Boot Ranch is everything I love about Texas all rolled up into one big beautiful package.
It’s easy to get caught up in big city living and lose sight of the innate beauty of Texas until you hit the backroads. The minute you take that right turn at Evant, and head towards Fredericksburg, the Texas Hill Country rolls out before your eyes. Suddenly nothing matters but the view. You turn a corner, and Enchanted Rock looms up like a stone spaceship. As you wind around the road to Boot Ranch, the clubhouse rises out of the stone cropping’s like a cowboy’s version of a castle and simply takes your breath away.
The CandysDirt.com staff was lucky enough to be guests of Boot Ranch recently. If you know anything about luxury vacation properties and second homes, you’ll have heard of the 2,000-acre luxury residential development only five miles from Fredericksburg. It’s an easy drive from Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. There is something for everyone of every age here. Is golf your thing? There’s a signature, Hal Sutton-designed, state-of-the-art golf course. Are you bringing kids? Enjoy the private lake complete with beach, paddle boards, kayaks, and possibly the best tree houses we’ve ever seen. You can be as busy as you’d like or hang out on a porch swing, sip the local wine, and enjoy that view.
Boot Ranch was the brainchild of Hal Sutton. If you are not a golf insider, Sutton was a professional golfer with 14 PGA victories including the PGA Championship in 1983. While building a state-of-the-art golf course is one sort of challenge, creating a community around that course is an altogether different one.
There is an expectation here that you will honor the land and the heritage of the Hill Country, and that’s exactly what has been accomplished here. The architecture of this community is unique for it’s well proportioned, symmetrical, classical structures. There is an adherence to basing new designs on the original, late 1800s Fredericksburg homes built by German settlers.
“It’s simple and functional with clean lines, open spaces, and simple roof lines,” Chad Faucheux, a founder, and partner of the firm Design Visions said. “It’s the less-is-more philosophy.”
Faucheux’s firm and Don B. McDonald Architecture are responsible for the cohesive yet unique look of Boot Ranch.
When you look at these homes, you may think they resemble a child’s rendering of a house. You’d be right.
“The Germans settled the area as a classical revival was going on in Europe,” McDonald said. “The light divisions, the door, and window panels are all worked off of proportional relationships. People think it’s primitive, but the proportions drive it all, and that is what you see with the Germanic architecture.”
It reminds us of any art form. When you look at professional dancers, their moves seem effortless, but you know years of study and practice go into the simplest movement. A musician spends hours every day for weeks and weeks to ensure a single performance is inspiring and memorable. It’s the same with architecture. The simple look is often the most challenging to achieve, and the art is in the simplicity.
“Hill Country Romanesque was the first project we did, and in that is Germanic Neoclassical,” McDonald said. “There are two parallel strains. You know you are in Gillespie County. Everything is built of local materials, but built with European ideas from the mid to late 19th century. You don’t expect to see this refined architecture in Texas. You can’t discern a contemporary building from a 200-year-old building. They meld into the landscape so beautifully. We are looking to build houses with meaning, not just with amenities. We are encouraging an evolution of the regional architecture, and that is unique to a golf course community.”
Boot Ranch offers a wide range of homes to suit every size family, from the popular Sunday House to the Country House, Summer House, Village House, and of course, custom homes.
“The whole vision of the developer was to offer high-end products for a distinguished clientele that did not want to go through the process of hiring the team,” Faucheux said. “The client picks the plan, and it’s our responsibility to give the architecture something that blends with the vernacular in Boot Ranch. It must be appealing to the clientele and work with the original Fredericksburg architecture. We created plans that could be built in a year.”
Of course, you can bring your own architect and designer, but why would you when you have the best talent in the country on tap, and you don’t have to oversee a single thing.
By far the most intriguing concept at Boot Ranch is the Sunday House. It’s a shared experience purchased by eight families. Each family is allotted 40 days a year at the ranch. Unlike most vacation homes, there is no need to arrive a week in advance to open up the house and get it ready for family and friends. There is no maintenance, no laundry, no caretaking at all. You simply show up and enjoy your vacation. For anyone that’s grown weary of maintaining a second home, Boot Ranch is the answer to their dreams.
“Many of the people that we build for begin with a Sunday House to test it out and end up building a home here,” McDonald said.”The teams we work with understand and embrace craftsmanship.We have this rule that every project, even though we follow this common architectural vocabulary, has to have something subtle but unique about it, specific to that client. We have fun coming up with those different ideas on each project and helping people express themselves in a quiet way with their homes. It’s developed a dialog about architecture and a strong commitment to the community that is amazing.”
There is a shared vision of quality at Boot Ranch, and that vision is not sacrificed in any way. It is indeed a revolution of regional architecture, and it’s executed in a timeless manner.
McDonald summed it up perfectly: “Boot Ranch has a magical quality.”