Taking a cue from traditional Texas style, our Escondido Idea House elegantly pairs old-world sensibilities with laid-back lakeside living. Return to the Escondido Idea House Main Page
The setting: Just a short drive from both Austin and San Antonio, the Escondido community is in the heart of Central Texas in Horseshoe Bay, situated along the pristine shores of Lake Lyndon B. Johnson and spanning
550 acres of rugged Hill Country terrain.
The style: With European leanings, the home’s design principles embody the timeless charm, classic architecture, and authentic details befitting a historic Mediterranean villa. Native building materials reflect the Texas landscape and harmonize with the Southern locale.
The space: Our home rambles around a series of terraces and courtyards, making the most of indoor/outdoor living. On the main level, rooms stem from a central dining area with vantages oriented toward the pool and lake. Vaulted ceilings open the main living room to an upstairs loft and additional bedrooms. A detached casita provides a guest retreat above and a boat dock below.
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1. An oculus window punctuates the entry wall.
2. Tucking the front door inside an arched entry “creates a bit of mystery by allowing the house to slowly reveal itself,” says architect Michael G. Imber.
3. Placed above ground level, exterior windows on the facade draw the eye up and mimic European design standards.
4. A floating staircase provides a direct view of the courtyard from inside the front door. “The foyer sets the tone by immediately stopping you
with the view,” says architect Michael G. Imber.
5 & 6. Limestone floors and rough-hewn fir beams reclaimed from a 110-year-old barn imbue the foyer with a rich, timeless look.
7. The foyer serves as more than just a point of entry with a cozy reading nook tucked in beneath the staircase. “This is a retreat spot,” says designer Marcus Mohon.
8. Blue trellis fabric on the bench adds a pop of color and pattern to an otherwise neutral space.
9. A hand-forged iron railing by Design Estudio Inc. adds a handcrafted feel and Texas flavor to the staircase.
10. Scraped to appear worn, stone stair treads look like they’ve endured centuries of use.
11. Decorative blue blown-glass finials add an unconventional twist to the staircase’s wrought iron newel posts.
12. Flooding the space with natural light, a large clerestory window floats above the fireplace.
13. A range of textiles (including velvet, wool, linen, and cotton) adds texture and keeps the muted hues of the C. R. Laine upholstery from falling flat.
14. Casual cord loops keep draperies from looking too stiff and serious.
15. Separate seating arrangements, highlighted by dual chandeliers, promote multiple conversation areas and visually divide the room.
16. A combination of chair styles illustrates Marcus’ design principle of mix, don’t match. “I wanted to keep the room relaxed to reflect its lake location,” he says.
17. Juxtaposed finishes and materials, including acrylic plastic, wood, and painted pieces, create a look that appears to have been collected over time.
18. The cased opening between the foyer and living room is enhanced with stone detailing—giving the visual impact of grand columns.
19. A 5-foot-tall paneled wainscot minimizes the room’s 18-foot ceiling height. “We wanted it to feel voluminous but also intimate,” says Michael.
20. Texas interior artist Nancy Coleman scraped and painted the wainscot to resemble weathered wood.
21. A creative use of space, an open attic-like loft with a low, sloped ceiling overlooks the living room.
22. Centrally located, the dining room serves as the hub of the home. “During the day it’s a place for games and homework, and at night it morphs into an intimate dining area,” says
23. Mixing high-back upholstered seating with low, slipcovered chairs avoids the predictable formula of a table with matching chairs.
24. An oversize chandelier draws the eye up to a reclaimed-wood-clad ceiling.
25. French doors are on a direct axis with the outdoor fireplace, creating quite a view when flung open. “Every indoor living space here draws you outside,” says Michael.
