Medina’s Goat Sheds house as quirky as its name

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Architect Ignacio Salas-Humara says each home he designs has a story behind it, “even if I have to make one up.”
 
But the house dubbed Goat Sheds, located at the base of a wooded hillside outside the Hill Country town of Medina, gets its quirky nickname honestly.
 
Before the home’s original owners, Carol and Jeff Cadle, were married, Jeff worked on the cattle ranch run by Carol’s father. To test whether Jeff was worthy of his daughter’s hand, her father had him dismantle a number of goat sheds scattered across the property. He apparently did a good enough job that Carol’s dad approved the marriage.
 
So when Salas-Humara designed the three-bedroom, 3½ bath house as a series of separate but connected sheds, each for a distinct function such as sleeping, eating and garaging cars, they naturally dubbed it the Goat Sheds.

“The house forms a necklace strung together,” said Salas-Humara, who declined to divulge the original budget to build the house. “The sheds are connected with service spaces containing the pantry, laundry, a half bath and a home theater.”
 
The house took nine months to build and was completed in August 2015. During construction, the individual sheds were sited at different angles to avoid having to remove any existing trees on the property. In fact, some trees are so close to the house that notches had to be made in roof overhangs to accommodate tree limbs.

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Salas-Humara calls the home’s style simple Texas Hill Country for its harmonious combination of limestone walls, single-slope roofs corrugated siding and exposed red cedar timber. Clerestory windows bathe the interior in natural light, and a severely raked porte cochere marks the front entrance. The look is at once modern and rustic.

“I kind of wanted it to look like an old ruin that they found and then built a house on top of it,” Salas-Humara said.

The style so impressed the judges in the inaugural Custom Residential Architecture Network Awards competition, sponsored by the San Antonio chapter of the American Institute of Architects, that they named Goat Sheds the winner in the Modern Home category.

The Cadles had lived in the home for only about a year when Jeff died. In 2020, Carol sold the home to David Huddle and Alysia Jakubowski, who moved into it in July of that year. 

The new owners, who live full time in San Antonio, say they love the house, which they visit whenever they can.

“I feel peacefulness here,” said Huddle, 60, who works in the food business. “It’s very relaxing. Right now we come out on weekends, but this is our retirement house, although I’m probably five years away from that.”  

Entering the house through the large mahogany and glass pivot door brings visitors directly into the home’s main living space, a single room where the kitchen is to the left, the dining area is straight ahead and a comfortable seating area, focused on a large stone fireplace, is to the right. The room’s large size is enhanced by a high ceiling that slopes downward, front to back.

Clerestory windows toward the top of the great room wall let in plenty of light, but Salas-Humara did extensive solar modeling prior to construction to determine the optimum size and angle of roof overhangs to best shade the west-facing windows and prevent the home’s interior from getting too hot.

The kitchen is dominated by a center island topped with a colorful slab of granite in beige with veinings of gold and copper.

The kitchen is dominated by a center island topped with a colorful slab of granite in beige with veinings of gold and copper.

Kin Man Hui/Staff photographer

The kitchen is dominated by a center island topped with a slab of beige granite veined in gold and copper. The minimalist cherry cabinets have only small handles at the bottom, and the range hood is hidden behind the doors above the stove; the only part visible a thin horizontal line that aligns with the bottom of the cabinets.
 
“We truly enjoy cooking in the kitchen,” Jakubowski said. “The island is amazing, and having all that space is great. And I love the  pot filler above the stove.”
 
The kitchen also affords perhaps the best view of the surrounding country side out the three-sided windows that protrude into the rear porch.
 
“The windows are seamless so the view when you’re cooking dinner or making breakfast is just magnificent,” said Jakubowski, 48. “When the light shines in, it turns the kitchen into the heart of the home.”
 
As much as they love the house, Huddle and Jakubowski said it was missing one thing: a wood-burning fireplace.

While the home’s original design included a fireplace at the far end of the room, the Cadles didn’t want the maintenance. So they installed built-in cherry cabinets and a large-screen television in its place. 

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The owners suite has two, 12-foot walls of sliding glass that converge at one corner, giving an expansive view down the two adjacent valleys. 

The owners suite has two, 12-foot walls of sliding glass that converge at one corner, giving an expansive view down the two adjacent valleys. 

Kin Man Hui/Staff photographer

Fortunately, Salas-Humara still had his plans, and they were able to install a fireplace exactly where it was originally supposed to go, right down to stone that matched the rest of the house that they found at a nearby quarry.

The couple were also attracted by the view through the 24-foot-wide sliding glass doors that open onto a 14-foot deep backyard porch overlooking a pair of valleys, one running south, the other east.

The owners suite at the north end of the house is fairly unadorned. But it doesn’t have to be, what with two 12-foot walls of sliding glass that converge in one corner and open to an expansive view down two adjacent valleys. The roof outside extends to create a compact, wrap-around porch, while built-in screens drop down to cover the open doorways, providing privacy while still allowing cooling breezes to pass through.
 
More large clerestory windows along one upper wall allow in light and, in the evening, make for terrific star gazing
 
“When we have a full moon, this bedroom is so lit up you don’t even need a nightlight,” Jakubowski said. “It’s so beautiful.”

One of the home’s most peculiar design features is in the water closet where there’s a window that give a john’s-eye view of the outside. It’s a must-see on the home tour for new visitors to the house.

One of the home’s most peculiar design features is in the water closet where there’s a window that give a john’s-eye view of the outside. It’s a must-see on the home tour for new visitors to the house.

Kin Man Hui/Staff photographer

One of the home’s most peculiar design features is found in the bathroom water closet, where a specially placed window, requested by the original owners, provides what can only be described as a john’s-eye view of the outside yard and beyond. It’s a must-see for new visitors to the house.

The south wing of the house consists of a home office, two guest bedrooms and a home theater.

The guest rooms both have double pocket doors that, when opened, make them seem larger than they are.

At the far end of the house is a 40-by-40-foot game room that was originally going to be Jeff Cadle’s train room. A big-time model train enthusiast, he’d planned to have a large diorama painted on the curved wall that runs down one side of the room, across the rear wall and back along the the side.

At the far end of the house is a 40-by-40-foot game room that was originally going to be Jeff Cadle’s train room. A big-time model train enthusiast, he’d planned to have a large diorama painted on the curved wall that runs down one side of the room, across the rear wall and back along the the side.

Kin Man Hui/Staff photographer

“Opening the doors makes the hallway become part of the room,” Salas-Humara said. “It also lets more light into the room from the hallway windows.”
 
Another of the home’s peculiarities is a 40-by-40-foot game room at the south end. Originally is was to be Jeff Cadle’s train room. An avid model train enthusiast, he’d planned to have a large diorama painted on the curved wall that would surround what promised to be a massive setup.
 
“The mural was apparently going to have mountains, clouds and long-distance views,” Huddle said. “It’s a shame that he died before he was able to do it.”
 
Huddle and Jakubowski admit they’re still trying to figure out what, exactly, to do with the room. For now it’s a catch-all containing  workout equipment, a pool and ping pong table, a small putting green, a dart board, a Coke machine and other rec room equipment.
 
“Ultimately, it’s going to be a party room,” Jakubowski said. “It’s a massive room and there are so many possibilities. That’s what’s so cool about it.”

[email protected] | Twitter: @RichardMarini

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