A conversation with builder Todd Glowka.
When it comes to keeping Cordillera Ranch beautiful, Graduate Master Builder Todd Glowka, owner of Todd Glowka Builder, Inc., is your go-to guy. He’s a Preferred Builder who has been producing custom homes in the development for the past 18 years and has seen its architectural style evolve. He’s also a Certified Green Builder and makes environment-friendly choices in his homes such as using low VOC paints, spray-in bio foam, circulating pumps and tankless water heaters.
By Lauren Jones :: Photography by Lauren Keller :: Renderings by Gustavo Arredondo
Glowka was working in Boerne when he was contracted to build his first Cordillera Ranch home and immediately understood the community’s allure, something that he believes is what continues to draw its homeowners as well.
“It’s the natural beauty and how the subdivision is put together, plus the amenities,” he says. “Once you’re inside, you don’t have to leave.”
Glowka builds a myriad of homes, which he says range anywhere from 5,000 square feet to a whopping 15,000 square feet. And when it comes to his process, he works the same regardless of the square footage, first sitting down with the client to share the specifications and materials and then getting their preferences. From there, he is able to get a bid on options. While Glowka is in charge of all of the exterior finishes, homeowners often work with an interior designer when it comes to selecting the interior finishes. “Nowadays, there’s complete diversity with what materials you use on the outside versus the inside,” he says. “It’s an open canvas.”
Additionally, all homes in the community fall under purview from the Architectural Review Committee. “Everything from the percentages of stucco and stone to the siding to the wall heights are going to be scrutinized,” he says.
Overall, the home’s unique styles and Architectural Review Committee’s high standards meld to create a community that highlights masterful building, architectural trends and eco-friendly practices. Let’s dive into the three types of homes Glowka is most often hired to build.
True Hill Country
True Hill Country is a style of home inclusive to Austin, San Antonio and the surrounding Hill Country area. It’s warm and inviting and is inspired by Texas’ first settlers, who arrived in the mid-1800s and built structures that would protect them from harsh summers and varying weather conditions by utilizing materials they could easily source like limestone and timber. Today’s Hill Country homes feature metal roofs, a variety of timber and exterior limestone.
Over the years, Glowka has gotten requests to utilize reclaimed materials like barnwood siding, something which dates back to the times of Texas’ earliest residents, in lieu of new timber. However, sourcing the timeless 100-to-200-year-old hand-hued hemlock timbers is quite difficult, as they have to be shipped in from the Northwest or New England. A build that may normally take a year will take longer when such materials are used as they aren’t readily available on-site.
Building with reclaimed wood is also an unsustainable practice because the demand for “old wood is rapidly exceeding the supply,” he says. “I could imagine that in 10 to 12 years, there won’t be a lot left. We are already having issues getting certain sizes of timber and beams.”
Another challenge with reclaimed wood is that because they are hand-cut and not run through lumber mills, the beams come out in different sizes. “They are not true to size and today’s subcontractors and vendors are used to using true sizes on everything,” he says.
Hill Country Transitional
Hill Country Transitional, or Hill Country Modern as some may say, is a style that has only popped up in the last five years. Like True Hill Country homes, Hill Country Transitional homes have the metal roofs and stone siding but also include stucco and steel for “cleaner, more modern lines,” he says. With the popularity of this style, Glowka has also been getting requests for hand-built steel windows and doors that require a lot more attention during the framing process, and exposed steel beams that can only be made with special tools that form connections between the steel and wood. These modern homes also tend to be more expensive than a True Hill Country or Mediterranean home because steel is a much costlier material.
One such home Glowka is building has an exposed structural steel layout, custom “Black Matte” Windsor wood-clad windows, a La Cantina slider, Hill Country limestone, hand-troweled stucco and steel siding. At 7,129 square feet, the four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bathroom home has a private study, craft room, outdoor terrace and three-car garage.
Mediterranean homes are quite common in Cordillera Ranch and are easy to spot with tile roofs and a mixture of stone and stucco siding. Glowka is currently building a four-bedroom, four-and-half-bathroom, 10,000-square foot home off of the 9th fairway with classic Mediterranean elements like dry-stacked masonry and hard-carved architectural stone siding. Not only is the exterior impressive, but there’s going to be a study, exercise room, game room, wet bar, outdoor pavilions, plus room for a six-car garage. What’s unique about this home is that it will be constructed to take advantage of all angles of the green beyond, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows at the home’s rear and large, suspended timbers.
It’s clear to see that regardless of style, homes in Cordillera Ranch are built to the highest level. “I enjoy building all three,” Glowka comments. “We are just here to make our homeowners happy and execute their vision.”
Todd Glowka Builder, Inc.