January 22, 2018
Set in the southern part of the state, Texas Hill Country is known for its tall, rugged hills and open landscape. A new-build community set on 8,700 acres of this land – including five miles of the Guadalupe River – also looks over the Cordillera Ranch Golf Club. One couple building a home here kept these views in mind when they approached Craig McMahon of San Antonio-based Craig McMahon Architects.
“The clients are cooks, and with their new home they wanted an open kitchen that engaged their living room but was within its own space,” said McMahon. “The kitchen did not need to be oversized, but it should allow ample room for two people to prepare food within their own zones.”
Taking in the Views
The double-height living area boasts glass walls on both sides that take in the surrounding countryside and golf course. This connects the interior to the outdoors while also taking advantage of the natural light.
“We also allowed our exterior stone flooring to move from the exterior to interior,” added the designer. “Utilizing a locally quarried limestone for the flooring within the main living spaces echoes historic Texas German ranch homes, where stone walls were used for the exterior surfaces and were complemented by wood ceilings.”
Reminiscent of the homes German immigrants built in this area in the 1800s, this living area now has a grand but rustic appeal with its high ceilings and large fireplace. Since the homeowners wanted the kitchen to be distinguished from the open living room space, McMahon laid it out under a lowered ceiling and with hardwood floors instead of limestone. His team used AutoCAD and Revit for their documentation work, as well as Sketchup for 3D modeling.
“Sketchup is a quick and easy way to show clients the look and feel of the space before moving into the detailing of the kitchen,” added McMahon.
While the kitchen features large windows, one of its walls is also covered with recycled glass tile whose color reflects the surrounding countryside. This accent wall, which also features open shelving and a long and narrow window, offers a break from the clean lines of the expansive glass windows in the living area.
“The pattern of the glass tiles was laid out on the floor of the living room to get the owner’s preferred mix of tile right, and then it was set one by one into place,” he said.
Deviating from the Usual
The homeowners requested the Galley workstation in their project; this multifunctional system allows users to prepare, serve, entertain and clean up in one space. According to McMahon, utilizing this system completely changed his typical working layout.
“The Galley is self-contained and organized for preparing food within the large sink system,” he said. “It really frees up the layout of the kitchen and allows for an open space on the end walls for more windows.”
The biggest change from the usual kitchen layout was using the induction cooktop directly next to the workstation sink. Since the homeowners can both use the Galley simultaneously to prepare foods, it made sense to put the cooktop nearby. This cooktop does not have gas heat and only requires a ceiling-mounted exhaust fan.
“The large exhaust vent for the induction cooking system was a dominate feature in the ceiling, and we had to work hard to not call out too much attention to it,” said the designer.
To do this, he used only recessed downlights to highlight the island, which has a simple palette of gray cabinetry and white quartz countertops. Only integrated shelf lighting is used to brighten up the working countertop. With this strategic lighting, the eye is more drawn to the accent wall or the large window than to the hood. All the sunlight coming from the adjacent living area provides more than enough general lighting for the rest of the kitchen.
“The light in room is amazing, and the view to the golf course is equally impressive,” said McMahon.
Designer: Craig McMahon of San Antonio-based Craig McMahon Architects
Photographer: Dror Baldinger Photography
Ice Machine: Scotsman
Induction Cooktop: Wolf
Refrigerator: Fisher & Paykel
Warming Drawer: Thermador
Wine Refrigerator: Perlick
Workstation: The Galley