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Designs | Lifestyles | Investments | Improvements

Architectural Details Color in Design Texas Spirits and Pies

From the Editors

As the weather finally begins to cool off just a bit, we begin to focus on a new season. Fall, the time of harvest, is also a time to stop, look back, and remember to be thankful for our blessings. Unfortunately, many in Central Texas have experienced terrible tragedy in the last year. The wildfires of this area have left many of our friends, neighbors and loved ones suffering the loss of their homes and possessions. Our hearts go out to everyone who has been impacted during this very difficult time. In this issue of Urban Home, we take a look at four very unique homes. From a modern, rural oasis made from a combination of steel, concrete and glass, to an 1800’s home which has been expanded without losing the perspective of the original German farmhouse of yesteryear. In addition, we visit a home built with the design aesthetic of an English cottage; as warm and inviting as it is charming. Finally, as the saying goes, “the best things come in small packages,” we feature a light, bright contemporary home that is the perfect example of design efficiency. With our focus on design in this issue, we look into the colors of nature and how they impact the look of our homes, as well as the emotions they evoke within us. Come as we explore the inspirations of Mother Earth and her colorful influence upon design. A design dilemma that many of us face is the home office. How do we produce a space that is not only functional, but visually appealing? Get tips from several design professionals on how to best create a space that will inspire you for success. While distilling liquor may not be new to the Lone Star state, it is rather recent that it could be done legally! So join us as we toast one of Texas’ newest and hippest industries. Texas distillers are making their mark on this age old industry with award-winning, artisan spirits. Allow us to introduce you to some of Texas’ best newcomers in one of its oldest trades. As the holidays approach, we all begin to think about our celebratory menus. What holiday table is complete without a scrumptious pie? Look inside to find ideas, tips and recipes from some of the most beloved pie-makers in Central Texas. We at Urban Home wish you a wonderful fall season in our lovely Central Texas. Trisha Doucette & Leslie Woods, editors

Please be encouraged to recycle. P.S. Find us on Facebook at Urban Home Magazine: Austin – San Antonio.

On The Cover: The combination of steel, concrete, glass, wood and surrounding landscape blend together to create this contemporary Hill Country oasis built by Grady Burnett of Grady Burnett Builders and designed by Patrick Tighe of Patrick Tighe Architecture. Photo by Art Gray. Page 16. Scan to view more features of this home.


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

2011 | VOL. 6 | NO. 5 Publisher Louis Doucette Editors Leslie Woods and Trisha Doucette Contributing Editors Judith Bundschuh – ABOR Catrina Hoelke - Catrina’s at the Ranch & La Catrina Kyle Jones – NARI Austin Keith Moehle – San Antonio NARI Karen Matuszewski – By Design, Real Estate Services & Custom Home Consulting Contributing Writers Claudia Alarcon, Nancy Atkinson, Sharla Bell, Jessica Dupuy, Mauri Elbel, Manuel Flores, Sue-Ella Mueller, Dana W. Todd Advertising Sales Sandy Weatherford Photography David Bogle – syncro architecture studio Allison Cartwright – Twist Tours Casey Dunn Manuel Flores Art Gray Greg Hursley 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 Website 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 2011 by Urban Home Magazine. All Rights Reserved.


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

2011 October/November


cover 16 Modern, Rural Oasis Photography by Art Gray and Allison Cartwright/Twist Tours

featured homes


24 In With The Old, In With The New Photography by Greg Hursley 32 A Study In Efficiency Photography by David Bogle 38 The Best Things Come To Those Who Wait‌ Photography by Casey Dunn

trends 48 Design Guided By Nature 60 Organization At Home In The Office 66 Garden How Dry I Am 74 Entertaining Pie Heaven



highlights 44 Community Service: Urban Home Dream Home 64 Shedding New Light On Outdoor Landscaping 70 A Conversation With Thom Filicia

departments fabulous finds 78 Central Texas Spirits essentials 46 New Products: Great Design



31 42 47 81

contributing editors Kyle Jones, NARI Austin & Keith Moehle, San Antonio NARI Karen Matuszewski , By Design Custom Home Consulting Catrina Hoelke - Catrina’s at the Ranch & La Catrina Judith Bundschuh, ABOR

82 Advertiser Index



Modern, Rural Oasis

t first glance, the dynamic, swooping roof that overhangs the back of the house

in Wimberley is so eye-catching, so very appealing, that one could miss the raw beauty of the rest of the house. With its asymmetric shape, cantilevered beams, and “steel pipe columns that splay at unsuspecting angles, dancing across the rugged landscape of

By Sharla Bell Photography by art gray and Allison Cartwright/Twist Tours

the Hill Country,” the roof garners much attention, reasons architect Patrick Tighe, of Patrick Tighe Architecture. But for all of the notice given the roof, builder Grady Burnette of Grady Burnette Builders, believes that it is the very nature of the structure that makes this home so unique from a design perspective. “The living wing of the home is basically a structure of steel and concrete with glass filling in the voids,” explains Burnette. It is this combination of materials, steel, concrete, glass and wood, as well as the home’s interaction with the landscape that lend it the distinct feel of a modern, rural oasis. Photos by Allison Cartwright/Twist Tours


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



he home is situated in the center of fourteen acres, at the brow of a sloping, arcing piece of land. “Because the home is nestled into the landscape, a strong relationship between the indoors and outdoors is created,” adds Tighe. Upon initial inspection of the property, the homeowner found a site that would allow for constant interaction with the scenery, and as Burnette explains, “the house was built to capture this expansive view.” Once the site was chosen, the homeowner had very specific desires for his home. The goal was to design a home with “a contemporary but warm feel that reflected the local vernacular of the Hill Country.” This meant using natural materials like limestone directly from the site for the fireplace, and cedar, a prevalent Texas Hill Country wood, for the ceiling. “Concrete, steel, glass and wood combine to create the palette of natural materials,” adds Tighe. Another important element of design according to Tighe can be found in the way the house moves from “a very low, grounded structure at the front of the site to an almost ethereal, soaring structure as one progresses toward the back of the house on the western horizon.” From the front, one sees the heavier, stucco exterior and concrete interior of the home. It feels solid, as if the home is weighted to the earth by these materials, which is important given that the western façade of the house is almost entirely glass. With the light, airy feel of the glass and the roof that seems to ascend to the heavens, the home needs this strong anchor. Creating the exposed concrete walls and columns posed a challenge for Burnette. “The design criteria called for a horizontal extrusion of concrete between the form boards, while assuring there would be no ‘honeycombing’ (voids in concrete caused by the mortar not filling the spaces between the coarse aggregate particles) of the surrounding surface.” It is this difficult process that creates the look of stonework; when in fact, they are “monolithically poured concrete walls.” It is careful details such as this that give the home its unique character.

Left: Photo by Art Gray Right: Photos by Allison Cartwright/Twist Tours

The minimalist palette in the home allows for the homeowner’s art collection to take center stage. Similarly, the expanse of glass in the home frames the landscape outside into living art. According to Burnette, three different types of windows were installed in the home, all used for varying, specific purposes. Primarily in the guest wing of the home, residential-style, pre-fabricated, framed units were utilized. Moving into the living areas, “custom-sized, aluminum-framed units, most commonly seen in commercial storefronts were used to enclose larger openings, providing for framed, local views of the landscape,” adds Burnette. Finally, glazed glass units were used between steel structures along the sloping side of the property. “These units are frameless and allow for a more visually open application.” Tighe agrees that “the house literally opens up to the outdoors with walls of glass that slide open, blurring the distinction between the interior and exterior, and making the house very transparent, open to the site and the views.” Standing inside the house, one has a 270° panoramic view. Which brings us back to the roof. Because the huge glass walls face west, the roof is more than just stunning, it is quite practical, shielding the interior of the home from the harsh, setting, Texas sun, and allowing the home’s occupants to enjoy the scenery. In order to take advantage of the fantastic views through all of that glass, the main living areas: the kitchen, dining room, living room, den and even the master suite, are all situated on the western glass wall. According to Tighe, “the open plan makes the modest home seem quite spacious, and the fireplace truly the center of the home.” Located between the living room and den/master suite area, a beautiful limestone fireplace spans the floor to ceiling, both dividing the space into usable rooms, but also uniting the entire living area with its rustic, natural charm.

Photos by Allison Cartwright/Twist Tours


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

Special Pricing for ASID and AIA Members

F I N E S T O N E G A L L E RY. C O M 210-889-4809

natural stone, nature’s art . . . . like you’ve never seen before




Patrick Tighe Architecture 310.450.8823


Resources Grady Burnette Builders 512.847.9040


When asked about his favorite elements of the project, Burnette agrees that the stone work at the fireplace is quite striking, but he insists that it is also the “roof beams and vertical steel columns that some people have likened to spider legs that make this house so visually interesting.” And this writer agrees. The image of that gorgeous roof climbing into the horizon at sunset makes this house known as Skyline truly live up to its name. v




Left: Photo by Art Gray Top and above: Photos by Allison Cartwright/Twist Tours

In With the Old,

In With

the New By Sue-Ella Mueller

Photography by Greg Hursley

When architect Rick Burleson was hired to design an addition to an old homestead that happened to have a century-old cistern right in the middle of where the new construction was destined to begin, the logical choice would have been to tear the cistern down. But when you mix a client’s passion for history with the creative minds of the Burleson Design Group, logic just doesn’t stand a chance.

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio




rchitecturally speaking, it isn’t always easy to effectively mix the old with the new without the end re-

sult coming off as a bit eclectic in design. So when friends of Burleson purchased a circa 1880s home in historic Fredericksburg, they knew Burleson, who has successfully taken on many projects in the area, was the right man for the renovation job.

“I was enamored by the old construction of the homestead. The two-story home was classic German architecture with thick walls and very small rooms. The challenge was how to utilize it and make it accommodating for the lifestyle spaces we like to live in today. Our great room is a lot bigger than the parlors of 1880,” says Burleson. “We wanted to use the old house, but needed to figure out how to create the openness we needed. It was a compelling challenge.”

The design breakthrough came with the decision to build a new entry. The old construction would remain; however, it would serve only as the ancillary portion of the home accommodating guest bedrooms and facilities. The new construction would offer the homeowners an opportunity for a more welcoming entry.


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


The only problem?

The cistern was in the way.

