By Cheryl Van Tuyl Jividen :: Photography by Jason Roberts and West Vita
One might consider the Webbs pioneers of sorts. Back in 1998 they purchased one of the first 10 lots in Cordillera Ranch.
It all started on a relocation trip. Coworker Paul Bratloff, who was also relocating to San Antonio, suggested they visit. Johanna, a Clear Lake City native was skeptical, “(I thought) it was way too far from San Antonio, but agreed to drive up and take a look at it. After cresting the hill at the entrance, we were both sold.”
The 6-acre lot they chose was on Pebble Creek. “When we first looked at the lot, there were no roads, and we had to pass through the cattle gate and past grazing cows to get to it. We had to use a lot of imagination.”
Once the home was built in 1999, the family moved from Houston after Rick’s employer Phibro Energy was purchased by Valero. The road to home wasn’t exactly easy, Johanna recalls, “The builder, Joe McCart, even had to use a generator for the first few months of building because the power lines didn’t reach that far yet. We had a lot of faith in what was happening here and we weren’t disappointed.”
So thrilled, that when Rick was transferred to the United Kingdom in 2005 they sold their home but not before buying another lot of 8-acres on Greystone Circle to build upon when they returned.
An early return caught them without a design or construction plans to build so they bought a small house in Boerne. When the market changed, they chose to find an existing home, “We eventually stumbled on a house and knew we could make it just what we needed.” The home on Woodcrest was built by Damon Christofilis, and with some self-made improvements and the assistance of Carl Powell, the home was renovated and a new casita was constructed.
The couple, who are both engineers and met at Texas A&M, enjoy do-it-yourself projects. That included painting the home’s interior to their “perfection” standards, Johanna said, “We are best as a couple when we are doing those sorts of things together.”
The casita they built was designed to provide housing for the Webb’s parents should it be needed in the future. For now, it serves as guest quarters for friends, and family, but also for Rick’s occasional out-of-town customers. Rick, a native of Flower Mound, Texas serves as Vice President for Nustar Energy working in business development.
The family is often in the casita to play shuffle board on a 16-foot table. It also serves as a changing facility for guests enjoying the beautiful Tahoe Blue Quartz-finished Artesian pool. “They did such a great job; it isn’t easy pleasing two engineers with a construction project! They totally worked with me and got it right,” said Johanna. The low maintenance pool with its shallow sunshelf is the centerpiece of the yard and central to entertaining guests. Sons Zach, 21 and Jake, 18 have often had friends over to swim and for parties. “It’s awesome to be the house where they’ve all gathered,” Johanna said of her son’s peers.
The kids aren’t the only ones to enjoy the outdoors with guests. Rick and Johanna enjoy hosting wine dinners and having friends over. And while Richard cites the pool as his favorite feature, he adds that the wooded outdoor living area and fireplace are very special. “It’s a great place to enjoy cigars late into the evening appreciating the backyard,” says Rick. “We’ve always sought the treed views versus the hilltops.”
Rick has high praise for the social benefits of the neighborhood. “We have brought customers to a number of the Wine Dinners at Cordillera over the past two years. Several of my customers are in Houston so it is easy for them to come join us for dinner, a round or two of golf, then stay at our house before they head back to Houston.
Rick was eager for the golf course to be built — it was while they were in Europe — and he’s enjoyed it ever since they returned. “I love the Hill Country layout and views of the course. With all the various tee boxes, it can be a fun day with lots of birdies or back up to the Bear tees, and it is all the course my scratch golfing buddies can handle! But my favorite parts of the course are the greens. I can’t read them yet, but they are great! Jake has also been developing his golf skills.
There’re many other favorite things about life in Cordillera. Zack likes how nice and quiet it is outside — a perfect setting to read. Jake agrees with his brother, “You don’t notice anyone living near you.” He also says driving in the neighborhood has always been fun.
One thing they all appreciate is the night sky over Cordillera. “Stargazing in the early years was spectacular,” said Rick who remembers when his brother-in-law would visit and sleep outside on top of a sleeping bag to watch the stars at their first home.
With degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry, Johanna’s career has included Space Station work for McDonnell Douglas, and during years rearing children, her own business as a database applications developer for small to mid-sized companies. Currently, she is completing her Master’s of Science degree in Biotechnology at the University of Texas San Antonio. As part of the program, she is working at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio’s Office of Technology Commercialization department. But come summer’s end, she’ll be on the hunt for a new job.
That won’t be the only change when fall is in the air. Zack will return as a senior computer science major at the Colorado School of Mines and plans to continue on for his master’s degree. Jake will begin his freshman year at Georgia Institute of Technology studying computer engineering.
The boys will miss their two majestic Maine Coon cats, Jack Jack and McKenzie. But they say they’ll really miss their mom’s cooking. Their favorite dishes are those with Hungarian roots: Chicken Paprikash and Seven Chiefs, the families’ traditional Christmas dinner.
While she won’t have as many to feed with the boys both gone for school, she and Rick will have plenty of opportunity to frequent favorite area eateries: Mary’s Tacos, Little Gretel, Boerne Wine Company for the good wine and snacks, the Grill in Leon Springs, Random Truck Park, Taste of Boerne Truck Park, Po Po, Bumdoodlers and Bear Moon Bakery.