Manhcke Park historic home designed by partner of O’Neil Ford undergoes a modern Palm Springs-style renovation in San Antonio

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David and Sharon Adelman had to thread a tough needle after buying their Mahncke Park home, backing onto the San Antonio Botanical Garden, in January last year.

While the mid-century modernity of 1959 required a much-needed upgrade, they didn’t want to dishonor the work done by the home’s original designer, an associate of iconic San Antonio architect O’Neil Ford. .

In the end, they decided on what David Adelman calls a “light renovation”, adding a screened porch, enlarging the closet in the master bedroom and outfitting the house with furniture appropriate to the time. They also completely redesigned the exterior layout, which had been virtually intact for decades.

“Instead of a major overhaul, it was more like we put a little gem on the girl,” said Adelman, director of San Antonio-based commercial real estate and development company Area Real Estate. “She didn’t need a complete facelift, just a refresh.”

The couple modernized the 1980s kitchen by getting rid of a built-in desk, moving the refrigerator to another location, adding open shelves, and replacing cabinet surfaces and hardware.

Richard A. Marini / Staff

“We love the look and feel of the house,” Adelman said. “There is everything we need except, maybe, a guest bathroom. “

When planning what turned out to be a four month renovation, the couple always tried to be aware of the history of the house.

“A friend of mine who is another developer says the key to a successful renovation is knowing when to stop,” he said. “We wanted to do it right next to the house, Tuggle and the neighborhood. “

Adelman said the renovation cost them less than $ 100,000 but more than his original budget of $ 50,000.

The biggest change the couple made to the house was to add a beautiful screened-in wood-lined porch in the southeast corner of the house to take advantage of the prevailing breeze.

“The porch is my favorite spot in the whole house,” he said.

The living room, adjacent to the screened porch, is furnished with a mix of vintage and reproduction pieces.

The living room, adjacent to the screened porch, is furnished with a mix of vintage and reproduction pieces.

William Luther / Personal Photographer

The couple enjoy having breakfast there, and Sharon often hosts mahjong games with friends. When the couple’s two daughters return home from college, he said, they live in the room. “They love to be outside in the fresh air without all the mosquitoes.”

The calming effect of the room is enhanced by the constant sound of birds fluttering around the many feeders in the courtyard. “We always say we get the lazy birds, because the hardworking ones fly off to the botanical garden,” Sharon said with a laugh.

Before the porch was built, the area it now sits in was just a slab of broken concrete. They poured a new base, covered it with a large hexagonal tile, and softened the look with a large area rug. The room is furnished with comfortable seating, including a hanging chair, which would fit perfectly in one of the couple’s favorite places: Palm Springs.

In fact, they’ve been to this California desert town on several occasions to be inspired by decor, tour neighborhoods, and take notes on mid-century modern architecture and landscaping.

“We got rid of most of the furniture from our old house, so we had to start all over again,” Sharon said. “We love Palm Springs and wanted to make it a California-San Antonio home.” They ended up buying a number of pieces of furniture and sending it home.

Several are now in the living room, which is adjacent to the screened porch and is furnished with a mix of vintage and reproduction pieces. These include the Rat Pack-esque liquor cabinet and a pair of original Bose 901 speakers, with their revolutionary pentagonal cabinets and signature tulip stands.

The master bedroom

The master bedroom

William Luther / Staff

Although small, the adjoining kitchen easily flows into the dining room, so it appears larger. “That connection is another of the things we really love about this design,” Adelman said.

Still, the kitchen had a 1980s look, so they updated it by getting rid of a built-in desk, moving the refrigerator to another location. They also added open shelving and replaced cabinet surfaces with walnut cladding and chevron-shaped drawer pulls, two common looks at the time, according to Adelman.

The large windows in the house let in as much natural light as possible. Their two daughters’ bedrooms, for example, have east-facing windows that catch the morning sun.

“Natural daylight in the morning is best for your circadian rhythm, and I guarantee Tuggle knew that,” he said. “One thing modernists do really well is understand how light works inside a house.”

Another feature is the interior courtyard, which adds approximately 400 square feet of living space right next to the dining area.

“It’s intimate and private, open to the sky and brings a lot of light inside the house,” Adelman said. “It’s also in keeping with the Mexican interior court tradition, which O’Neil Ford would certainly have known.”

On the outside, the landscape continues Palm Springs, a mid-century modern aesthetic with simple, clean lines that echo those of the house.

On the outside, the landscape continues Palm Springs, a mid-century modern aesthetic with simple, clean lines that echo those of the house.

Richard A. Marini / Staff

The space is particularly convenient during holidays or other special occasions. “All we have to do is open the doors and people are flocking to them,” Sharon said.

The most outrageous room in the house is the girls’ bathroom, which doubles as a guest powder room. Like something out of a Technicolor fever dream, the walls are covered in various shades of electric pink while the woven vinyl flooring is a vibrant orange.

“We wanted it to be fun, super Palm Springs,” said Sharon. “And girls love pink and orange.”

The only structural changes they made were in the master bedroom, where a narrow closet made storage of clothes problematic. So they extended the outside wall about 10 feet to create a good sized walk-in closet.

On the outside, the landscape continues Palm Springs, a mid-century modern aesthetic with simple, clean lines that echo those of the house. “Modernists would have been very aligned with these kinds of Asian principles,” Adelman said.

The grass is crossed by gravel paths, including one leading to a sitting area with a gas fireplace surrounded by a loveseat and several circular armchairs – the perfect place to enjoy the results of the renovation.

[email protected] | Twitter: @RichardMarini


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