COTE DE TEXAS: Chappell Hill, Texas and the KW Ranch

Chappell Hill, Texas and the KW Ranch

This is the downtown area of a little town about an hour southwest of Houston called Chappell Hill. Five years ago my husband's brother Kirk and his wife Shannon left the big city to become country folks. Now, keep in mind that Shannon was a city person to the core, someone who knows everybody who is somebody in Houston's social circles. Kirk on the other hand was a faux cowboy who liked to fish, hunt, and listen to country music. The family thought they'd last a year at most in their new country home. Now, they are so entrenched in the small town life, we'd be surprised if they moved back to the big city. Big entertainers, they host Christmas for the Webb family and a multitude of parties throughout the year. Their ranch is perfect for the throngs of people they love to have. Recently, I came to spend some time with my country family. Here's a glimpse of how they live, a combination of Kirk's love of everything western, and Shannon's love of everything French.

The entrance gate to the KW Ranch. You can almost make out their brand at the top of the gate. The Lone Star flag of Texas hangs proudly on the right.

The gravel drive, looking back towards the front gate. Live oaks overhang the sides of the drive. In the spring, the front lawn is a mass of bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas.

The first glimpse of the house. Shannon and Kirk took the home down to its studs last year. Everything in it is new: windows, doors, moldings, floor, roof, kitchen, bathrooms, and more.

The front doors are old, huge and heavy. Little windows open through iron grills. It's almost Halloween, so that's a witch hanging from the door.

The address and KW Ranch spelled out in Mexican tile.

The flagstoned front patio is a perfect place for coffee in the morning.

A fountain splashes water on the patio by the front door.

Tin mariachi men provide whimsy on the porch. Shannon and Kirk both have a great joie de vie and their ranch is a perfect example of it.

The big red barn is home to 3 horses, 3 donkeys, throngs of rabbits, and masses of chickens who aren't eaten, but are treasured for the pastel colored eggs they lay.

The stately Captain, my daughter's horse. We surprised her one Christmas with him.

Three of the friendliest donkeys you'll ever meet. They love the camera! Aren't they the cutest?

The proud roosters! So loud in the morning and mean too!

More of the Webb's sense of whimsy. Three antique outhouses lined up in the vegetable garden. If you miss a shower, they force you to use these.

My favorite spot to hide away at the KW ranch. A red swing and two chairs under a huge live oak. The dogs love to sit here with me, waiting for a bite of my morning biscotti.

This table and chair is set up by the shooting range where Kirk and the kids have target practice.

The back pasture where the horses and donkeys roam.

Of course there's a swimming pool and fountain. It gets hot during the day, but the nights are much cooler than Houston's.

A statue in a secret garden.

Kirk's hunting truck, a must for Texas hunters. They also have golf carts to ride around the property and go down to the lake and fish. My daughter Elisabeth learned to drive on their carts.

The guest house with the red door. Shannon's mother has claimed her stake here, the sign read's Dottie's Casista.

The foyer to the KW ranch house. The Spanish door and Spanish floors contrast with the gorgeous antique display case that houses a monumental collection of Rose Medallion.

The Great Room includes a living area and a dining area. This picture isn't too styled! There's a Halloween toy hiding behind the sofa and a red paper cup.

The dining area with the large table that holds throngs of Webb and Wills family members.

At every turn, there's an antique French commode with a tablescape of accessories. Antique French convex mirror above.

Another antique commode with matching convex mirror - the pair sit on each side of the large fireplace mantel.

A large antique buffet. The pair of antique rose oil paintings are my personal favorites. Antique French clock and pair of table sconces complete the vignette.

The upholstery is matching linen slipcovers. A zebra skin covers the ottoman.

Down filled cushions make this sofa a perfect place for a nap.

Antique oriental buffet juxtaposed with western chair, horns, and hide lampshades.

The linen press hides the plasma tv.

My favorite book!

Another antique French buffet with oil painting above.

The new kitchen, a little messy from breakfast. Mexican tiles line the backsplash.

Shannon and Kirk both love to cook on the large stove. Some of my best meals have been eaten here.

The kitchen window overlooks the pool and the back pasture.

The bar, an essential part of a house built for entertaining. This bar was built around the antique painted buffet.

