Plan Home for Future Living
Looking to downsize, Becky and Rudy Sanchez had one priority in choosing a house to call home. It must have a big front porch where they could sit in the evenings and enjoy the company of friends and neighbors. A 1915 cottage in Mahncke Park fit the bill.
Moving into the updated guesthouse on the property, the couple began a simple remodel of the home with “good bones.” Originally, the house was just over 740 square feet, the size of their first apartment when they wed 25 years ago.
It all started with the bathroom. “When you sat on the toilet, you could reach the sink,” Rudy recalled with a laugh. “We took out a closet to move a wall, adding a shower. That prompted the addition of a new closet that ate into the former kitchen, so a redo of that area began. Some of the sheetrock was cracking and had to be replaced. Behind a former renovation, the original brick for the kitchen stove was discovered and incorporated into the design.
Joe Shortt — Rudy’s best friend who he has known since fifth grade — put his construction talent to the task. Needless to say, a complete renovation over a year and a half transformed the simple cottage into a charming jewel box that pays homage to its humble beginnings over a century ago.
With their decision to age in place, this was to be their forever home where they could enjoy the neighborhood and surrounding community. “I felt like we were becoming somewhat isolated where we were living in a more suburban setting,” said Becky. “I could come home from work, pull into the garage, close the door and not see a neighbor until I left for work on Monday morning.”
Moving closer to the city center, they have the opportunity — in the future — to access public transportation, set out on foot to dine at nearby restaurants, shopping and enjoy cultural offerings that are within walking distance of their home. With a pleasant park and Botanical Garden just a few blocks away, the active couple can take a walk, enjoy the scenery and de-stress.
Working with Amity Worrell and Diane Kett of Amity + Kett, a residential architecture and interior design firm in Olmos Park, brought the Sanchez’ concept of home to reality. “Becky and Rudy were great clients to work with because they really wanted the house to reflect them,” said Diane Kett, “and they knew when to turn the project over to someone that could realize their vision.”
A couple that entertains on a regular basis, a great deal of time was spent on kitchen design. “We wanted some separation of space between the kitchen, dining room and living area,” said Becky. “We did not want a completely open kitchen anchoring a big open space.” The design had to respect the home’s provenance while providing space for contemporary living.
Working with colorist Jim Smith, the subtle color palette complements the couple’s combined collection of art and vintage family furnishings. Becky is an avid collector of works created by women in the San Antonio arts community including Ann Michele Morales, Norma Jean Moore, and Lesta Frank. Works by Robert Wurzbach and Karl Lubbering hang in the couple’s living room.
As an original member of the iconic San Antonio band Los No. 2 Dinners, Rudy’s collection has a distinct rock and pop proclivity. Playing bass, percussion and taking on vocals for the band, Rudy and the group first played at the original Friendly Spot in 1979 where crowds would spill out onto Beauregard Street dancing to the popular tunes. “We were an overnight sensation!” Rudy mused.
Several of the band members were also accomplished visual artists including George Horner, who later had a successful career in the New York art world. A Keith Haring print and a promotional poster from the Andy Warhol vs. Jean-Mitchel Basquiat Show at the Tony Shafazi Gallery in New York are prized possessions.
Original works by fellow band member and good friend George Horner hang with a silver gelatin print of Elvis Presley’s last recording session in July 1956, a promotional poster for Presley’s movies “Jailhouse Rock” and movie still of Elvis in “Fun In Acapulco”.
Sitting on the spacious front porch enjoying the comings and goings of a vibrant, inner-city neighborhood, the future looks bright in a home built for living.
By John Bloodsworth
Photography by Al Rendon
Illuminating the dining area is a Gaslight Lense Grande Scone and a pair of Restoration Hardware sconces in the seating alcove with a mattress-style, hand tufted window seat and over-stuffed pillows in contrasting Schumacher fabric.
Antique family pieces give a sense of place with a dining room table that belonged to Becky's grandparents where her mother fondly remembers playing as a child. Her Aunt Emily’s Eastlake bureau and ornate mirror, now serving as a buffet for dinner parties, came from a family home in King William. Chair fabric Schumacher. Blinds by Austintatious Blinds.
A farmhouse sink and bridged brass faucet on the island counter offer views of the entertaining area for work/party participation. Sink and Plumbing from Fergusons. Dishwasher from Big Chill.
Changing the proportions of the cabinet drawers and creating a bar, seeded glass upper cabinet holds wine and cocktail glasses. Composite quartz countertops. Unlacquered brass hardware will age giving a wonderful patina. Refrigerator from Big Chill.
One of Becky’s family pieces, the French Fauteuil armchair has its original fabric and was the impetus for the subtle paint selection for the master bedroom walls. A brick chimney was uncovered in the restoration adding texture to the setting where a new bookshelf provides storage.