Imagine 310 acres+/- of Hill Country wildflowers and oaks becoming more rugged along bluffs where views of blue-tinged hills make you stop for a long gaze. The hay field, which fills with grazing axis deer between crops, runs down to the Guadalupe River a lively, cypress-lined river popular for swimming, fishing and tubing. In a meadow below the house, a private lake is stocked with bass and catfish.
What makes Sisterdale Farms a Texas landmark is its history: the land is part of the 1847 utopian settlement of German intellectuals, called Free Thinkers, some of whose buildings remain on the property known as the Homestead. Exploring German literature, music and art, and speaking Latin, the group attracted guests such as Frederick Law Olmsted, co-designer of New York’s Central Park.
The early settlement’s mix of agriculture and academics inspired San Antonio-based architect Don McDonald to design Sisterdale Farm’s residence as a village of limestone buildings merged as one main structure to bring everyone together while giving privacy, separation and space. Poolside or on one of several patios, breezes make for pleasant dinners and gatherings. And its natural and night time lighting give the home a feeling of peace and well-being by day, drama at night.
From the front door, opening along an interior hall, an awe-inspiring view of the ranch and distant contours presents itself. Strategically placed windows throughout the house, floor to ceiling in the family and living rooms, bring views of the countryside and hills into the home. This is what the current owners love most about the house – its light, airiness and views. Even hallways linking rooms, ceilings, millwork and hardware were crafted in distinctive Hill Country style by local craftsmen.
The private bedroom wing mimics a stone barn, with a nod to haylofts in the children’s bedrooms; rooms built of distressed limestone walls convey a more informal vibe. In the master bedroom, the east-facing arched window is perfectly positioned to watch the sunrise. The master bath's landscaped courtyard offers an outdoor shower. The entire home’s systems can be controlled through an iPhone and iPad as well as from digital controls from each room, made possible by Control 4.
The home’s heart and hearth, the kitchen, feels like a European farm building with its soaring ceilings accented by wrought iron rods. A massive fireplace and dramatic Cactus Max hood and Wolf range anchor the two ends, while the center is dominated by a long island with an extended table top. A Carrera baking counter looks onto the family room and countryside. A room-sized pantry features an extra dishwasher.
This showplace of a ranch, set within the rare and beautiful riparian valley of the cypress-lined Guadalupe River is bursting with history and culture of days past. But Sisterdale Farms is also an active, low-fenced farm raising goats and chickens. On average, it also produces 400 bales of hay per year, sold to local residents as it was in the past.
Sisterdale Farm’s location between Boerne and Luckenbach, where recording artists and amateurs alike pluck their guitars day and night, is enviable for its proximity to Texas music, antiquing, and art galleries. Farther out on the map, Sisterdale Farms lies between Fredericksburg and Johnson City. For performing arts and museums, high-end shopping, world-class restaurants, and an international airport, San Antonio is less than an hour south.