The Where I Live series aims to showcase our diverse city by spotlighting its many vibrant neighborhoods. Each week a local resident invites us over and lets us in on what makes their neighborhood special. Have we been to your neighborhood yet? Get in touch to share your story.

After spending much of my childhood in Okinawa, Japan, the move to a small town in New Mexico when I was in middle school was a big cultural shock. It wasn’t until we made our final move to San Antonio that I really began adjusting to life in the United States and feeling a sense of belonging.

When my family first moved to San Antonio I was in high school and we lived in Stone Oak. I was painfully shy at first, but when I started discovering my interests and finding communities around those interests, I opened up and found my place here.

Slowly but surely, I made my way south and closer to the city center. After a few years of renting in different neighborhoods, I rented a house from a friend in Shearer Hills so that I could be closer to downtown. When that lease was up I decided it was time to buy a house.

I wanted to stay in Shearer Hills because it already felt like home. I love walking around the neighborhood because it’s so quiet and peaceful. There are crepe myrtles everywhere and different types of gardens residents have planted. All the houses are different and have their own personalities. It feels very homey and safe.

My friend who I first rented a house from here is still my neighbor and another friend bought a house down the street, so it’s been nice having my friends as neighbors. Moving in during a pandemic made it difficult at first to get to know my new neighbors, but the winter storm in February brought us closer together. Most of us lost power or water or both, so we checked in on each other to make sure we had water and other essentials.

I learned from my neighbors that the woman who lived here before was a central figure in the community. She was the matriarch of a big extended family and would have frequent gatherings here with family and neighbors. And you can really feel that energy in the house. You can feel that this home was taken care of and that there was a lot of love here.

I like to think that I’m sustaining that energy by hosting gatherings with friends, especially out on my screened patio, which is one of my favorite things about this house. It’s roomy enough to have dinners and get-togethers and perfect for enjoying a breezy evening in the spring. For a friend’s 30th birthday recently I turned the patio into a private restaurant with candles and floor cushions, and we had wine and charcuterie. I had journaled about what I wanted this house to be for me — what I saw this house doing and who would be here — and in that moment it was like a vision coming true.

  • As a freelancer, Warden often works out fo Revolucion Coffee on Broadway, while sipping on matcha lattes.
  • Warden's seven year old dog, Bronson.
  • Warden added River to the family this year.
  • Courtey Warden lives with her two dogs, Bronson and River.
  • Josh Kangas hands Warden her usual order of a Matcha Latte at Revolucion Coffee. Warden loves working there and having meetings with clients.

The open layout of my kitchen also makes it a great communal space. Though I’m the only permanent resident of the house, I always have people over or staying in my guest room. I rent out my back bedroom, usually to friends who are in transition periods. I’ve had friends who were moving to San Antonio stay here while they found a place to live and another friend who was waiting for her fiance to get stationed here. During the winter storm, a couple from New Jersey was staying in my guest bedroom and another couple from California was staying in my driveway in their camper. Of course, we never expected to experience something like that together, but it was nice to be able to lean on each other in that crazy time.

When I’m not spending time at home, you’ll often find me at Revolucion Coffee. I work from home, so I like to get out of the house for at least a couple of those days, and Revolucion is a great spot for that. Soluna and Tlahco are my go-tos for Mexican food. Though the neighborhood is quite walkable and dog-friendly, it would be nice to have a park nearby with a dog park area for my dogs, Bronson and River.

When I’m working from home, I’m usually in my kitchen, which I recently painted pink, or out on the patio, where I like to work on projects for my flower business when it’s not too hot out. Eventually, when I’m no longer renting out my guest bedroom, I’d love to make it my bedroom and turn my current bedroom, since it has wood floors, into a flower studio workspace. 

As a freelancer with a relatively new business, I feel like San Antonio is such an inspiring place to work because the creative community is so supportive. In other cities, there’s definitely more cutthroat competitiveness that’s intimidating. Here, I see a lot of collaboration and people promoting each other’s work. People really care about each other and are invested in everyone’s success because it feels like a collective win for San Antonio, especially when so many people in creative fields move away and “onto bigger and better things.” We feel like we’re holding it down for San Antonio, and there’s a lot of pride in that. 

Being able to claim San Antonio as my city is huge. Especially coming from a military family and a lifestyle that involves moving frequently and everyone around you moving frequently, it’s a wonderful feeling when you finally find a place to call home.

Courtney Warden

Courtney Warden is a photographer, graphic designer, and founder of The Indigo Bloom, a floral design business.