Spanish Farmhouse – Then and Now

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I love Spanish architecture.  It’s all so romantic and mysterious with the courtyards hidden behind wooden doors, the arches, the tiled roofs, the iron light fixtures.    This farmhouse in Spain was recently published in a Spanish magazine and it caught my eye.   It was built in the 18th century and only one family has ever inhabited it.   The owners have spent considerable time in the United States and recently decided to return home and fix up the property.   Who can blame them?    Here, at the entrance, the heavy wood doors are open onto the central courtyard which most rooms look out onto.   The family dog stands guard.   I kept looking at this picture and it reminded me of something.   It started to drive me a little crazy - it took me an entire day to figure it all out…….

 

image Inside the central courtyard of the farmhouse.    

 

 

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There is a porch that runs parallel to the house.

 

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Outdoor dining on the porch.   

 

 

 image A brick path under a rose covered pergola.

 

 

 

 

 image Into the house from the porch:  through curtains and a wood door, then French styled doors.

 

 

imageThe living room is bright – showing signs of its recent updating.  The modern art work is a surprise. 

 

 

 

image The dining room overlooks the porch through the iron gated window.   The green door on the right leads to the porch through the curtained doorway.   Native terracotta floor tiles run throughout the farmhouse.

 

 

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The kitchen is all white tiles and terracotta floors.

 

 

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The master bedroom overlooks the central courtyard.    Here the floor is seagrass with scattered rugs over it.   The decor is so different than French and English.   Its more masculine than French, more colorful than English.   Even though recently updated, the interiors leave a lot to be desired.   But still, looking at this story reminded me of something which I finally remember what...

 

 

 

 

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Is this Texas or Spain?     The 18th century Spanish farmhouse reminded me of a ranch house that was built in south Texas by Michael Imber, a distinguished and highly honored architect living in San Antonio, Texas.     The image of the Spanish farmhouse’s white stucco colonial architecture facade brought this Texas ranch to mind.    Here, the courtyard is located to the front of the facade. 

 

 

 

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The ranch is located between San Antonia and Laredo – on the south Texas range.    Named Rancho dos Vidas, Michael Imber has received many awards for this particular property.   He says that he drew inspiration for his design from “Spanish Colonial archetypes of South Texas and Northern Mexico.”   No wonder the 18th century farmhouse in Spain reminded me of this ranch!    To reach the ranch house, you enter through protective walls which keep the harsh environment from encroaching on the property.     The plans are beautifully illustrated here, where you can see the house is U-shaped around the front courtyard.    

 

 

 

 

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A view at dusk of the entry into the house through an arched doorway. 

 

 

 

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A view of the front overlooking the wild Texas scrub landscape.   The Spanish styled facade can be seen in the middle of the compound.

 

 

 

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A view of the lush courtyard.  Notice the interesting shaped shutters and the ledge on which the windows are sited.  

 

 

image An arroyo is found at the back of the property.   Here you can just barely see the arched facade.  

 

 

 

 

image A close up of the beautiful barrel tiled roof.  No expense was spared to make this ranch house look as authentic as possible. 

 

 

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A pergola topped walkway off the swimming pool area.    I love the lantern hanging down from the vines – so romantic!

 

 

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Inside the ranch, strictly Texan decor.  The ranch is used as a hunting property – the deer were probably shot here.   This interior looks more fitting for a ranch than the original 18th century Spanish farm!    This ranch was published in several magazines and books.  

 

 

image The beautiful kitchen with French chairs and table.   Notice the island is made out of Spanish tiles, and also notice how the stove is placed inside a towering mantel.   Beautiful.    The windows overlook the front courtyard. 

 

 

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The master bedroom reminds me of a Ralph Lauren advertisement!     The doors are so beautiful.   Notice the shape of the fireplace, so graceful. 

 

 

 

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Another beautiful bedroom with a leather bed and French nightstands.   All of the beamed ceilings throughout are so wonderful.

 

 

 

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A closeup of the front entrance with its massive door and arched window.  

 

 

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The back of the house overlooks the swimming pool and the river.  The main living area is to the right. 

 

It’s interesting that the new ranch in Texas, modeled after Spanish architecture found in Mexico, looks as old and as authentic as the original 18th century Spanish farm which serves as the inspiration.   Which is better, the new or the old?   I think I might like the new myself!!!

To see Michael Imber’s beautiful portfolio, go HERE.

Three Beauties in West University: Large, Medium, Small

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House #1

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The first house from West University today – the “Large” home is one I’ve loved since it was being built.  It’s on a great street with a large esplanade – rare for West U., plus it’s custom built, not your typical West U. home.  Of course I should have known why I’ve loved it – Kurt Aichler designed it.   It was built in 1997 with a stucco and Austin limestone facade.   It’s 3 stories,   4 bedrooms, 4 1/2 bathrooms, with a pool and a screened in porch.   It measures at 5,454 sq. ft.    Listing Price is $2,050,00. Interiors are by Katie Galliano – see her web site, go HERE.  To read its listing, go HERE.

 

image The stucco and limestone screened in porch is off the long living room/dining room.  The ceiling is wood planks.  

 

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Close up of the beautiful screened in porch with the swinging bed and wicker chairs. 

 

 

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A pergola covers the back terrace.  The large den is off to the right where the limestone fireplace is.   The screened in porch is at the other end of the pool – the porch leads off the living room/dining room.

 

 imageBeautiful entry with iron railing and limestone accent wall.

 

 image  The living room/dining room is one large room that overlooks the pool and the front yard.   I love all the silk curtains!

 

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Close up of the living room, designed by Katie Galliano.

 

 

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The dining room end – I love the chandelier and the fireplace.   It’s so romantic to have a fireplace in your dining space.

