A tear-down-new-build in Alamo Heights is all about comfort.
By Steve Bennett
Photography by Al Rendon
About three years ago, Christine Deviney was driving around her Alamo Heights neighborhood, searching for a spark of inspiration in her determination to find a new home for her family — husband Jason, a college-age daughter, and her retired mother.
Deviney wanted to consolidate and downsize; it was a love-it-or-list-it dilemma: spend a lot on her existing home, which had become too large, or find something shiny and new. Oh, and there was the brown factor.
“It was a sea of brown,” she recalled of her former house. “Everything was brown. Everything was dark. The floors, the furniture. I was looking to brighten things up.”
“Shiny and new” beat out “dark and brown” when she discovered a small blue cottage with a Collier Custom Homes sign out front.
“It was a tear-down and new-build,” she said recently, sitting in her kitchen, a year after move-in, with pristine shiplap walls and a gigantic island topped by an 8-foot slab of Caesarstone quartz. “I contacted the builder and was able to view the plans online. We were able to tweak the plans, basically flipping the house on this long, narrow lot. And, we were able to get a full bed and bath on the first floor, with a small sitting room, at the front of the house. That’s my mother’s apartment when she’s home from traveling. When my daughter is home from college, she has the run of the upstairs.”
The two-story, 2,900-square-foot house, with a gabled roof and white batten-and-board siding, features brick steps leading up to a sweet little front porch and double glass-paned doors. It’s a contemporary farmhouse style, both inside and out, that Joanna Gaines would love.
“I wanted a cozy, comfy cottage, and that’s what I got,” Deviney said. “And the best part was, everything thing you see around you, I got to pick out, from the drawer pulls to the countertops. It was like a dream come true, and I would go this way again in a heartbeat.”
Deviney also furnished the house herself, and she is admittedly “frugal.”
“I have no problem with Wayfair and At Home,” she said. “The patio furniture came from Sam’s. I don’t mind scratch and dent.”
Deviney found the living room couch, for example, at Pottery Barn Outlet. It was naked, unupholstered, and Deviney was able to outfit it in a slipcover and pillows for less than the same couch, fully dressed.
“It’s hit or miss, but you can find bargains,” she said.
She also leaned on Ethan Allen for chairs, beds, a large circular dining table, and a hutch, creating an atmosphere to relax in.
“The house has a lot to say about Christine’s personality,” said Lorein Morelos-Davila, project manager of the build for Collier Custom Homes. “As builders, our goal is for a family to be happy in their home, and Christine really imprinted her signature on the house. It’s a house that really stands out in the area; you won’t see anything else like it on the block.”
With 12-foot ceilings and walls in a soothing Benjamin Moore shade called Healing Aloe, the Deviney house is a practical design using simple materials, such as white subway tile in the showers, wood floors in whitewashed ash, and that good ol’ white shiplap a recurring theme throughout. It’s a home that flows naturally from entry hall to kitchen to living room, then out back to a souped-up patio setting (fireplace, big screen, huge gas grill) before diving into a small swimming pool.
“It is very comfortable,” Deviney said. “It works for us.”
A native Texan, Steve Bennett has written about art, architecture and books for more than 30 years, working for the San Antonio Light, Express-News and Austin American-Statesman. Currently a freelance writer and editor, Steve makes a mean dish of green enchiladas and believes there aren’t many better things in life than the drawings of Vincent Valdez and the Berlin noir detective novels of Philip Kerr.