Blue Bruin Photography
Matt and Cindy Arkin knew they wanted to move to the Hill Country from Northern California for several years. After considering several larger properties, they stumbled upon Cordillera Ranch and quickly realized that this was the place they wanted to call home. “It fit our family’s lifestyle better than anything we had seen,” says Matt. “Between the golf, fishing, Clubhouse and like-minded community, we couldn’t be happier with our decision.” And here, they relied on award-winning builder Garner Homes, a Cordillera Ranch Preferred Builder, to make their Texas dreams come true.
When deciding on the lot to build their home, it was important to the Arkins to enjoy the Hill Country views while maintaining privacy and maximizing the southeast breezes. “Stylistically we were looking for a modern look while respecting the Hill Country topography, history and materials,” says Matt. “Barry Denton, Director of Real Estate Sales for Cordillera Ranch, and Trey Garner, owner of Garner Homes, were instrumental in orienting our house to capture our top priorities and greatly assisted us in bringing things to our attention as first-time home builders.”
From a must-have perspective, the Arkins desired a house with clean lines, large windows that maximized the splendid views, and enough space for their grown children to visit, plus a wine cellar and a separate casita for guests. Garner delivered a 4,468-square-foot home with four bedrooms and four-and-a-half baths in a bright and open floorplan that’s ideal for entertaining, both indoors and al fresco.
“The Garner team was truly great in asking questions on how we live, what’s important to have,” says Matt. “They listened incredibly well and were great at translating our needs into a house that is extremely functional while giving us the look we desired.”
“This was quite a unique design,” says Trey Garner. “The views — dramatic, distant Hill Country views — were at the front of the lot instead of in the rear to which we are accustomed. Given that, Jim Terrian of J. Terrian Designs, wanted to spin the house around — the front in the back and the back in the front — so that we could capture the views from as many rooms as possible, which was a major priority for the homeowners.”
Luckily, the ideal building area was 4.75 acres at the midpoint of the property. This allowed Garner’s team to get creative in capturing the views while respecting the community’s design intent. “Because this concept is a little unconventional, we wanted to create a unique arrival experience so that the back-in-the-front set-up wasn’t weird.”
The solution was a porte cochere concept, which lets the owners pull into the property through a motorized gate, up the driveway and beyond the pool which, due to the topography, is higher than above natural grade. Once through, the Arkins circle around a stand of six statuesque Live Oak trees into the garage. The circle drive area allows for easy maneuverability. This feature also connects the main house and the guest quarters, providing privacy without being shoe-horned into the site.
The home’s façade is comprised of white limestone culled to get the whitest stones possible. The install was linear, keeping with the modernized exterior shapes and lines. Inside, the home features polished concrete floors and elegant yet contemporary light fixtures. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide plenty of light and views, and make the home feel even more open and spacious.
The home has many unique custom features, full of character without straying from their form and function. In the ample living area, a masonry fireplace is clad in a modern steel surround, custom designed and fabricated in San Antonio. The powder room includes a floating concrete countertop with an integrated sink, and in the kitchen, the vent hood surround is painted in a black finish with stainless steel u-channels to create a metal reveal.
The vent hood contrasts with the white cabinetry and the island, which is made from White Pearl Quartzite with a leathered finish and a black granite perimeter with a honed finish. The Wolf® and SubZero® stainless-steel appliances round out the kitchen’s design. An adjacent climate-controlled wine room with metal racks and a wet-bar provide multiple prep areas for serving guests.
The home exceeds the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code with the features that are standard in Garner Homes projects. Tankless water heaters, spray foam insulation and Low-E coatings on double-pane windows and doors are some of the specific equipment, systems and materials used to achieve this.
The home was tested based on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS www.hersindex.com), which uses a relative performance index to identify the efficiency of a home. “We go through rigorous testing to ensure that our homes have no air leaks or compromises to the HVAC and insulation systems,” says Garner. According to data that analyzed the Arkins’ home against an average home of this size, their projected annual end-use electric consumption will be 34% less.
Making sure that the pool was a visually appealing feature was critical, since it is the first structural element arrivals see after passing through the gate. Designed by Infinity Pools, it features a knife-edge on two sides to create a negative edge effect. Next to the spa, the sunken seating area has a custom-built, 10-foot-wide linear fire pit.
“The Garner team paid particular attention to setting our expectations on all the planning, timing and budgets,” says Matt. “Weekly communication calls with the team to update us on the progress, work through specific decisions and discuss the next steps were quite helpful in keeping us in the loop and engaged. We made minimal additions and changes throughout the process, which were well integrated into the master plan and executed well. We thoroughly enjoyed the process of making the incredible number of decisions, and closely collaborating with team Garner while building our house.”