Sierra La Rana–Where This New House Lives

I made a deal with my friend, Dave. Dave Dumas is Sierra La Rana’s Vice President and the man who sold me my precious ten acres on top of this mountain. The deal was this: find me a solution to my water problem and I’ll talk about Sierra La Rana on my blog. Now, Dave did not know we made this deal. It was just in my head. But guess what? Dave DID find a solution to my water problem, as you have seen. A well was successfully dug some distance away from the house and now the water from that well is filling my two big black water storage tanks. So, I keep deals even when no one knows a deal has been struck.


Here is what Dave has to say:

Sierra La Rana is a gated ranch community. The ‘Gates” are important. Being located in a tourist area and having commanding views would allow a ‘drive thru’ for tourists without the gates, so they offer the privacy anyone would expect. Approaching 50% sold and already adding new tracts to the development has been interesting to say the least! The ‘vision’ each person has for their property is all over the board–from homes in even terrain/lower elevation, on ridgelines and on the side of arroyos to high elevation mountain top property. The sales map is like a checkerboard which is perfect for me because no one part of the development is sold out even though some are getting close.

My primary job at SLR is to help prospective buyers find that ‘perfect’ tract of land and the rewards from this were totally unexpected. To be with someone when (and Leah was no exception), after walking a few tracts, you hear the words “This is it” and then the plans begin in a few seconds: “The home site will be here. My porch will be here. That will be my view.” This is actually the most rewarding part of my job–to be involved on such a personal level with the buyer. Because I am a local on-site worker, I can be the eyes and ears for owners, offering contacts for everything from home builders to septic tank providers and I keep an eye on things for absentee owners, even making sure delivered packages are put out of the weather.

Keeping the gate appearance nice is also very important to me. I’ve driven by developments that have weeds and trash around the front gate and it always made me wonder why someone didn’t take care of that. Several of the owners have joined in and we participate in the TxDot “Adopt A Hiway” program and maintain the highway on either side of the front gate. I want owners to be proud from the moment they pull into the front gate to the moment they pull into their driveway, the driveway to the home they told me they were going to build.


I wrote something up about my experience at Sierra La Rana for Dave to use on his new website, but I did not make the cut. There are a bunch of very happy couples and families here who waxed more rhapsodic than I did, apparently, which is fine. Their homes are already built, for the most part, and they speak from a longer experience. I hate to see words go to waste, though, so here is what I said:

After researching the area around Alpine, Texas, I was sure Sierra La Rana was where I wanted to build my dream house. Reasonably sure. Hopeful. But when Dave Dumas drove me up to the mountain and showed me a 10-acre section that started high and then dipped down into a ravine, I knew it. The sky. The scrubby brush and rocky landscape that anchor that sky. The mountain ranges that form a perfect vista. Did I mention The Sky! I knew this was the place for me. Dave was very helpful and supportive all during the process of acquiring the property and getting things going.

Building a passive solar adobe home up on this mountain is like baking a cake. A very large and complicated cake. You need a creative recipe. Lots of ingredients, lots of hands. Incredible attention to detail. Perfect timing. Steve Belardo, whose company, Rainbow Adobe, has been building homes in the Alpine/Fort Davis/Marfa triangle for many years, is making my adobe house a reality. When Steve and his team are done, I will have a great house perched on a perfect spot. And when it is ready, I will sit on the porch and soak up the sky and the mountains. And hike. And explore. Take pictures. Play with my dogs. And live my dream.

I forgot to say: Be the hostess with the mostest to all my friends and family who actually make it up this mountain, but you know that already, I hope.

So, Dave, the deal is done. Thanks!

2 thoughts on “Sierra La Rana–Where This New House Lives

  1. Leah, I am so delighted that YOU are so delighted with the property and the house. It does look wondrous, and I know from personal experience how beautiful it is out there. So glad you found a solution to your water problem. The house is going to be gorgeous. I will be visiting as soon as I can.

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