A Texas Retreat In Terrell Hills


Introducing a classic, yet atypical home design into an area filled with tradition can be a challenging task. Yet, for a couple with an eye for style and a love for natural beauty, that is just what they did, and the result is a luxurious retreat in the heart of San Antonio.
David Barnett and his wife Kelley, an interior designer, were excited to find the large lot in the Terrell Hills neighborhood of San Antonio. “It had a forest of trees, I felt like I was in the country but yet I am only minutes from downtown,” says David.
The Terrell Hills community is amongst a few iconic neighborhoods that are the central focus of San Antonio and the most appealing to many area home hunters. The urban setting, minutes from the best restaurants, schools and attractions; the down-home, intimate feeling of knowing your mailman or local police chief by name; or simply just the feeling of history that resonates through the streets gives the area its draw.
The City of Terrell Hills is a residential community located between Alamo Heights and Fort Sam Houston along Austin Highway inside Loop 410. It is named for Dr. Frederick Terrell, the President of City National Bank who served as San Antonio’s Mayor in 1901. In 1919, Dr. Terrell sold approximately 22.5 acres of property to William Church, the trustee for a group that would become the Terrell Hills Community. The group included some of San Antonio’s most prominent businessmen.
Many homes were passed on from generation to generation, yet others still have been taken under the wing of a lucky new homeowner who seems to understand the treasure they have just been put in charge of. The style of many of the homes in these communities are indicative of the history of the area with strong Spanish features, however many homes have been transformed to reflect more modern advancements in design.

0002The original home on the Barnett’s lot left much to be desired. In disrepair and vacant for several years, the couple saw it as an open canvas of possibilities. Kelley was in the midst of a project for a Jackson Hole, Wyoming home and the natural elements of this new lot, combined with the beauty of the home she was designing provided inspiration for their own home. “The thought was that we would feel like we were on vacation all the time.”

The movement towards a greener building process found its place too in the building of the home. Although not immediately evident when looking at the façade of the home, the couple chose to renovate around the existing structure in an effort to retain some of the homes historical significance while also repurposing and salvaging existing materials.
The home was originally said to be a model home in the 1950s, and designed with a military community in mind due to its close proximity to Fort Sam Houston. Several of the homes on the beginning of the street still have a very similar design to the original Barnett property. “It was a very meticulous build around,” says Kelley. David designed the exterior, taking the home down to its studs and working with just the raw framework to begin his plan, which is based on an Arts and Crafts style.

0003During the 1880s the Arts and Crafts movement came to America after being first introduced in England. Commonly called Craftsman style, the first homes of this sort gave the sense of a bungalow style home with simple forms and natural materials. However, in this particular home, the Craftsman style is evident at every turn, but simple would not be a word commonly used to describe the unique surprises throughout the house.

0004The home has a spacious grand living space with large windows inviting the outside in, and with so many reflections of the outdoors inside it truly does hold on tight to that feeling of a mountain lodge. Inside the home large tree trunks from the lot have been used to create the mantel and frame windows, and walls with some of the 20 to 25 feet cedar trunks spanning the entire height of the room. Lampasas moss rock and Sisterdale cut limestone are also quality local products used throughout the home and the original wood floors were incorporated into the existing flooring.
The unique third floor tower holds the family’s music room. “You can see for miles and miles above the trees of Terrell Hills, it is a great place to relax after a long day. The couple’s 1,000 plus square foot master suite is also meant for relaxation with a double sided fireplace and expansive master bath and private balcony.
As you explore the house, the attention to detail is evident at every turn, continuing outside through the 20-foot wide French doors that open to a stone patio surrounded by boulders and mature landscaping. On the street the original gas lantern still stands, welcoming new guests. “The home is not generic in any way,” says Kelley.
The home may possess a feeling unlike any other in the area, however with new construction popping up all around, the neighborhood is far from average or ordinary. A refreshing addition and a celebration of a classic American style the Barnett home nestles itself nicely into its surroundings and is a true Texas retreat.
This wonderfully unique home, located at 829 Terrell Rd, is currently available to purchase and is listed with J.P. Martin of Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty. Click here for more information!


Article written by Jennifer Pucci Starr.

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