By Julie Catalano :: Photography by Paul Williams
With more than 60 custom homes throughout Cordillera Ranch and a reputation as a premier luxury home builder in the Texas Hill Country, Authentic Custom Homes, LLC more than lives up to its name. Each magnificent home genuinely reflects a successful combination of design and build that adds up to happy clients in spectacular homes.
“We call it the design-build difference,” says director of operations Adrianne Peña Carnes, who explains that while many custom home builders hire outside floor plan developers and designers, the process at family owned and operated Authentic Custom Homes is decidedly different. “Our design-build approach is truly integrated, with a team that is all under one roof and works together from day one to develop a home plan that meets or exceeds client expectations.”
With more than 30 years’ industry experience, company founder and designer Israel Peña works closely with clients to bring their vision to life from the ground up with a floor plan that suits their needs and lifestyle. Israel is a graduate of the University of Texas with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, and is known locally for his innovative and distinctive designs. Clients come in with their ideas, their budget, pictures of features they would like included, and the conversation begins. “Israel designs all of our homes,” says Carnes, “and as the builder, we build them.”
The integrated approach results in smoother communication and easier accessibility to information, especially when it comes to budget. “An in-house designer is very aware of the costs because he is intimately involved in the budget throughout the project. Israel is able to talk with the client along the way, because through it all we are focusing on their budget. We think it’s valuable to have that knowledge of the cost during the actual process of designing a house.”
To that end, clients have the ultimate convenience of logging into their personal account on the Authentic Custom Homes website. “With this tool, our clients can take advantage of daily logs, progress photos, job notes, blueprints and a robust mobile app,” says Carnes. Clients are also welcome to call or come by anytime during the process, in addition to regularly scheduled meetings during the design and construction process “to keep them informed of what we’ve just completed, and to inform them of the next upcoming phase.”
The range of architectural styles by Authentic Custom Homes is diverse and far-reaching, everything from French Country Elegance to Cape Cod Classic. The company is best known, however, for its Texas Hill Country creations, using the landscape and native elements such as limestone, oak and cedar to construct homes that exquisitely complement their natural surroundings. Energy efficiency is also paramount from the initial design to finished product. The orientation of the house on the lot, the direction of natural light and proper insulation, along with impeccable choices in heating and cooling systems, plumbing and lighting fixtures, and windows and doors all contribute to maximum energy efficiency.
Carnes describes the stunning 4,515-square-foot Swede Springs home as “Santa Barbara-inspired, something we felt was fresh and new.” The five-bedroom, five-bath home features an open concept floor plan that allows for multiple flexible spaces, including additional space over the three-car garage, and a rear sunroom than can be used for more dining space or as a second home office.
“We really love the front courtyard,” she says. “With its water feature, it makes for a welcoming entrance.” Custom touches abound throughout the home — limestone countertops and heated floors in the master bath, rough sawn solid fir beams in the great room and sunroom, and knotty alder doors and cabinets.
In addition, its location on a 3.43-acre lot “creates a lot of privacy in the backyard because it backs up to a dry creek bed.” The spec home was a popular entry in the Cordillera Ranch Tour of Homes in the spring, its interior enhanced for the occasion with fine furnishings provided by Double R Drygoods Elegant Interiors in Boerne.
As a Cordillera Ranch Preferred Builder since 1999, “we’re proud to design and build in a community that is so beautiful because of their attention to detail,” says Carnes. “Cordillera Ranch takes a lot of pride in their community and it shows.”
In that regard, Authentic Custom Homes shares a similar pride, not only in their work, but in the way they are able to provide the ultimate in customer service to their clients — and that always goes back to the “one stop shopping” design-build process that they believe is key. “For each house we build, we have never designed or built that house before. It’s brand new. But our experience makes us familiar with what things cost and that helps the client.”
Communication, Carnes adds, “is really the most important thing we do. We’re very personal with our clients. We appreciate that they have given us the opportunity to do this. We want everything to work for them. We want them to love their home and love living in it.”
Authentic Custom Homes, LLC