Dream Home: Maybe a Medi...

As much as I wax on about French chateau style architecture, there's an Andalusian princess within me that longs for a Mediterranean manse. You know what I mean... ochre stucco and a barrel tile roof. Sweeping wrought iron staircases and exposed beam ceilings. Lengthy balustrades and flowering bougainvillea lining private courtyards. Soaring cypress trees and cascading fountains dotting the landscape. Hello, idyllic west coast estate! 

I long for this style of home in a way typically reserved for objects of passionate lust. I can envision myself in beaded kaftans overlooking the Pacific Ocean and letting the breeze blow the hair back from my face. Sorry for the detailed visuals, but I've always held an image in my mind of living in one of these seaside homes when my adult life finally took hold.

Fortunately, stucco is de rigueur in Dallas. It is one of the common modes of construction, but for authenticity's sake I prefer to see these homes overlooking vast bodies of water. Don't you? They just don't seem quite right unless they are in a state that ends in "a" (California, Florida etc). Unfortunately, since my husband has endured the hell on earth otherwise known as LA traffic, my chances of getting him to move out west (again) to Southern Cali are slim to none. A little resistance never stopped this girl, though. So still I plot and plan to have a vacation home in Orange County or elsewhere in the Sunshine State at some not-so-distant point in the future. 

These images above? All by Oatman Architects, a husband & wife team that creates these sprawling Mediterranean style homes that seem so right on the California coastline. What might seem garish in Texas (who am I kidding? We love it big and bold!) seems downright homey in Newport Beach. It is definitely more "Old World" than my normal daily style, but I find Mediterranean home really call my name and appeal to my fantasy way of living. The opulence in design is balanced by very durable materials and expansive livable spaces. Who wouldn't want to call these lovely places home? 

See more here

Dream Home: Façade

Don't you love it when things just come together? I've been building my future home (via Pinterest) and slowly but surely the entire property is coming together What's been missing is the façade. Thank the Lord... today I found the image! That lovely top photo? That's it! Sadly, even using reverse image lookup I've had no luck identifying the rest of the house beyond that pretty front... but I am so grateful to have a photo that clearly says "This is it" to some lucky architect in my not-so-distant future.

As you're no doubt discerning from the images, I'm fixated on a c-shaped house that surrounds a central courtyard containing a pool. Ample outdoor dining is key, lounging areas outdoors shielded from the Texas sun are paramount to the success of the design. I want the visual and physical flow from indoors to out to be a key attribute of this structure. Alcoves for enjoying breakfast or early morning coffee are all integral to the design. Covered areas are planned for dining at night by the pool. I see ivy covered walls and lion-mouth fountains, reminiscent of a European property. I see urns dotting the landscape and finials with patina on top of walls. No small plans here!

Take a deeper tour through the vision here. Trust me when I tell you that these are plans I have fixed so firmly in my mind that they have only one option: to come true. I don't consider them to be wishes. Instead they are plans.

What about you? What does your future home look like?

Dream Home: Cucina...

There comes a time when you begin to consider reconfiguring your kitchen. I adore mine, but I can envision a different reality of the space that centers upon a massive island. Not big, not bigger... obscenely large. So grand that it houses ample storage, tucked under seating, a dishwasher (or two) and sinks. This... topped by two sparkling chandeliers.

This future version of my kitchen will mesh with the reality of how people flow through the home and our real needs. A generously sized counter-height island offers the perfect spot to host guests, do homework, focus on art projects, participate in cooking lessons, do food prep, artfully arrange those "candid" Instagram shots or simply relish the moment with a cup of tea. It would alter our lives beautifully and usher us into the next era of our life as a family. Are my plans over the top? Please... it's me! Of course they are. Texas-sized dreams for our Texas home. What else would you expect from this Venti girl?

The reality is that you can't simply redo an island. By comparison, the cabinets will look worn, so this would be a rebirth of our kitchen. And then it seems the best time to do the floors, since you're already moving fixed objects. Le sigh... you see where this is going, right? I'm energized by the prospect of a project of this scale and have had no shortage of ideas to bring to the table (island?). The new kitchen will have more glitz, more glam and - most importantly - more improved livability. Assuming we decide to redesign mia cucina, it will truly be celebrated as the crowning jewel of the home... bells, whistles and fabulous details not spared. So please... enjoy my inspiration images above and be sure to explore the rest of my dream home plans.

Tastemakers: Laura Lee Clark...

When you begin pinning the same designer's images over and over again, that's a good sign. For me, Laura Lee Clark can do no wrong. She is known throughout Dallas as quite the star. He distinctly European style no doubt stems from her time as a student of the Parsons School of Design in Italy. Her work is infused with French flair and Italian grandeur. She has also been named "Best Designer" by her peers in D Home magazine in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Talk about accolades! Further drooling and inspiration can be found here