 

 

image The family room with its high wood planked ceiling and large limestone fireplace.

 

 

image Looking the other way – into the kitchen and breakfast room.   The pool is seen through the windows.

 

 

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Interior Designer Katie Galliano worked on this house and kindly sent me some of her larger pictures.  I wish I had more of this quality to show you!!!  To see her web site, go HERE.

 

 

 

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Another view from Katie of the family room. 

 

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I love this view of the beautiful curtains and rods.   The Swedish chairs sit around an iron French table. 

 

 

 

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Looking from the kitchen into the family room. 

 

 

image The breakfast area has a wonderful light fixture that really grabs attention.  Love the nailhead chairs.

 

 

image Another picture by Katie of the breakfast room with its fabulous light fixture.

 

 

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The master bedroom has heated marble floors and a footed tub.  Typical of the custom details found in an Aichler home.

 

 

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The second house shown today was built in 1988 and is a more typical West U home from the 80s and 90s.   This house was updated in 2005 and is 5 bedrooms and 3 and 2 1/2 baths and has a large pool.   This house is also three stories and is 3,885 sq. ft.   Asking price is $1,125.00.   The listing can be seen HERE.

 

 

imageIn West University with its smaller lots – the garage is either front loading or detached.  Here, the garage is detached and a pool takes up the rest of the long, skinny back yard. 

 

 

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The front door opens to the living room on the left and the dining room on the right.  The updating is seen right away with a new paint job in trendy light gray.   This is the only picture of the dining room, unfortunately – it looks like there is a Swedish table and chairs in there.

 

 

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The entry hall leads to the back family room and kitchen.  Love the trumeau and the lantern!

 

 

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Custom cut seagrass is found in the public rooms and up the stairs.   Notice the banister is also painted gray, as are all the moldings and the ceiling.  This is a great way to update your house’s paint job:  paint everything, including the moldings and ceilings one color.   I wish there were more pictures of the living room!!!  It looks so cute with the high Swedish coffee table and light blue silk drapes. 

 

image The bar connects to the living room.   There is a wall to wall mirror along the back wall which makes the bar look twice its size.   Here you can see in the living room that a piano sits in the bay window.

 

 

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The family room connects to the kitchen.  Cute linen slipcovers in a muted floral pattern.

 

 

image The breakfast room connects to the family room.   Love the chairs and table and all the baskets.  

 

 

 

image The kitchen was updated with new stainless appliances.   I love that shelving unit in the breakfast room!

 

 

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The master bedroom – seagrass and Italian light fixture.  I love the linens on the bed and the long French or Swedish bench.  I wish we could see the painted piece on the left side of the picture!   Really nice bedroom. 

 

 

 

image Updated bathroom – they removed the built in cabinet and placed this long console with two sinks in it.  They then added bifold French doors leading to the bedroom.  This is what I really want to do to my bathroom.   By removing the built in counters, it really updates a typical bathroom.   I have no idea, but I wonder if Ginger Barber decorated this house?   It certainly has her “look” to it. 

 

 

imageOne daughter’s bedroom is adorable.  Love the curtains, the scalloped bedding, the chandelier, the lamps, the mirrored chest.  Really cute.

 

image Another daughter’s bedroom is equally as cute with its daybed.

 

imageThe third floor media room  also has wall to wall seagrass and slipcovers.  I love the way the kitchenette has portieres.   To visit this house’s listing, go HERE.

 

 House #3

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The third house today is located in an original bungalow from the 1940s.   So many of these original houses have been torn down instead of remodeled, that they are becoming a rarity.   This house was decorated by an interior designer and it really shows.  The furnishing are top rate.   It’s 3 bedrooms and 1 1/2 bath, with no garage.  The sq. footage is only 1,420 and it is on a typical 50 x 100 lot.  The asking price has been reduced to $539,000.     To see this house’s listing, go HERE

 

imageThe backyard has a large terrace and lots of shade. 

 

 

imageJust walking in, you can tell immediately an interior designer was here.  Love the gilt French chairs and the French antique buffet and mirror.   Also, notice the modern light mixed with the antiques.  

 

 

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Just perfect!   Great silk pillows and contemporary chairs and coffee table.  Love the striped silk curtains.  

 

imageClose up of the curtains.  I love the mix of the antiques with the contemporary.  This decor is so fresh and youthful. 

 

 

 

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The dining room has wood beadboard and slipcovered chairs.   A textured shade is used here instead of curtains.   Again, a mirrored chest mixes the old with the new. 

 

 

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The kitchen is a fabulous space for this sized house.   Notice the sink!  I love how its styled with the simple white ginger jars and ironstone.  No overhead cabinets make it look fresh and contemporary.

 

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Another view of the kitchen with its refrigerator/freezer.  The kitchen is really wonderful.

 

 

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The large kitchen overlooks the backyard.  Great window.   And great wraparound counter.

 

 

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The master bedroom is painted deep brown and has ivory silk curtains.  The headboard is oversized for drama.  Love the lamps and the velvet pillows.  This room overlooks the back yard.

 

 

imageThe nursery has a wall filled with baskets – great idea to keep it neat!!

 

 

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The bathroom, like the rest of the house, has been completely updated – all in quiet whites.

 

 

image The front bedroom with its brown/black walls is used as a sitting room.  Great lamp! 

 

An amazing array of three houses available in the same exact neighborhood – one newer custom at almost 5,500 sq ft, a second spec house at 3,880 sq ft., and a third – an original bungalow at just 1,400 sq ft.   Each professionally decorated and landscaped.   Which would fit your lifestyle and pocketbook?    Does the architecture matter the most to you?   Or does the interior decoration matter more?     I’m keeping my own choice a secret!!!!  What’s your choice?