“It had a stone and plaster base, and a cypress tank on top with a metal roof. It was also covered in several coats of paint. Inside, it wasn’t much better. We spoke to one of the relatives of the people who used to live in the house and she remembers her grandmother using the lower part as a smoke house. It was pretty dirty,” says Burleson. Burleson and the clients talked about tearing it down, but he says that through a series of many conversations and really getting to know the clients’ interests, the idea of what to do with the cistern came as an evolution. “We were all sitting around together talking about how the clients are wine connoisseurs, when it just dawned on us that the cistern could be a centerpiece of the home and act as a wine cave,” Burleson says. “I knew once we sand blasted it, the original cypress would be exposed. I really wasn’t surprised that it cleaned up so nicely. When you have stone and wood, all you have to do is clean it up.” With the cistern decision made and another decision to encapsulate the nearby hand dug well with a glass plate in the home’s floor, the construction began to pick up momentum. In staying connected with the history of the home, Burleson employed many of the original building techniques. “I really learned a lot from the people living in Fredericksburg. I spoke with a local mason who just happened to know a great deal about how things were done a hundred years ago. Because he so willingly shared his knowledge, we were able to emulate the way they did old stone work both inside and out; for instance, the bottom stones are bigger than the top stones,” he says. But Burleson did not opt for everything old. He worked hard to add an element of green building to the architecture, using reclaimed, long leaf pine floors and insulated 12 feet by 4 feet polystyrene panels with steel studs embedded for stability. In addition, he incorporated features such as windows on both sides of the great room and dining area to facilitate natural ventilation, and built broader overhangs to shade the home’s walls. Despite using new, green building materials and ideas, Burleson feels he was still able to maintain the integrity of the original homestead. “I’m very happy with the overall masking with the house. Our goal was to keep the two story element recognizable and make sure it didn’t get lost in the addition,” he says. “From the street, the first thing you see is the old element. We added 3,000 square feet of new house, but I think it still looks like it could have been built originally.” And he’s right. Because if you squint hard enough and use a little imagination, you can almost see a weathered, old farmer’s wife, in her apron and bonnet, rocking back and forth on the front porch waving to you to come right in and take a gander at her new parlor. v Resource Burleson Design Group 512.824.1308

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abinets keep our lives uncluttered and organized, presenting an attractive, ordered face to the chaos they hide and are usually one of the largest shares of the budget in both a renovation or new construction. Cabinet style sets the tone of the overall interior design; defining modern vs. traditional. Understanding cabinetry characteristics is crucial when planning home upgrades. Cabinets come in two flavors: frameless and face-frame. Both are constructed as boxes with an open Kyle Jones, front upon which a door is attached. In the case of a frameless cabinet, President, Austin NARI this front is simply left as the edge of the box. With face-frame cabinets, the front edge of the box is fit with a frame around the opening. This frame provides extra sturdiness to the box but limits the amount of useable space behind it. Frameless cabinets are now becoming the new standard. With the advent of plywood and other man-made panels, and advanced Keith Moehle, President, hardware, frameless cabinets can do NARI San Antonio away with the structural support of the face-frame. Concealed hinges allow doors to open from a fulcrum within the cabinet, so that there is no trace of the hinge on the outside. However, all these cutting edge improvements do not suggest that frameless cabinets need be modern in appearance; the front panel of the door can be made to reflect any traditional style while being functionally contemporary. The importance of cabinet hardware is often underestimated. Cabinet hardware essentials such as drawer glides, concealed hinges, pullouts, trash drawers and pantry racks are all crucial to a well-designed kitchen or bath. The smart use of finish hardware contributes greatly to the final appearance and functionality of the cabinets. Finally, design decisions such as using stained wood vs. painted, clear glass fronts vs. opaque, the use of open shelves vs. closed and the use of moldings for affect are all important to a well-appointed home. Cabinets should also be designed to coordinate with other design elements like lighting, countertops, backsplashes and adjacent wood trim to ensure an integrated and beautiful interior. Skillfully done, cabinets realize that perfect blend of beauty and utility. v


hen a client approached Architect David Bogle, R.A., AIA of Syncro Architecture Studio to build her house on a small 50 x 125 foot corner lot, she had four main design considerations: simplicity, security, efficiency and openness. The homeowner had lived in Chicago, which solidified her love for architecture and her idea to build simply and efficiently in a contemporary style, while at the same time providing a comfortable, homey environment. But because of the size and location of the property, some of these requirements posed a small challenge. “The homeowner had clear goals and a good sense of what she liked, which pointed to an investigative design process,” says Bogle, who worked closely with the homeowner to achieve the home of her dreams. The home is centrally-located, close to Downtown and within walking distance of shopping, restaurants, museums and public transportation, in a neighborhood that is going through a transition period. “San Antonio has much potential for greatness in urban renewal,” says Bogle. “It is a sleeper when it comes to architecture. This neighborhood is a great example.” The homeowner, who was going through a transition period in her life when the house was completed, has found a place to settle down in this eclectic, close-knit community.

A Study in

Efficiency By Claudia Alarcon Photography by David Bogle syncro architecture studio

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Inside, the house is an example of excellent use of natural light. Because the homeowner desired privacy, Bogle used clerestory windows (pronounced “clear story”), a band of narrow windows along the very top of a high wall. These windows serve the dual purpose of creating a sense of security - avoiding windows at eye level - while allowing light into the house. At the same time, they create more wall space for built-in features like a fireplace with banquette and inset niches for the homeowner’s art collection. Because a corner lot meant more street exposure, Bogle maintained the privacy aspect by creating “outdoor rooms” surrounded by walls or barriers wherever eye-level windows were needed. “Instead of looking at the street or at neighboring windows, I look outside to my courtyard or green garden spaces,” says the homeowner, who is an avid gardener. Keeping with the homeowner’s sense of simplicity, the walls and ceiling are painted gray-white, which the homeowner describes as “a canvas in which I can create my own comfortable, colorful environment.” Using touches of bright colors in the furniture, accents on shelving, and countertops, she achieves a playful feel while retaining an understated, unpretentious elegance. As the light changes throughout the day, so do the wall tones, creating a different atmosphere as the day progresses. With the exception of the foyer floor, which is tiled in a combination of blue slate and custom-made tire track ceramic tiles, most of the floors are light-colored hardwoods; the bedrooms have white carpet, and the bathrooms have white tile. These highly reflective surfaces maximize natural light, and the low-energy fluorescent light fixtures, which use only 17% of the energy of regular incandescent bulbs, create a balance between good lighting and efficiency. Because the space is small, only 1,800 square feet, the open plan and strategic lighting make the rooms feel larger. The body of the home is an open space that comprises the living room, dining room and kitchen. For extra privacy, the master and guest bedrooms sit at opposite ends of the home. “Because no matter what size the home is or how comfortable, everyone always ends up in the kitchen,” says the homeowner, who loves to entertain friends and visiting family. “I wanted the kitchen to be the center of the home, and I wanted it to be ample and open so that when people come they are not in the way as I am trying to cook,” she says.

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Bogle and the homeowner tackled efficiency, not only from an energy point of view but also for everyday living. To make the home extremely energy-efficient, its design included every available innovation that was within the budget. Bogle focused on making the envelope, roof and façades of the house very tight and well-insulated with highly reflective surfaces covered in light-colored stucco. They had initially designed the home to be built with autoclaved aerated concrete masonry, but to use this insulating type of masonry needed for energy efficiency would have exceeded the budget. Instead, they chose a conventional 2 x 6 wood frame and a stucco façade with cellulose insulation, respecting the contemporary, geometric design. In this climate, an attic is a big heat trap and energy inefficient so Bogle designed this house with no attic, and the standing-seam galvalume metal roof has a low 3/12 pitch with large overhangs to shade the double pane, low-emissivity glass windows. On the east and west sides of the structure, Bogle designed perforated stainless steel window shades for added shade and reflectivity. Environmental sustainability was a great concern as well, so all kitchen and laundry appliances are ENERGY STAR ® certified for efficiency, all bathroom and kitchen fixtures are low-flow, and the garage is detached from the house to preserve air quality. “To me, the biggest compliment people pay me is when they tell me how comfortable they feel,” says the homeowner. “People come and they relax and linger. The home has a calming effect and offers a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of big city living.” v Resource Syncro Architecture Studio 210.733.3845 36

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

We’ve got great glass 512-388-9400

1609 Chisholm Trail #100, Round Rock • 8313 Hwy 71 W., Oak Hill

The Best Things

Come To Those Who Wait… Or at least that certainly seems to be true in the case of this splendid English-inspired cottage. The homeowners waited twenty years to build their dream home, and with twenty years worth of ideas and plans and hopes, the outcome could be nothing less than perfection. By Sharla Bell Photography by Casey Dunn


fter raising their family on the property adjacent to this new home, the homeowners sought to downsize into a house truly built for empty nesters. They enjoy England and Scotland, and thus, desired a home that reflected the feel of an Old English country cottage. Working with a carefully selected team of professionals, including Don Crowell of Don Crowell Builders, Paul Lamb of Paul Lamb Architects and Fern Santini of Abode, they situated the house in a secluded corner of the new property, where foliage abounds, and where it wouldn’t easily be seen from the street. Crowell explains that from the beginning, “the project was a great collaborative effort--from the creative design, to the material choices, and the intricate details—the entire project was very process oriented.” Crowell credits Lamb’s “masterful scaling” of the rooms for the natural flow from large spaces like the great room to intimate spaces like the library, and Santini’s selection of fabric textures and earthy materials for the home’s intimate and warm environment. Crowell also believes it is the “Old World musculature” of the home that makes it distinctive. For the exterior of the home, the team was able to find a creamy, gray black lueders limestone that resembles the weathered gray stone of many English country houses, and coupled with the Vermont slate used for the roofing and dormers, makes for the perfect cottage façade. Hope’s steel windows and doors are used throughout, and Crowell explains that “because there is more glass than structure in these windows, they allow for the interior to feel more open and for light to infuse the space.” The design of the home definitely mirrors the needs of a couple. The living, dining, laundry, kitchen, breakfast, library and master suite are all downstairs. Crowell describes these living spaces as “a perfect blending of volumes,” meaning that a large space like the great room leads effortlessly into a small, cozy breakfast area. According to Crowell, “the materials used for construction and interior furnishings are the best of the best. Everything is inviting, warm and comfortable.” With reclaimed oak floors throughout, huge fir beams in the gorgeous great room ceiling, massive stone arches connecting both large and small spaces, and intricately carved white oak filigree adorning the television niche, the living areas are a feast of detail for the homeowners’ eyes. Handmade

limestone sconces are positioned throughout the great room, each distinct as only handmade works of art can be, and cast a luminescent glow on the masterful masonry work. In the kitchen, a block of native mesquite sits atop the island, and a most unique chandelier, which incorporates both antique lanterns and low voltage task lights into one magnificent and all-purpose fixture, suspends from the high-pitched ceiling above. Once upstairs, one feels as if he has truly stepped into the finished attic of an Old English country house. The pitched ceiling echoes the pitch of the roof above, and the bench seats along the outer wall of the second floor can actually function as hideaway beds for visiting grandchildren. The two bedrooms and hall upstairs have wainscoting on the walls, adding to the English charm. When asked what he most liked about this project, Crowell talked about the house’s character: “Each room has a different light and a different mood and the home feels like one that is enjoyed and lived in.” And even after twenty years, what more could one ask for? v

