Mahncke Park Modern Home Offers Bird’s Eye Views of San Antonio

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Perched atop one of the city’s highest points, the two-story modernist home nicknamed the Peregrine House boasts sweeping views of the nearby San Antonio Country Club golf course, the University campus of the Incarnate Word and much of the city beyond. Its second-floor balcony juts out above the ground-floor structure, suggesting its namesake bird of prey – wings folded, alert, on the hunt.

“It feels aerodynamic,” said home architect Tobin Smith. “When you’re on the second floor and the breeze is blowing, it’s like you’re flying.”

The two-story Modernist home dubbed the Peregrine House enjoys sweeping views of the nearby San Antonio Country Club golf course. Its second-floor balcony juts out and overlooks the ground floor, resembling a bird

Sam Owens/staff photographer

The three-bedroom, 3 1/2-bathroom house in Mahncke Park was completed just before the pandemic hit, just as the owners’ children were about to leave the house and the couple were preparing for the next phase of their life. This meant building a smaller home that still has plenty of room for entertaining, the “wow” factor of a sleek, futuristic design and – hmm! – a bird’s eye view that on a clear day reaches into the foothills of the Texas Hill Country.

Before the previous house on the lot was torn down, Smith and the owners climbed onto the roof to admire this view and imagine the possibilities.

“I wanted to build a house so that (the couple) could watch the birds go by, the storms come and the sun rise and set,” he said. “It’s just a beautiful place to visit in San Antonio.”

The house has a

The home has a “wow” design and a bird’s eye view that on a clear day reaches into the foothills of the Texas Hill Country.

Richard A. Marini / Staff

The house has what Smith calls an “inverted empty birdhouse” design, with the main living area – kitchen, living room and owners’ suite – all located on the second floor instead of the first as in traditional “age-in-place” houses. .

The main room has double height ceilings with large windows and north facing glass doors, to best capture that magnificent view.

Smith also took advantage of the site’s elevation to design the house to gather as much natural light as possible, making the interior appear larger than it actually is.

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The living area on the second floor includes an open kitchen and a sitting area.  Overall, the room is 18 feet wide and 34 feet long, with ceilings as high as 15 feet.

The living area on the second floor includes an open kitchen and a sitting area. Overall, the room is 18 feet wide and 34 feet long, with ceilings as high as 15 feet.

Richard A. Marini / Staff

“It’s an important element for the success of the design,” Smith said. “But we’ve also placed the larger windows facing north and south so there’s less heat gain or glare.”

To protect the resale value of the house, the owners, who asked not to be identified and refused to reveal the cost of the house, installed an elevator in front of the front door.

“Right now it helps when they bring the groceries to the second-floor kitchen,” Smith said. “But he will also be there if they need him for more than just races.”

Smith painted the small alcove leading to the elevator an almost black color called Urbane Bronze to distinguish it from the rest of the white entrance. He repeated the color on the harp-shaped steel balusters of the nearby open staircase.

“So you get somebody here in the lobby and then the idea is that they come up to the second floor and say, ‘Wow, now we’ve arrived,'” Smith said.

The house has a design of

The house has an “inverted empty birdhouse” design, with the main living area – kitchen, living room and owner’s suite – all located on the second floor instead of the first as in traditional “age-in-place” houses.

Sam Owens/staff photographer

Once on the second floor, the open kitchen is to the left while the living room area is straight ahead and to the right. The second floor balcony is beyond. Overall, the room is 18 feet wide and 34 feet long, with ceilings as high as 15 feet.

Like the rest of the house, the kitchen has a rich palette of materials, with white oak flooring, gray cabinets, white walls and a ridged white and gray Carrara marble countertop and cascading island.

“We kept the palette pretty tight where there’s just this cohesiveness in space,” Smith said. “We didn’t try to make each piece different. Instead, we want it all to flow together.

In addition to the island and the counters, they used the same Carrara marble for the backsplash and the large panel that hides the ventilation system above the stove.

“We tinkered with several different materials (for the panel),” Smith said. “But when you step back and look at it, it kind of comes together as this wonderful moment.”

While some designers avoid Carrara because it’s porous and stains easily unless sealed, homeowners say they prefer it because it will develop a patina as it ages, like a fine antique.

Natural light enters the large room through windows that sometimes reach the ceiling, as well as several darkened or opaque glass panels installed in several places to obscure some of the less attractive surrounding views.

The room is so bright that the owners say they rarely need to turn on the lights during the day.

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Through the large north-facing glass door, the second-story balcony wraps around the east side of the house, where there is often a cooling breeze, even on the hottest days. If it gets too much, the north side of the balcony is quieter because the house blocks the wind.

The owner's suite is located at the back of the house, overlooking a corner of the San Antonio Botanical Garden, which makes the view from the second floor seem like a nest, as if you were in the canopy of trees.

The owner’s suite is located at the back of the house, overlooking a corner of the San Antonio Botanical Garden, which makes the view from the second floor seem like a nest, as if you were in the canopy of trees.

Richard A. Marini/Staff

The second floor owner’s suite is located at the rear of the house. It overlooks the San Antonio Botanical Garden, giving it a nestling feel, as if perched in the canopy of a tree.

The bathroom has an adjoining open dressing area with a peekaboo window just below the ceiling at the far end.

“We could have closed that at the end,” Smith said. “But instead, the window gives you a sort of energy release, letting in light, giving you a view of the treetops and telling you what the weather will be like as you get ready in the morning. “

Downstairs are two guest bedrooms and a cozy pocket yard with a gurgling water feature. But the highlight is the covered outdoor patio connected to the front door by a short walkway. With a cozy sitting area, wood-burning fireplace and outdoor TV, it offers a welcoming extension of the home’s interior, a connection reinforced by the horizontal cedar siding that runs along the interior and exterior walls.

The patio came in handy during the days of social distancing from COVID-19, when homeowners and their friends and family regularly spent time there, even celebrating Thanksgiving together.

Indeed, even after the pandemic subsided, they say people are still calling and asking if they can come and use the outdoor lounge.

[email protected] | Twitter: @RichardMarini

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