RealtorChris Berry specializes in selling houses in conservation districts and historic areas, and has always been attracted to the architecture of older houses due to their character. “There is something about those old houses that feels super solid to me,” he states. “And this might seem absurd, but I love the sound of the train at the distance. There is something nostalgic about it speaks to me.”
Berry shares his 1928 house at a historic San Antonio, Texas, neighborhood along with his fiancée, Paige Blend; they’re both musical theatre actors. Collectively they’ve handled multiple home improvement jobs — remodeling a bathroom, refinishing the garden apartment and landscaping the entire property — while attempting to honor their residence’s early-20th-century roots.
Who lives here: Chris Berry, Paige Blend and their dogs, Tyson, Echo, Ruuq and Junebug
Size: 1,400 square feet; two bedrooms, 1 bathroom
Location: Monte Vista Historical District of San Antonio, Texas
Year built: 1928
Berry and Blend did not really feel like the home had been house until they landscaped front and rear lawns in 2011. Previously the landscape was a plain patch of dirt. Once Berry planted trees, grass and shrubs, “the home actually became a little bit of paradise,” he states.
Berry unabashedly refers to Monte Vista as “the ideal neighborhood in San Antonio,” and credits the wide streets, varied architecture and large trees with bringing him to the section of town. “Taking the dogs on a walk isn’t a chore when you have great houses to look at and large, old trees shading the road,” Blend states. Most of the houses in the neighborhood were built between 1890 and the 1940s.
A neutral, neutral palette keeps each space bright and light. The Brick fireplace supports a huge wood mantel beam which has bent slightly over time. “I love all of the quirks that come along with possessing old houses,” Berry says.
Sofa: Armoires & Accents
Front door is first to the home, as are all of the flooring.
The few likes to groom their house with secondhand furniture from antiques stores and estate sales, like the coffee table and side table. But they also keep their eyes open for bargains in retail stores. The armchair here is from Cost Plus World Market.
The movie is a 1938 Baldwin, revived by Tom Masinter. The frames above display old sheet songs. Blend has three of those four framed songs in performances. “We’re both musical theatre actors, and we live five minutes away in both theaters we both operate at,” states Blend.
Area rug: Pottery Barn
The circular window in the front end of the kitchen overlooks the garden; it had been installed by the previous owner. “When you walk, you immediately discover that the home has good energy and good bones,” states Blend. “Hardwood flooring and intriguing windows actually steal the show.”
Natural light pours through the kitchen window and also illuminates the slate counters, which offer a nice contrast to the white cabinets. The ample light makes it possible for the couple to grow potted flowers and herbs in the kitchen.
Original hardwood flooring extend from one end of the house to another. At the end of the kitchen is a breakfast nook.
The breakfast corner shares space with an integrated butler’s pantry, which is unique to the home. The office area contrary to the pantry is a newer addition.
Pendant mild: The Home Depot
Combining households is obviously a fascinating journey, but the two owners share a common aesthetic. “We have very similar flavor, therefore it was simple to combine items when Paige moved to the home,” says Berry. “We both look for striking, different, original pieces with classic components.”
Duvet cover: Organic Cotton Pintuck at Soot, West Elm
Blend transformed this 1920s-style dressing area, just off the master suite, into her home office. The white desk is handmade and has been made for Blend by SB Designs.
Upholstered seat: Marseilles Chair, Restoration Hardware Outlet at San Marcos, Texas
French doors lead into the master bedroom, although the two doors at the front end of the dressing room lead to a small closet and the house’s only toilet.
Black cupboard: Hobby Lobby
The few most recently renovated their toilet. Tile was falling off in the shower, so they removed it and installed subway tile with black grout in the bathtub into the ceiling. After seeing a local coffee store bathroom that utilized plumbing pipe as toilet hardware, Berry made the toilet paper holder and towel bars from pipe in The Home Depot. The couple kept prices down by doing all of the work.
Paint: Intellectual Gray, Sherwin-Williams; mat: Winding Vines Bathmat, Gray, Anthropologie; subway tile: The Home Depot
Tucked away in the rear of the property is a 650-square-foot guesthouse that accommodates visiting friends and family. The few refinished the apartment and installed a small kitchen to make a completely outfitted apartment.
“It is just a stone’s throw away from our door, but it provides privacy with a bedroom plus their own bathroom,” Blend states. “This is an ideal little apartment.”
The couple installed all of the landscaping in the garden, following a design in a local landscaper, that also installed a puppy run to the remaining patio (not shown). The couple has since spent many hours planting trees, trees, flowers and grass. Says Berry, “Rather than watching TV, we operate in the garden.”
Patio furniture: JCPenney
Berry and Blend, revealed here, love to sit in the rocking chairs on front porch and sip wine while neighbors wander by. “Home is where you place the foundation of your lives,” states Blend. “It does not necessarily have to be a home, but in our situation, our home is our property.”
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