This article was originally published in the July/August 2022 issue of San Antonio Woman magazine. The full article can be found here.
Since founding her company in 2002, Lori Urbano has become one of the city’s most innovative builders of top-scale, quality-crafted homes.
Although builder Lori Urbano does commercial projects — the Southtown firehouse restaurant renovation Battalion comes to mind — most of her work with Urbano Design and Build is high-end residential. One of her latest home builds, completed in just eight months during the pandemic, nearly seven years after she purchased a piece of property in the gated Inverness community, is her own home.
Among the personal touches in the 5-bedroom, 4.5 bath, 3800-square-foot contemporary design are a custom glass and steel front door, ceilings ranging from 10 to 20 feet, a blackout bedroom with motorized shades, lime plaster walls, a dog-washing station, heated bathroom floors, a showpiece staircase, a movie room for the self-professed film nut and an overall open concept that allows views of the backyard pool from virtually every room in the house.
Q: Is this your dream home?
A: Oh yeah, I did everything in this house for me, so I would say it is. I wanted to design and build a home that was a mix of transitional and very modern, something that reflects me as a person. I wanted it to be timeless but practical. For example, I have three dogs, so I used tile floors throughout. By the same token, I entertain a lot, and people are constantly coming in and out of the pool, so that that wood would have been impractical. But, as much as I wanted to create a home to my tastes, I also wanted a place that I could show to potential clients. So yes, this is me, at least for now. I did everything for me yet also made it work for resale. As a builder, I know someone might come along and make an offer I can’t refuse. But, I do not like to move.
Q: I see you have the enormous Thermador range. Not going to ask what that cost. Are you a good cook?
A: No, I’m not. But I have friends in the restaurant business and others who are excellent in the kitchen. I got a call from a producer in LA, and they’re going to do a cooking show here in my kitchen. It’s just a two-day shoot, and they’re going to recruit a local chef and a local artist to set the table. I’ll invite over some friends to eat the meal. I thought it was a great idea. I love to entertain, and it sounds like fun.
Q: How do you characterize your design style?
A: Eclectic. I can design and build in any style, from French provincial to sleek modern. I renovated an Atlee Ayers house. My goal is that you see one of my homes and not know who built it. I don’t want someone to take one look and say, ‘Oh, that’s an Urbano home.’