Custom built Texas Hill County wine lover’s home near Canyon Lake with wine cellar, vineyard

Michael Hendrix and Christine Heikkinen loved their home in the Vintage Oaks neighborhood south of Canyon Lake. But when they learned that a new section was being developed, with larger grounds and more distant views, they saw it as a second chance to build a home that could better accommodate their nine grandchildren and the Hendrix’s growing hobby in winemaking.

“We had these conversations, ‘Well, if we had to do it all over again, if we were building a new house, what would we do differently?'” said Hendrix, a partner at an IT services company. “It was our opportunity.”

Top of their wish list was more space to play with and entertain the grandkids (and, oh yeah, their parents too) when they come to visit, a wine cellar for Hendrix to make and store his vino house, and a small plot of land where he could plant his own vines.

All three boxes were ticked when they completed the 13-month construction of a home that has three bedrooms, three bathrooms and two half baths in early 2021. They moved in just before the arctic storm hit in February.

The semi-circular kitchen island holds trays of food during the holidays and is also large enough for the couple’s nine grandchildren to gather for breakfast when they visit.

William Luther / Personal Photographer

The final cost, including additions such as the pool, custom gates, privacy fencing, and extensive stone work, was just over $2.1 million.

To build the home, which blends Spanish/Mediterranean influences, Tuscan accents and exposed white Hill Country limestone, they turned to Michael Bryant, co-owner of San Antonio-based Genuine Custom Homes, who built their former home. .

Bryant said he wanted to kick things up a notch in the new home. Among his ideas were higher than normal ceilings built with details such as domes and trays and a private owners suite isolated from the rest of the house.

The couple also brought their thoughts to the discussion. Their previous house had a contemporary look, and this time wanted something more classic. And while the new home has the same number of bedrooms, it also has a lot more room for the grandkids, including a playroom and pool in the back.

Also during the planning, Heikkinen often sent Bryant photos of homes she had seen and liked. Many times these had decorative watchtowers rising above the roofline.

“So now we have three,” the retired Air Force colonel said with a laugh.

The entrance goes against the current trend of large open fireplaces.

The games room overlooks the backyard with a view of the houses across a shallow valley.

The games room overlooks the backyard with a view of the houses across a shallow valley.

William Luther / Personal Photographer

“Often with modern homes, you can look all the way inside the house from the front door, sometimes even straight to the backyard and beyond,” Bryant explained. “What Michael and Christine wanted was something more formal. That’s why there’s this wall here that blocks the view so you can’t see into the main living room.

The highlight of the home, the main living area is a massive space that combines a living room, dining area, and kitchen under a 20-foot exposed beam ceiling.

“We’ve taken the greatness of their last home to the next level,” Bryant said. “The minimum ceiling height throughout the house is 12 feet, but it is higher than many other rooms.”

The kitchen is dominated by a semi-circular island topped with gold speckled quartzite. Large enough to accommodate five people, it can accommodate many more without being too crowded.

“When we have parties, there will be trays of food on top, and that’s where everyone gathers,” Heikkinen said. “Then on the weekends when my grandchildren visit, they’ll all be here in the morning for breakfast and I’ll be like a short-lived cook.”

Glazed and off-white French Provincial cabinetry and backsplash of unsealed travertine tiles and glass mosaic give the area an old-world feel.

Nearby, a custom arched wrought iron door in an exposed limestone wall leads to the wine cellar. Hendrix has so far only produced wine from kits, bottling them under its custom label, Terzolas Winery, named after the town in the northern Italian province of Trentino, Italy. where his late mother’s family is from.

An aerial view of Michael Hendrix and Christine Heikkinen's home in the Vintage Oaks neighborhood south of Canyon Lake.

An aerial view of Michael Hendrix and Christine Heikkinen’s home in the Vintage Oaks neighborhood south of Canyon Lake.

Real Custom Homes

With a larger plot, he recently planted 30 grape plants, including 18 sangiovese and 12 tempranillo, on a slope in the backyard.

“I look forward to doing our first (estate) batch in four or five years when the vines mature,” he said. “If everything works, I will produce around 300 bottles a year.”

Located on the other side of the house, the owners suite is behind large double doors for added privacy. It consists of a bedroom and a large bathroom, a coffee bar, a training room, a huge walk-in closet and a separate door to the backyard.

The bathroom glistens with a marble-like porcelain tile floor, a dual-entry walk-in shower, plenty of windows that provide natural light, and a freestanding soaking tub. Adding an elegant look to this most utilitarian room, a crystal chandelier hangs from a round tray ceiling above the tub.

The suite also has one of the house’s three watchtowers. “It’s a great look from both inside and outside the house,” Bryant said.

While two are purely decorative, they installed a floor in the third, and it now serves as a small loft with a sitting area 14 feet above the ground floor and accessed by a ladder.

While Bryant’s company has a designer to help customers, Heikkinen has done much of the decor shopping herself, researching and purchasing items online such as glass doorknob reproductions, light fixtures and several ornate mirrors.

“I love uniqueness and the internet allows me to shop anywhere for my dream items or the ability to have them made,” Heikkinen said. “Custom pool entry and bath doors are good examples. I sent the company pictures of what I was looking for, and they made them exactly as pictured.

Asked about her favorite sites for shopping, she named, and

The high ceilings in the house presented occasional problems. In a guest bathroom, for example, the extra long shower curtain had to be specially ordered.

“We could have hung it at normal height, but then we would have a rod cutting through the gap and I didn’t want that,” she said.

Most bedroom ceilings have their own unique design features. The main entrance, for example, has a domed ceiling with golden highlights while one of the guest bedrooms has a ceiling that has been framed down so it looks like a cake. upside down wedding. In the main living room, the high ceiling with exposed beams gives height to the room.

More rustic touches appear throughout the home, including the scraped engineered hardwood flooring and the hand-troweled plaster walls, complete with trowel marks, or what Bryant affectionately called “cake icing.” clearly visible.

There’s even a formal dining area, a detail that’s increasingly missing in many new build projects. Theirs is located just to the right of the main entrance.

“We scoured many model homes for ideas, and many of them didn’t have a formal dining room,” Heikkinen said. “But when the whole family is over and we sit down for a big formal gathering, we want to be in a nice setting.”

And also somewhere where they can enjoy a good bottle of sangiovese. | Twitter: @RichardMarini

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