The family room doubles as a library. It sits off the breakfast area and overlooks the backyard.

The mud room. In the country, a mud room is essential because shoes quickly get dirty outdoors. All three of the Webb brothers have English springer spaniels from the same litter. Shannon and Kirk have four in all: Quila, Cuero, Sarita, and Quatro. Will there be a Cinco one day? Each dog has its own monogrammed bed. Quila (short for Tequila) is waiting for permission to come inside with me. Behind the dogs, you can just see the cubbies, one for each member of the human family.

OK: the actress on the left is Sarita, the grinning dog. She actually smiles like this when she greets you. The night before this picture was taken, Sarita, the grinning dog, was sprayed by a skunk. We weren't too happy about that.

Shannon's bedroom is all white linen.

Shannon's vanity area, yes another antique French buffet, antique mirror and sconces.

Shannon and Kirk's new bathroom. One half is pure Shannon: French and feminine. The other half is all Kirk: western. A crystal chandelier lights the bath area. Oriental rugs on the floor, no bathmats, of course.

The shelves over the tub. All the towels have the KW brand monogrammed on them.

The sink is inset into, yes, an anitque French buffet.

Instead of built ins or a linen closet, Shannon bought these tall cabinets to house their towels and bath essentials.

Kirk's side: the sinks were inset into this piece of Mexican style buffet.

Kirk's large shower is lined in tile from the ceiling to the floor. There are two showerheads, one is an overhead rain faucet. On the niche to the right, you can just make out the University of Texas longhorn tiles.

The guests sleep here.

Wills Webb has his pick of beds in the bunkroom.

Caroline Webb's room is all girly pink.

And lastly, Shannon's father's self portrait. J. Anthony Wills was an important portrait painter. His portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower hangs in the White House.

Shannon, as a young girl, painted by her father. This painting, and a matching one of her sister, was a surprise gift from her father to her mother. For those who know her, it's amazing Shannon could sit still long enough for her father to paint her in such life like detail.

Prints of four of J. Anthony Wills' portraits hang in the library: Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Henry Kissinger. Yes, it is safe to say, unfortunately, - these Webbs are Republicans!

Thanks for taking the tour of my brother and sister in law's ranch. I hope you enjoyed it!


  1. Thanks for the tour. What a great escape! So many fun details in this house--I epsecially love the brand-mongrammed towels and baskets full of antlers.

  2. How I love this!!
    Did you help your sister in law choose fabrics and furnishings? I think it looks like Architectural Digest, the June, All American Country Houses issue.Ilove that the theory "put together what you love and it will work" is so evident here. Each person of the couple is represented as you pointed out with wonderful examples.
    As an aside, did you go on the CH home tour last year? Did you see the William Morris wall paper installed ... in the house next to Beavers restaurant:)? I usually do not like wall paper but I thought it added so much.
    A treat of a post.

  3. Joni,

    What a fantastic home your brother and sister in law have, I especially love the front doors, I get why they would not want to move back to the big smoke, I am sure you all have so much fun when staying there. Thanks for sharing.

  4. wow. I wasn't certain how Shannon had so gracefully made the transition until I saw the sparkling pool and lovely (LOVELY!) interiors. Goodness. An eye for great design certainly runs in the family.

    The bathroom is certainly her favorite spot in the home. The chandelier, the slipcovered chair. Breathtaking.

    How nice of you to share their story (and their home) with us. Truly charming.

  5. I must admit to you that the moment you wrote, "combination of Kirk's love of everything western, and Shannon's love of everything French" I cringed.
    I now stand well corrected it is a real jewel! Very well done! I especially LOVE LOVE LOVE the doggies -that to me makes a home!

  6. Your brother and sister-in-law's home is wonderful....absolutely stunning! Thanks for taking the time to take us on a tour of their home :o)

  7. Wonderful ranch . The mix of french antiques and the west ambiance ...gorgeous

  8. Joni, such a fun tour. This place really has soul. I felt kind of relaxed just reading your post. It's interesting how many Texans have a passion for French antiques and the whole South-of-France feel -- do you think something about the soft creamy but rich look just works well with the Texas landscape? It's that whole elegance-meets-rustic thing.

