You cannot find a better location for seeing San Antonio than from our charming bungalow in the heart of the city! Park the car and walk throughout our neighborhood and the downtown to really get a San Antonio experience. Parks, arts galleries and activities, restaurants, historic sites, live music, cultural venues, movie theaters, comedy clubs and night clubs, and even places to hike, bike, golf, kayak, and shoot hoops -- it's all within a walk from here! This 1880 house was our home for seven years and is still my daughter's favorite house. Artists, writers, composers, critics, and one 'Dame of the British Empire' have made it a temporary home, and the aesthetic is well suited to 'creatives'. Our devotion to the arts is expressed not just in the unique details of this home, but in our commitments to arts education: A portion of all rentals helps support arts education in Southtown, through gifts to local organizations including Bonham Theater, Say Si, and grants to teachers of music, visual, and performing arts. Starting in fall of 2016, you will be able to see the works of local artists displayed here in the house, against the visually stunning backdrop of exposed bead board and plank ceilings, stripped but unpainted door frames, and retained chimney flues that reveal the 135 years and numerous generations that have come through these doors. It is a unique and character-filled home, suitable for people who love old houses -- not just historic mansions but the humble homes of real people who lived and worked here a century ago. When we saved this old house from decades of neglect, we renovated to make it function for our 21st century family without obscuring its past, and lived here with love.
Located just one block from South Alamo Street, the artery that connects the Alamo and downtown tourist district with all the local flavor of our vibrant arts and culture district, this house is arguably the best-sited vacation home in town. With dozens of local restaurants and unique shops, open-air eateries, 'ice houses' (our term for outdoor beer halls), and 'trend' destinations like great coffee houses, brew pubs, and cocktail lounges, this house and neighborhood has it all. This is a downtown neighborhood: It's not a gated community. You will meet real people of every stripe in our 'hood, from our septuagenarian neighbor famous for her fruit trees (including papaya), to the 'two Rudy's' (one collects our cans and rides a tricycle; the other is a retired high school principal who owns a ranch of miniature horses and plays the 'bajo sexto' -- a guitar-like Mexican 12-string instrument). This functioning neighborhood of real families is an alternative to 'tourist' San Antonio, while being close enough to do all the tourist things. The neighborhood is also 'kid friendly' and 'dog friendly'.
Southtown (an area that includes historic districts King William, Lavaca, and Baja King William) was reclaimed from the blight and despair that inflicted many downtown zones two decades ago by a loose assortment of 'alternative' types -- artists, writers, musicians and eccentrics. Although gentrification has brought us more doctors, lawyers, and retired bankers, the core population is still 'creatives'. Architects have built contemporary studios out of tin next to their craftsman homes (the Historic Design Review Commission oversees all designs and development), people grow tiny organic urban gardens, and many neighbors keep chickens (don't worry, the nearest rooster is a mile away). Down the alley a retired Army colonel has two pet goats. While the area is desired by visitors for its proximity to downtown, the neighborhood is mostly coveted by locals as a place where you can still be a little weird. While we don't have chickens, there are producing fruit trees -- if you visit in season you'll have fresh grapefruit or limes for your drinks. In fall you're welcome to enjoy the fresh, fallen pecans and take some home with you -- we always have more than we need.
To take a stroll to the River Walk: Turn right on South Alamo to hit it in the heart of downtown, or turn left and cut four short blocks through the 'hood past historic mansions to enjoy our pastoral and peaceful hike/bike area with walking trails and even a spot to put in a kayak! The ‘hood also has places to work out, do yoga, rent bikes – just about everything to make your stay invigorating.
