Creativity At Every Turn

By Cheryl Van Tuyl Jividen  ::  Photography by Mark Humphries

Cheryl Ladd Signature Homes debuts in Cordillera Ranch with Garner Custom Home collaboration

Actress, singer, author and humanitarian Cheryl Ladd and her husband Brian Russell are an exceptionally gifted couple who have a long history of collaboration. Nearly forty years ago, Russell penned a hit record for Ladd. Think It Over reached the Billboard Top 40. Ladd was already a fan of Russell who was a recording artist signed to Elton John’s Rocket Records label. Through music, a friendship developed and several years later they were married.

Ladd, a native of South Dakota, became America’s sweetheart with her breakout role as Kris Monroe in television’s Charlie’s Angels. She has starred in over forty movies, three television series and even starred on Broadway in Irving Berlin’s smash hit Annie Get Your Gun. Ever versatile, Ladd was at one time the number one recording artist in Japan. She was recently cast in the award-winning mini-series The People Versus O.J. Simpson and her latest film, Unforgettable, with Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson hits the movie screens in April.

An unrepentant golf enthusiast, Ladd penned the best seller Token Chick: A Woman’s Guide To Golfing With The Boys, a must read for those who love the game and enjoy a good story.

Scottish born and raised Russell has had his own share of successes. He toured in Elton John’s band and has written hit songs for artists from Anne Murray to Beyonce. He has produced both feature films and television series. Russell most recently authored the suspense novel Scribe, which has received rave reviews. He is currently at work on the sequel, Quiver.

Over the years, Ladd and Russell have worked on many projects together, including the children’s book The Adventures of Little Nettie Windship, several television variety specials and most notably The Grace Kelly Story, a highly regarded television movie which was filmed in the south of France, a place renowned for its style and design. Interestingly, Russell was the last Hollywood producer to hire Grace Kelly.

One of their favorite collaborations has been in the design and building of their own homes, from their Hollywood Hills view home to their Santa Barbara Mediterranean villa and most recently their French Country home in the Texas hills. Now they are working together once again with the debut of Cheryl Ladd Signature Homes.

Building and remodeling houses has been a long-time passion for the couple who have been married for thirty- six years. “That’s a hundred and thirty-six in Hollywood years,” says Russell. “When we were first dating, one of our favorite things to do was checking out open houses or exploring new constructions from Bel-Air to Malibu.”

“We’ve gotten to the place that we know within seconds if a house is right for us. It’s all in the feel,” says Ladd.

Here’s how they describe their home building process. “It’s actually a lot like making a movie. First we need a great script, then we find the perfect location, next we hire the very best people we can find and allow them to do their jobs. Lastly we keep a close eye on the budget,” explains Russell.

Fortunately, they have very similar taste. It’s uncanny how often they agree. “We are both very creative,” says Ladd. “The ideas just don’t stop but we each have our areas. Brian is good with space. He sees the big picture. I, on the other hand, am very meticulous. I enjoy the fine details.”

“Cheryl also has a great sense of color,” says Russell. “Her palate is truly exceptional. She sees things I never can. That might be because I’m completely color-blind. So I pretty much leave color to her.”

At one time, while building their Santa Barbara house, Ladd gathered rocks and pebbles from the surrounding landscape and mixed them together in order to find just the right color for her home’s exterior. It turned out to be perfect for the setting.

Four years ago, the Russells decided to build a home in the Hill Country. With lots of family already in Texas, they felt the time was right for a move to the Lone Star State.

Their extensive world travels and unfettered access to superb properties as a result of their film-making have definitely contributed to their aesthetic. For instance, in the making of The Grace Kelly Story, they were granted access to the palace in Monaco. Opportunities such as that have contributed greatly to their sense of style. “It’s been amazing,” says Ladd. “We’ve had opportunities that have provided great ideas and we have taken note. And with our Hollywood experiences, well I must admit, we don’t mind adding a touch of glamor.”

For obvious reasons, the couple is very focused on lighting. “Lighting is everything,” says Ladd, “in both film and home design, and it’s something that is too often overlooked.” Her rooms maximize the play of light, from the soaring ceilings to walls of glass and strategically placed high windows. And at sunset, her houses become absolutely magical.

As designers, the Russells enjoy many styles, from Spanish Colonial to French Country to Mediterranean chic. “There is no style we don’t like,” says Ladd, “although we do have our favorites. We don’t care for trendy, however. Timeless is what we’re after. Our style tends to combine a rather traditional exterior with a more contemporary, open interior. We love livable.”

