A Few From Fredericksburg


Longtime readers of Cote de Texas know there are more than a handful of Houston designers that I admire.  Most played important roles in shaping my own aesthetic as I watched their designs through the years.  The names are familiar to readers because I have written about these Houston women (no men??) and have often shown their work on this blog.

There is the late, great Babs Watkins, Pamela Pierce, Carol Glasser, Renea Abbott, Jane Moore and Ginger Barber.

There were others, too, antique shop owners, tradesmen, and the like who helped these women on these projects.  Houston can be a small town despite its sprawling borders but this core group of women are and were the finest we had to offer.  

I’ve written about Ginger Barber a lot over the years for several reasons.   Besides my love for her casual aesthetic, she has been so accessible to the blog.  She’s always offering me photos to show, which in today’s competitive climate, is especially nice.  But then, Ginger is nice.  I’ve told you about her work with Habitat for Horses and how much she gives, personally and physically, to these abandoned and abused animals.


I have to hand it to her.  I can’t even watch a TV commercial about abused dogs without breaking down in tears.  Working closely with skeletal, starving horses would be too much for me.  I couldn’t do it, but then – someone needs to, and Ginger took on that role and is now Vice-President of Habitat for Horses.

Each year Habitat for Horses has an annual fundraiser and I’ve been honored to help spread the news.  This year, the 7th annual fundraiser, will be especially fun - a Texas styled event at the 4 Star Concert Hall & SideBar, located in charming Brenham, on September 26th from 6 – 10 pm.


The 2018 Academy of Country Music Song of the Year winner – Jack Ingram - will preform at the event where a live auction will take place.  Julia Hatfield will also perform.

For tickets go HERE.

Talking with Ginger’s team concerning writing about this event, I was told there was a house Ginger had designed in the Texas Hill Country which would be a great tie-in to the announcement of the Habitat for Horses fundraiser.

Ginger’s portfolio diverse, filled with houses, townhouses, upscale city apartments, beach houses, and ranches.

One of my favorite of Barber’s design was this Houston townhouse that I showed HERE:


The prettiest vignette – love this!!!


Another wonderful Ginger Barber house was this farm outside of Houston, HERE.

Even though it’s a “farm” – the decor is more upscale than many of her city houses.  The leather settee is so gorgeous and I love the triple row of chandeliers.

But Ginger’s project in Fredericksburg, wine country, is new to me.  The owners told their architect, the wonderful Tom Wilson, that they wanted a simple design that brought attention to the river and its waterfall below.  The house is 4,000 sq. ft. and the lady of the house likes swimming and hiking.   The men like hunting - this is the Texas Hill Country, of course!!


The main house, with the guest house on the left.  It was designed to seem as if the original house on the farm is at the left,  and the other was the barn, now restored.

Beautiful photography by Michael Hunter.

The view from another side, with the fabulous collection of shed antlers.


Bucks shed their antlers from March to May.  I love when the collected antlers are displayed in this tepee shape.

This reminds me of a bunk at a typical Texas sleep away camp.   The guest house has Texan detailing - limestone skirting, rough log bannisters, and metal roof.  So authentic!

BUT, actually this is a TRAILER, disguised as a aged old bunkhouse.  Amazing transformation, Ginger!!

Looking closely at the porch on the trailer, I mean, the old guest house!

Running along one side of the large house is this porch which is used for indoor/outdoor living.  Look at the size of the fireplace!!!

Western log furniture adds a Texas touch, but that bench is NOT Texan!


The view towards the other side of the porch – the dining area.

Love the wood stump used as a side table.

Fabulous old cow!!  Notice the dark shades that can be lowered to keep out the sun, rain and sand, especially useful when the family is not here.

I love the vignette on the other side of the dining table.  On the right, it looks like an old pie safe on top of the buffet.

Inside the house, the great room has a two story fireplace.  Leather furniture with soft, warm skin.  The surprise is the Moroccan styled rug underfoot.

Notice the stair rail is actually logs.

The other size of the great room shows a great coffee table!   Here you can see Ginger layered two rugs over the stone floor.