26. It’s easy to fit in extra guests around a large, round dining table. Use a mix of chairs for more interest.
27. Suspended from rings, elegant curtains break an inch and a half beyond floor level, allowing the fabric to shrink or expand in the Texas heat. “Draperies should rest atop the floor like a loose ball gown,”
28. Walls curtained in a sheer fabric invite romance yet allow natural light to illuminate the room.
29. Sinuous wall sconces brighten corners and have a sculptural quality.
30. A wood-burning fireplace warms up outside dinner parties, especially in cool fall months.
31. Ceilings of reclaimed fir from Texas’ Barnwood Etc. add rich texture and a sense of age.
32. Creamy plaster walls give the entire house subtle texture. The material is also consistent with historic Mediterranean homes.
33. Lightweight tables in varying heights float throughout the space and can be relocated quickly in a pinch—ideal for impromptu soirees.
34. A bench upholstered in tufted linen works double duty as a coffee table.
35. The folding screens flanking the large window are the only matching pieces in the room. Marcus says,“Pull in some symmetry, but also throw it off.”
36. The two-tone sofa with a chocolate base has washable off-white cushions that ensure this lake house is stylish—and kid-friendly.
37. Stenciled accent pillows complement the solid upholstery and introduce a small dose of pattern with a handmade touch.
38. Antique fir headers crown the sliding doors with an element of rustic style.
39. Sliding glass pocket doors disappear completely into the wall to connect the family room to the terrace. “We tried to blend indoor and outdoor spaces every chance we got,” says Michael.
40. To make the most of waterfront views, the arched window and sliding doors are left free of draperies.
41. The television floats in front of a curtained wall with panels that can be pulled shut to fully close out the study and bar.
42. To keep the bar area from becoming cavernous, the back wall is covered in smoked glass mirror—adding a hint of retro glam.
43. Equipped with a sink, an under-counter ice-maker and fridge, and ample storage, the tavern-style bar eliminates having to run to the kitchen for a drink.
45. Gold sandstone (quarried in Lometa, Texas) on the exterior reflects the vernacular style.
46. The elevated swimming pool’s shape recalls an old ranch cistern.
47. The large outdoor space at the rear is broken up into several small furniture groupings, all situated around the central pool.
48. Bright blue trim accents the exterior doors and windows. “The color hints toward Provence,” says Michael. “That simple gesture connects local
architecture with something more romantic.”
49. Operable farm-style shutters painted soft, warm gray appear to have been sun-bleached, giving the home a sense of age.
50. The detached guest casita is raised above garden level to further its sense of seclusion.
51. A shuttered loggia, complete with a row of metal chaises, provides privacy without blocking beautiful lake vistas.
52. Sunny yellow retractable canopies made of Sunbrella fabric soften the loggia’s ceiling and offer respite from the harsh Texas sun.
53. Gauzy draperies add breezy, effortless style to the loggia—so dreamy!
54. Solid ivory outdoor cushions used throughout all the different seating groups unite varying furniture styles on the terrace.
55. Chunky rattan chairs flank the stone fireplace in the covered terrace to create a cozy gathering spot.
56. A barrel-tile roof nods to Mediterranean style and embraces a range of earthy hues.
57. Aqua outdoor cushions accent the exterior’s blue trim.
58. Placed horizontally, deck boards look like bold stripes on the boathouse walls.
59. Preserving the surrounding live oaks helps our new house feel nestled into the Texas landscape.
60. A stainless steel base sets the square island apart from surrounding cabinetry and streamlines the room’s old-world posture. “This home offers the
charm of yesterday combined with the freshness of how we live today,” says Michael.
61. The island appears longer and less utilitarian with an antique table placed at the end.
62. Adding to the overall mix of styles and time periods in the kitchen, a vintage-inspired iron chandelier hangs above the sleek center island.
63. Hand-scraped wood flooring by Shaw Floors is made from recycled materials and mimics the look of antique wide-plank floors.
65. In lieu of upper cabinetry, floating wood shelves punctuated with exposed bolts give texture and offer extra storage space.
65. Paintings of the Hill Country help the hardworking kitchen feel homey.
66. The kitchen gains a sense of age from an extra-tall backsplash of subway-style tiles installed in a bricklike pattern. Popular in early 20th-century subway stops, the tiles impart classic charm.