Resources Don Crowell Builders 512.328.9974 Paul Lamb Architects 512.478.7316 Fern Santini, Abode 512.300.2303 Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Windows for the Dream Home are provided by

Photograph by Coles Hairston

J a m e s D. L a R u e

www.lar austin, texas 512-347-1688

James D. LaRue Photograph by Charles Davis Smith



www.lar austin, texas 512-347-1688


Will the REAL price per square foot

please stand up! By Karen Matuszewski, By Design – Custom Home Consulting


ow much does that builder charge per square foot? Seemingly a straightforward question, the answer is anything but simple. Let’s look at some of the determining factors going into price per square foot ($/sf ). Price per square foot should equal the price of the house divided by the square footage of the house, right? Well, the basic rule of $/sf is the more you can build on top of the same slab and underneath the same roof, the more economic your cost will be. That is why two-story homes are less in $/sf than a single-story home. A home that is more of a square (without a lot of wings and levels) is also less expensive. A 4,000 square foot home will have a lower $/sf than a 3,000 square foot home because you have more square feet to spread out the cost of the most expensive rooms in the house like the kitchen and the master bathroom. Additionally, does the square footage include only the “heated and cooled” spaces or are outdoor living spaces such as a lanai, outdoor kitchen or even the garage included? Real estate agents, appraisers and lenders focus on the amount of square footage that is “heated & cooled.” For example, while reviewing builder pricing for a client’s new home, the price for the 4,000 square feet of “heated & cooled” space was $246/sf, but the price for all 6,000 square feet of covered area (area on top of the slab and underneath the roof ) was $164/sf. The covered area included the 3-car garage, the breezeway, the front and back outdoor living areas, the outdoor kitchen and the front porch. All of these covered, non-heated or cooled areas were very important parts of what made this home special for these clients because their new home has panoramic views of Lake Travis. Other factors contribute to the price per square foot. Is the lot flat or sloped (remember our discussion in the August/September issue of Urban Home about “lot cost vs. lot price”)? In addition, the level of finish out selected can substantially change the price per square foot. Is the kitchen full of Viking®, Wolf and SubZero appliances, or are KitchenAid®, Thermador® or GE more your style? While there are many other considerations when determining the price per square foot of a home, these are some of the biggest and most common. So you see, while asking a builder what their price per square foot charge is might seem simple, it really is quite complicated, and can vary widely from home to home. v

Have a question about the custom home process that YOU would like answered? Send it to me at and you might find the next Custom Home Advice column written especially for you!

J a m e s D. L a R u e Photograph by Coles Hairston


www.lar austin, texas 512-347-1688



Samples of eco-friendly products under consideration by Laura Burton Interiors.


2 3







The Dream Home can be yours and is now up for sale. The earlier you buy, the more input you can have on installed features. Call real estate agent Karen Matuszewski at 512.917.2653 for details.

Dream Home

By Dana W. Todd


Intentionally Eco-friendly

he design process is complete and construction begun on the first ever Urban Home Dream Home. The homeowner who moves in will benefit from more than just a beautifully designed, spacious home. The Dream Home is being built by New Urban Home Builders as one of the most ecologically-friendly homes on the local market. Every construction detail, appliance, material and mechanical system is being given meticulous attention by a team of professionals experienced in sustainable practices.

Design & Products

Laura Burton of Laura Burton Interiors, designer of the Dream Home’s interior spaces, is ensuring material and product selections are durable, sustainable, and energy efficient – all key elements in a “green” design. “We are using durable flooring, mostly engineered wood and tile; low VOC [volatile organic compound] paint; low-flow toilets; ENERGY STAR®-compliant lighting and appliances; and earth-friendly wall coverings made from natural components and water-based inks,” says Burton. Lighting Inc. will supply all the energy-efficient fixtures, providing as much LED recessed lighting throughout the home as possible. “LED doesn’t add heat to the space like halogen might, and it is dimmable to provide control,” says Scott Bailey of Lighting Inc. “The bulbs themselves will last 15 to 20 years before 44

1. One of the green countertop options from the Eco Silestone collection. 2. Warm gray neutral for interior walls and exterior accents, from Benjamin Moore®. 3. Eco-friendly accent wall covering from Innovations. 4. Fresh neutral Benjamin Moore color for exterior walls. 5. Glass mosaic tile from Interceramic adds interest to bathroom walls. 6. Neutral white oak serves as warm, durable, and sustainable flooring. 7. Rich accent wall color from Benjamin Moore. 8. Eco-friendly Grasscloth as subtle wall texture from ABA Austin wall coverings.

as someone walks into a room and off again when he leaves, for example, to save as much energy as possible. “Increased energy awareness through a system such as this means less energy used. Its programmable functionality automates the home. It’s the way houses should be built today,” Branc continues. In addition to the Energy Management System, the design team is considering: the lot location’s prevailing winds and solar orientation, adding proper flashing and drainage to allow the home to stay dry, installing large overhangs for greater sun tolerance, using foam insulation, installing a high-efficiency hot water heating system, and adding a long-lasting and durable metal standing seam roof to create a complete energy efficient package. Andersen Windows is contributing its Eagle® line of windows for the home. Eagle windows use wood harvested from managed forests, water-based finishes, recycled aluminum cladding and recycled glass. “We are creating a high efficiency structure and environment, and the homeowner can choose the level he wishes to take it to,” Branc says. “The house design is flexible, and that applies to its ‘green’ features, too.” v

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

they need replacement, and the color output at 2700 kelvins is beautiful for interior spaces.” Another area of focus for sustainable sources is storage. California Closets will install two of its product lines throughout the home – Lago® and SkyBlend® – which are both environmentally friendly. “Lago provides storage options in Italian-inspired finishes and showcases a contemporary color palette. Since the materials were created and designed in Europe, the product line conforms to the stricter E-1 standards,” says Jill Siegel of California Closets. “SkyBlend is made from the most pure materials using sustainable and recycled wood, and no formaldehyde,” she continues.

Structure & Mechanical Systems

Scott Branc of New Urban Home Builders is the contractor in charge of building the Dream Home. His company has a reputation for building sustainable homes. “Of course we are building the Dream Home based on Austin Energy green building standards. But we are intentionally designing and building a high-performance home. The key feature is an Energy Monitoring and Management System, which monitors, records and controls all utility usage so the new homeowner will know how to budget usage for maximum efficiency,” says Branc. The homeowner can set the Energy System to interact with his or her family’s lifestyle, turning on lights

Above, left: California Closet’s exclusive Lago® and SkyBlend® finishes are CARB (California Air Resources Board) compliant and meet the standard for clean and safe wood. Above, right: Eagle Window & Door, an Andersen Window & Door company, manufactures a complete line of high-quality aluminumclad windows and doors using 50 colors, 11 interior finishes and 9 wood species - plus divided lights, between-glass blinds and shades, trim and finishing details, and beautiful glass selections.

Project Partners Andersen Windows - Bob Garcia 210.218.5991 California Closets - Jill Siegel San Antonio: 210.829.1991 Austin: 512.441.6061 Laura Burton Interiors 512.322.9888 Lighting Inc. - Scott Bailey 512.491.6444 Living In Place™ - Lynne Wilkinson 512.658.8166

“We are creating a high efficiency structure and environment, and the homeowner can choose the level he wishes to take it. The house design is flexible, and that applies to its ‘green’ features, too.”

Scott Branc, New Urban Home Builders

Meet the Dream Team Karen Matuszewski – Project Coordinator As a custom home consultant, Matuszewski put together the team that will design, build and sell the house. She is a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) certified green professional and certified new home sales professional, and co-chairs both the HBA Benefit Home project and the 2012 HBA Tour of Homes. Scott Branc – Home Builder Branc is the founder of New Urban Home Builders, a company focused on building small to mid-sized highly detailed homes loaded with innovative products and constructed to meet or exceed Green Built and Energy Star standards. He is a NAHB certified graduate builder, certified green professional, master certified green professional, and co-chairs the HBA 2012 Tour of Homes. James LaRue – Project Architect LaRue founded James D. LaRue Architects in Austin, an awardwinning residential architecture firm with a design-intensive environment. The firm’s most recent awards include selection on the 2010 Austin AIA Homes Tour and 2009 Home Builders Association best one-of-a-kind design. Rough Hollow Lakeway – Development Rough Hollow Lakeway is an evolving waterfront community with limestone cliffs and spectacular Lake Travis views. The options are endless with the ability to purchase custom home sites, Yacht Club Villas, custom homes and semi-custom homes. With the marina, the yacht club, air park, restaurants, the waterthemed Highland Village and Country Club amenities, Rough Hollow offers a lifestyle and a place you will never want to leave. BBVA Compass Bank – Project Funding BBVA Compass Bank ranks among the top 20 largest U.S. commercial banks and has operations throughout the Sunbelt region. Mortgage Banking Officer Cindy Tuttle specializes in new home construction lending. Austin - San Antonio Urban Home Magazine – Project Media Partner

Urban Home magazine is a bi-monthly, upscale home lifestyle publication that has been published in the Austin market for over 5 years. Its content focuses on local architects and builders, home related products and services, and is presented to readers in a very engaging editorial format. v Urban Home Austin – San Antonio



new products


Great design

Hill Country Contemporary By Catrina Hoelke, Catrina’s at the Ranch

1. The Evento slipcover by Arte Pura is made in Italy and consists of two layers of puckered, stretchy linen with batting inside and an adjustable skirt. Available in 32 luscious colors, it comes packed in a puckered bag that can be used for a laptop case because of the padding. Fits most side chairs. Beadboard UpCountry. 979.830.8788, 2. “The Way Home: Reflections on American Beauty,” by Jeffrey Bilhuber, photographs by William Abranowicz, takes an intimate look at twelve recent projects that embrace tradition while seamlessly accommodating the way we live today. Each chapter is devoted to a single project and includes the dreams and goals presented by the clients, and Bilhuber’s approach to creating the perfect home for each. This work will prove inspirational to anyone looking to create a home as deeply personal as it is practical. Rizzoli New York.



