Monte VistaWhen we found this week’s historical shelter, an English Domestic Revival home in the Monte Vista neighborhood of San Antonio, we immediately wanted to know more about one of the largest historic districts in the United States.

And we became even more intrigued when we found out that the district, which encompasses 100 city blocks in midtown San Antonio, had rather humble beginnings as a goat pasture.

According to historians, the Monte Vista neighborhood began as a development when, in 1889, real estate developers began eyeballing the land — which was being used for grazing land for goats, five miles north of downtown San Antonio.

Street by street, developers built homes, with different developers owning blocks at a time. The entire enclave was finished in the 1930s. At the time, Monte Vista would be considered one of San Antonio’s tonier Gilded Age suburbs, showcasing several styles of homes, including Classical Revival, Tudor, Spanish Eclectic, and Craftsman, built by names like Alfred Giles, Harvey Young, James Riely Gordon, and Atlee B. Ayres. (more…)


by Eric Prokesh

Slightly under the radar, which we of course love, an architectural gem on Fort Worth’s historic Elizabeth Boulevard is now on the market after undergoing an extensive two year renovation/restoration. And we are just drooling with delight.

The 6500 square foot house at 1302 Elizabeth Blvd. sits on half an acre of lushly landscaped land. There are five bedrooms, four full en suite baths and two partial powder rooms. The usual formals, of course, and a stunningly modernized kitchen but we just want to park ourselves in the solarium with lattice work top and bottom, sip on a mint julep or two, and while the day away. Also here you will find what should be the poster child of master closets  –enormous and with windows — a full basement for storm protection and a third floor plumbed for even more finish out. The home was designed as a showplace for John C. Ryan, developer of Ryan Place, by gifted architect Wiley G. Clarkson, born in Corsicana, who left to Fort Worth a legacy of important public buildings as well as dozens of its most beautiful residences. The home was built in 1913.

The current owners, Jennifer and Samuel Demel, engaged Castor Vintage Homes to execute the challenging restoration. For much of the work the couple actually camped out in 2 ground floor rooms with their infant son, Grayson, while the team banished the last vestiges of nob and tube wiring, upgraded plumbing, returned supporting columns to plum, and installed a new HVAC. But oh the touches of yesteryear, like this brass hardware detail on the transoms…

Erik Prokesh hardware (more…)