18th ANNUAL HOMES TOUR
Local homes showcased by The American Institute of Architects.
Jim Poteet, AIA
303 Cedar Street
Baja King William
The original house at 303 Cedar was constructed with lumber from Steves & Sons in 1910. The recently completed remodel reflects a local architect’s 22-year residency in the house.
The exterior of the house has been restored with the goal that it last at least another 100 years. At the rear, layers of poorly constructed additions were removed and replaced with a new addition of about the same square footage, but with a new roof line and a deep screen porch.
The interior of the house has been subject to many remodeling in its 105-year life. The new design holds onto and highlights the original, special aspects of the home— the long and wide central hall and the generous proportions and arrangement of the public rooms.
Rooms that had been extensively altered over time—the kitchen and bathrooms—were rethought to suit a modern lifestyle.
The kitchen was redesigned to include a new window wall, a walnut topped island, integrated appliances and a generous pantry. It is open to a den in the new addition with a bookcase/media wall which incorporates doors into a laundry and a home office.
The master bath reuses elements of the original house, the long leaf pine on the vanity and refinished claw foot tub, into a contemporary design.
One of the goals for the remodel was to accommodate the display of the work of local and Texas contemporary artists, many of whom are friends of the owners. A room-by-room guide to the art in the home is available at the front entry.
Charles Schubert, AIA
Baja King William
This new home, incorporating an existing structure dating from the 1940’s was designed for and built along the bend of the Antonio River at the corner of Crofton and Constance Streets in the King William Historic District.
With porches all along the back and multiple sets of French doors with transoms above, the house takes full advantage of the coveted riverfront while fitting the character of the historic homes around it. With multiple roof heights and angles, it gives the appearance of having been added to over time.
The pre-existing structure was transformed into a master suite. A garage was added to the west of the original home, and to the east, a two-story kitchen was added, along with a living room with stone fireplace and a dining area that overlooks the river side of the property.
The exterior of the home is limestone veneer, although with its solid rock corners, it presents as having stonewalls. Rustic pine posts, used as columns in both the interior entry and back porches, harkens to an earlier period.
The floors are reclaimed wood, except for the entryway, which is floored with mission tile, and the wet areas, which employ one-inch marble tiles. Beyond the kitchen, the guest wing of the home houses two guest bedrooms and a guest bath, along a windowed hallway that opens up to the river.
E.C. Parker, AIA
221 Alta Avenue
The clients, a young couple with a small child, requested a design for a four-bedroom family house, not too large, and in keeping with the spirit of the Alamo Heights Cottage District.
A small bungalow occupied the 50 foot wide lot they had selected, and while everyone loves old houses, this one was so small and insubstantial, that it seemed pointless to try to add on. The decision was made to build new.
Alamo Heights has new design guidelines for the Cottage District, which proved to be practical and effective. These guidelines established an envelope in which to work. The height restrictions were a special concern, due to the slope of the lot, and dictated a front gable structure, with bedrooms tucked under the eaves. The South-facing orientation made a front porch a must. The driveway was placed along the east property line, in order to maximize the area of morning light coming in to the house. The garage was to be placed at the rear of the property, as all proper garages should be.
The architect borrowed the exterior design from an early Atlee Ayres house, circa 1906, in Monte Vista Historic District. The Craftsman style seemed just right for the Alamo Heights neighborhood in vintage and in spirit. The exterior treatment and column capitals were borrowed. The architect simplified the design a bit, with a lighter wood structure, and casement windows, hoping that Atlee Ayres would not be totally displeased with the result.
A generous Entry was important to the clients, as was a real Dining Room. Given the 30-foot wide limit at the front elevation, we decided to place the entrance on the east side, the Dining Room in the center, and a quasi serving alcove on the west side of the Dining Room to balance the Entrance. This allows the dining table to expand into the serving alcove for large family dinners.
The Living Room is a sunny room, fully open to the large Kitchen. A small East Porch and Garden Room beyond serve as entry points from the driveway and garage. The Master Suite beyond has lots of east light and a view of the small rear garden.
Upstairs in the “attic” bedrooms, shed dormers provide clerestory light and extra headroom, maintaining some of the charm and intimacy of attic bedrooms, without the head-knocking inconvenience.
The clients served as their own general contractor, and consistently hired excellent sub-contractors. A great deal of love and attention went into the design and construction of this house, and it was a great joy for the architect to be a part of that process.
Tobin Smith, AIA
This one-story 1954 house by architect Otto Ransleben was compromised by a clumsy two-story 1970’s addition that blocked eighty percent of the public core’s daylight leaving it a cave-like shaft. Also, the overhangs of the addition were stubby relative to the height and offered insufficient protection from the elements causing this portion of the house to deteriorate more rapidly than the better-protected original structure. The design challenge was clear – transform the unsuccessful addition into a compositional and functional asset, re-connect the original living room to the garden, delineate the original mass from the addition, and celebrate the spirit of the mid-century design while creating something new and fresh.