3. Iconic fashion house Missoni has brought their rich textures and patterns to their home collection, which offers several different woven throws in a variety of colors to complement any decor. Threshold Furniture & Design. 512.476.0014,



4. Bergamot Vert is an invigorating collection that evokes the uplifting aroma of fresh Bergamot after a summer downpour in the Mediterranean. A bright, luminous scent, Bergamot Vert blends essential oils with luscious notes of sun-drenched citrus, crisp balsamic cypress, light jasmine and a whisper of musk. Available at Sloan/Hall. San Antonio: 210.828.7738, Houston: 713.942.0202, 5. Atlas Homewares’ Tangeres exotic decorative hardware collection is distinguished by rich jewel tones and an earthy silver overlay. Available in five sparkling jewel tones — ruby, crystal, emerald, sapphire and clear. Atlas Homewares. 1.800.799.6755, 6. Vervano’s Oliver Ottoman by Laura Britt Design is ready to work for the whole family. The cushioned, softclose, hinged top provides extra seating, a handsome footrest, and storage for almost any room. Vervano. 512.458.8963, 7. B.Viz Design creates one-of-a-kind custom pillows utilizing antique textiles. Shown is an antique gold metallic appliqué of a harp in a neoclassical wreath on pale French blue velvet, and hand-trimmed with antique gold metallic cording. All materials are found in France. B.Viz Design. Available at Watkins-Culver Antiques. Design. 713.529.0597,


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio






ontemporary design, with straight lines and stainless steel trim, has always left me a little cold. However, builders in our area are creating beautiful, new contemporary Hill Country homes, so I have decided to jump on the band wagon, but with the “Catrina perspective!” My inspiration is an Italian furniture line I discovered on a recent trip to market. The line includes wooden bars, credenzas, desks and tables, all trimmed in stainless steel. However, this furniture has warm, exotic woods laid out in striking, diagonal patterns. It is the perfect balance of contemporary and warm and inviting. I have taken this concept of Hill Country contemporary a step further with traditional western, ranch-style furnishings as well. Natural elements are the key. I created a perfect example in modern, bleached, woodframed chairs upholstered in Charolais cowhides ranging from off-white to golden tan. What a wonderful compliment to a Hill Country home. One concept of contemporary design that I have come to appreciate is the concept of “less is more,” especially as it is reflected in accessories. Accessorizing has become easier because the trend is larger and less. Instead of grouping artwork, one big piece adds wonderful drama; instead of a cluster of pots, one big pot. Less clutter creates a more unified and peaceful space. Paint is another means of making a room more current. Choose your paint wisely and you can achieve stunning results by using a darker shade or a different accent color in a ceiling tray or a niché to create just the splash of color that is needed. Another area where the “less is more” perspective applies is faux painting. Many designers are leaning towards “features” instead of all-over faux. However, murals and frescos are definitely still great design, and San Antonio Murals’ Lisa Rodriguez Moon is top of the line. She specializes in elegant murals and sophisticated, unique finishes creating spaces that are distinctive and inspiring. “La Catrina”, my new store, will be home to the new contemporary line. Of course, Mediterranean and Spanishinfluenced pieces will always be part of the “Catrina perspective.” However, I am very excited about the opportunity to explore new design possibilities, and this is the year that I climb outside of the box. It is my mission to create warm and inviting contemporary design without the industrial feel! v

Design n Trends

Guided By Nature


custom homes • lofts • spec homes • commercial

The Sherwin-Williams 2012 Color Forecast embraces the sustainable

landscape — which has become an enduring influence on all aspects of decor and design. Whether drawn to the intensity of red or to the balance neutrals offer, homeowners can experiment with the colors they love and find a natural complement within the same color family.

Five local designers take inspiration from Mother Earth and explain how the colors of nature are used to create impact and balance in a living space. Red The bold and free-spirited color of love, fire and the earth’s molten core. It stirs raw emotions ranging from the deepest passion to the softest femininity.

Blue Functional and treasured blues, from the cooling and essential commodity of clean water, to the rugged, iconic denim of the American worker.

Green Lush, moody and complex, in honor of our sustainable lifestyle.

Neutrals Raw materials and textural elements, such as linen, unfired porcelain and mixed woods, provide subtle tonal variations. Continued on page 50

Stephanie J. Villavicencio, ASID Texas Registered Interior Designer 48

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


brilliant flowers, sunsets, a glowing ember, and the colors of fire and passion

Jackie Depew

Depew Design Interiors

Photo courtesy of Depew Design Interiors


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


When Jackie Depew of Depew Design Interiors first entered this dining room, she was drawn to the large, west-facing, picture window and instantly knew the homeowners would be enjoying dinner while watching the beautiful sunset. These colors were her inspiration, and they set the tone for the rest of the home. Always drawn to the colors of nature, Depew chooses colors that coordinate with the landscape of each particular home. In addition, she says, “I try to use three dominant colors and repeat them from room to room in different variations. You need more than one color in a room to define furniture, walls, floors, and it is this layering of a variety of colors that is important for flow throughout a home. Never forget that neutrals, such as black and white, are colors and have a place in every color scheme.” She says this prominent wall color was introduced in other rooms as art, pillows, towels, accessories, and even the granite kitchen countertop. Depew also believes that matching shapes is more important than matching patterns. “If a circle design is in a prominent piece, follow that pattern throughout a room in arched windows, doors and furniture.”

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


clear water, faded American denim, rivers, lakes and seas, and crisp blue skies

Philippe Ho Studio8Design

Photo courtesy of Studio8Design


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


An impressive view of an outdoor pool surrounded by oak trees and other varietal plants native to Texas played an important role in the color selection of this dining room, but it was the morning light that shines through the slightly, arched windows that inspired Philippe Ho of Studio8Design. “I decided to bring outdoor key elements to this dining room by introducing the gray, warm neutrals of the morning light to mix with the blue, working them in together the way they mix in nature,” says Ho, who believes that lighting plays a crucial role in any room. “The architectural details of a room also speak to whether there is a special need for color. This is where the intersection of light and architectural details come together. A layering of colors can produce a nuanced emotional response in the eyes of the viewer. In some situations, the viewer may not even realize that they are seeing layers of colors; any reaction is occurring in their subconscious.”

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


depths of sea and forest, seaweed, algae and moss, rooftop gardens and foliage motifs

Sharon Radovich

Panache Interior Design

Photo by Casey Dunn


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


While Sharon Radovich of Panache Interior Design might not always draw inspiration from the surrounding landscape of a particular space, this kitchen was influenced by its proximity to Lady Bird Lake and the dense foliage cascading down towards it. “The homeowners desired a home reminiscent of exotic vacations,” explains Radovich, who believes every project is influenced by the architecture and the homeowners’ personalities, “so we selected tropical blues and spring fresh greens to bring in nature. The linear pattern of the reflective glass tiles represents the rippling lake and carries the eye around the room.” To further accentuate the watery theme, Radovich inserted a wavy glass in the cabinet doors. She then chose a soft cream on the walls to make the celery cabinets pop.

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


fields of grain, earthy clay, grains of sand and raw, organic materials

Mary DeWalt

Mary DeWalt Design Group 512.236.0017

Photo by Robert McGee


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

A natural palette of earth tones was used to create an elegant and understated environment in this space designed by Mary DeWalt of Mary DeWalt Design Group and built by Jimmy Jacobs Homes. “Research shows that contact with nature enhances mental health, psychological development and spiritual growth,” states DeWalt, who selected tans and browns because of their association with the earth, and the sense of tradition, stability and depth of character that they evoke, adding, “Lighter tones of brown can be very soothing.” White was used as a contrasting color in this room because it can create a feeling of space and balance. “Contrasting colors bring a room to life, but they don’t always have to be bright colors. The white accents and reflective, shiny accessories highlight areas throughout the space and add a sparkle to the room amidst their warm, neutral surroundings.”

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


piles of pebbles, weathered wood, stormy skies and black pearls

Laura Britt

Laura Britt Design

Photo by Casey Dunn


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


A contrast between the skyline of the Texas Hill Country and the high rise buildings of big city living were both considered when designing this room with a view. “This room pulls in the soft muted colors of the Hill Country as well as the architectural colors and shapes of the city. Examples of this are the whimsical light fixture as well as the bright metal side table,” says Laura Britt of Laura Britt Design. Britt believes that, generally, large furniture pieces can stay neutral in color so that the accessories and smaller furnishings can have a bold stroke of color. In this particular space, color was infused with the circular ottoman and through the accent pillows. “If the ‘background’ pieces stay neutral, the entire feeling of the room can be adjusted through a change in accent pillow colors and accessories. When designing a more monochromatic space, color can be pulled in to create a focal point in the room. Balance of color placement throughout the room, as well as pulling a color scheme through the entire space, is very important.” v

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Organization n Trends

At Home in the Office Creating a functional, fashionable home office

By Mauri Elbel

Home is no longer a place of escape from the office. These days, home and office are becoming increasingly synonymous – and coming up with a design scheme that flawlessly blends functionality with fashionability is essential to creating a space you will love to live and work.


Photo by Mia Baxter, Courtesy of Baxter Design Group

his is why designer Laura Burton assesses her clients’ practical needs first, determining what is most important in order to create a home office that is both efficient and timeless. Only after prioritizing the practical needs of a home office, carefully considering the elements of technology, lighting and storage, does Burton allow herself to move on to her favorite part of designing a home office: style. “My goal for a home office is to have it be efficient and to feel calm and uncluttered,” says Burton, who has a dozen years of Austin interior architecture and design experience under her belt. “I like to keep accessories, colors and fabrics to a minimum and focus on a few key areas that have pop.” Over the past five years, Burton has noticed an increase in client requests for home offices. Her clean, classic and comfortable style combines with her knack for simple lines and quality materials to yield well-edited designs that stand the test of time. Burton says successful execution hinges on thorough planning – be practical, selective and have fun with a few key items to create a space that is functional for years to come. Gravitating toward contemporary furniture lines including OFS ( and Izzy (, which boasts fun, colorful pieces with clean lines, Burton pairs simple, neutral items like desks and credenzas with a fun, patterned rug or a funky, shapely chair to make a space that is interesting and personal without being overcrowded and busy. “Don’t go overboard with a favorite color or pattern,” says the Austin-based designer. “Exercising restraint when incorporating things you love will increase the longevity of the space without it becoming tiresome.” Also a loyal fan of the tried-and-true motto “less is more,” designer Debbie Baxter says the success of a home office boils down to good old-fashioned planning. “What really makes a successful home office is for the person who is going to use the space to sit down and plot out his or her work flow,” Baxter says. For an effective, distraction-free home office, Baxter suggests first answering a few key questions: How much storage space is needed? Are you working on a desktop or a laptop? Which type of lighting – indirect verses task – will best suit the kind of work being done in a particular area of the room?

