Question: if you had to choose a favorite part of going to a luxury resort – either the amazing pool/cabana situation or a stellar hotel room – which would you choose? What if you didn’t have to!?
I wanted to title this “A Tale of 2 oasises (oases?)” but then I didn’t know how to pluralize ‘oasis’ so…let’s just roll with it.
We are back with another Round 2 Project for some of our favorite clients. A few years back we updated all of the public areas of this home – the kitchen, living, dining, laundry, and bathrooms. Now we are back updating two spaces that are going to take this house up a “luxury resort” level notch (arguably the epitome of our Love Life at Home motto) – the backyard and master bedroom.
Clearly the backyard wasn’t in dire straits by any means. It had some functionality with a lounge area and dining area and pool. But this is Texas, and if you live here or have ever visited, you know that it gets hotter than the surface of the sun in the summer. So, other than sitting in the pool itself, it becomes practically unusable during the hottest summer months, which are, in point of fact, the exact months you want to get the most use out of this space. Nice space, but lacking in the practicality arena where it’s needed most.
Similar story in the master bedroom. It has all of the right components (bed, storage, seating) but was feeling a little hodge-podgey and lack-luster.
While there was no huge “problem” with the space, here’s the curious phenomenon we all know to be true. If a space looks put together, it tends to stay put together. But if it feels sloppy and uncared for…it tends to get more sloppy and uncared for.
Test this out at home. Put a few random objects on your dining table and then walk away for a day. The next day these objects will have collected MORE objects. They spontaneously reproduce because clutter attracts clutter.
In your master bedroom, your sanctuary, this can actually become a huge problem. It’s the first space you wake up to and the last thing you see before falling asleep. If it feels out of control, in disarray, or stressful, YOU will feel those things over time. Our environment shapes our habits and attitudes, so getting this space right is critically important to your well-being.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk. Now, onto the plan.
Here’s a reason that it’s fun to bring in an Interior Designer – we can see things that you are taking for granted. In the backyard, I immediately noticed something that the homeowners were completely blind to: they had placed their outdoor dining area in the actual furthest spot from their kitchen as possible. I asked them how much they used it and they admitted “not that often”. Partially due to the heat and lack of shade, but also because it wasn’t convenient to the kitchen. Too much effort to shuttle things back and forth.
We proposed flipping the lounge and dining areas: bringing the dining area closer to the house increases the likelihood of dining al fresco. And putting the lounge area at the back would create for an amazing view from the house, but also still very much get used since it’s just as convenient to the pool. We can also influence behavior and draw people back there by adding something special – an outdoor fire pit – and increasing the usability with shade and a privacy screen wall.
In the master, we actually didn’t change the layout at all. It was laid out in the right way, but wasn’t filled with the right things. The matching bedroom set from early in their marriage didn’t suit their current style, the sofa was a leftover from a room past, and the desk wasn’t in any way inspiring. It had become an afterthought. A fresh design was all that we needed to bring life back into the space.
Let’s start outside! Just off of the living room is the (now covered!) eating area. A sleek ceiling fan will keep this area cool(er) through the summer and heater helps it to be cozy in the winter.
We mixed natural warm wood with black for a modern look.
A portion of the ceiling is open. Somewhat for lighting and ventilation, but mostly to look modern and awesome.
A brand new feature for this backyard – an outdoor kitchen!
The “wood” wall behind the outdoor kitchen is actually a metal product that looks like teak. This is an ideal choice because, in addition to being extremely durable and low maintenance, it is also fireproof and a great solution for behind the grill.
Modern accent lights add functional glow to the space, and the vent hood ensures that the entire dining area doesn’t fill with smoke when you’re flipping burgers.
Another look at the eating area – the modern flat roof allowed for a maximum ceiling height in the eating area and allowed us to maintain the skylights in the living room. Plus, it looks awesome and adds to the modern aesthetic.
Now for the star of the show – the lounge area. Come on, doesn’t this just make you want to grab a frozen margarita and hang out all day?!
There is so much to unpack in this small space. First and foremost – the new shade structure, which makes this space usable year round. We have fans and heaters to help moderate the temperature all year long.
This wood wall (which is actually wood and stained to look like the faux-wood at the outdoor kitchen) provides shade against the harsh western sun in the afternoons.
The outdoor lounge furniture feels like a living room with comfy white cushions and pillows galore. The Acapulco style chairs are perfect for lounging when you’re wet from the pool but don’t want to soak the sofa!
Fireplaces are nice, but push-of-a-button gas firepits are incredible for their ease. You’re 100x more likely to use them if you don’t have to build a fire. It’s science.
The landscaping was kept simple with drought tolerant plants and river rock. Can you spot the hidden rock speakers?
Now let’s head back indoors.
This is a LARGE Master Suite, so the temptation is to over-fill all of that space, but negative space is just as important. We wanted to keep it a calming sanctuary, but still be sure to have visual interest, which we accomplished through color and texture.
The color palette for the main areas in the home was the jumping off point. We continued the warm wood, deep gray/blue, black, and soft white tones through the room. We layered in blush and rust to add bit more depth and interest. The rug and art over the bed pull the color story together.
The eternal debate for couples – how many throw pillows is too many?! When we’re trying to keep it minimal, modern, and un-fussy, we often go for 3: two squares and a long lumbar. We also love layered bedding for visual purposes, but also for functional ones, to give you options through the seasons. Here we have a duvet, a light cashmere throw, and a woven cotton gauze blanket. Pro tip – if you can sneak in a daytime nap, just use the cotton blanket for the right amount of cozy without having to unmake (and remake) your whole bed.
Common question – can you add a rug over carpet? YES! It’s important to use a high quality rug pad, and it’s much more successful with larger rugs than smaller ones, particularly when they’re anchored by a bed or large piece of furniture to discourage them from shifting around.
The rattan texture of the bed compliments the light oak wood nightstands, and both of those tones are pulled from the light wood-look-tile floors that run through the downstairs.
(Aside – we chose wood look tile because this house sits on a natural spring, so engineered or hardwoods were not an option!).
To maximize nightstand surface area, we opted for wall mounted bedside lights that are adjustable for reading. The black shade ties into the hardware and desk.
Over at the desk, we kept it really simple. The rattan doors provide closed storage. This isn’t a work from home office, so it didn’t need to do any heavy lifting in terms of storage or equipment. Just a place to perch with an iPad or Laptop to pay bills and catch up on emails. And where better to do that than on this cozy white boucle chair.
Opposite is the coziest of cozy lounge areas. Rather than a loveseat (which is nice if you’re sitting side-by-side watching a movie, but less nice if you actually want to look at the person you’re talking to) we added two oversized lounge chairs. This is the exact spot you’d want to curl up with a book.
Thanks for touring our latest iteration of our Hill Country Modern project! If Hill Country Modern is your style, we hope this inspired you with fresh ideas. And if it’s not your style, but you aren’t sure what is, check out our free Mini Course to discover your Signature Style.