The design process was informed by collage – the art of re-using and composing disparate scraps into a meaningful whole. Operations including cutting, flipping, folding, and layering were used during the transformative process. To address the daylighting issue a D’Hanis block exterior wall on the east end of the living room was cut open and replaced with a full width glass sliding door. This spatial “uncorking” allows a visual release and returns the living room to a state similar to the original intent with a connection to an exterior patio and garden. Next, the tower’s west overhang was extended to 78” conceptually folding up from the original structure and over the two story addition stitching the masses together and creating a moment of unity as well as protection at the entry.
Redwood siding on the original one-story bar, painted barn red at some point, was removed, flipped, and re-installed virgin side out. The cheaper pine siding on the tower addition, largely rotten, was removed and replaced with stucco to articulate this vertical piece as a separate element. Finally, a salvaged aluminum shade scrim from a demolished office building of the same era was incorporated as an axial entry sculpture and walkway lantern. Held off of the stucco surface as a suspended layer, shadows projected on the building skin register the path of the afternoon sun. At night, light is broadcast behind the scrim illuminating the slots between the fins, brightening the entry path.
While a complete dedication to the re-use and rehabilitation of the structure was the most basic and impactful sustainable decision, energy performance was also deeply considered. In addition to the obvious – high performance glazing, spray-foam insulation, and reflective roofing – a split-ductless cooling and heating system utilizing inverter technology was installed and the home was made “solar ready” for a 6.24 kilowatt roof-mounted array when the budget allows.
Joseph S. Smith, AIA
11 Tilbury Lane
The 4,200 square foot home is located in the north San Antonio prestigious neighborhood of Inverness. Inverness is a unique development located with close proximity to the medical center, shops, and a main east west corridor linking the north side of San Antonio. The neighborhoods winding streets host a collection of fine homes predominantly in a traditional or European influenced architectural style. Select architects and builders are tasked with executing well-crafted homes true to the style which they emulate. This is the setting for an empty nester client with a desire for modern architecture.
The narrow lot gently slopes to the rear and is closely flanked on both sides by two story residences. The goal was to create an open residence that has a strong connection to the outside yet maintains privacy for the residence and its close neighbors. The front of the house presents a reserved private façade with limited openings leading to understated entry. Upon arrival, a large window introduces the viewer to the U-shaped design which blurs the line between interior and exterior spaces. Metal clad walls buttress the main living space which further emulates this connectivity.
In such a tight suburban space openings were carefully considered, not only for privacy, but to provide connections to the exterior views of the homes architecture. The multi-use sitting room with large retracting doors appears to hover over the pool. The main Living space opens to a covered outdoor room and beyond to the pool and green wall. The master bedroom looks directly onto the pool and a floating spa just outside the glass sliding wall. Private space such as the Master Bath opens to a private courtyard with a water wall to further set the intimacy of the space.
An honest use of materials, dimensional native stone, hard troweled cement plaster walls, and flat metal panels set a modern yet refined palette. To achieve open spaces steel framing was employed to maximize spans and further articulate the open concept. The steel framing is thoughtfully, but subtly expressed throughout the residence.
As a firm, JMS Architects was tasked with the unique responsibility to not only design, but also to build the home, insuring that from concept to fruition, the vision is maintained.
Dick Clark, FAIA
7003 Bella Crown
The sun-soaked landscape of South Texas is put on display in this 3,200 square foot house designed for a couple with Mexican roots looking to establish a home in northwest San Antonio. Designed as both a gathering place for their large extended family and a personal retreat, distinct architectural features and rustic finishes combine to create a contemporary residence with highlights of Mexican influences. The project was built by Elite Homes.
To give the home a comfortable level of privacy, the western face is shielded from the street with an exterior living green wall and a limestone mass wall. When coupled with the home’s unique rooflines, these walls help form a façade that stands out from the more conventional architecture of neighboring properties. Bedroom suites bookend the north and south sides, focusing the main view to the east while selectively placed windows in the rest of the home take advantage of the best views in every direction.
The master suite occupies the south wing of the home and has its own private deck that looks out over Crownridge Canyon Park. The interior of the master suite features two cove-lit wood accent walls made from the same wood as the flooring found throughout the house, bringing extra warmth into the master bedroom. The master bath is finished with cement mission tile flooring and keeps the warm color palette established throughout. Beautiful stone and marble slab countertops are found throughout the house, selected for their simplicity of maintenance as well as their aesthetic attributes.
The most dramatic architectural element of the house is the main living space, big enough for the extended family, and features a large butterfly roof supported by walls of native Texas Limestone. The open kitchen and dining space beneath the sloping roof is enclosed by a wall of sliding glass doors that look out over a two-level pool deck and the surrounding hills to the east. A staircase leads down from the main pool deck to a secondary deck, where mission tiling, river rocks, stucco and wood all come together to create a secluded piece of Mexico in the San Antonio hills.
The American Institute of Architects is a not-for-profit organization established in 1857 and is the only professional organization of architects in the United States.
The AIA represents more than 85,000 architects across the nation and approximately 6,200 architects in Texas. The AIA is committed to increasing the quality of service by its members as well as increasing the public awareness of the value of architecture.
The San Antonio chapter is the fourth largest chapter in the state of Texas.
For more information or to get in touch with an AIA architect, contact AIA San Antonio by calling 210-226-4979 or visit http://www.aiasa.org.