Photo courtesy of More Space Place

“Everything points back to that original work flow diagram – think about how you work,” says the San Antonio-based designer. “This not only makes your office look less cluttered, but it helps you work more efficiently.” Although contingent on whether the client is remodeling an existing space or beginning fresh with new construction, Baxter suggests keeping the office atmosphere as business-like as possible. Ideally, a home office should be located in an easily accessible area of the home so colleagues do not have to wander through personal rooms to get there. “A home office nowadays becomes somewhat of a public space,” Baxter says. “Therefore, I try very hard to use furnishings that would be used in any living space and then retrofit them to fit computer keyboards, file drawers, supply storage – anything a person would need in a typical office.” She recently transformed a traditional dining room credenza into a file cabinet by removing the doors and drawers to expose its interior carcass and adding fully-extendable lateral files before replacing the original doors and drawers. “You would never know it was a file cabinet,” she says. “This could work in any aesthetic.” Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


CG&S Design-Build created a wall of storage with multiple study zones for homeschooled children. Retractable doors allow it all to be hidden away and fun colors give it a whimsical touch. Architect: Gregory Thomas AIA, Supervisor: Jim Venable, Photographer: Greg Hursley

Retrofitting is an art form Baxter has mastered as evidenced by the Spanish-inspired home office she recently designed. A retrofitted original breakfront concealing a flat screen television and small storage drawers behind bi-fold hinged doors sits across from a computer work station she crafted using the beautifully carved doors, base and crown of a large armoire she purchased in Argentina. “Depending on how much space you’ve allowed for a home office, you should have one or two large pieces that can conceal all the things you need,” Baxter says. If retrofitting antiques seems a bit daunting, consider making a trip to More Space Place, which can help you create a home office custom designed for the way you work. “At a traditional furniture store, you can choose a square or a rectangle-shaped desk, but you are very limited as far as size,” says Joanna McDonald, owner of More Space Place in Austin. “But our product can be customized to fit any space. It creates a flexible design which allows for the ability to create multiple work stations within the same home office.” From larger, space-saving items such as Murphy Beds and dropdown tables which add to the multi-functionality of a room to smaller must-have essentials like custom cubbies and sliding, adjustable shelves, McDonald says her customers can create a unified system that works to achieve the desired aesthetic and

An alcove in a CG&S Design-Build renovation provides the perfect spot for the kids to study and play. Touches of color, a patterned rug, and well placed builtin storage make this space truly charming and functional! Architect: Marsha Topham AIA, Interior Designer: Robin Colton at Laura Britt Interiors, Supervisor: Danny Scott, Photographer: Andrew Pogue

function of their home office rather than trying to pull several pieces together to address their needs. “No two home offices are ever the same so it is really important to understand what the client is looking for and determine the specific functional needs for each individual,” McDonald says. The design aesthetic of a home office can be as unique as the people who work within them. Integrating meaningful, personal pieces not only add a conversational dimension to otherwise business-only meetings but can also help form a consolidated theme to prevent clutter. In the Spanish home office, Baxter framed a dozen of her client’s collection of antique dog paintings and showcased them in a way that allows business associates to know something about her other interests. This décor strategy can be applied to any home office. For example, plane enthusiasts scattered throughout the Texas Hill Country might find inspiration in Restoration Hardware’s Aviator Desk, hand built from patchworked panels of polished aluminum with a distressed, vintage-looking finish, and then accent their offices with personal flying memorabilia. “As a designer, I always encourage people to bring their personal passions out from behind closed doors to display them,” Baxter says. “And a home office is a perfect place to do that.” v RESOURCES Baxter Design Group 210.828.4696 CG&S Design-Build 512.444.1580 Laura Burton Interiors 512.322.9888 More Space Place 512.419.7911

Photo courtesy of Restoration Hardware


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

Restoration Hardware

OUTDOORS Wall Grazing (shown in top left photo)

This lighting technique includes a wall-mounted light which is aimed down for a grazing effect. For dramatic shadows, especially on textured surfaces such as brick or stone, mount the lights 6 to 12 inches from the wall, with the fixtures the same distance apart and aimed downward.

Shedding New Light

on Outdoor Landscaping

By Jennifer Bitzkie Photography courtesy of Kichler Lighting and Turney Lighting & Electric


omeowners today are taking the concept of turning on the porch light to a level of architectural beauty. The dramatic effect landscape lighting brings to your home and property not only adds value and warmth, but is a beautiful way to add an element of safety to your homestead. Scott Bailey, owner of Lighting Inc. in Austin, Donovan Turney, general manager of Turney Lighting & Electric in Boerne and San Antonio, and Tyson Neal, Associate Vice President of Legend Lighting in Austin suggest enlisting the help of a lighting professional to provide the steps necessary to transform your exterior property into a wonderland. Bailey recommends homeowners begin by reviewing the space during daylight hours to see what aspects of the property are visually prominent. After studying the yard by day, a lighting professional can suggest various lighting fixtures to highlight these features at night. “Homeowners should consider practical illumination, namely sidewalks, steps, entrances and driveways, as well as highlighting architectural features of their home when designing landscape and outdoor lighting,” adds Turney. The next step is to consider your power source. Bailey explains that most low voltage landscape lighting is used in flowerbeds. The fixtures are smaller and can be easily hidden, and as the landscape begins to mature, these fixtures can be rearranged within the landscape. By comparison, line voltage landscape fixtures are usually larger and are used in more permanent applications such as moonlighting in large trees, up lighting and path lighting. Importantly, both low voltage and line voltage fixtures come with LED options. Because LEDs emit no UV which attracts insects, they are the optimal lighting solution for your home’s exterior. According to Neal, “The light source is extremely energy efficient and eliminates the need to frequently change light bulbs.” He explains that because outdoor lighting is usually left on all night, every night, energy efficient options are one of the many ways people are “going green” with new homes and remodels. Turney Lighting & Electric offers the following examples for adding architectural interest to your exterior and landscape lighting.


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


To create a moonlighting effect, mount specific light sources (usually LED or Metal Halide) high into tree canopies and aim straight down in a triangular pattern. This will create a romantic effect, showing shadows of the tree with “moonlight” shining through.

Silhouetting (shown in top left photo)

This accent lighting technique creates a dramatic outline by back lighting a portion of landscape or featured architectural element.

Wall Washing

Evenly washing the exterior walls of a home with light not only creates textural interest but highlights the entire property. For most surfaces, mount the lighting track on a ceiling up to nine feet high, and two to three feet from the wall. Space the fixtures the same distance apart for even light distribution.

Submersible Lighting

This lighting technique creates interesting effects in ponds and fountains by using spot lights to highlight waterfalls and other moving water, and flood lights which give the entire body of water a soft glow. v

Resources Legend Lighting 512.251.0000 Lighting Inc. 512.491.6444

Turney Lighting & Electric Boerne: 830.981.5579 San Antonio: 210.308.9966

Garden n Trends

How Dry I Am

By Manuel Flores Photography by Manuel Flores


In our heavy clay soils, it is estimated that one-inch of rainfall or irrigation will saturate the top 3-inches of soil. That is sufficient for the naturally shallow-rooted plants as well as those trained to be shallow-rooted by incorrect irrigation techniques. It is not sufficient to maintain trees and shrubs, especially when droughts are prolonged.

A Strong La Niña

The current severe drought in Texas is one of the results of the strong La Niña event that began in the latter half of 2010. Climate scientists have recently determined La Niña conditions have come back to the equatorial Pacific. Their latest synopsis states, “La Niña conditions have returned and are expected to gradually strengthen and continue into the Northern Hemisphere winter 2011-12.” This catastrophic news is part of the 8 September 2011 El Niño/ Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion available at, enso_advisory/ensodisc.html. Without intensive intervention, our stressed landscapes will soon be dead landscapes. Those who follow the strategies outlined below should have few, if any, woody plants die. Those ignoring this advice or waiting too long to implement these tasks will have much replanting to undertake when the rains resume. At this point, the eventual severity of this new La Niña is not known. Instead of receiving 20% of normal rainfall, like this year, we could get a bit more if this La Niña is not as intense. Whichever it is, we can expect less-than-average rainfall from now until late spring of 2012. The Three-Month Outlooks, on the internet at,, show the best estimates of temperature and rainfall trends. They indicate our natural and man-made landscapes will be under moisture stress at least throughout that period. At best, we can pray for beneficial rains to occur this fall before the La Niña turns off the tap. If we do not receive at least 8 to 10-inches this fall, our horticultural emergency will have dire consequences.

All rain is acidic. The alarmists who railed against “acid rain” were actually opposed to precipitation that was more acid than normal. The acidity of rainfall allows soil nutrients to be available. In our area, with limestone aquifers and lakes created by damming canyons eroded from limestone plateaus, our irrigation water is alkaline to very alkaline. From the perspective of chemistry, irrigation cannot function as surrogate rainfall. If alkaline irrigation cannot function as surrogate rainfall, can it be modified chemically? Yes, wholesale growers of nursery stock routinely inject fertilizers and acids to create “artificial rain.” The injecting equipment (along with the required back-flow preventer) can be installed for about $1000 to $1500, plus the cost of the water-soluble nutrients and acids.

Correct Irrigation Method and Frequency

Once treated, can irrigation function as surrogate rainfall? No, not unless larger volumes of water are applied at greater frequencies to break the surface tension of soils, as well as to exceed the saturation capacity of the clay components of soils so water can percolate to deeper strata. From the perspective of soils and their structure, typical irrigation cannot function as surrogate rainfall.

Additional Drought Strategies

ur typical sprinkler systems are designed to supplement normal rainfall, not replace it. They provide water for shallow-rooted

plants like sod, groundcovers, bedding plants and certain desert-adapted shrubs. Established trees and shrubs with deeper root systems survive primarily by tapping deep, subsurface moisture replenished by our average annual rainfall of 32 inches. What happens during periods of insufficient rainfall? In the case of summer dry spells lasting a few weeks, mature trees and shrubs withdraw moisture stored in the subsoil and shed some leaves to compensate for the aridity. During longer growingseason droughts, the absorptive roots (and their associated mycorrhizae) first go deeper. However, once they deplete those subterranean sources, those roots change course and go towards the surface to compete with the shallow-rooted plants for water provided by the weekly “fix” of sprinkler irrigation. 66

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

The Root of the Matter

We classify the roots of perennial woody plants as either providing anchorage or absorption. Though in most cases, actual absorption of water (and nutrients in solution) occurs through the agency of mycorrhizal organisms. These beneficial fungi are intimately attached to the roots they supply and are compensated with the products of photosynthesis. Thus the soil environment must not just be appropriate for plants, it must be suitable for the mycorrhizae that forage on behalf of those plants.

survival watering techniques if our fall rains do not provide at least two-thirds of the current deficit. During mid-October to mid-November, you will have to replace the subsoil moisture this drought has depleted. If your water purveyor penalizes you for winter landscape irrigation, do this before that period starts. If our fall rains are meager and such irrigation is not completed before even more stringent watering restrictions are implemented, many native and exotic woody plants will disappear from your landscape. Deep watering for trees and large shrubs is accomplished quickly with a root-feeder having a long probe, or slowly, by letting a trickle of water flow overnight at the drip line. The drip line is the extent of a tree’s canopy mapped on the ground. It is best to apply deep watering at points about 120o apart, around the tree or shrub. With a root-feeder, irrigate as deeply as the probe can be inserted until water bubbles up at the surface. Then, turn off the flow at the handle, withdraw the probe and re-insert at the next spot along the drip line. If you prefer to let the hose drip all night, ensure about 100 gallons are applied overnight and move the hose to the next location for the following night. If this deep watering is done weekly for four consecutive weeks this fall, the trees should leaf out successfully next spring. If the drought continues, repeat the deep watering regimen during April of 2012. This deep watering is in addition to normal irrigation. It is done to recharge the subsoil for the benefit of the large woody elements in your landscape.

