By Mauri Elbel | Photography by Craig MacCasland and Paul Williams
When the Texas Hill Country’s quieter, more serene lifestyle called out to a relocating California couple, Cordillera Ranch seemed to have it all. Offering uninterrupted panoramas of rolling hills dotted with oaks and graced by sunsets, the convenience of being closer to family and a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, Art and Carey Yeager had everything they dreamed of right in their backyard. Just needing the perfect house, they turned to Damon Christofilis of Burdick & Christofilis, Ltd.
“The goal from the beginning was to create the ‘casa de casas’,” explains Christofilis, president. “It was always the mantra we collectively used when putting our heads together on idea collaboration.”
Living up to its ideal, the “house of houses” was completed last October –– a 4,700-square-foot, three-bedroom, three and a half-bathroom rustic-meets-elegant home brimming with an eclectic mix of hand-picked furnishings and finishes. From the beginning, Christofilis handled the project himself, a rarity in the sea of builders who often rely on employees to act as liaisons between clients.
“By design, I prefer not to have anyone in between myself and my clients,” says Christofilis. “It limits the quantity of homes we can build, but to us, it’s not about quantity. It’s about quality.”
Once the couple had narrowed down their real estate options, Christofilis assisted them with detailed lot analysis, taking everything from terrain and trees to orientation and breezes into consideration for each property.
“My clients and I have a multifaceted conversation where I provide them with my knowledge and expertise so they can make an educated decision of which property will give them what they are looking for,” he says. “My goal in each project we build is to take the God-given attributes of a property and meld them with the lifestyle my clients are seeking so that when the project is complete we can collectively be proud that we were great stewards of the piece of property we got to work with.”
The Yeager’s number one priority was having a long-range view so they selected the lot capable of soaking in spectacular vistas from all around. Over the past decade, Christofilis and his wife, Sherry, have lived in several model homes in Cordillera Ranch which they use to demonstrate everything from products and finishes to the company’s caliber of workmanship to their prospective clients. Using the layout of their current home as an example, Christofilis visually demonstrated how his clients could rotate the core of the house in a way that would maximize views. Now, whether looking out from the ample windows featured in the Yeager’s main living spaces or relaxing on the terrace that steps down to the hot tub and pool, incredible views surround. Inside, sophisticated elements and luxurious finishes speak to the couple’s lifestyle and tastes.
“The Yeagers are a very decisive couple who had built a number of houses before so they came to the table knowing exactly what they wanted,” says Christofilis.
Envisioning an elegant, sophisticated master suite, the Yeager’s luxurious bathroom doesn’t disappoint. Positioned in the back of the house, a free standing bathtub serves as the focal point of the spacious bathroom with a triple pop down ceiling featuring individual light coves centered up above and gleaming marble floors down below. Calcutta Gold marble countertops and honey onyx marble shower tiles add formality while custom cabinets with a pewter metallic patina play off Brizo® brushed bronze fixtures. A ribbon of windows flood the space with sunlight and outdoor views which Christofilis was able to further capitalize on during the framing process.
“The goal was always to capture the views from the great room and terrace, but I saw the opportunity to also do so in the master bathroom,” he says.
He came up with the idea to make the structural framing disappear in the corner of the bathroom, giving way to uninterrupted views through the two pieces of glass that meet together, but he credits his project manager, Jason Hurt, for transforming his concept into reality. Another spontaneous design feature arose during the slab construction when Christofilis noticed an opportunity to create a step-down into the wine grotto. He knew the couple, wine enthusiasts, would appreciate the “wine cellar” feel that would result from just a few descending steps.
“There was nothing in the floor plan drawn for that –– it was just one of those ideas that you come up with during the process,” he says. “It’s instances like this that truly define the word ‘custom’ home.”
A feeling of grandeur exists throughout the home, conveyed through dramatic features and scale, but thoughtfully-selected furnishings give nod to the homeowner’s lifestyle and tastes to maintain a welcoming, warm vibe. Passing through the lushly landscaped courtyard, guests are greeted in the entry by the couple’s baby grand piano sitting beneath a vaulted groin ceiling before continuing past the bar into the great room, a space punctuated by massive Douglas fir timbers and corbels. The kitchen is a chef’s dream, wrapped by custom cabinets and stunning Fusion Black granite countertops with uniquely thought-out spaces, like the extraordinary pantry adjacent to the kitchen, built specifically with the homeowners in mind.
“For Carey, an avid baker, having a destination pantry was a must,” Christofilis says. “It’s no ordinary pantry. Every time Carey came to the job site, she brought cookies or brownies and trays of freshly baked goodies so having this pantry as an extension of the kitchen was important to her.”
Outside, two gorgeous reclaimed Moroccan doors were incorporated into the fence bordering the pool. Whether conversing on the terrace or at the bar sitting adjacent to the wine grotto, cozy spaces invite guests to sit, talk and enjoy the views. Christofilis credits the design’s success to a valuable team –– namely Hurt, who has been working by his side for more than 13 years, and interior designer Barbara Burger of Studio Domaine.
“There is a pretty cool synergy between my clients, myself, Jason and Barbara that results in a collaboration where the sum of the parts is better than the individual pieces,” he says. “We have an awesome team and throughout the process, we find ourselves throwing out ideas and goals and collaborating on concepts that together result in a better mousetrap.”
Christofilis says a home’s potential cannot be fully realized until the perfect furniture, window treatments, rugs and decor are in place.
“A house like this really isn’t complete until the decorator is done working her magic,” says Christofilis, his testament proven through Burger’s interior selections seen in the two inviting guest bedrooms which each hone a unique style –– one projects a rustic feel while the other is more whimsical and fun –– as well as the various rooms outfitted in furniture she helped the Yeager’s choose and purchase on a weekend trip to Dallas Market Center.
Since moving in a year ago, the Yeagers have hosted multiple parties and have welcomed visiting friends and family to share their spectacular home.
“We knew all along hospitality and entertaining was a big deal for them, and in the end, the home functions spectacularly in that capacity,” says Christofilis. “We really did achieve their goal of creating their ‘casa de casas’.”
Burdick & Christofilis, Ltd., a partnership between Damon Christofilis and Art Burdick, has been building at Cordillera Ranch and surrounding Hill Country developments for over 14 years. Their commitment to a personal one-on-one builder/client relationship, coupled with award-winning attention to detail and superb construction, has provided the custom home builder a reputation that encompasses intelligence and integrity. Call Damon at 210.373.7768 or visit their website at www.burdickhomes.com.