2007 Homes of the Year

(page 6 of 7)

Luxe and Family

Gene Tenorio’s trick to making his home a personal fit was creating a place he could fill with family and friends.

When is a house more than just a house? At what point does all that brick and mortar, drywall and paint actually become a home? For Gene Tenorio, it was probably one relaxing Friday night, while he was grilling steaks and enjoying a glass of wine with his girlfriend, Rana, in the stone-walled courtyard off the northeast side of his home. Or it could have been that Sunday hanging out with his kids, Erica, 17, Cassandra, 15, and Benton, 13, playing cards and watching football in the large game room over the garage.

Comfort is key in Tenorio’s life, he says. And if he could choose one word to describe his house that was built by Brett Godfrey in 2005, it would be just that, comfortable.

Godfrey, owner of Built by Brett, Inc. of Springfield, had a unique mix of luxe and family in mind when he designed this four-bedroom, three-bath, three-car-garage home located in south Springfield.

“When I’m designing a house, I try to put myself in that house and think how I would live in it,” Godfrey says. “I envision each room and how it interacts with the next room.” Tenorio says he can feel that connection from room to room in his house.

Honed marble, which has a matte, aged appearance rather than a shiny modern one, is used on all countertops throughout the home, and the tile inlays in the front hall can also be seen in the backsplash above the stainless-steel, professional gas range in the kitchen. The formal living room, dining room and kitchen share a feeling of continuity and spaciousness that Tenorio says was one of the first appeals the home offered. “When I started looking, I probably looked at 50 or 60 homes,” Tenorio explains. “This place was just so different. With the high, cathedral arch–type ceilings it had such an openness. I knew it would be great for parties and for entertaining.”

Originally started as a spec house, Godfrey says he tried to give special attention to the kitchen area, his favorite to design. “I enjoy cooking, and that experience helps me in designing my kitchens from the layout to the details,” Godfrey explains. With so many homes having granite countertops in kitchens now, Godfrey said he was looking for a little something different, and decided on honed marble instead. When Tenorio found the home in October 2005 it was about 90 percent finished. He and Godfrey collaborated on finishing touches, including pulling the carpet out of the formal living room and having hardwood throughout the first floor, before he moved in December 2005.

Tenorio decided to turn the smaller first-floor bedroom into a study, and he had Godfrey create matching shelves. “I designed them to appear as one piece, attached to the wall, but if Gene ever leaves, he has the option of taking them with him,” notes Godfrey. The open layout from the kitchen into the formal living room allows Tenorio to put his iPod on its Bose SoundDock and play some Michael Bublé or Red Hot Chili Peppers, and enjoy it throughout the first floor.

Another distinct feature can be seen from the home’s driveway. Having the opportunity to work with a double-sided lot, with both a street in front and in back, Godfrey opted to put the garage and driveway in the back of the house. Only a walkway to the home and some mature trees are in the front of the house. “I can’t stand looking at a house and seeing a big driveway and garage doors,” says Tenorio, who agrees that the house was a perfect fit for him in that way. An uneven lot allowed Godfrey to give some extra space in the three-car garage, “with ceilings high enough to mount basketball goals in,” Tenorio laughs. On top of that room sits the game room, originally a bonus room when Godfrey built it, and where Tenorio says he and his kids spend most of their time.

Tenorio was the first pediatric neurologist in Springfield 16 years ago, and he works with CoxHealth’s Pediatric Neurology of the Ozarks. He travels for his job often, and enjoys picking up things to decorate his home. With colors like deep reds and leafy greens, Tenorio has added his own touch to many of the walls with both paint and paintings. One of his favorites is a painting from a Russian artist K. Beviweev. Always having an eye for the arts, Tenorio says that while he enjoys finding pieces out of town, some of his favorite additions to his decor are from local artists Jane Troup and Jacqueline Warren.

As spending time with his family is one of the most important things to Gene Tenorio, Godfrey’s vision for a comfortable, spacious and unique residence has provided the perfect subject for making house, home. 

Gene Tenorio’s trick to making his home a personal fit, was creating a place he could fill with family and friends.
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