Each morning Paula Alexander wakes up to a serene view of the Texas Hill Country before making her way to one of her favorite spaces in her house: the kitchen. Here, beneath soaring ceilings and surrounded by creamy walls and floors, she pours a cup of coffee and follows the early morning sunlight through the adjoined dining and great rooms where she settles by a crackling fire and allows the same familiar thought to sink in.
By Mauri Elbel :: Photography by Ashley Ermis, A Laugh Photography
“I look around and cannot believe that we live in such a wonderful place,” she says of the sprawling Cordillera Ranch home she shares with her husband, Rod Alexander.
A seamless collaboration between Damon Christofilis and Jason Hurt of Christofilis Custom Homes, architect Gustavo Arredondo, and interior designer Barb Burger of Studio Domaine, the home is a dream-come-true for the Alexanders who relocated from the Texas Panhandle where they operated an oilfield service company for 38 years. After selling the company and saying goodbye to all they knew, they decided to build their retirement home on the one-acre golf course lot in Cordillera Ranch they purchased as an investment a decade ago at the encouragement of their son-in-law who also lives in the exclusive community with their daughter and two grandsons. Despite initial nerves, today they couldn’t be more pleased with their home, whether it’s just the two of them or when their two grown children and their families –– including four energetic grandsons ranging in age from 3 to 12 –– are visiting.
“Rod and I had never built a home before, only several remodels, and we were apprehensive,” says Paula. “We first met Damon back in 2006 when he came to see our recently-purchased lot, and at the time, we were still uncertain about developing it. In 2016, when we decided to build, Damon reassured us that this would be a fun process and they would be there for us all along the way. Damon and Jason did exactly what they said.”
The Alexanders say Christofilis’ views and thoughts about their property didn’t change at all from 2006 to 2016. One thing that did change was the couple’s style.
“When we first met in the architect’s office, the Alexanders were convinced they wanted a true Old World look for their home –– heavy finishes, antiqued glazed walls, jewel tones,” recalls Burger, who witnessed the couple’s preferences migrate from Old World traditional to a more updated, contemporized style. “What was envisioned at those initial meetings was not where we ended up. She didn’t want anything heavy, anything overly decorated. She wanted things light and airy. Very functional, but a clean, bright environment.”
The two-story, 6,600-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bathroom home features a multipurpose game room and bar, study and an oasis-like outdoor living space. Working from the outside in to create a cohesive look and style, Burger edited the originally selected materials to better suit the couple’s true tastes. On the outside, a simple mix of neutral-toned Mesa sawn and rough cut limestone, stucco and a four-color blend barrel tile roof creates texture and character while providing a seamless transition to the inside, defined by ivory walls, stonework and tumbled travertine floors set in a Versailles pattern. Moments break up the cream-colored palette like the wide plank, brushed gray hickory wood flooring in the study and dining room. But overall, there’s a monochromatic theme of black, white and gray at play throughout the home. Other than a few pops of bright orange on the umbrellas shading the pool furniture and the bedding in the grandkids’ bunk room –– a tribute to Oklahoma State University –– Burger says there was an effort to keep everything in the home very neutral.
To create the home’s light, clean and airy feel, the designer relied on fewer, higher impact items –– and almost everything in the home, save a few reupholstered pieces, was bought new. For example, two large étagères displaying carefully selected accessories serve as the focal points in the great room. Decorative light fixtures were selected for their size, clean lines and distinctive styles –– particularly in the study where a rustic, contemporary fixture creates a strong yet simple statement.
Because the Alexanders wanted to take full advantage of their spectacular Hill Country view, the house was designed in a U-shape, surrounding the pool with windows all around. Now, walking from their master bedroom to the game room at the opposite end of the house, they are graced with unending outdoor views. The spacious kitchen, featuring a barrel ceiling finished in brick that takes inspiration from the Mexican boveda-style ceilings, is the heart of the home and maintains a fluid connection with the dining and great rooms. In the game room, a would-be man cave is reimagined with a clever layered application of golf art, memorabilia and empty frames and a pop-up ceiling with metal panels finished in a copper patina.
“The game room and entertainment space is phenomenal,” says Christofilis. “It is the space that they want to take you to when you come into their home to uncork a bottle of wine and catch up. It is a really comfortable space to socialize.”
Attention to detail shows in well thought out spaces designed for multiple interests and functions. For example, the Alexanders wanted a fun spot for sleepovers when their grandsons come to visit so there is a spacious bunk room upstairs featuring two sets of built-in bunk beds crafted with reclaimed barn wood. An outdoor oasis, designed by John Hackett of Dynamic Environments, unfolds off the back of the house where a covered outdoor kitchen, dining and lounge area surrounding a firepit leads down to an infinity-edge pool featuring a hot tub, waterfall, shallow deck and uninterrupted Hill Country views.
In the end, the Alexanders say they couldn’t be more pleased with their home or the group of skilled professionals behind it who have all become close friends in the process.
“Choosing Damon to build our home was the best decision, because along with him, he surrounded us with the very best team imaginable,” says Paula. “From start to finish the whole team has shown consideration, perfection, and true caring for mine and Rod’s vision. It instantly felt like home. It is everything we could ever have imagined.”
Christofilis Custom Homes
210.373.7768 :: www.christofilishomes.com
A-Design by Gustavo Arredondo
210.499.4700 :: www.adesignbyga.com
210.694.9300 :: www.studiodomaine.com