Santa Barbara, Hill Country-Style

By Cheryl Van Tuyl Jividen  ::  Photography by Siggi Ragnar

Touring one home was all it took to convince Terry and Rick Weller that Authentic Custom Homes (ACH) was their builder. Rick remembers, “We didn’t look at a lot of builders. After one of our visits to look at lots and homes in the final stages of construction, we asked our salesman which of the Preferred Builders he would suggest we talk to given a certain price point. One of two builders he suggested was ACH, who happened to build one of the homes we saw that we really liked.   We liked the home’s Santa Barbara-inspired design and the quality of construction.”

But, the journey to the Hill Country was a multi-year process of elimination. After considering Colorado, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina, they chanced upon Cordillera Ranch. After a series of visits witnessing the community planning and evolution, and touring lots they were sold. Rick says, “Prior to retirement, we were looking in different states for a place to retire and once we made the decision to stay in Texas, we primarily looked in the Hill Country. We discovered Cordillera Ranch by seeing a billboard on Hwy 46 on our way to Kerrville to look at another development. We came back several times to look at lots and see what changes were being made. Our first trip was actually before The Clubhouse was built. What drew us to Cordillera Ranch were the amenities, the large number of existing homes, and of course, the scenery. Since we were leaving our home and friends in Houston, we wanted a way to meet people and establish new friendships.”

A lot was chosen and they started the process to custom build their 4,273-square-foot home. Completed in 2015, it has four bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths, a dining room, media room, office, workshop, gaming room and a three+ car garage. The house’s location, at the back of the build site, offers long distance views to the Northeast, surrounding nature, and takes advantage of the Southeast breezes in the outdoor living space.

Collaborating with Authentic Custom Homes was easy says Rick. “We quickly established a great relationship, which we believe is one the important factors in the process, with the people at ACH. We think any design-build of a home has its challenges. Due to the relationship with the people at ACH, we were able to work any changes and issues that came up during the entire process and the finished product is a house we really love.”

Working with ACH designer and founder Israel Peña, the Wellers went with something they describe as Spanish Colonial or Santa Barbara elegant. The home beautifully reflects those inspirations with its simple design boasting high ceilings, big beams, wrought iron, colorful tile and other elements. To offset the white walls, an ebony stain was used throughout the interior. Custom-designed railings reflect some of the outdoor light fixture features.

To further visually warm the rooms are assorted floorings that give not only variety, but also texture. “We wanted flooring that reflected the traditional Santa Barbara/Old Spanish Colonial style. So, we used Spanish-influenced decorative tiles and wood flooring for its warmth, and the fact that it would be softer on our feet than tile. The hickory wood flooring is custom, so we specified the stain and the amount of destressing,” says Terry. Likewise, the countertops are varied throughout the home with granite in many colors including a rich coral.

Furnishings in the home also inject many different hues. Terry worked with interior designer Tawnya Zepka of Studio Domain who had suggestions on fabrics, furniture and lighting. Together they pulled together a look that reflected the Weller’s desired style. She says, “The look is a combination of existing furniture with the addition of new pieces. The fabrics were influenced by the designs and coloring in the tiles.” The designer also wanted to appeal to Terry’s love of tubs. Rick explains their beautiful choices, “We wanted free standing tubs. We have two of them — one in the Master Bath and one in our primary guest bedroom, which is set up like a second Master. Our designer gave us the idea to paint the base of the tub in the Master Bath so that it coordinated with the black in the tile surrounding the tub.”

Rick, too, has his special spaces, including his workshop and game room. But the home was built to accommodate not just the Wellers, but also friends and family. The couple loves movies and enjoy utilizing the media room themselves and when entertaining guests and Cordillera Ranch friends. Entertainment was important Terry says, “We designed our outdoor living areas for entertaining and for enjoying the views, the sunsets and looking at the stars.” Indeed there’s much to enjoy outside including porches, a courtyard and a bocce ball court.

The Wellers say their favorite thing about their home is the overall informal elegance and that all the rooms they need are on the first floor. Thinking ahead, they included an elevator shaft for future use, but until then it serves as a wine cellar on the first floor and storage closet on the second floor.

All their choices met their goals, “Our favorite aspect is the people and the sense of community that exists in Cordillera Ranch,” says Rick. The couple is happy that this is their forever home and anticipate the joy ahead, “Our two adult children live elsewhere — one in Seattle, Washington and one in Houston. We look forward to being able to have future grandchildren visit and make use of the many kid’s clubs and other amenities available at Cordillera Ranch and in the Hill Country.”

Terry reflects on how ACH was above and beyond helpful from the start, “They assisted with the loan process and an issue with the first set of appraisals we received; Adrianne Peña Carnes with ACH helped us significantly by thinking creatively and ensuring we met our goal on time and at the expected value at closing.”  When the Wellers envisioned a framing party to celebrate their home in progress, ACH asked to host it, “They sent the invitations and provided all the refreshments, and when we decided to collect donations at the event for the Cibolo Nature Center, they graciously matched the donations.” The family-owned business and their credibility were important to the Wellers and these niceties just made the experience even better. “They took care of things for us to minimize the amount of stress we experienced, and the outcome is amazing. We’d absolutely recommend them to anyone looking to build in the Boerne area. They are fair, and they always do what is right to maintain their reputation and deliver a quality product.”

Authentic Custom Homes is excited to have another new home available for another family to love, says Peña Carnes, “We are designing and building a spec home in Cordillera Ranch on Swede Springs. It’s on the market for $1,197,000. Sitting on over 3-acres, the four-bedroom home, features flex space, a bonus room, sun room, courtyard and a veranda.

Authentic Custom Homes has over 30 years of experience designing and building luxury homes throughout the Texas Hill Country.  Founded by Israel Pena, the team attributes their success to their design-build approach. Truly integrated with home designers, interior designers and project managers all under one roof, the team works together from day one to develop a home plan that fits their clients’ visions. Visit their website at, or call 830.816.7100

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