The kitchen is a juxtaposition of texture – rough and smooth, rustic and industrial.  Ginger used dark stone against light wood to create interest and diversity.  The sink pops against all the dark stone.

Ginger said the two story bedroom was a challenge to make cozy.  To do so, she used vintage textiles for the bedding and two rugs flank the setting.  Notice the closet doors with modern hardware. 


Master bath takes it cues from the kitchen – a mix of textures and rough and industrial styling.  The shower curtain adds a rare touch of femininity.  That sink!!!!!  

The bunk room with log styled beds.

The loft area over looks the Great Room.  Notice the barn doors.

                And finally, the best for last – the entry with a beyond fabulous wood chair!!!  Just fabulous!!!!!!  I honestly have never seen one like that before. 

This house is located in Fredericksburg Texas – and this book,  Lone Star Living, features another fabulous Fredericksburg ranch, which is now for sale.

To purchase, click on cover.

For those not from Texas:  Where exactly IS Fredericksburg?

Image result for map of texas fredericksburg

Fredericksburg is in the Texas Hill Country near Austin and San Antonio.  The population is about 10,000+.   It’s a very popular tourist spot with a myriad of shops along Main Street.  Further out past town, there are farms where herbs, grapes, wildflowers, lavender, and peaches are grown.  Each adds to the flavor, aroma and beauty of Fredericksburg.   There are day spas and wedding destinations and there is the Texas Hill Country Lavender Trail.   The Wildseed Farms produces over 88 varieties of wildflower seeds and each year holds the Wildflower Celebration.

There is the Fredericksburg Brewing Company and many vineyards in the area to visit.  To handle all the tourists, the B&B business took off a few decades ago and they are a major attraction in the area.  Owners face stiff competition vying for customers – each  B&B has to be cuter than the next.

Settlers Crossing 

By far, one of the most popular B&Bs in the area is Settlers Crossing, a charming guest ranch on 35+ acres.  There are 7 guest houses, plus the owners’ house, all spread out on over 35 beautiful acres.  I suppose the owners, the Estes, are ready to move on, because it is now for sale, in case you are interested in running a B&B!   Oh, and by the way, you also have to have about six million dollars.

Sheep run free at Settler’s Crossing

The Settlers Crossing property can be traced back to the 1790s and later, to 1846, when the land was deeded to a famous Texas Ranger, Jack C. Hays.   The current owners moved their three story house from Kentucky to Fredericksburg in 1989, in preparation for its restoration. The beautiful house stands at the front portion of the property, welcoming all the guests.   The numerous dogs, sheep, deer and donkeys are often seen in their front yard behind the wood fence.

The entrance to Settlers Crossing:   Wildflowers and a cattle guard – only in Texas!

A limestone bridge greets guests after they turn into the property.

In addition to the houses and animals, Settlers Crossing also has an early 19th century corn crib that was brought here from Pennsylvania and a rock smokehouse which adds to the Texas ambiance.

Settlers Crossing has been given many awards throughout the years.  One important one, “America’s Top Ten Bed & Breakfasts” was bestowed on the Crossing by Travel + Leisure Magazine.

The owners’ grand house stands on the side of the road near the entrance.  It was moved here from Kentucky where it then was completely restored.

  The house, The Richland Estate, was built by the banks of the Ohio River and is larger than the seven guest houses – and, a bit more luxe.  It has 13 rooms and six fireplaces.  

At back, a pool is needed to escape the summer sun.

The rear porch of the owners’ house.

Close up of the wicker and wood collection of porch furniture.  The porch is deep enough to hang art work and light lamps!


The green and red paint seen on the house’s facade are colors that are woven throughout the seven guest houses.

The foyer in the owner’s house opens to wide plank flooring and hand hewn beams.

The center foyer shows the French furniture that is found in this house.  In the guest cabins, the furniture is more Americana.

Gilt mirror and console.  More French than Texan!

The large living room in turquoise and white.   The fireplaces and wood floors are incredible here.


Settlers Crossing was sold by the original owners, the Blands, around 2009. I thought it was fun to see how the previous owners decorated their house!  So French!!!!!   I do love this though, of course I do!!

