Style & Design

Life on the San Antonio River

Adele reads after school under a portrait of her mother, painted by Cruz Ortiz, who started doing portraits a few years ago. He named it "La Josie con los Green Chucks." "I wanted to wear something that would stand the test of time but still feel like me. The ball skirt was a copy of an Oscar de La Renta I had made for my sister's rehearsal dinner twenty years ago and the Zara jacket is my favorite article of clothing. The green Chucks are on their last leg, but I love them and I love pairing unexpected things that way. The portrait is my phoenix from the ashes moment, and I love the thought of a grandchild wanting it for his or her home one day like I wanted my grandmother's."

Photo by Minta Maria

Nine-year-old Tres Davidson and his seven-year-old brother, Wells, fling open the screen door of their family home in San Antonio’s historic King William neighborhood. The boys take off running; about fifty yards away, they reach the edge of the San Antonio River, which flows past the back of their house. The two brothers, along with their older sister, Adele, who is eleven, can often be found outdoors, playing under a centuries-old Montezuma Cypress tree in their backyard, collecting massive bur oak acorns that fall from their neighbor’s tree, or riding their bikes with their mother, San Antonio native Josie Negley Gill.

Gill grew up in the Olmos Park neighborhood but wanted a different experience for her three children. “I wanted to be somewhere that felt totally new and unexplored to me. It was so important that I be in a neighborhood that was also truly walkable and urban, and the fact is, this neighborhood was built before cars, so everything about it is walkable,” she says. “When I first saw the inside of the house, in 2010, it was dark and covered in layers and layers of window treatments. Buying the place was a leap of faith, but I did, and moving into this house and into this neighborhood changed my life.” 

Tags: Style, Adele Davidson, Cruz Ortiz, Fiesta San Antonio, Josie Davidson, Josie Negley Gill, King William, King William San Antonio, San Antonio River, San Antonio Riverwalk