🦃🎄Home for the Holidays
I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams
Thanksgiving is coming up and I’m in a weird mood. As someone who moved far away from home as soon as I could, I’ve spent most Thanksgivings as a stray my friends’ families would graciously take in and Christmas became my one real tether to my family back home. I’ve felt very fortunate to have a family that is both chosen and genetic. A couple of years ago on Thanksgiving, my partner and I got the keys to our house and I realized I don’t really know which space I occupy during the holidays anymore.
This year has been particularly rough watching friends move back home to be close to their families knowing I have no idea when I’ll see my friends or family again, not just because of COVID but because of life. It’s been especially difficult to tell my mom despite her pleas that I’m not coming home because it’s not worth the risk. Seriously folks, please stay home. The best gift you can give someone this year is the gift of safety.
This issue, I’ll be traveling home for the holidays in my mind and featuring homes within a 90-minute drive of my childhood home in San Antonio, TX.
The Sand Dollar House
Location: 819 Mariner, Lakeway, TX 78734
List Price: $1,750,000
One of the things I didn’t like about growing up in south-central Texas was how similar the houses were, and boy does this house break the mold. In a sea of McMansions, this seashell-shaped house stands apart.
This 1979 home designed by John Covert Watson who was an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright. Watson’s work eventually turned from organic modern to organic architecture, and to me, this house is one of the best examples of organic architecture.
The sand dollar shape gives the home tons of natural light and sweeping views of the lake below. The curves give the otherwise totally open space a sense of coziness and definition with each area following a contour of some kind to give each a space.
I also love the sense of whimsy the secondary spaces have in the home. Even the bathrooms, which tend to be overlooked spaces to add personality, enjoy the roundness motif.
The Mediterranean Fixer
Location: 435 W Kings Hwy, San Antonio, TX 78212
List Price: $390,000
When I think about San Antonio, Mediterranean Revival architecture is what comes to mind first (although to be fair the city also has plenty of beautiful examples of contemporary, art deco, and modern architecture, among others).
This home is a stunning example of the style with stucco walls, tons of dramatic archways, wrought-iron balconies, and detailed doors and windows. Just look at this entryway. The architecture speaks for itself. You just don’t find places with this kind of character anymore.
Most of the finishes here are original, so yes, this house is going to need a lot of work.
But the payoff (which might be more visual and emotional than financial, but who knows) would be worth it. This home deserves to have someone restore and update the house with an appreciation for the style.
The Texas Modern
Location: 5930 Bold Ruler Way, Austin, TX 78746
List Price: $3,500,000
One of the few places I have Texas pride beyond tacos and barbeque is the local modern architecture that has a distinctly Texas spirit to it. This house has a clear heritage of iconic Texas limestone-based structures like the Alamo and the German settler’s stone houses, but is uniquely modern.
The house was constructed using over 400 blocks of locally quarried limestone that give the house a serene, grounded feeling. When paired with the floor-to-ceiling windows throughout most of the main floor, you get an interesting juxtaposition of heavy and light, rootedness and expansiveness.
I can’t think of a more perfect way to enjoy the Hill Country views.
The Hill Country Contemporary
Location: 17050 Sunridge Point, Helotes, TX 78023
List Price: $2,499,000
This Hill Country mansion is definitely on the quirkier side of the homes I’ve showcased. I frankly find it refreshing that an almost 8,000 sq ft home is able to have so much personality. What I love about this home is both how odd it is, but also how it uses levels to define spaces and give flow. Yes there is an open floor plan, but you can also have a different experience once you walk down a few steps to the dining room or across the bridge (yes bridge) to somewhere else.
The feeling from the tall but intimate living area to the voluminous dining room a few steps away is striking.
I’m also a huge fan of atriums and love how it can be enjoyed from so many different spaces in this house. I can’t think of a home office space I could enjoy more than this one with its wood paneling, built-in bookcases, and view of the atrium.
The Mission Revival Duplex
Location: 421 Eleanor Ave, San Antonio, TX 78209
List Price: $415,000
If I was actually going to move back home, something like this quaint and quintessentially San Antonio house near my favorite park would fit the bill perfectly. This Mission Revival duplex has a loads Texas flair with a courtyard and large cactuses that provide shade and privacy.
The home has plenty of light and charming details. It also has clean molding and dark wooden floors that might not be original but match the style of the home perfectly.
The home also has special touches that remind me of home like colorful Saltillo tile floors and La Loteria painted tiles in the bathrooms. I’d love to spend my mornings writing and drinking coffee in this little nook off the kitchen.
And the best part is, I can have friends or family come to stay and quarantine in the other part of the duplex and safely see them.
Two fixers with a lot of potential:
A to-be-built house with mid-century modern flair: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/107-Robinhood-Pl-San-Antonio-TX-78209/26254217_zpid/
Plus, this mid-century inspired house from the Living in a Material World issue is still for sale: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1904-Paramount-Ave-Austin-TX-78704/29322500_zpid/
Also, if you’re struggling with loneliness this holiday season, please know that you are not alone. You can reach out to me (just reply to this email) or talk to someone at SAMHSA 1-800-487-4889.
If could only have one wood paneled office adjacent to an atrium, I’d be satisfied for life. I also wouldn’t be mad if I had 10 wood paneled offices adjacent to an atrium.