Texas Style: Three Inspiring Interiors

We share three inspiring interiors that prove rustic doesn’t have to be country-cutesy or ranch-rough.

TROPHY ROOM: The focus of this two-story living room is the beautiful fireplace topped with an antique English mantle that can boast, George Washington was here (it’s from his ancestral home in England). The living room also offers abundant display space for the wild-game trophies these accomplished hunters bring home.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL: This family loves fine craftsmanship with Texas flavor. Take, for example, this hand-carved teak settee: notice the intricate detail of the carved cattle-drive scene complete with brand in the upper right corner on the backrest and the settee’s hoof-like foot.

Rustic Yet Regal
A Bluffview family combines their love for Texas with Old World elegance.

When she first walked into this house in 1993, the current owner says, she instantly loved the people who lived there. And no wonder: the two-story, wood-frame house, which presides over a wooded

Grandmother’s Wedgewood china takes center stage on a plate rail in the breakfast room.

property in one of Dallas most desirable areas, is that rare combination of elegance and earthiness. Built in 1937 on land originally owned by Dallas Mayor Eric Jonsson, the house had been extensively remodeled by the sellers, who were retiring to their West Texas ranch. But the sense of Texas aristocracy remains “from big-game trophies to a wraparound porch to a fireplace from George Washington’s ancestral home in England.

The current owners have an intriguing collection of Texana, including commissioned hand-carved furniture, ironwork, and framed issues of family land grants “all staged against handsome ebony floors and walls covered in rich, warm colors. And while the owners do entertain, this is decidedly a family house, where not only children but also stuffed white-tailed deer, Cape buffalo, and hartebeest play.


PULL UP A CHAIR: A time-worn 9-foot farm table cozies up to a corner in Jim and Carolyn’s wide-open main living space, which includes the kitchen, dining room, and living room. With the built-in banquette, this table can easily accommodate eight hungry farmhands or vacationing city slickers.

Country Living
Just 50 minutes from the city, the Clarks have created their own modern- day little house on the prairie.

THE SIMPLE LIFE: The screened wraparound porch is perfectly positioned for enjoying Texas sunsets. Jim and Carolyn often enjoy their mealsok  deux or with family and friends—on the porch. (Left) Carolyns no-fuss kitchen includes stainless steel countertops (“easy to clean”) and a deep, farmhouse sink (easy to clean in). Open shelving and a plate rack keep the dishes and glassware close at hand, so Carolyn’s always ready for guests.

Carolyn and Jim Clark call it bait for grandchildren, but their shanty farmhouse on 61 acres in Big Sky, a Doug Newby development northwest of Dallas, is a tribute to original Texas prairie architecture, complete with a fully screened wraparound porch. On even the hottest days, a prairie breeze blows through the entire house, which has an open design. The Clarks put an enormous amount of thought and planning into the 2,200-square-foot home, installing super-insulation to lessen their dependency on electrical air conditioning and heating systems, choosing zero-maintenance exterior siding, and building a tornado shelter into the pantry.

Almost as fascinating as the architecture is the landscaping. Jim and Carolyn worked with Texas A&M University to restore native Prairie grasses to their property and give wild birds living space. It doesn’t hurt that this also gives them an amazing vista.

The things that work here can work anywhere, says architect Bruce Bernbaum, AIA, of Bernbaum-Magadini, whom the Clarks commissioned to design their weekend-getaway house. Using elements such as a porch that wraps; thick, rustic wood trim; a corrugated or welded metal roof; and native limestone can give any home that relaxed, Texas feel.

NATURAL ELEMENTS: The family’s extensive collection of Stickley furniture is large enough and weighty enough to stand up to the limestone fireplace surround, which might otherwise be overwhelming. Clean lines predominate in the furniture and dcor, but the room’s overall feeling is still slightly rustic because of the warmth of the wood and the texture of the rough-hewn stone surround. (Below) What better place for a few pair of good-looking boots collected over the years than by the fireplace? These are the work of the late Charlie Dunn, a famous Texas boot maker who crafted boots for many a famous foot, including Gene Autry, Harry Belafonte, Peter Fonda, and Jerry Jeff Walker, who wrote a country and western song about him.The white roses are one of Charlie’s trademarks.

Hill Country Chic

Yes, this is North Dallas. And it took a family from Fredericksburg to put it all together.

The road from Fredericksburg to North Dallas is a long one. When this family moved to Dallas from their beloved Redstone Ranch, they did the big-house-in-Preston-Hollow thing. But it wasn’t working. Then this Texas-style house came on the

TAKE A LOAD OFF: The Stickley armchair is an original, but the most important piece is the Gruby floor lamp. A readily available assortment of books make this library corner the perfect place to sit out a storm. (Right) These mirror-mosaic Madonna altars are the work of a San Antonio artist.

market in 1998, and they snapped it up. It’s smaller than their first Dallas home, but the owners will tell you that it feels much better.

They made just a few changes to the new homestead: walls throughout the house were treated to coats of brown and sage Donald Kaufman paint, and the library bookcases, made of a light mesquite wood, were stained. Then in came the furniture and

accessories “including an impressive collection of original Stickley pieces (Tommy Lee Jones bought one of their dining room tables). Stickley furniture is a natural fit in stone homes, which can be so heavy, says the lady of the house. It’s solid; it doesn’t just float around.

So now they’re happily settled. Everyone felt like this was home from the start, she says. In the other house, you got the feeling that the Rockettes would come down the stairs any moment. That was just not us.