Our Work

San Rafael Ranch

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    • new structures, such as a kitchen/dining/cantina complex and guest casitas, complement historic ranch buildings
    • Overview

      Located in southern Texas, this 20,000-acre ranch was once part of the famous King Ranch. For the reuse of this historic site, the client requested that the new buildings reflect the region, blend in with the existing aesthetic, and convey a sense of being 100 years old.

      The ranch now serves as a private hunting retreat. As guests spend much of their time outdoors, the design integrates interior and exterior spaces. To accommodate groups of three to 30 in this isolated location, MS&R placed particular emphasis on function and comfort. Natural materials, such as Texas limestone, adobe, and mesquite, are used inside and out. Traditional by-hand building practices include the use of chiseled stone, carved woodwork, and painted tile. Interiors reflect a Spanish colonial influence through details, ranging from the brick Boveda ceiling in the cantina to Fogon corner fireplaces and Banco adobe benches throughout.

    • a “liar’s pit” offers a place for guests to gather in the evening to socialize and tell stories about the day’s activities
    • the dining hall features Texas limestone walls, a cypress beam ceiling, custom chandeliers, and antique leather chairs from Mexico
    • located between the dining hall and lounge, the cantina features a brick boveda ceiling and hand-carved cypress woodwork
    • the lounge building is a popular gathering place for socializing and card games, which center around an antique table from Mexico
    • interiors extend into the landscape—porches double as living rooms and covered walkways provide dining areas
    • to complement the active, social spaces of the ranch, private guest spaces are designed to offer quiet and solitude
    • individual guest spaces include wooden, plaster, or tin ceilings; fireplaces in each room; and carved woodwork and wrought iron
    • the ranch’s 21 unique bathrooms range from serene spa-like settings to vibrant rooms filled with hand-painted Mexican tile
    • one of the most popular gathering spaces on the ranch, the large commercial kitchen is well-used by staff and guests alike
    • the gun building is the staging area for the ranch’s hunting expeditions; guests meet here to pick up snake boots and guns
    • consistent with the open atmosphere of the ranch, back of house spaces (like staff casitas) are detailed similarly to guest spaces
    • Specifications

      Location: Santa Elena, Texas

      Type: Historic renovation and new construction

      Size: 27,000 square feet

    • Project Contact

      Josh Stowers

      • Architect / Principal
      • josh@msrdesign.com
      • 612 889 0034
      • View Bio