Jon Nystrom has been a licensed architect since 1983, and many of the houses he has designed over the years have been out of his price range. But eventually, he had to retire. He and his wife Nancy had spent the previous 21 years living and working in New England. When they retired, they knew they wanted to return to Nancy’s hometown in Texas to live the quiet, retired life. When the time came, the couple decided to settle in the town of Boerne, just north of San Antonio, and build themselves a house.
They reasoned that the town would be ideal for them because they’d still be close to friends, and all amenities such as shops, restaurants, community services, and health-care providers would be easily accessible, even on foot – but they’d still have their peace and quiet. Boerne is a small town with a population of about 10,000 people, but it’s becoming a popular retirement destination. Despite its small-town status, it is full of character.
Its European-style architecture, as well as specialty shops set against a quaint, historic, and picturesque backdrop, are among its many charms. Because the community near San Antonio is quite prosperous, crime rates are low. There are also art galleries to visit and wine nights. While it may appear that Boerne is quite busy, the people who live there lead relatively quiet lives.
Jon and Nancy moved to an exclusive Boerne neighborhood where their neighbors lived in homes behind stucco walls surrounded by manicured lawns and graveled driveways. The couple desired to blend in with the neighborhood while also standing out from the crowd. They kept some of the outside elements but made some changes. They were able to position their garage at a 45° angle because they lived next to a city-owned easement.
This enabled them to install solar panels on the roof of their garage. Furthermore, at that angle, the garage was able to serve as a buffer between the street and their house. Furthermore, the angle allowed them to build a private, shaded garden and courtyard area between the garage and the house. That’s not bad at all. When they enter the house, they are greeted by a timber-frame living and dining area with 22-foot-high ceilings. The timber frames make the house feel big and spacious while still keeping it cozy.
And, despite the fact that the entire house is 1970 square feet, none of it is wasted because every nook and cranny serves a purpose and is space-efficient, as the couple intends to live there for the rest of their lives. There is no room in the house that is not used on a daily basis. Furthermore, space has been planned for accessibility as they grow older.
The living room is inviting to guests and has a very comfortable space, complete with an overhead ceiling fan for those warm summer days and a fireplace for those cold winter evenings. Their dining room has an eight-seat dining table right beside the living room. Aside from the dining room, there is a modern, fully equipped kitchen. Because the kitchen was specifically designed to accommodate wheelchairs, there is plenty of room to move around.
A sliding glass door on the opposite side of the kitchen leads out to the backyard space, which opens up to a covered seating area. There is also a grill station and a 35-foot lap pool beyond that area. Jon and Nancy wanted their home to be environmentally friendly, so they installed a vertical, 8400-gallon storage tank to catch rainwater, which they will use to water their landscaping.
There is only one bedroom in the house. Overnight guests, however, do not have to worry about sleeping on the couch because there is a guesthouse just above the garage. The guesthouse was the first part of the property to be built, so Jon and Nancy lived there for the four months it took to finish their house.