Creating a Contemporary Masterpiece

"Wow!" That's all Rick Montelongo, CGR, president of Montelongo Homes & Remodeling, could say when he first saw this 1950s, 1,200-square-foot brick home. Nestled between mature oaks on a prime lot in the coveted, historic Olmos Park area, the house had been left to decline: Broken windows, a dilapidated brick façade and small, confining rooms.

August 31, 2005

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"Wow!" That's all Rick Montelongo, CGR, president of Montelongo Homes & Remodeling, could say when he first saw this 1950s, 1,200-square-foot brick home. Nestled between mature oaks on a prime lot in the coveted, historic Olmos Park area, the house had been left to decline.

 
Stunning white stucco, a galvanized steel roof and a sleek new elevation made the house modern. The team kept the original cubby-like squares in place and stuccoed over them, then mimicked the design on other outer walls.

"Broken windows, a dilapidated brick façade and small, confining rooms were my first experience with the home," Montelongo recalls. The owner envisioned a whole-house renovation that would transform the ramshackle structure into one of San Antonio's most contemporary residences. The project fit well into the firm's target demographic of upper-middle to affluent clientele.

According to Montelongo, his team had to be married to the owner's vision. "In the design phase, the owner was already purchasing items for the home according to her vision," he explains. "We were committed to making that vision a reality."

 

 Before

Montelongo started by tearing the home down nearly to its foundation, keeping just an old brick fireplace and some exterior brick walls accented by cubby-like squares. In 12 months the team had transformed the leftovers into a multilevel, 3,262-square-foot, dazzling white stucco house with a galvanized steel roof.

To accentuate the contemporary design, the Montelongo team chose sleek aluminum non-operable windows for most of the house, with operable ones in the bedrooms. The custom-made entry door — design idea compliments of the homeowner — rotates 180 degrees and is made of composite steel with a washed metal stain finish that matches the slate porch.

 
The homeowner provided some of the products, including the teak cabinets.

Inside the home, a 14-foot barrel-ceiling foyer featuring modern artwork greets visitors — a far cry from the dark, squat entryway of the original structure. Art niches throughout the home allow the owner to display an eclectic collection of contemporary artwork and religious folk art collected in her travels.

To the right of the foyer, the Montelongo team built a mini-theater, outfitted with surround sound as well as movie seats from the now-defunct San Antonio Aztec Theater. From this room, the owner can control music throughout the house, even outside to the second-story terrace. Other updates include turning the guest bath into a "pool bath" and converting a closet into a sitting room.

 

With the theater occupying space that had been an office, Montelongo moved the home office to the old garage. A new staircase leads down to the basement exercise room and up to the lofted master suite, creating a multi-level owner's retreat. Amber hues warm up the master bath. A short flight of stairs replaced the ramp leading from the garage to the new breakfast area, which connects the expanded and updated kitchen and living area. French doors open from the breakfast area onto a new backyard deck.

The contractor encountered several challenges during the course of the project. Though Montelongo planned to preserve the existing wood floors, Mother Nature had a different idea. Despite efforts to protect the floors while the roof was off and the house was exposed, rain eventually made new flooring necessary.

The cabinets, which were provided by the homeowner, also disrupted the project. A delay by the cabinetmaker put the Montelongo team three months behind schedule, a month of which was stand still time.

"We improvised," says Montelongo. "We advanced the project in other areas, put parts out of sequence."

 

Remodeler: Montelongo Homes & Remodeling, San Antonio

Architect: D.M.M. Home Designs, San Antonio

Project location: Olmos Park, Texas

Age of home: 50 years

Scope of project: Whole house remodel and second-floor master suite addition

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Appliances: Frigidaire. Paint: Sherwin-Williams. Plumbing fixtures: Kohler. Roofing: Mangold Roofing. Whirlpool tub: Jacuzzi. Windows: Don Young.

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