Historic San Antonio Alta Vista home remodeled with new kitchen, artificial turf, and new bathroom before new baby arrives

Luis Miguel Martinez was both lucky and smart when it came to renovating the 1920s house he and his wife Analaura Villarreal bought in early 2020 in the Alta Vista neighborhood.

The house is a mix of Victorian and artisanal architectures, with porches on both levels supported by a trio of Corinthian columns. At one point it had been split into four rental units, but the previous owners converted it back to a single-family home and upgraded the foundation and the electrical system.

The result was a house that Martinez, an architectural designer and director of urban development at San Antonio-based Area Real Estate, described as being in good condition. It wasn’t worn out, but it wasn’t a cream puff, either.

Luckily, Martinez was smart enough to know what needed to be renovated and what could be left alone as he transformed the three bedroom, three bathroom home into a home for himself, his wife, and their first. child who would soon arrive. It took $ 60,000 and about two months of labor to get the job done.

At the top of her to-do list was the kitchen, which was too small and separated from the adjacent dining room by a wall with only a service door and window. After removing this wall, he left a historically accurate arched opening between the kitchen and the dining room that allows the two rooms to articulate naturally.

“I wanted to accentuate the separation between them,” he said. “This type of bow was also common back then (in the 1920s).”

He and Villarreal completely reinvented the kitchen layout, moving appliances against one wall, adding a built-in cabinet along the opposite wall, and hiding the pantry and what had been an open utility room behind a sliding barn door. They also installed brand new cabinets and a Carrara marble countertop.

However, when they removed the tile, they discovered that the longleaf pine boards underneath were beyond repair. So they looted the parquet in one of the upstairs bedrooms and used them to replace what was there.

“The guy who was helping me with the floor warned me that we would be able to see all the nails and other imperfections,” said Martinez, who did a lot of the manual work on the restore himself. “I said to myself: ‘Perfect’. “

Most of the longleaf pine floors that run through much of the 2,020 square foot home were stained a beautiful dark brown and in such good condition that they were left untouched.

“I didn’t sand them, I didn’t do anything,” Martinez. “You can see the wear and tear they’ve had over time. We love the patina of it.

Another area that needed work was interior walls, which were a mixture of drywall and a type of plywood called oriented strand board or OSB. Rather than just repairing the offending areas, Martinez decided to resurface the walls throughout the house.

“We spent weeks and weeks and weeks putting drywall mud on the walls to even things out,” he said.

The house has plenty of space for entertaining, which the couple often do, but Martinez wanted to add a little more. So he transformed what had been a screened porch next to the dining room into an enclosed TV room with tiled floors and plenty of windows that on sunny days he and Villarreal like to open to catch the prevailing breeze. .

Another thing they left alone was the fireplace between the dining room and the living room. Lacking a coat and outline, it’s a minimalist touch. During construction, they discovered that it was not built for

heating. “They used it as a pan for cooking,” Martinez said. “I’m from Mexico and have seen this kind of thing a few times. “

The three bedrooms are located upstairs, including two guest bedrooms, one of which is slated to become a nursery before Villarreal, a biomedical engineer, gives birth.

The master bedroom was too small and did not have built in wardrobes which is common in such older homes. They therefore enlarged it by appropriating an adjacent room which served as an office. The new space, which opens onto the bedroom, now serves as a walk-in closet and walk-in closet.

They also renovated the upstairs guest bathroom, removing the tub and building a walk-in shower lined with white subway tiles.

Finally, in the front yard, Martinez wanted to simplify the landscape. “The front yard was like an English garden, full of roses and tons of other plants,” he said. “But it took a long time at home; you couldn’t really see it through all the bushes.

So he installed an artificial lawn cut in half by a walkway made up of 18 x 36-inch concrete stepping stones leading to the front door. The result has a vaguely Japanese look.

“When I think about consuming water from a grass lawn, I decided to stay away from real grass,” he said. “And on top of that, I don’t have to mow that much. “

It sounds like a smart choice.

[email protected] | Twitter: @RichardMarini

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