The original designer of Settlers Crossing was by the late, renowned decorator Marcia Bland Brown.  A few years ago, her estate was auctioned off and it is so interesting to see what she collected over her lifetime.   She left a gorgeous array of antiques.  HERE. 

Martha must have been related to the original owners who shared the Bland name.


Brown’s house in San Miguel de Allende

The owner now, Melissa Estes, is also an interior designer and no doubt is in charge of all the design updates seen in the cabins which I will try to point out wherever I can.

The dining room with French chairs and cabinet.  Mixed in with all the antiques is modern art.

Another French sitting room.

The view from the other side of the sitting room.   Those floor boards – are wonderful!!!  And there’s yet another sitting room past this one.

The large eat-in kitchen has another fabulous stone mantel with a carved sheep’s head on it.

Close up of the carving on the mantel.  I suppose it was added on later, but it is so cute considering all the sheep at the Crossing.

Another view of the eat-in kitchen.

An attic bedroom with more black, wide floorboards!

So peaceful.

The main road winds through the property with the guest houses off gravel driveways.


Screenshot of the B&B where the cabins are located along the private country road.   A few are nestled at the back where the road dead ends.

Across from the owners’ house and down the road a bit is the small guest house – Indiana House.   The stone house was built in 1849 and moved from that state to this grove of huge old oak trees.  Next to the house is 1790 log barn and an arbor to sit under.


Inside Indiana – the ceiling is vaulted with beams and white stucco walls.

This is one of my favorite houses - I love all the antiques.

The living area with a pink and red floral rug.

Two sided fireplace flanked by two French chairs in green toile.

BEFORE:  An early, blurry view of the same vignette.  While the house still has Americana, you can see a lot has been cleared out – all the hanging herbs – so early 90s.  The dried flowers and doilies and quilts are now gone.

BEFORE:  Another view of the sitting room before.   In the bedroom, the bed has what is probably an antique quilt.   Notice above the corner cupboard – all that type of decorating is missing from the rooms now. 

The same portrait in the bedroom shows up in another house, as does most of this furniture.

The kitchen is simple with wood counters and skirt.

The smaller bedroom with a charming window.

The master bedroom in French blue with a white dog hiding under the bed!  The ceiling!!


The door opens to the outside.

The main road is paved but the drives to the houses are gravel.  More sheep!

The Von Heinrich Home

This house was built in 1787, in Pennsylvania and it features fachwert – a form of construction that German pioneers used.  The house is furnished with 19th century American Folk Art.  


Wow.  Calgon…take me there!

Early Photo:  Inside the house, there is the red and green wood trim.  This is an earlier view of the decor, which has been changed a lot.  The vignette next to the stairs is now gone: 

The vignette today. 

The decor is less so strictly Americana.  Today, there is still a lot of that style, but it is edited.

As you can see, the stairs are primitive and authentic.  Staying at Settlers Crossing is not like a luxe hotel.  It’s a stay in a house very much as it was in the 1800s.   There isn’t WI-FI as of a few years ago, but this may have changed since. They have a lot of repeat business, which speaks well of it.

The cabin today, again a bit more edited for today.

A close up.

And Before:  While the same horse sculpture and rug remains, the rest is again, more country looking.       

The kitchen today – just noticed the table that was in the foyer vignette before, is now the coffee bar.

Another view of the kitchen.

Upstairs, one of the bedrooms.

Bigger view.

Bathroom, with the mirror from the former foyer moved here.

Natural pergola.

Kusenberger Log Cabin:

This cabin is really unique as it was built at Settlers Crossing in 1850.  It is actually the oldest house built by the settlers outside of Fredericksburg.  The original stone floors remain and the main room has a small loft above it.   There is a matching cabin – the Kusenberger Barn – which were probably the two original structures on the property.

While buildings and houses this old are common in the east, in Texas they are rare, so having an original ranch house on your

own property must be an incredible feeling.

The keep with the loft above it.  Original stone floors.

