Saturday, October 11, 2008

Beauty in the Details

The most unique and beautiful houses in Fredericksburg are often hidden in the surrounding hills outside of town. Until the last few years there were no neighborhoods where one could take a "house looking drive" - a common pastime for we house nuts.

Our town is loaded with charm, but primarily with sweet cottages and some classic old German rock houses. If you want to see good looking, interesting new construction, custom architect designed houses, or for that matter, great re-construction on some of the old German homesteads, you must know which back roads to take, and usually need an invitation to get through the gate to venture up the road to the house.

My friend, Leslie, lives in just one of those fabulous new houses that must be "found". Look at her great twist on a traditional country mailbox! There are other homeowners in their area , but you can't see any of the houses from the road. Each home has a mailbox of the same design, but with a different plaque underneath. Leslie and her husband, Gene, chose the classic oak tree of the hill country.
Notice there is not a grand, ostentatious entry gate - just classic hill country.

A short drive down the road and through the oaks................

to her beautiful country house.

The front door is massive. It has a great feel to it and when you push it open you know this is a handsomely proportioned, solidly built, house. The door and the hardware are just a hint of the attention to detail within. It was custom designed and built of Brazilian cherry wood.

Yes, even a very cool doorbell! Check out the website. You can design your own, but isn't this little gecko the best............a perfect example of fanciful whimsy, yet very deliberately chosen.

It is hard for me not to covet when I come into this house! It is chock full of great art and objects that tantalize. Leslie's home is refined and yet not stiff. The painting over the entry table is spectacular. It was painted by our friend, and very talented artist Liz Steving from San Antonio.

Liz is an amazing artist. She not only paints, but often embellishes and paints her own frames. She creates amazing assemblages and sculpture. She has a deep, soulful mind and a wildly creative spirit! I have several of her works and consider them treasures.

Leslie and I are kindred spirits. We both love devotional art and we share an attraction to many hand crafted items from Mexico.

A beautiful Madonna created by Leslie's mother..... She has a very special talent for taking an image and embellishing it in gold leaf. I think it is lovely, and would look even better if I knew how to photograph without a flash.

Leslie was assisted by local designer, Barbara Thomas, in choosing fabrics and window treatments for her home. Barbara is a very talented designer, and as such she became familiar with her client's great taste, and was able to narrow choices for her. Together they created an environment that is beautiful and very personal for Leslie and her family. The furnishings, art and accessories, however, are completely a reflection of my friend's innate sense of style.

Leslie and her husband have an interesting living room arrangement. There is one large room on the other side of the entry wall, but it is divided into two living rooms - pretty much his and hers! Hers is full of treasures she has picked up on world travels and road trips around the hill country. I love shopping with her - she has a great eye for art and design.

I'll bet you can tell whose room is whose one from the photos!

Love the details like this built in nicho..........and the precious, handmade rag doll from Santa Fe.

Leslie introduced me to the artist Gabriela Ibarra who painted the piece above the mantel. I think she is very talented and love her painting style. You can see more of her work by clicking on her name.

A great vignette in Leslie's living room with another great looking painting by Liz Steving!

Isn't she just amazing! This is an original painting and just exquisite.

Guess who's living room this is? It is just through the double doors and also quite lovely - just more masculine, filled with history and his treasures. The corner cabinet is pre-Civil war and has been in Leslie's family for years. It was originally in her great,great grandmother's house in Eagleville, Tennessee. It was built of cherry, as was the other furniture in the house. Most likely, it was actually crafted on the estate as the family was very self sufficient.

I hope you will click on the photos if you want to see anything more closely. This piano is a concert square piano that was a gift from Leslie's husband's great, great, great grandfather to his great grandmother for her 16th birthday. It took four years to make - from 1889 until 1893 - and was made by Wm. Knabe and Company of Baltimore, Maryland of solid rosewood. What a treasure. There is a sweet painting on the piano that Leslie did of their daughter. She is a talented painter and continues to amaze me with her artistic talent!

Obviously, there is a hunter in the family and he gets to enjoy his trophies in his very own space!

I always say I am not a TV person, but I have to admit, watching a movie in this room on the wall mounted television looks pretty inviting. Especially after making a movie snack in the gorgeous kitchen!

A gallery extends the length of the living rooms and leads to the dining room and kitchen on one end and to the personal rooms on the other end of the house. I love the interior stone wall and the oriental rug along the floor.

Love this antique secretary. Notice the details on the chair cushion and the detailed trim on the gorgeous curtains. All of the curtain rods in the house were custom made by local artisans.

Surprise - we both love stone fruit! Leslie has amassed an amazing collection including some peanuts , almonds and Brazil nuts.

Her dining room - not too formal and not too casual......... just warm and inviting...........and every detail perfect.

Not too surprising - more great art. This piece done by Liz Steving's mother, Sandra Hulse. Again, sorry for the flash glare.

The kitchen is my favorite room in Leslie's house. It has a warm feeling
and of course, great color! The cabinetry is a soothing green and the floors are my favorite - saltillo tile from Mexico.

The cabinetry is solid and the detail work just beautiful. I really like the bubbled glass in these cabinets.

The backsplash tile work is subtle and so handsome..............

and the window treatments lovely........................

..............even the random accoutrements in the corner make me smile.

This whimsical, absolutely wonderful thing is from Taos Blue gallery artist Duane O'Hagan.
It hangs in the laundry room window of all places! When first hung there, a sweet hummingbird tried for days to join the group of happily perched wooden birds!

I coveted it so much that I had to visit the gallery myself and get some birds perched on branches for my house, too!

This is a lovely old piece in the upstairs guest room. Of course, Leslie has added her touch with a wonderful wire and metal bird and blue and white china!

Very sweet and very independent, Lady Plushbottom, was not quite sure who this person was snapping pictures all over HER house! She is a Scottish Fold cat - a very special breed who, when they are born, look like any other kitten. At about 3 weeks their ears start to fold down. The tighter the fold, the more prized the cat. When startled, they stand on their hind feet like a prairie dog! She is very special and very soft and cuddly - when she will let you cuddle her! She is definitely the boss.

A comfortable guest room with classic toile spreads, custom draperies, and lovely accessories - I'd stay here anytime!

I am fortunate to have some dear friends with really great houses. Thank you, Leslie, for allowing me to invade your wonderful, private home. It is a great testament to your delightful taste, your refined sense of order and calm and a perfect expression of you!


  1. what? no pics of my room??? awwww....

    these are really great photos haha

    jordan :)

  2. what a great post. you showcased Leslie's house so beautifully in pictures and eloquently in words. I love reading your blog!

  3. I knew you'd be back... I've been waiting.

    Lovely house in review! We are so lucky to have so many wonderful homes to enjoy (and envy) here in the Hill Country. Thanks for the tour!

  4. So great!!!! I love the architecture with that main hall with the stone - so gorgeous!!! And I love two living rooms, I need that! I get tired of watching UT football. hahah!!

    ok- glad you are back! keep it up. this one was wonderful.

  5. Great house! Just found you. I'll be back.

  6. Hi Hill Country House Girl,
    I was just browsing blogs and stumbled onto yours. Thanks for posting these beautiful photos. I used to live in Fredericksburg and now I live in Germany. Fredericksburg is special and it will always bring back nice memories of strolling and shopping the decorating stores along main street - in warm weather!

  7. Thanks to all of you for the positive feedback. I was not sure if I did Leslie's house justice with my amateur photography. It is just such a fabulous house and you can feel it the minute you enter!



Related Posts with Thumbnails