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Double the Fun

Lisa and Robert Bowling had such an enjoyable experience having Garner Homes design and build a home for them at Cordillera Ranch, they decided to do it again — right next door.

Both houses have similar layouts — four bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths, a study, dining room, large kitchen, family room, a flexible game room and a master suite with workout space. Along with a pool and three-car garage with a workshop, there’s a special “bunkroom” for grandkids at both houses. But while the first house began as a Mediterranean/Hill Country design, it gradually morphed into what builder Trey Garner calls a “transitional style.” The second house is more modern, with cleaner lines and big windows to bring in views of the beautiful Hill Country.

“We are those crazy people that actually love the entire building process,” Lisa says. “We like everything about it, and Garner Homes made it so pleasurable. Even while moving into our first house, we told Trey we would be back. We knew we wanted to do it again. The decision was nothing about our first house. We loved the first house. In fact, it made it a little difficult to move forward with building again because we feared the ‘What if?’ we didn’t like the second one as much? That part was a little scary. However, when the lot next door came up for sale, we knew this was our opportunity. As much as we knew we would enjoy building again, we would have never given up our awesome Hill Country view.” 

“The Bowlings really enjoyed the first project,” Trey Garner says. “They loved getting into the details, were decisive, and enjoyed seeing the progress during their visits from where they lived in Southeast Texas. They joked a lot about not wanting the project to end because they were having a good time. I had a feeling they weren’t really joking at all. Given the relationship we had, it was no surprise when they called about the lot next door, ready to start a new adventure.” With a degree in Construction Science from Texas A&M University, Garner founded Garner Homes in 1998 and is now a Preferred Builder at Cordillera Ranch. 

The Bowlings were introduced to Garner, who then brought architect Jim Terrian of J Terrian Designs and the rest of the Garner team into the project. “It just felt right from the very beginning,” Lisa says. “You can just tell when it’s a good fit. Trey and Jim started with us from the beginning. They actually walked lots with us to help us find the perfect location for our first home. The lot was a huge decision. They helped us understand about elevations, house orientation and all else important to a successful house building project.”

Garner Homes uses a home building portal site to keep clients informed on all details of the building project — selections, budget and time frame. All conversations are recorded so everything is documented. “I loved the portal,” Lisa says. “We built the first house while living in Southeast Texas so we felt very much in the loop with the portal, phone calls, texts and pictures. It allowed us to come and go all while knowing our house was moving forward with a team of professionals.” 

The first project Garner designed and built for the Bowlings leaned toward Mediterranean — but as the design progressed, details were modernized. “The end result was one of the first of our projects that I would refer to as transitional,” Garner says. “We had some arches and interior stone walls, travertine floors and earthy tones throughout, but Robert and Lisa did a great job of making selections with surfaces and fixtures that could really work with a lot of aesthetics.” With the second house, the Bowlings had a clearer idea of what they needed. “We worked hard on our new house design,” Lisa says. “We had a huge advantage the second time around because we knew exactly how we used our house in Cordillera. We found people really entertain in their homes much more here than anywhere else we had lived previously. Again, it was important to hit a good balance of space for family and entertaining, but also something that felt right for just the two of us. While our two houses are very different in style, we definitely repeated some of our favorite features.”

The master suite is a unique element of the first house that worked so well the concept was repeated in the new house. Because Robert is often up and out of the house early for work, the Bowlings wanted to create a true suite — living, sleeping, bathing — within the master area. The bedroom itself is not a large space, but it opens into a smaller living area with a built-in coffee bar and a fitness area. The end result not only accommodates Robert’s schedule, but made a lot of sense because they’re empty nesters. This allowed them in the first house, and then again with the new one, to shut down an entire half of the house that they only use when their family or friends are visiting. 

The Bowlings wanted huge, floor-to-ceiling windows framing beautiful Hill Country views. “Style wise, the two houses are very different,” Garner says. “But since the Bowlings bought the lot next door to their first, the view was just as — if not more — special. In both projects, we were very intentional with windows and views. We wanted to capture as much as we possibly could from every room.” The stars of the second Bowling project are the windows. The entire back wall of the house is glass, accomplished with a series of aluminum-clad wood windows and doors, recessed into the floor and towering to 10-foot heights for a “floor-to-ceiling” look. “You’ll see these windows throughout the house,” Garner says. “But the first ones a visitor will notice are those in the breakfast space, which created a jewel-box effect, especially after the lighting was installed.”

They decided to build a one-story the second time with the exception of the grandkids’ bunkroom and a walk-in attic. The second house is more open than the first; actually, it is one large area for entertaining groups with special ceilings to define the different spaces. An expanded outdoor living area with both covered and uncovered spaces has several sitting and dining areas plus two fire pits. They can open the sliding doors and double the entertaining space.

One challenge with the open floor plan was clearly designating and separating each space from the next. “We wanted to set apart each area without creating an obstruction of the view, but we also wanted to be careful to not create too much noise,” Garner says. “I’m very happy with the end result, which were cloud-like structures made from drywall, but each is distinguished from the next with wood inlay or indirect lighting accents.” 

The Bowlings worked with the interior designers to select weathered oak flooring that adds warmth but works well with the contemporary color palette. The end result is a lot of surprises in textures and finishes that cohere with the general aesthetic of the project.

“We’ve been fortunate to get to work in a lot of different styles,” Garner says. “The traditional styles in the Hill Country and Mediterranean-influenced homes are still in demand, and we’re honored to get to put our spin on those. Of course, ‘transitional’ has become a major topic in our design meetings and we’ve, I believe, defined this word very well with the help of Jim Terrian.”

Garner Homes
210.493.1686  ::  www.garnerhomes.com

J Terrian Designs
210.269.8631  ::  www.jterriandesigns.com


Garner Homes Peaks at Summit and Star Awards

The Greater San Antonio Builders Association’s (GSABA) annual Summit Awards and the Texas Association of Builders Star Awards recognizes builders, remodelers, developers and associate members who have achieved excellence in the home building industry. Garner Homes recently won prestigious awards for the Bowling’s home and others:

Summit Awards

Best Product Design
$1,000,000 to $1,500,000 (Bowling Family Home) 

Best Outdoor Entertainment Area
(Bowling Family Home)

Best Interior Merchandising
$1,000,000 to $1,500,000 
(GSABA Parade Home in Miralomas)

Star Awards

Best Kitchen
 $750,000 to $1,000,000 (Miralomas)

Best Kitchen
$1,000,000 to $1,500,000 
(Plesko Family Home in Cordillera Ranch)

Best Outdoor Living
$750,000 to $1,000,000 (Miralomas)

Best Project, Non-Residential 
(A Barn!)

Best Master Suite
$1,000,000 to $1,500,000 (Bowling Family Home)