BEFORE:  This is one Before photo that I like better.  The rug is more appropriate than the modern one. 

The log cabin – those walls!!!


Leading to the bedroom.

The bath.

Romantic outbuildings are found all over the Crossing.

Kusenberger Barn:

This house is actually a large two story rock barn, built on the Settlers Crossing property in 1865.   The rock is native Texas limestone – from Fredericksburg.   The walls are two feet thick and gun shot windows can be found on the front facade. 


Another view of the facade with the stone enclosed patio.

Inside with the stone fireplace.


BEFORE:  A blurry view of the cabin before it was edited.  The objects over the fireplace look much cleaner now.

The original stairs.  OK.  I could never make it up those!!!!

The kitchen.

Breakfast area.

The bedroom in the attic.

Night view of the bedroom.

The bath, extra luxe!

Baag Farm House:

This house was built as a wedding present for one of the original settler’s descendent.  Surprisingly, the house has tall ceilings and large rooms – the dining room seats 8. 

Sweet porch.

The original shiplap walls were left natural.

Love this room!  I think this is the original Marcia Bland Brown decor.  The curtains look very decoratish.

Another view with antique wicker seat.

Dining room with view to the kitchen.

Everything is as it once was.

One of the bedrooms.

And another.

Momma and baby?  Darling!!!

Bohl Log Cabin:

This is one of the most picturesque cabins on the farm.

To die for!!!  Wow!!!

  The Bohl Log Cabin was built in 1850 in Missouri and moved here to be authentically restored, albeit the modern conveniences. 

I love the fences around the houses.

The view inside.

and closer…

and there! 

The log cabin’s interior walls are so incredible.

Another view towards the kitchen behind the chair.

I like the lanterns that are used in most of the houses.

The shelving unit fits just perfectly in the “kitchen.”

Going upstairs.  I love the tiny windows found in the cabins.

The landing with a view into one of the bedrooms.

More charming windows on the second floor.

And another bedroom.

The Pioneer Log Cabin:

The Pioneer Log Cabin was built in 1865, part of a collection of historic buildings home to four generations of the same Texas family.   There is a restored root cellar, fireplace in the master bedroom and a 40 foot long stone porch, filled with rockers and a swing, adding charm to the log cabin.

The porch and swing.

The stone and wood walls.  There are two bedrooms that lead off from the sides of the sofa.

One bedroom to the right.

The other to the left.

original (2)

Before:  Wow, what a difference!   It doesn’t look like the same cabin, but it is.  Amazing, how keeping the Americana, just updating it a bit for today shows how it can be done!  Kudos!!

Before:  Facing the opposite direction.  I love their collection of wing chairs – have you noticed all the different styles?

The kitchen with tall ceilings and the bath behind it.

The other side of the kitchen.

View into the first bedroom.

This is my favorite bedroom in the Crossing.  Love it!

Notice the room is Americana, but very edited for today.  I would decorate all the rooms just like this, quiet, with just a few choice pieces, like the painting over the fireplace and the chest.

One vignette in the room.

Another bedroom in the house.

Another view.  Notice the painting at the border on the ceiling. Love the blue paint too.

The bathroom.

The second bedroom off the living room.

All white with green accents.

I can’t imagine how lucky the new owners will be!!  And I can’t wait to see how it will all be decorated.  I wonder if the furniture will be included in the sale?  If I bought it, one thing I would change is update the paint – get rid of the red and green wood trim and instead go with white or cream or gray or maybe an accent black. I know that isn’t Americana but still...I would go more minimal – clean out the Americana accents and go more “today,” accessorize with books and larger pieces, but less of them.

Ahhhh…what a life!

A dream life!  So idyllic.

The Settlers Crossing is open for visits.  My brother in law used to stay there quite a bit when the kids were little.  They loved it!   Visit the site HERE.

And, a huge thank you to Ginger Barber for sharing her project in Fredericksburg!

And please, don’t forget the fundraiser for Habitat for Horses HERE.  If you can’t come that night, think about making a small or large donation to this wonderful cause.  Anything is welcome and  I know it will be much appreciated.  HERE