Modern Craftsman

In 2018, the homeowners of this prairie-inspired home with deep overhangs, linear lines, ample glass and a generous two-story screened porch, contacted principal architect Craig McMahon AIA of Craig McMahon Architects with one goal in mind.

   “The family wanted to make the second floor more accessible by way of an elevator, but the home had a unique architectural Wrightian style, which would be disrupted, not to mention the significant cost of an elevator and interruption to the roofline, so I proposed adding in a second primary bedroom on the lower level,” notes McMahon. “That’s when everything opened up to what we could do with this house.”

 The home is situated in San Antonio’s Shavano Park on a three-acre property amongst an expanse of mature oak trees and McMahon, who spun out of the highly acclaimed Lake|Flato Architects in 2004, has since continued to focus on sustainable living with a great respect for the land and design that works in tandem with nature. In that regard, they preserved as many trees as they could during the process on this project. The unique one-story additions seamlessly blend into the serene landscape. “The site offered space for expansion and the new design engaged a courtyard concept to the home’s west side,” McMahon says.

 Built in the ‘90s, the original home incorporated many sustainable elements, particularly passive cooling. “The original home had interesting features for its time,” says McMahon. “Air comes through the screened porch into the great room, and flows into the bedrooms on the second floor. It’s more than opening windows for air flow; it’s flowing across three different spaces in a really unique way.” Following along with the original concept, the addition’s spaces — a primary bedroom suite and enclosed natatorium — were added with operable doors and windows on both sides of the spaces to allow for passive cooling while fully embracing the unique site’s mature oak trees.

 In the end, the renovation encompassed an entire remodel of the first floor, including the addition of a primary bedroom, an open and connected kitchen expansion that is three times larger than the original kitchen, an enlarged laundry/craft and sewing room, a compact indoor natatorium that connects to the main house and the private courtyard. The new pool house blends into the courtyard and tucks itself under the towering oak trees.

 Nicole Roberts Winmill of NR Interiors was brought on as the principal interior designer. She has over 20 years of experience in high-end residential design that includes new construction, remodel transformation and assisting clients with finishing touches such as fine furnishings, window coverings and one-of-a-kind pieces for their custom homes. 

 “The goal was to transform a compact Arts and Crafts-style home into a refreshed, spacious beautifully appointed home while maintaining the organic tranquility of the home and adding a mid-century modern vibe inspired by the homeowner’s existing furnishings and artwork,” shares Winmill. “It inspired us to add mid-century touches such as our light fixture choices.”

 “Nicole and I had never met before. After we finished with the architectural side of the home, I started noticing the work being done by her and it was really, really well done. It’s a different level of design. We’ve been working on a lot of projects together since then,” says McMahon.

 One of the most unexpected treasures created during the remodel is the fun little powder room located beneath the stairs, which was once a dark, tight, unappealing room that has since been transformed. “We achieved this with colorful watercolor-style wallpaper and created a custom black granite built-up vanity on walnut tapered legs. To protect the paper from water splashes, we installed a crystal-clear acrylic splash supported with brass standoffs,” explains Winmill.

 “But I’m most proud of the kitchen,” she continues. “The kitchen is the heart of the home. The whole family cooks together, and it’s an activity that they really enjoy doing as a family, so this is a really active space for them. An enormous amount of design detail went into executing that.”

The kitchen countertops are not only stunning but also durable with quartz as the perimeter top. The island features an exquisite quartzite waterfall edge that is uniquely intersected by a hefty white oak butcherblock countertop that serves as a table end of this island. Winmill pointed out the effort that went into making sure the detailed materials, such as the use of three different finishes on the cabinetry, were not only gorgeous but highly functional.

 “The kitchen is gorgeous with very striking finishes,” McMahon agrees. “We’ve taken a craftsman home and made it more modern while still staying within that craftsman look and feel. It’s unbelievable how open it is from the inside to the outside, from what it used to be. Every single addition is connected with glass through a series of pavilions. It’s so transparent, they have to watch out for birds.”

 “Craig’s additions just look so natural — they’re natural extensions of the existing home that really create such a beautiful living space for the family,” says Winmill.  

Craig McMahon Architects
210-710-3874  |

NR Interiors
210-499-0008  |