67. The ivory paint color used throughout the house (Sherwin- Williams Buff) is soft, not stark.
68. A plaster hood with limestone corbels turns a vent into a showstopper.
69. Dark ebony-hued cabinetry from IKEA anchors the mostly white room and adds an earthy feel that’s consistent with the rustic architecture.
70. Caesarstone countertops look like natural stone but have the practicality of a scratch- and stain-resistant finish.
71. Facing French door refrigerators help balance the room and provide extra storage for large crowds or parties.
72. A built-in bench provides a convenient place to set flowers and groceries upon entering the home from the garden court or garage.
73. The walls, ceiling, and cabinetry are painted a soft blue (Sherwin- Williams Waterscape), referencing the home’s exterior trim color.
74. Reproduction porcelain enamel pendants suspended from cloth cords make a vintage statement.
75. Open shelving replaces upper cabinetry, paying homage to genuine cottage style and allowing tight quarters to appear open and airy.
76. Generating depth and interest that can’t be equaled by gypsum drywall, wood plank walls and ceilings pump up the charm factor. “We wanted to turn the laundry room into something fun,” says Michael.
77. Adding to the laundry room’s versatility, a deep-basined apron-front sink satisfies ranch style and makes flower-arranging a cinch.
78. To give the eye a place to rest amid a sea of blue, a black soapstone countertop and backsplash anchor the room.
79. A decorative pattern cut into the backsplash mimics the archway to the kitchen.
80. The study serves as a pass-through room between the primary living areas and the master suite to boost privacy.
81. The master bedroom’s extra-tall upholstered headboard keeps furnishings from seeming dwarfed by the high ceiling.
82. An interior wall composed of sandstone implies the home was added onto over time.
83. Nailheads give the master bed classic, old-fashioned detailing. “It’s a great way to add texture without a lot of fuss,” says Marcus.
84. An Andalusian motif cut into the shower’s door frame adds an architectural folly.
85. Square marble tiles cut in half and installed in a running bond pattern on the floors and shower walls provide a sleek look.
86. Painted black, the window frame extends the eye outward to the courtyard.
87. A barrel-vaulted ceiling adds architectural intrigue and allows the master bath to live large.
88. A freestanding soaking tub by Kohler with an elegant profile and contemporary polished-chrome hardware looks like a piece of sculpture in front of the arched window.
89. The completely enclosed courtyard beyond the arched window ensures this bath is totally private—no window treatments required!
90. Smooth, reflective surfaces combined with lots of white give the master bath a contemporary design. “When everything in your bath is shiny and clean, you just feel better,” says
interior designer Marcus Mohon.
91. Giving the room both reflection and depth, the entire sink wall is covered in mirrored glass.
92. A pair of mirrors framed in cut bone tile adds a feminine touch layered over the wall-mounted mirror.
93. With a view of the lake, the master bedroom’s private porch beckons for lazy afternoons.
94. On the second floor, two small bedrooms and baths provide a retreat from the activity on the main floor and are ideal for visiting friends and family.
95. Comfy, contemporary furnishings and accessories by IKEA lend the two light-filled upstairs guest rooms casual style.
96. A three-car garage buffers the home from the street and encloses the pea-gravel parking court. “We saw the garage as an opportunity,” says Michael.
“It serves as a gateway and helps shape the space.”
97. Instead of grandiose spaces, a series of smaller rooms connected by large cased openings maintains authentic European scale. “Layered sight lines to the water create a sense of discovery,” says Michael.
98. With more than 4,000 square feet of outdoor living space, the rear terraces and porches maximize this home’s waterfront location.
99. Quarried in Texas, Lueders limestone lines walkways and patios indoors and out.
100. A charming Dutch door opens to the garden court and welcomes in the fresh air of the temperate climate.
101. Our 2011 Idea House is open for tours through October 2. Visit southernliving.com/idea-house for details.
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