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2011 - Volume 1 Issue 1
Casas Bonitas
Feature Home
Article: Joe Burgess
Photos: Bill Faulkner
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If one of your life’s ambitions is to unwind and entertain in your own backyard paradise, you will definitely want to discover what Juan Carlos and Lorena Rodriguez have created at their El Paso upper valley home. They are personalizing the interior of their home with some intriguing remodeling concepts and their back yard makeover… absolutely stunning.

    Photo Captions

1.) Juan Carlos and Lorena Rodriguez

Silver Springs Pool & Spa

Rock and Flagstone:
Paradise Materials

Metro Mix

Pool Equipment:
Mayfield Pool Supplies

Sierra Vista Growers

Alianza Plumbing

JJ Electric

Grading and Excavation:
Fernandez Trucking
The Rodriguez home was built around 1973 and was purchased by Juan Carlos in 2004 as a surprise birthday gift for Lorena. Lorena had always wanted a house that offered the opportunity to remodel to her own liking. “This house was like a blank canvas,” says Lorena, “and I immediately began developing my plans for remodeling the interior.” When the decision was made to initiate the project, however, they opted to begin with the backyard landscaping so the children could enjoy it before leaving home.

For the landscaping, Juan Carlos wanted to showcase his capabilities as a designer and contractor for his business, Silver Springs Pool and Spa. The initial consideration was based on the courtyard of a Dallas hotel, but the concept was too formal and he was not satisfied that it would take full advantage of the yard’s potential. He decided on a more freeform flow for the pool area. Excavated dirt from the lower pool was utilized to build a large mound, allowing for raised pools and water falls viewable from the back porch.

When sitting on the upper deck at the top of the mound, one looks across the spa and an infinity edge pool toward the main pool and back porch, with the Franklin Mountains visible in the distance. The upper deck also incorporates a reflection pool with a fire pit in the center surrounded by bubblers, and there is a water slide on the far edge of the mound that drops into the lower pool. The lower ground-level feature is a 60-foot lap pool, deeper in the center with rings for anchoring a volleyball net. An outdoor kitchen, pergola and hand-made tree lamps provide the final touches to a stunning Caribbean scene with curved pools, boulders and lots of vegetation.

For the fall and spring seasons, temperatures are maintained in the lower main pool, the upper pool and the spa by a heat pump. A large heater was sized to warm up the pool in 8-10 hours.

Work has now progressed on the interior of the home, including the addition of a family room and back porch. Several interior walls were eliminated, some of the windows were removed and others, originally part of an exterior wall, were left in place as a decorative divider between the original room and one that was added. Remodeling the kitchen is the remaining job to be completed. When remodeled, the kitchen will no longer be square and will have more contemporary cabinets.

Lorena, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, is involved with the family business, but loves to cook and entertains almost every weekend. Some of her favorite dishes are lechón asado (pork roast), plátanos maduros (caramelized bananas) and a dish of black beans and white rice called Moros y Cristianos.

Juan Carlos, of Cuban descent, and his family ended up in Guadalajara, where his father practiced as a physician/cardiologist. Juan Carlos attended the School of Architecture at the University of Guadalajara. He met his wife’s brother in high school and they remained friends through college. After receiving his diploma in architecture, Juan Carlos studied Mediterranean and Tuscan design for a year in Perugia, Italy. He returned to Guadalajara to visit friends and found that his buddy’s little sister, Lorena, had apparently grown up in his absence. They were married soon after.

Responding to an offer from an architectural firm in Miami, Juan Carlos worked in urban design and landscaping for eight years while continuing his studies. In 1995, he had an opportunity for temporary work in urban planning and residential architecture in El Paso, but expected to return to Miami. Once he began helping people deal with contractors, however, he made the decision to remain in El Paso and eventually started his own pool-building business in 2005.

El Paso was a culture shock at first to Juan Carlos, but it grew on him quickly and he recognized its many opportunities. “It was the first time I had experienced desert landscaping – people planting rocks in their front yard and maybe one tree.” El Paso has indeed provided opportunities for Juan Carlos to excel in his work and the region continues to be a learning experience for him.

Their son, Juan Carlos, Jr., was born in Miami and has completed his first year at UT Austin. Anna Eaola, their daughter, is looking forward to her 9th grade year in El Paso. Other family members include an English bulldog named Gorda and two Chihuahuas named Bebé and Nana.

Crucial to the Rodriguez backyard project were employees Adrian Argumendo and Juvencio Nieves. ///
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