The best strategy, though usually prohibited by municipal water districts, is to irrigate on two consecutive mornings, just as shallow-rooted plants are about to show signs of droughtstress. In other words, irrigation is most beneficial if applied on the day before a plant would have wilted. Also, each of those two waterings should provide one-half to three-quarters-inch of water. Use less in deep soils and more in shallow soils. Following this frequency throughout the growing season permits us to irrigate about every ten to twelve days. Though with stringent watering rules in place, we have no choice but to irrigate once weekly (morning and evening on the designated day) and have been using more water than necessary.

Deep Watering

Whether you out-source your water needs to municipal water districts, or have your own well, you will have to implement tree

Bare soil in non-turf areas is not just the equivalent of issuing an engraved invitation for weeds to germinate, it also permits rapid loss of soil moisture. Apply a thick mulch of ground hardwood bark wherever sod does not grow. Since I have a large and very effective external olfactory apparatus, I never use a mulch containing sewage sludge. Thinning trees and shrubs also helps to reduce evapotranspiration (fancy term for water loss) but it does stress a plant. But, better a stressed plant than a dead plant. Before thinning, please observe what is being shaded by said branch between 1:00pm and 5:00pm. Often, such observations will keep us from thinning a drought-stressed shrub and instead, giving it more water. The following technique will enrage the HOAs in most gated communities. It consists of shading young or small plants with a rectangular piece of horizontally-oriented shade cloth suspended several feet over the foliage. This is very effective in reducing heat-stress as well as water loss. I have begonias and ferns alive today because they were shaded while becoming established. Another strategy employed by very few is to replace irrigation requiring plants with drought-tolerant ones. Alas, most replacements after a severe freeze or killer drought are exactly what has just succumbed. We are optimists with blinders – we can’t imagine such calamities returning soon, if at all. v Manuel Flores has been providing horticultural knowledge and products for more than 30 years in Central Texas. Visit his web site: Photo courtesy of NatureKast Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Build Your

Texas-Size Dream

As a leading design-build remodel contractor servicing the Austin and other central Texas cities, Crystal Sunrooms and Remodeling provides complete home improvement and room additions. Our services include bathroom remodeling, kitchen remodeling, patio covers, screen rooms, and sun rooms. Give us a call today for a free design quote. We will help you design and build your home improvement, addition, or Austin Remodeling dream.

Call 512.832.4786

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

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

Closed for Shade or Rain Call for your FREE consultation 210.548.3015


Thom Filicia Photography by ERIC PIASECKI

By Nancy Atkinson

Thom Filicia may be best known for his Emmyaward winning role as the interior design guru on the television show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” or for his own show “Dress My Nest.” But the accomplished designer has also authored two books on style and has had his own successful interior design firm in SoHo since 1998. In 2006 he made the list of House Beautiful’s Top 100 designers and the same year was chosen one of House & Garden’s Top 50 Tastemakers. Today he works with high profile clients including Jennifer Lopez and Tina Fey. Urban Home recently had an opportunity to visit with Thom about his new collection for Vanguard Furniture before the October furniture market in High Point, NC. We sat down with Thom to learn more about his furniture, his inspiration, design secrets and of course, Tina Fey’s apartment.

Urban Home sat down with Thom to learn more about his furniture, his inspiration, design secrets and of course, Tina Fey’s apartment.

UH: This is your fifth year at the High Point Market for Vanguard Furniture. What can you tell us about your new collection? Thom: It’s called New American because the pieces are classically inspired with a fresh take, so they feel more appropriate for the way we live today. Rather than reproducing classic pieces that were relevant years and years ago, the furniture connects with the way we live today but is also rooted in tradition. We’re doing 27 new pieces, and adding new categories: Thom Filicia American Sophisticate, American Waterfront, and American Altitude. American Altitude will be furniture with a mountain home in mind, but in a Thom Filicia way. The Sophisticate will be a little bit sleeker, a little bit urban. The silhouettes of the pieces are designed so that in eight years you can change the fabric and they’ll be very relevant. They will age well. UH: Do you have personal favorites in the new collection? Thom: The eagle console is one of my favorites – that’s an iconic or signature piece for me. The Cazenovia bed is a beautiful piece with an upholstered headboard. I also love the Saratoga sofa and


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

the James Street wing chair. UH: Furniture is only one aspect of Thom Filicia Home. You’re also designing fabrics, rugs, artwork, bedding, have I left anything out? Thom: We’re finalizing our lighting vendor now. We seek design partners that make sense for what we’re trying to build in terms of price point, quality and design. My entire line of fabrics from Kravet is only available to the design industry, but 30% of the fabrics are also sold at Calico Corners. My artwork is available from Soicher Marin, bedding from Eastern Accents, and a line of commercial carpets from Shaw. UH: The Texas market has in the past been very traditional but is becoming more modern. What is the secret to incorporating modern pieces into traditional settings?

Thom: What was traditional 30 to 40 years ago is very different than what’s traditional today. So while you might say Texas is becoming more modern, I would actually argue that traditional is just becoming cleaner. It’s not that people are changing; what’s traditional is changing. If you think about fashion and what a traditional gal wore 30 years ago, she would look at a girl today that’s very classic and think she was racy. What is traditional today is much cleaner. What is modern today I think tends to be a bit warmer. What was modern 30 or 40 years ago was very severe. UH: What can you tell us about modern classicism and how you design? Thom: I see design as a total balancing act. If you have a very traditional home, a very classic home, I always encourage people to try and incorporate things that are a little bit cleaner and crisper in their environment to balance it out. And if you’re living in a glass box, I think it’s really important that you incorporate a lot of natural elements even if you do it in a modern way so you actually get the warmth and the texture and the non-machine aspect of the modernity. I think today people are more and more attracted to balance in design. Years ago men used to sleep in rooms that were floral and very girly. Today couples tend to live in environments that reflect Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Drop by for some

both of their tastes. When you’re in an environment that feels well balanced, it just feels comfortable. You notice it. UH: What design mistake do most of us make in our homes? Thom: Most people design homes that are not for their real lives. Very often I think homes look more like a catalogue than they do homeowners’ personalities. And it can be very attractive but it doesn’t really have any soul. You should be able to walk into someone’s home and really understand the people who live there. Very often homes were built at a time when people lived differently. And very few people customize, build from scratch or modify their home to really reflect their personality. If you cook and entertain a lot and you have a big living room but a tiny dining room there’s no reason you couldn’t turn your living room into a dining room that seats 20 people. I think sometimes people find themselves trapped in a small room in the back of the house because they haven’t really listened to what they need; they’re just following the blueprint of the house or what they think they’re supposed to do. UH: What is your favorite trick for giving rooms an instant life? Thom: Most spaces today lack architectural detail so I like bringing in furniture, artwork or wall texture that gives a space an architectural point of view. In a lot of my furniture you’ll see details you would normally see in a stair railing or other architecture. The Strathmore console, which is probably my favorite piece I’ve ever designed, is taken from Georgian architecture, which is a repeat of circles in a frieze. It’s taking those architectural details and being inspired by them because they don’t exist anymore. So you’re seeing it in a way you haven’t seen it before, in a modern context, which feels fresh and cool. And the space is very happy to have it because it needs it. UH: When’s the last time you had an idea for a room and you thought ‘This is crazy’ but then it worked? 72

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

Light conversation.

Thom: In every project and everything I do I try to think about what would be a little bit crazy, then dial it back to fit the time schedule and budget. I think that’s how you find really interesting, creative solutions that people are wowed by – going beyond what you’re probably going to do creatively and then bringing it back. UH: What design trends are exciting you now? Thom: We are incorporating design from all over the world – things that are very, very high end with things that are more basic or even more tribal. You can mix early American with African and Indian. So many different things are available to us right now that I think it’s exciting for designers but can be daunting for some people to have so many options. For me, to be able to synthesize all this down into what makes sense to me and turn it into a product people can be excited about is pretty awesome. UH: Last but not least, what’s the most fabulous design element of the apartment you designed for Tina Fey? Thom: Their apartment is beautiful. They love it and I’m really proud of it, but it’s also very much in her point of view. She can be glamorous but she’s a down-to-earth person. My favorite thing I did for that project was paint her gallery floor, where you come in off the vestibule, a beautiful blue gray chevron so as soon as you walk in that’s what you see. It’s very dramatic, very interesting and cool. v Want more Thom Filicia? He’ll be making numerous appearances on several of HGTV’s most popular design shows this season and has a starring role in a holiday special. Thom also has a new book in the works with Clarkson Potter titled “Hammered – Thom’s Guide for Renovation, Decoration and Entertaining with Style” about the renovation of his new country home in Finger Lakes, New York. Look for it in bookstores next summer. To see more of the Thom Filicia Home Collection, visit

