antonio: 210.545.4366 Austin: 512.451.1233


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Dawn Hearn Interior Design www.dawnhearn.com 512.930.0250 Lori Caldwell Designs www.loricaldwelldesigns.com 210.408.2870


Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery www.ferguson.com Austin: 512.445.51540 San Antonio: 210.344.3013 Parrish and Company www.parrishandcompany.com 830.980.9595 San Antonio 512.835.0937 Round Rock


Pearson Landscape Services www.pearsonlandscape.com 512.386.5900


Lights Fantastic www.lightsfantastic.com 512.452.9511


BBQ Outfitters www.bbqoutfitters.com 512.347.1988

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


Jason Roberts & Associates, Inc. www.jasonrobertsphotography.com 210.340.2033


Artesian Pools www.artesianpoolstx.com 210.251.3211


Austin Board of Realtors www.austinhomesearch.com


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



At Dylan Martin Homes, quality construction doesn’t just refer to the finished product, but the process getting there. We pride ourselves on open communication and giving you, the homeowner, all the information and tools to bring you the end result you desire.

CUSTOM HOME RENOVATIONS AND BUILDING DESIGN BUILD SERVICES www.dylanmartinhomes.com | dylan@dylanmartinhomes.com 512.692.9212 O | 512.350.1088 C