This historic 19th century house in the heart of downtown San Antonio is a fully furnished three bedroom, two bathroom home. Utilize the daybed with trundle in the enclosed porch room or the click-clack sleeper in the living room to extend sleeping capacity to 10. The furnishings are casual but sophisticated, selected to accent each room's character: Nothing repeats. Historic details include wonderful long-leaf pine flooring, high ceilings, and transoms over doorways. This lovingly resurrected bungalow is still a work in progress, one that I will pass on to my daughter someday, who will no doubt keep restoring it one item at a time! It was once our family home, and we still live in this house or across the street at times throughout the year when we visit our much-loved downtown neighborhood. We have striven to preserve the home’s simple, personal, aged character while modernizing it enough for comfort.
My daughter was 3 years old when we moved in here, and she needed a home where the rooms felt very connected, as they do here. There is no hallway – the rooms open onto one another – so the house functions in an open and easy way. We had lived in a big house with a hallway that bisected the space, and she followed me from room to room: Here, she was confident that no matter what room she occupied, I could see and hear her from steps away. For guests that means you can easily interact from one space to another: The cook can also watch the kids while they play in the living room, folks can socialize more easily. The current kitchen was an empty room with white walls when we bought the house, but it was obviously the exterior of the original house. From the living room both a doorway and an original window (that would have looked onto the yard) open into the kitchen, creating continuity between the spaces that preserves a conviviality between those working in the kitchen and the family members idling in front of the television. The deck opens directly off the kitchen for outdoor dining or just relaxing. Much of the time it is sheltered by the shade of our giant pecan tree. The front porch makes a great space to hang out, too. There’s another pecan tree in front, and if you’re here during the season feel free to take home some pecans: There’s always more than enough!
The house has a 20' x 8' deck off the kitchen under the spreading pecan tree. Guests enjoy cooking out or serving at the table on the deck, which is also a great place for a morning cup of coffee. Resident squirrels chase each other around the tree and native birds are frequent visitors. There is a small side yard under the spreading pecan, where we reclaimed a bunch of old bricks by “excavating” the original pathways and have used them to create informal walkways and step areas that combine new patio stones with old bricks and blocks. To conserve water, we use native and heat- and drought-tolerant plants, and most of the yard is simply trimmed with monkey grass or spider grass, both of which make it through San Antonio’s climatological mood swings. We have allowed a native ground cover to dominate the small patch of yard where kids play or folks collect when using the grill. You can view the Hemisfair Tower – and its seasonal fireworks – from the outdoor deck. Out the back door is a small “dog run” – a fenced enclosure that opens only into the porch room of the house – to provide a secure kennel for visitors with pups!
From the street, it’s an easy walk to the Alamo, Convention Center, Fiesta, River Walk, Alamodome, and the soon-to-be completely Amphitheater. Swimming, parks, golf, tennis, movie theaters, and shopping are all nearby. The house is located on a quiet side street that’s only one block long, but we are merely steps away from nightlife and restaurants, including the famous Rosario's restaurant. Three of Texas Monthly's “50 best Mexican Restaurants” are located in the neighborhood which is the center of the arts community and nightlife for local San Antonio.
Bikes are available at the 'bike share' just two blocks away to enjoy San Antonio or the Mission Trails bike trail nearby. A neighborhood membership pool and health club takes short term memberships for a small fee ($50 at this time), so you can hang out at the pool or get some exercise. The public pool is 1 mile away in a park with a climbing wall, grills, basketball courts, and more, along the River Walk Mission Reach and near the golf course. Although we no longer live across the street full time, we are still nearby and can share information about the neighborhood or assist with any concerns. Our great neighbors also help out when I'm out of town for any reason. It's a very neighborly area! You can rent by the day (3-night minimum), week or month.
GIVING BACK: Contributions from this rental to local arts programs are targeted to expanding arts education for our urban at-risk population. We have a vibrant, affluent downtown, but share this diverse community with many children whose families cannot provide for extras like theater camp or art supplies. That's where we step in: Through personal gifts to lower income students and direct contributions to teachers and arts organizations, we help to expand the reach of existing programs, like our outstanding public school and nonprofit organizations, to children who might not otherwise be served.
Keywords: Historic home, bungalow, family