The Wimberley Community Civic Club will open the 2014 Home Tour on Thursday, November 6, with the traditional Candlelight Cocktail at the home of Linda and Jerry Fields on River Road, Wimberley. Attendance to this event is limited and, at this time, the event is sold out. The home will not be part of the regular home tour scheduled for Friday and Saturday, November 7, and 8.
The Fields are distinguished alumni and major benefactors of Texas State University. Jerry Fields, who grew up in Midland, is a 1969 business graduate of Texas State and founder and chief executive officer of J.D. Fields & Co., a worldwide supplier of steel products headquartered in Houston. In 2013, Jerry received the Beta Gamma Sigma Business Award which honors individuals for significant achievements in business. His wife, Linda Gregg Fields, a 1966 graduate of Texas State and a native of San Marcos, has served as a Director of the TSU - San Marcos Development Foundation. The Fields are well-known philanthropists and are involved in a number of charitable organizations, including the American Cancer Society and the Ronald McDonald House.
Before building their new house in Wimberley in 2011, the Fields owned a small yellow house and other property on River Road that included three small houses. The Fields made the decision to tear down the four smaller houses to build a very special and spacious home that accommodates their family and many friends. An added bonus to the location is that Linda's two brothers have homes on the eleven acre property.
Architect Eric Mustard of Mustard Design Architects in Fredericksburg designed the Fields house. As a starting point, the Fields used a plan Jerry's brother had used for a house in Mexico. Mustard adapted the design to the location and to meet the Fields' personal needs and desires. The result is a home with a strong connection to the outdoors, expansive views of the Blanco River, and a very personalized interior.
The interior of the home is a flowing open-floor plan with few designated hallways. The generous circulation space facilitates entertaining while achieving balance between public and private spaces. Generously-sized windows and patio doors open the house to the outdoors while allowing natural light to bathe the rooms.
The Fields made the decision to use geothermal heating and air conditioning for their new home. Rather than burning oil or gas to produce heat, geothermal systems extract heat energy from beneath the Earth. These systems produce more energy than they consume, allowing them to exceed 100 percent efficiency. At the Fields House, eleven 200-foot deep holes recirculate water that provides eleven tons of air conditioning. The water enters the house at approximately 70 degrees then a heat exchanger raises or lowers the temperature as needed.
The home's expansive exterior is composed of limestone, stucco, and cedar and capped by a red tile roof. Balconies for the upstairs bedrooms, featuring cedar beams and surrounded by decorative wrought iron, further enhance the exterior. The home combines several styles: Southwestern Ranch, Mexican, Mediterranean, and Italian in a final design that links the home to its hillside site and takes advantage of the striking river views.
Existing large live oaks and new trees, shrubs, and plants added by the homeowners provide shade, texture, and color outdoors. The extensive exterior rockwork used for retaining walls, patios, and walkways required over a million pounds of stone and 148 truckloads of concrete. A carefully designed drainage system and berms direct water flowing down the hill safely around the Fields House during heavy rains and provided inspiration for the fountains that grace the property.
The lower level features a fountain that flows into a swimming pool specially designed for the hillside setting. Above the pool, a sprawling patio with herringbone-patterned stonework offers ample space for entertaining. Its main area features a large dining pergola and seating areas divided by large stone planters of crepe myrtles that provide seasonal color. At night, antique bronze wall lanterns light the space. The home includes two spacious guest apartments, one attached to the property and opening to the side patio and the second on the second floor of the barn behind the house.
From the patio, a stone path takes you to a large entertainment cabana past a recirculating water feature complete with a dugout boat from Zambia, a gift from friends. The cabana features a limestone fireplace in the living area, a huge bar designed to resemble a western saloon, and a full kitchen, complete with a vented outdoor grill, where Jerry Fields prepares food for family and guests. Tall windows bring natural light and outstanding views to the cabana.
Linda Fields worked with Interior Designer B. R. Arnold of Dallas to realize her vision for the home, artfully blending the styles that give the home its unique character. To achieve balance, the Fields repeated elements throughout the house. These features include high ceilings, ceiling fans, and Italian fixtures and tiles. Several rooms feature decorative ceilings made from "barge wood" from New Orleans. Floated down the Mississippi to New Orleans, this old reclaimed wood is then gathered and treated for reuse. Multiple floor- to-ceiling glass doors and automated screens that allow the home to be opened to the outdoors during mild weather highlight most rooms.
Due to its hillside location, the steep property requires many steps to reach the front door. Thoughtful of this challenge, the Fields designed the main entrance to allow access from both the front and rear of the property and advise guests to enter from the rear of the property. As you enter, the house welcomes you with patterned tile from Italy, a curved brick ceiling reminiscent of Colonial Mexican architecture, and beautiful glass doors that let you access the home from the front and rear of the property.
The entry adjoins the living/dining room, which features a custom-designed cast fireplace made in California. A braided design on the tile floor separates the living room from an adjacent walkway while a large dining table provides ample space for entertaining guests. Just past the fireplace is the study that houses Jerry's workplace, with custom-built bookshelves and large windows, as well as a private bathroom.
The kitchen and family eating area are on the opposite side of the entry. The gourmet kitchen is connected to the outdoor entertainment area and includes a blue and white backsplash of Italian tile; white decorative cutwork tile backed with copper above the custom cabinets; and white marble countertops. A blue pocket door separates the kitchen from the ample pantry and laundry room, complete with a clothes chute from the second floor.
The second floor, which can be accessed by stairs or an elevator, includes three bedroom suites, each named for a Wimberley landmark: Old Baldy, Devil's Backbone, and Eagle Rock. Old Baldy, the master suite, features wood floors laid diagonally, a decorative wood ceiling, and large corner windows. A mirrored pocket door leads to the master bath complete with a small coffee bar. The two guest bedroom suites also feature decorative wood ceilings. In one guest bedroom, the Fields display several exquisite pieces of handmade furniture. In built-in shelves in the upstairs hallway, the Fields display quilts obtained at charity auctions for the benefit of the Ronald McDonald House and the American Cancer Society.
The Fields home on River Road is awe inspiring while comfortable and warm. It was designed with care and love of the environment, linked to its hillside site, and taking full advantage of striking river views. Traditional building materials are used in refreshing ways, cohesively utilizing local and imported materials. For the Fields, their Wimberley home, a dream brought to fruition, is a loving connection to Linda's childhood and to family who live nearby.
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