  9. What a beautiful ranch. I cannot imagine living in the country, but wow, if I lived like that in the country I think I'd grow to like it!

    Lovely place! Thanks for all the effort in putting all those photos on here, too. A very fun tour.

  10. Hi = thanks for all the comments and NO, I didn't help Shannon at all! She has great taste all on her own and doesn't need my help for anything. :(

    Thanks again for all your sweet comments, I'm glad you enjoyed my little tour.


  11. Wow, Joni, what a beautiful home! I also love Chappell Hill (and Wimberly, too!). Beautiful places. I love the grinning dog... so cute! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Wonderful -- I especially love the bathroom with the tub under the window anad that beautiful chandelier!

  13. Wow Joni, the house is gorgeous! THanks for showing!! I really loved seeing it and the surrounding property!!!

  14. Joni, this looks more like a luxe boutique resort than someone's home! So beautifully done, and yet has a lived-in feel to it.

    Thanks for sharing

  15. Love the dog photos!! Chappell Hill is a great little place, we use to go for a fall festival (forget the name). Thanks for sharing...great photos as always Joni!

  16. Joni, how absolutely wonderful this home is! I love it all!


  17. Joni, Thanks so much for the tour. Being under construction ourselves, I can only appreciate what they endured since they took it down to its studs!

    I just wanted you to know that I thoroughly enjoy your blog, and I LOVE your style. Seeing all your photos have given me much inspiration. We still have a long way to go! We have basically built a house and tied it into the already existing old farm house. A labor of love. I think. It depends on the day and my estrogen level ...

    Thanks again for the tour and for the great education you provide!

  18. What a beautiful tour you gave us. And thanks to your brother and sister-in-law for letting us come.

  19. Thanks! It is exactly what I think of in a fantasy of a perfect Texas ranch- masculine for the men mixed with french glamour for the glamourous Texan gals!

  20. It has been a while since I've been by~ thanks for the tour.

    You have such a style, your sister in law as well. That kitchen is a dream.

  21. I don't know where to start, well first I love all these photos!! I want ranch now, and with it can I have that gorgeous display case...and the rest if possible. Thanks for sharing this Joni!!!


  22. It is a lovely home and I love the whimsical touches- The mariachi men made me grin!

  23. such a cool post. can i be your daughter? I WANT A horse : (

    i have to ask you about the flag stone. but i'm going to email you

  24. Beautiful and fun home. I love the eclectic decor - very me.

    ~elaine~ from SoCal

  25. My goodness! this house is my dream!!! I lLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOVEE it!! My goodness! Texas with touches of femininity!

  26. WOW,
    I am old friends with Shannon and LOVED seeing thier house. Shannons mom Dottie really passed on terrific taste to her girls, so warm, so elegant. Sorry I did not get to go to Round Top this year, but enjoyed shopping through pictures and then visiting the Webbs!

    Randy Powers

  27. Randy: Hi and thanks for your sweet comment. I forwarded it on to Shannon to see. You need to come out and visit, it's so much fun there! Dottie has her own little "casita" and comes every weekend. The Wills girls have gone country, who would have believed it?


  28. Wow! Being an Austinite (married to a transplanted Amarillo boy) I can sure appreciate this wonderful mix of elegance and Texas flair. This is a breathtaking home, with so much character and charm - absolutely my dream! Wish I could come and visit.

  29. You name the time. I can hear the blender swirling those margaritas!


  30. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  31. Thanks for the tour.. The house is beautiful and looks so relaxing...

  32. I love this house this is what I'll use as a template for our new AZ hacienda we have a ton of French antiques and this tour proves it all works. Happy New Year

  33. I LOVE THEIR HOUSE!! I actually have been there for a bridal shower that she threw for a friend. I was actually searching on the net for the "tin Mariachi Men"- that I saw there and found the pics on your page!! We just purchased a stucco home in Bellville- and I instantly thought of her house - the decor and those mariachi men!! I showed my husband the pics and told him this is exactly what our house will look like! BEAUTIFUL and FUN!

  34. I recently purchased a J. Anthony Wills portrait done in 1951 and am trying to figure out who the portrait is of. Do you think you could help me at all? My email adress is

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