When Marvin and Cheryl Jones built their house in the Village at Cactus Bluff 10 years ago, they envisioned a comfortable place where they could raise their family and entertain their friends. They had no idea what the future would bring within these walls — but they wanted to be sure their home was ready for it.
“We had a good idea of what we wanted in a floor plan,” Cheryl says. “We’d looked at a Sitterle model home in the area, but it was only one floor; we wanted two stories. We worked with the Sitterle team to add a playroom, two bedrooms and an upstairs bath.”
Space for outdoor living
The couple chose this particular lot because it is 300 feet deep and 100 feet wide. “It’s the largest lot in the neighborhood,” Cheryl says. “It provides lots of room for outdoor living. I asked Sitterle to place the house as far from the road as possible for privacy and visual effect, without removing any trees. I also asked them to build a soft curve into the sidewalk, rather than building one that went straight from the street to the front door. They thought I was a little crazy, but they did it, and I’m pleased with the result.” The Joneses employed natural materials to landscape the home’s exterior: “We used lots of rocks; we’d go out into the neighborhood and find rocks on empty lots and haul them home. They provide texture to our yard. We also created a play area in the back with railroad ties and mulch for a soft surface. We added a huge multilevel wooden deck for outdoor entertaining, and the whole house, inside and out, is wired for sound, Internet and cable television. We even installed special electrical outlets in all the eaves and at the bases of the trees for Christmas lights. It’s all part of tying the inside of the home to the outside as seamlessly as possible.”
The front walk wanders by a water feature installed by the front door. At the moment, it’s home to five goldfish. “That number can change, depending upon the area wildlife that decides the fish might make a good meal,” Cheryl says. “We do our best to protect them.” The front door is painted red for feng shui, a design principle Cheryl follows throughout her home. Leaded glass allows visitors a glimpse of the rotunda inside.
Rotunda at the center of things
“The rotunda is my favorite part of the house,” she says. “It’s our receiving room. Marvin’s study is to the left of the rotunda; we added bookshelves in here to create more storage. In fact, we put bookshelves into every cove in the house — that was smart on our part.” It’s clear that a man inhabits the study. Several Excalibur sword replicas are displayed — “gifts from a former employer,” Cheryl says. A Spurs jersey autographed by David Robinson, family photos and a large sesquicentennial map of Texas provide decoration. A high-powered computer and printer indicate that this is a working office. The kitchen, dining room and living room also flow from the rotunda. The open floor plan is all about entertaining, an activity the entire family enjoys.
The cozy dining room is located to the right of the rotunda. Atop a faux finish semi-circular commode stand many beautiful wine bottles with corks waiting to be popped. Robert Mondavi’s book on wine rests nearby. The wooden flooring reflects light cast by the sparkling chandelier hanging over the dining table. Because of their backgrounds in restaurant management, Cheryl and Marvin are excellent cooks and sommeliers. Cheryl insisted on a gas stove when Sitterle designed the kitchen; she also had them stub out a gas line on the deck for a gas barbecue.
“That was a great move!” she exclaims. “I really hate carrying propane tanks, and I haven’t had to do that in 10 years.”
The couple also dislike wasting space. When Cheryl saw the empty space beneath the staircase in the kitchen, she asked if a pantry could be installed. Dan Sitterle suggested installing a built-in wine rack; she jumped at the suggestion. “The carpenter did a beautiful job crafting the storage unit,” she says. “It holds 12 cases of wine and is now a common feature in Sitterle kitchens.” Cheryl installed pull-out shelves in the cabinets, which were a unique item 10 years ago. She also uses a deep drawer to hold a double trash can. A pub-style table seats eight; extra seating is available at the kitchen island, where pendant lights overhang the green granite countertops. The oven and microwave are built-ins, surrounded by light oak cabinetry. An exit at the back of the kitchen leads to a large laundry room, three-car garage and workshop.
The living room is designed for comfort and practicality. The wooden floor is covered in a thick accent rug designed to deter spills from boys and pets. A wall of windows along the back of the room admits natural light that spills over the comfortable seating. The large-screen TV can disappear behind cabinet doors when it’s time for conversation.
“I wanted to be able to look from the front door in the rotunda to the back of the living room and see greenery that would invite guests to walk through the house,” Cheryl says. “I also wanted a casual, comfortable, sort of organic feel to the living area. I think the prints, the plants, the wood floors and the picture over the fireplace accomplish this ambience.”
The master suite is located off the rotunda, near Marvin’s study. Natural light filters in from the wall of windows. The focal point is the carved California king-size four-poster bed, dressed luxuriously in silk coverings and oversized pillows. At the foot of the bed is an antique camelback trunk, a flea market find Cheryl restored. The small ladies’ desk nearby displays family photos, and Cheryl’s wedding portraits are hung on the walls. A bureau on the far side of the room holds videos for the flat-screen television mounted above it — “family video night in Mom and Dad’s room is a big deal,” she says.
French doors open to the master bath, which features a Jacuzzi tub and walk-in shower with waterfall glass. His-and-her sinks are both installed at waist height. “I never sit down to apply makeup,” Cheryl says. “Why waste space with a kneehole when a cabinet could be installed?”
While Marvin makes the long drive to the San Antonio Country Club, where he serves as general manager, Cheryl’s “commute” is much shorter. Her business is located in a beautiful office addition built several years ago. As an international speaker and workshop facilitator who helps small businesses improve productivity and sales through teamwork, Cheryl finds telecommuting the perfect solution for growing a business, raising an active family and caring for an elderly parent. The L-shaped office addition is actually a suite with its own French doors for private entry. It features a complete bath, so it could be converted to a mother-in-law suite, if necessary. Clerestory windows provide natural light. “I’ve divided the space into three functional areas,” Cheryl says. “I use the area near the front door for clients, small group meetings and trainings. The seating makes it a comfortable place for conversation. The built-in shelving makes it easy to reach any reference materials I might need during a meeting.”
Cheryl’s desk is located at the back of the room; she runs the business from this command center. To the left of the desk is an old wooden refrigerator that hides the computer printer, training materials and artwork. A full-size walk-in closet holds office supplies. A small work table serves dual purposes — as an assembly space and a place for her boys to do homework while she’s handling professional projects. “I’ve tried any number of office combinations over the years,” she says. “I’ve rented space in an office park, converted a spare bedroom and even shared rented space. By far, this setup works the best. When clients visit, I shut the door to the kitchen, and we can work alone. If we have overnight guests, I can convert my office into a guest suite for a night. It’s easy to work in the afternoons and evenings when my family is here because I can see everything happening in the kitchen and the living room through the open door. It doesn’t get any better than this!”