Ladd very much enjoys the process of working with clients. “I’m so accustomed to working with directors and other actors, cooperation has become second nature,” she says. “We want to help people realize their dreams. We help translate that dream into reality. We are very good listeners.”

Cheryl Ladd Signature Homes is the next chapter in their lives, and one they very much enjoy. “One of our greatest blessings,” they say, “is that we look at life through the same window.”

Now they are sharing their view with Trey Garner of Garner Custom Homes, a partnership that came about at the suggestion of David Hill of Cordillera Ranch, and for which the Russells are most grateful.

“We brought Trey a plan,” Ladd explains. “That, coupled with his eye for a fresh approach, enabled us to translate our vision into a beautiful home.” Together they are building a Spanish Colonial spec home in Cordillera Ranch. “We are so happy that we get to work with Trey,” she continues. “He’s a master builder, one of San Antonio’s very best. He gets us and we get him and as a bonus, he has the best staff anyone could ask for.”

The admiration is mutual. “They’ve been great partners and are such sweet people,” Garner says of Ladd and Russell. “They both have a great eye for design, architecture and finish out. Cheryl has a great sense of style.” Regarding the Cordillera Ranch collaboration, Garner says, “Together they’ve brought important influences to the home. It has a Santa Barbara-style combined with a Texas sensibility. My favorite aspects are the porte-cochere and the spectacular outdoor living spaces.”

Garner earned a degree in Construction Science at Texas A&M University. He started building homes shortly after that in Austin, predominately in the Lake Travis area before expanding to San Antonio. Now 19 years later, Garner Custom Homes is known for its detailed methods. “What sets us apart, is that through my background in construction and project management, we have a smooth process that fully engages our qualified team. We have a Construction Manager in the field and a Project Manager in the office for every home we build. This provides responsiveness, communication, research and coordination for our clients. It allows an exceptional experience.”

Beyond the client experience, they approach the construction process differently as well. “During the pre-construction phase is where we do a lot of work to not only design a beautiful home, but assemble a scope of work in the early stages. It takes a lot of time, but our clients get the benefit. It allows us to work together with our clients to direct the project based on common knowledge of the design, the specifications and the cost,” says Garner. “We stay involved throughout the plan design process to offer counsel on construction-related items, but also to track plan changes in a detailed way so that our client has a full understanding of their financials at every stage. There are no surprises.”

Garner Custom Homes works in luxury communities in the San Antonio and Boerne areas building custom homes, with the majority of their projects in Cordillera Ranch. “Cordillera Ranch is such a premier neighborhood — there is nothing else like it. It’s unique to this area and very special to us. The golf course, the shooting club, and all of the amenities cater to a very special, luxury lifestyle. I admire their work to maintain roads and infrastructure so well and their architectural committee is great to work with — approachable and professional.” Garner says the community’s appeal is attracting attention beyond Texas. “I have gotten to meet people from across the United States. People from other regions want to live here, and the abundant inventory of choice lots ensures longevity for Cordillera Ranch’s future residents.”

The Russells couldn’t agree more. “We have fallen in love with Texas and the spectacular Cordillera Ranch. We feel blessed to be building the very first Cheryl Ladd Signature Home in such a special place.”

Cheryl Ladd Signature Homes
210.999.0587  ::

Garner Custom Homes
210.493.1686  ::

Big-Hearted Support – Here and Elsewhere

Cheryl Ladd and Brian Russell are humanitarians supportive of many causes both in their own backyard and around the globe. Fighting child abuse and promoting child health have been important to Ladd since back in 1978 when she produced, wrote and starred in the movie When She Was Bad. Through it she became affiliated with and a spokesperson for ChildHelp USA (, a not-for-profit organization that utilizes intervention, prevention and treatment programs to stop child abuse and change lives.

Ladd also champions Food for the Poor as a spokesperson and representative along with husband Russell. Food for the Poor ( is a Christian organization that brings emergency relief, food and housing to poor families in 17 Latin American and Caribbean countries. Haiti is of particular interest to Ladd and Russell who have done missionary trips there. Africa is also of great importance to Russell. “We are so blessed to give back,” says Ladd.

Closer to home, Ladd serves on the Board of Directors of the Boerne Performing Arts and Boerne Performing Arts FOR KIDS.

You Might Also Enjoy....


Poolside Paradise!

By: Michael McClellan, Director of Food & Beverage The Swim Club at Cordillera Ranch is the place to be for sunning, relaxing, dining, exercising, playing

Read More »