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entertaining n Trends I’ll eat pies everywhere I go, especial“During the holidays, it seems ly to see how it compares to the ones it’s always a competition to see who we serve at the restaurant,” says Arias, brought the best pie to Thankswho attests that there hasn’t been one giving or Christmas dinner,” says that stands up to Earl Abel’s cocoWinkstern. “We take pre-orders nut meringue, or another variety for for holiday pies to take that stress that matter. “There’s just something off of our customers. They can orEarl Abel’s der online and as long as they give Apple Cranberry American about it. There’s a feeling us a 48-hour time frame, we can you get when you have a piece of pie. usually accommodate them.” By You just feel good.” accommodate, he means in every And when you’re making more than Did you know… 2,000 pies in the week leading up to way possible. He lets people bring • February is National Pie Month? Thanksgiving each year, Arias is confiin their own pie pans and plates to • National Pie Day is Jan. 23? dent he’s making a lot of people all over bake the pie in, thus making it look • Apple is the most popular pie filling? town feel good as well. as though the pie was homemade. • Pie has been around since the ancient Egyptians? While many restaurants bank their “We have about 20-30 people who • The first recorded pie recipe was published pie sales on a selection of pies, The bring their own pie pans and ask us by the Romans? Salt Lick™ barbecue restaurant in to make the pies for them. I don’t • Pie came to America with the first English settlers? Driftwood has kept only one clasask questions, but we’ll do it,” says • Pumpkin pie was first served at a holiday table sic pie on their menu since it began Winkstern with a grin. at the pilgrim’s second Thanksgiving in 1623? in 1967: the pecan pie. Few people But he’s not the only one who helps • Pie was served for breakfast rather than dessert know it, but the restaurant owners give a holiday pie a more “homein the 19th century? managed the property surrounding made” look. Jane Bailey of Janie’s • Shoo-Fly pies were placed in windowsills to The Salt Lick for a number of years as Pie Factory in San Antonio does the attract flies away from the kitchen? a cotton and vegetable farm, as well same thing. After all, there are some • Pie is the most traditional American dessert? as a pecan grafting and shelling busithings that should stay between you ness. When Thurman Roberts first and your pie-maker. opened The Salt Lick, he only sold smoked meats and a few Bailey will even do her best to make your recipe if you give sides from an open fire pit on the weekends. her good instructions. She once had a man bring her his grandWhen the time came to add a dessert to the menu, he insisted mother’s butterscotch pie recipe. “I don’t ever try to be as good on using his family pecan pie recipe. And the pie remains on the as what your grandmother made,” says Bailey who once baked menu today—though it is missing one of Roberts’ secret ingrea number of pies for a wedding in Comfort using a different pie dients, homemade peach brandy. dish from each family member in the wedding, set along family It seems heritage and good feelings are things that make pie quilts and jars of wildflowers. “But I’ll get as close as possible.” such a centerpiece in American holiday tradition. Where as the During the holidays, the 1,000-square-foot bakery literally standard turkey can come and go in a matter of minutes in front heats up with orders for pie, pie and more pie. During Thanksof a table of people, that warm piece of pecan, apple or pumpkin giving alone, she goes through more than 800 pounds of apples. pie after a big holiday meal is meticulously savored and enjoyed, “Holidays are the wildest,” says Bailey. “We only have two ovens, right down to the hand-pinched edges of the crust. v but we spend the entire week churning out pies. We take our break after the holidays. You can’t give pies away in January.” Janie’s Pie Factory is a perfect example that great pie doesn’t Resources always come from small town diners—although the sentimenBluebonnet Café tal, romantic, all-American notion that pie reminds us all of a 830.693.2344 simpler time seems to fit in the small town environment. But deep in the heart of San Antonio, Earl Abel’s restaurant has been Earl Abel’s serving some of the best pies in the state since 1933. And the 210.822.7333 legendary establishment owes it all to Antonio “Tony” Sanchez, who has been making pies here for more than 50 years. Janie’s Pie Factory Known for home-style comfort foods (including a recipe from 210.826.8715 Earl Abel’s grandmother for spaghetti that was the first item served more than 70 years ago), cakes, éclairs, cream puffs, and Monument Café of course, pie, this celebrated restaurant left its original home 512.930.9586 on Broadway and Hildebrand in 2006, but landed in a new, 10,000-square-foot spot off of Austin Highway and still serves Peach Café the same memorable meals it always has. 830.249.8583 Facebook: The Peach Café When it comes to pie, owner Roger Arias—who purchased the restaurant from Earl’s son Jerry Abel to keep the story The Salt Lick alive—says there’s really nothing better than pie. “I love pies. 512.858.4959

Pie Fun Facts

Pie Heaven O

n the way home from a weekend at Lake LBJ, I stopped in to Marble Falls’ pie Mecca, the Bluebonnet Café. I was actually just looking for a little snack, as I hadn’t had much lunch that day. To my surprise, I hit the Bluebonnet smack dab in the middle of Pie Happy Hour. Who knew there was such a thing? Every day from 3-5pm, you can have a slice of pie and a cup of coffee for $3.50. Not a bad deal when you consider the legendary pies available in their chilled dessert case. From apple and coconut meringue to fudge and my personal favorite, German chocolate, the pies here are worth a side trip to this small Texas town, especially if you’re able to make it in time for Pie Happy Hour — a happy occasion, indeed. But Marble Falls isn’t the only place in Central Texas famous for glorious pie. And though you might not luck out with a pie happy hour at other spots, you’ll still find a glimmer of happiness with every bite. That’s the goal of Nancy Fitch when she makes scratch pies for her own Peach Café in Boerne. “I like to serve old-fashioned, homemade types of pie. We always use butter and we don’t take any shortcuts. You can taste the difference,” says Fitch, who until she bought the café almost 10 years ago had never made a pie. “I had to learn pretty quickly. You can’t have a café like this and not serve good pie. But we offer two pies a day and that sort of practice makes you good at 74

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

By Jessica Dupuy

it, especially if you’ve gotten through a Thanksgiving booming with special orders.” The Peach Café usually has a buttermilk or chess-type of pie each day as well as a nut or fruit pie for sale by the slice. Of course, she makes whole pies available for sale, but usually asks for a day’s notice to have time to prepare. And while she’s become quite the pie maker for this little German town, featuring classics such as apple, pecan, pumpkin, coconut and chocolate, her favorite is the pecan-coconut-pineapple pie, a beautiful pie with unexpected flavors incorporating pecans, toasted coconut, lemon and orange juices, and crushed pineapple. Just north of Austin, the Monument Café has a handle on classic pies on a slightly larger scale. For the past 15 years, owner Rusty Winkstern has managed a pie portfolio of unbelievably delicious proportions. Cherry and coconut cream are among the ones that reign supreme here. Most of the recipes come from Winkstern’s family. During the holidays, his most requested pie is one his Aunt Dody would make for family gatherings: a light and airy pumpkin chiffon pie made with a mousse-like custard and topped with whipped cream. In recent years, Winkstern has gotten holiday pre-orders for pies down to a science using four ovens that hold 36 pies at once. During Thanksgiving week, it’s not unusual to see a few hundred pies go out the door each day.

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


Residential Design/ Build and Renovation

Recipe Corner Top: Salt Lick’s Pecan Pie Above: Janie’s Strawberry Rhubarb Left: Earl Abel’s Coconut Meringue

Right: Janie’s Buttermilk Below: Bluebonnet Cafe’s Selection

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie Courtesy of Monument Café 1 envelope unflavored gelatin ½ cup granulated sugar ½ tsp salt ½ tsp cinnamon ¼ tsp allspice ¼ tsp ginger ¼ tsp nutmeg ¾ cup whole milk 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten 15 oz pumpkin puree, fresh roasted or canned 2 egg whites ¼ cup sugar ½ cup heavy cream, whipped (unsweetened) 1 9” pre-baked pie crust Combine the first 7 ingredients in saucepan. Stir in milk, egg yolks and pumpkin. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils and gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat, transfer to bowl and chill until partially set. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, gradually add sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Fold into pumpkin mixture with whipped cream. Pile into crust. Chill until firm, 2 – 3 hours. Top with additional whipped cream and sprinkle with grated nutmeg, if desired. Whipped Cream for topping pie 2 cups heavy cream ½ cup granulated sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract Combine in a chilled mixing bowl and beat mixture until stiff peak stage. Pecan-CoconutPineapple Pie Courtesy of Peach Café 6 tbls butter, softened 1 ¾ cup sugar 2 tbls flour 3 eggs 2 tbls lemon juice 1 8 ¼ oz can crushed pineapple, undrained 1 cup coconut ⅓ cup pecans 1 tsp vanilla Cream butter, sugar and flour. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce to 350 degrees and bake 45 minutes or until golden and just set.


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Cinco Vodka

s Distilleri xa




Autumn, 201



Central Texas

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Creek Distillery


fter the resounding success of Tito’s, the first vodka legally distilled and bottled in

Texas and now available in all 50 states and Canada, the Lone Star spirits industry has boomed, currently

boasting 21 distilleries and no sign of slowing down. In Central Texas, a group of undeterred, passionate entrepreneurs from a variety of backgrounds is at the forefront of artisanal spirit-making, and while their products are distinct and varied, these mavericks have something in common: a true love for their craft and the promise of a bright future for the whole industry.

Treaty Oak Distilling Using self-made equipment, molasses from Santa Rosa, and Hill Country Springs water from Ardrey Springs, near Buda,


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

By Claudia Alarcon Photography courtesy of each respective distillery

Daniel Barnes and brothers Chris and Joshua Lamb produce fine spirits out of a small warehouse in North Austin. Their flagship product, Treaty Oak Platinum Rum, was recently joined by Graham’s Sweet Tea Vodka (made with Nilgiri tea from Austin’s Zhi Tea), and Waterloo, a traditional London Dry Gin with a Texas accent. Barnes, who has a sommelier background, developed a signature blend of botanicals for the gin - including juniper, ginger, licorice root, citrus zest, Texas pecans, lavender and rosemary - which is nestled in a basket in the column of the copper stills so the alcohol vapor lifts the flavors during a second distillation. The result is a complex and balanced spirit worthy of enjoying on its own. Their latest release is a six-month aged rum with robust aromas and flavors of cinnamon, vanilla and chocolate-covered cherries.

Paula’s Texas Liqueurs

After a year in Tuscany, Paula Angerstein and husband Paul Grosso could not find a good quality limoncello in the Austin market, so she started making her own. Friends and family encouraged her to bottle it commercially, but a friend in the liquor business convinced her to make an orange liqueur to use in margaritas. Based on her limoncello recipe, she developed Paula’s Texas Orange, launching it to the public in 2003, with her original recipe joining later as Paula’s Texas Lemon. Both are made using the rinds of hand-peeled fresh Texas oranges and lemons and pure corn spirits, and today are favorites of savvy Central Texas mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts who prefer their super fresh citrus flavor to other commercial liqueurs. Angerstein is currently working on expanding to Houston and Dallas, setting her eyes out-of-state in the near future. An avid fan of a good Martini, San Antonio native Richard Azar was not happy that all premium vodkas he enjoyed were European imports, so he set out to make a European-style vodka using all American ingredients. Modeled after Ketel One and billed as “The Martini Lover’s Vodka”, Cinco is made from 100% American wheat from Idaho, where it is custom fermented and distilled four times before shipping to the Cinco Ranch in south San Antonio. At the state-of-the-art facility, Master Distiller John Shepperd blends the spirit with Edwards Aquifer water – filtered on-site by reverse osmosis - and distills a fifth time. The result, according to Azar, is a luxury “five star” spirit, clean and crisp, ideal for those who enjoy vodka Martinis. In keeping with modern technology, Cinco has launched the Cincominder®, a free app for the iPhone which they call “The world’s first cocktail alarm clock.”

Dripping Springs Vodka As a child, Gary Kelleher heard a story that his greatgrandfather made vodka for the Czar of Russia, and following in his footsteps, it became a lifelong dream even if he didn’t really know what it meant. After years in the restaurant business he decided it was time, and in the spring of 2007 founded San Luis Spirits along with his brother Kevin. The small, family- Photo by Jody Horton Photography run operation produces about 1,000 cases a week from a new facility in Dripping Springs, where 13 employees do everything from receiving the raw corn spirit to hand-bottling, labeling and packaging the vodka. Kelleher himself designed the 10 unique copper stills where the spirit is redistilled after blending with 60% local spring water. He filters three times through a unique open filter system using Swedish activated carbon, which leaves the endemic minerals in the water for a unique flavor profile.

Rebecca Creek Distilling Steve Ison and Mike Cameron spared no expense in outfitting their distillery in Bulverde with the best equipment, including a 3,000 gallon all-copper still which is the largest in the Southern U.S. While their goal was to create the first Texas Single Malt Whiskey, they started producing Enchanted Rock Vodka in the summer of 2010, with a projection of 10,000 cases. Now, production is up to 50,000 cases a year by overwhelming demand. Made from Texas

yellow corn and pure water from the Trinity Aquifer, the spirit is distilled for 14 hours, chilled to 24 °F then filtered to produce an ultraclean vodka. The first batch of Rebecca Creek Whiskey, released in September 2011, is a blend of house-made Whiskey with a Texas-sourced, 8-year Whiskey, aged in charred oak barrels in a non-temperature controlled cellar to extract as much flavor as possible. Because the aging process takes time and varies in duration, Rebecca Creek’s single malts will be available as soon as they are ready, hopefully within a year or two.

Savvy Vodka/ Deep Eddy Vodka / Using flavorful water from the Hickory aquifer – from a spring in his family’s Fall Creek Vineyards - and a mash made from South Texas corn, Chad Auler created Savvy Vodka in 2006. Distilled in an ultramodern, custom-made column still for two whole days, then carefully and slowly filtered six times through a proprietary method, the vodka is “as pure as today’s technology can make it,” according to Auler. Staying on top of the latest trends, he partnered with Sweet Leaf Tea’s owner Clayton Christopher in 2008 to produce Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka. Flavored with high-quality Indonesian whole leaf tea, pure cane sugar and Goodflow honey, Auler considers this “a universal product that is authentically Austin.” Its immense popularity created a demand for Deep Eddy straight vodka, a value spirit made using a different process but with the same quality standards as Savvy.

ROXOR Gin The first artisanal gin distilled in Texas came from an idea jotted down on a cocktail napkin by former Coca-Cola executive Don Short. His partner, Houston’s legendary Chef Robert Del Grande, developed the recipe using his background in biochemistry and extensive culinary knowledge. After a year and a half of testing, Del Grande developed the final recipe using 12 botanicals including sarsaparilla, Texas Urban Home Austin – San Antonio


REALTOR’S ADVICE pecans, grapefruit peel, cocoa nibs and coriander alongside the traditional juniper berries. These flavor agents are steeped in pure vodka produced by Gary Kelleher at San Luis Spirits to produce the gin, which is bottled on-site. The unique bottle is Short’s homage to modern architecture and the skyline of the city of Houston.

Ranger Creek Bourbon A mutual love for home brewing forged a friendship amongst San Antonio residents Mark McDavid, TJ Miller and Dennis Rylander, who launched Ranger Creek Brewery in November 2010. Knowing that Bourbon is the American spirit per excellence and that Texas is a huge market for it, they set out to make a Texas Bourbon with Miller as head distiller. They grind the mix of 70% Texas-grown corn, rye and barley in house, cook it with carbon-filtered water to produce a sour mash, then filter and distill it. The resulting spirit is mixed with reverse osmosis filtered water and aged in charred American white oak casks for nine months. The final product, released in October of this year, is surprisingly delicious, with complex layers of flavors and a pleasant mouthfeel. Current production is only 150 cases per month.

Garrison Brothers The Cadillac of Texas Bourbons hails from a ranch in Hye, near Stonewall. Owner Don Garrison oversees production of ultrasmall batches of Straight Texas Bourbon Whiskey made from organic yellow corn from the Texas Panhandle, organic winter wheat grown on site, and rainwater collected and purified at the ranch. They distill in a truly unique copper still, originally built for Wild Turkey for experimental purposes, then age the spirit in new American white oak charred barrels for at least two years. Their first pre-release, limited to 2,000 bottles of unfiltered, 100-proof, one-year-old called The Young Gun, sold exclusively in the Hill Country for $50 per 375 ml bottle. Garrison Brothers quickly achieved cult status amongst Bourbon connoisseurs who eagerly await future releases. Their Signature 2008 Vintage, released November 2010, sold out in 36 hours and the Spring 2011 is already an endangered species. 7,500 bottles of the Fall 2011 Vintage Release, aged for almost 3 years, are available now and expected to sell out quickly. v


Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

The Importance




Sasha Petraske, world-renowned mixologist and bar entrepreneur in Manhattan, is now the cocktail consultant for Bohanan’s Prime Steaks and Seafood. An avid proponent of oldschool bartending, he prizes ice as an important component. While most bars and restaurants use ice machines which create ice with holes — designed to melt faster and water down drinks — Petraske recommends one solid chunk of tempered ice per glass. “This one chunk melts slower so you can enjoy your drink longer,” he says. Another technique is to use an ice sphere. “This is the best way to drink whiskey because [the ice sphere] spins while drinking and makes the best presentation.”

Safe Home! By Judith Bundschuh, Chairman, Austin Board of REALTORS®


rom the start of trick-or-treating on Halloween to the last Christmas carol, the holiday season is filled with fun festivities. Unfortunately, it’s also filled with mischief and boasts more home burglaries than any other time of year due to frequent travel by homeowners. If you’re heading out of town this holiday season, keep your home safe and your holiday cheerful by following these easy tips.

To make your own tempered ice: Use filtered water, either store bought or home filtered. Freeze in a clean, airtight container, about 2 ½ inches high. Chip off big chunks with a wide wood chisel and rubber mallet. Drain for 10 minutes in a colander over an insulated bowl, then return to freezer until needed.

• Don’t broadcast your travel plans publicly, especially through social networks. You never know who might be paying attention. • Request that your home be put on “vacation watch” by local law enforcement, which typically entails an officer driving by your home regularly while you’re away. • Make your house appear to be lived in while away by using inexpensive timers for lights and radios. • Ask a friend or neighbor to pick up your mail (and don’t forget their act of kindness during holiday shopping). • Trim shrubbery and trees close to your home to minimize hiding spots for burglars working to pry open windows. • Leave a spare key with a trusted friend for emergencies, such as water leaks, but don’t leave it under the mat or in the flower pot, which is the first place a thief will check. • Silence the ringer on your home telephone and don’t mention travel plans on your voicemail. A burglar staking out the house might call the number to see if anyone is home. If it doesn’t ring, they may suspect someone is home on the phone. • Remove garage door openers from cars parked in the driveway, which is one of the most common ways burglars gain access to homes. • Don’t leave remnants of holiday gifts on the curb as this can be an indicator to thieves that you just purchased a new big screen TV.

Petraske’s tips for serving whiskey in a traditional glass: • The ice should fit tightly in the glass, touching the bottom and close to the sides. • Ice should be 3/4 to 7/8 inch from the top of the glass and take up half its volume. • Never let the ice float – it should always touch the bottom. • Never change cubes between servings. This is called seasoned ice, or in old-school talk, educated ice.

Treaty Oak Cocktail featuring Paula’s Texas Orange Liqueur Courtesy of Paula’s Texas Liqueurs Ingredients: 1 ½ oz. Treaty Oak Rum ¾ oz. Paula’s Orange ¾ oz. Rosemary Syrup ½ oz. Lime Juice Mix ingredients and serve over ice. To make the rosemary syrup: bring equal parts sugar and water to a boil, stir until clear. Remove from heat and add rosemary, about 4 large sprigs per quart. After cooling for 30 minutes, strain. Drink credit: David Alan, The Tipsy Texan.

By following this advice, the only ghouls you will hopefully encounter this fall will be the kind who knock for candy, and the worst part of your holiday season will be Aunt Sally’s fruit cake. Happy holidays! v

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio




Countertop Valet 1.888.50.VALET

James D. LaRue Architects 512.347.1688

Hill Country Doors 512.977.7200


Austin NARI 512.708.0637


Anchor Ventana 512.388.9400

Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery Austin: 512.445.5140 San Antonio: 210.344.3013

NARI San Antonio 210.348.6274


Homewerks 210.499.5760


Schroeder Carpet 512.462.1551


Fine Stone Gallery 210.889.4809


Buffington Homes 512.394.6417

Trim-A-Slab 512.943.7655

Foursquare Builders 512.944.4520


New Urban Home Builders 512.626.0360

California Closets of the Texas Hill Country Austin: 512.441.6061 San Antonio: 210.829.1991


By Design Custom Home Consulting 512.917.2653 Living In Place www.livinginplace.CO 512.658.8166


Christopher Voss – 4th Generation Craftsman, Inc. 210.843.4332


Texas Casual Cottages by Trendmaker 979.278.3015




Crystal Sunrooms & Remodeling 512.832.4786 KM Builders 210.680.5626

Realty Restoration 512.454.1661


Catrina’s at the Ranch 830.755.6355 / 210.535.3070

Bella Villa Design 512.443.3200


Laura Burton Interiors 512.497.6465

Urban Home Austin – San Antonio

Turney Lighting & Electric San Antonio: 210.308.9966 Boerne: 830.981.5579

CG&S Design-Build 512.444.1580

Spanish Oaks 512.533.2300



Lighting, Inc. Austin: 512.491.6444 San Antonio: 210.541.8500

BBVA Compass Bank, Cindy Tuttle, CMPS 512.431.9965

Lone Star Remodeling & Renovations 210.690.4663

La Catrina 210.695.2100


Manuel Flores

Case Handyman & Remodeling 512.300.2273

Rough Hollow Lakeway 512.617.1776


Morrison Supply Company 512.928.1110


Equinox Louvered Roof 210.548.3015

HomeField 830.626.1971




Fine Focus Photography 512.413.0329


Liquid Assets Austin: 512.444.5444 San Antonio: 210.680.7665


Austin Board of Realtors

WINDOW COVERINGS & AWNINGS Texas Sun & Shade 512.402.0990

The Bath & Kitchen Showplace Austin: 512.454.4619


Urban Home Austin-San Antonio October/November 2011  

Urban Home Austin-San Antonio is an upscale home design magazine which features homes, products and services in the Austin, San Antonio and...