Many of you know that my husband is a Western artist. He spends most of his days painting and sculpting, pretty much nine-to-five. Right now, he’s in the next room working on a commission for an important historical project (Sorry, I’m sworn to secrecy, so don’t ask what it is…) He listens to radio shows and the Western channel as he works, only pausing to watch if the production is well-designed and accurately researched. Question: How many times can a person watch the movie Jeremiah Johnson? Answer: Infinity.
One of his best works is my kitchen. Most of our furniture in our kitchen, as well as the rest of our home, was hand built by my husband. I can’t begin to tell you how much I cherish the tables, chairs, doors and forged iron work that my husband has created. We didn’t have a mountain of money to decorate, and definitely didn’t have an interior decorator. Our unified vision for our kitchen and home is to only acquire things that we truly enjoyed, and that had meaning for us. We are quietly crazy about this space.
We moved into our home on San Vicente Ranch a full year after we were married, in 1990. Even though I had always wanted a Spanish Mediterranean style house like the classic main house at King Ranch, my husband had a different vision. Inspired by the German-born architect Heinrich Portscheller, we built a brick house with sandy colored bricks. Portscheller built the general stores that my husband’s great uncle owned on the Mexican border back in the early 1900’s.
Born into a family of builders, Portscheller was a German national that immigrated to Mexico in 1865. He joined the Austrian army in Mexico in support of Emperor Maximillian, but eventually deserted and fled northwards. Once military action in the area subsided, Portscheller became the go-to builder for families and businesses from Laredo to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. His buildings in Rio Grande City and Brownsville are iconic, and still stand.
In honor of your visit to my blog, I have recreated a couple of flower arrangements that I usually place when we have dinner parties. Right now, we have beautiful deep magenta tunas, or cactus pears, growing on the cactus outside my door. I arranged a few in batea, or traditional wood basin, and placed them on a low wooden bench. Who says flower arrangements have to be vertical, on a table or even contain flowers? My cactus pad arrangement is horizontal, close to the ground, is embellished with purple sage, and mesquite twigs.
Also, I didn’t have any small vases for my flower centerpiece, but in a pinch, I found the boys’ retired cowboy boots. I used to dress them in matching outfits, so I had four identical boots to work with. They looked great lined up, but I really liked the way they looked bunched together. If you are looking for more ranch inspiration, the historic Texas-based company King Ranch has an inspiring Pinterest board, as well as a wide selection of trendy and old fashioned cowgirl boots.
I really enjoyed photographing around my kitchen, so expect more pics in the future. Chatting over coffee, my husband and I agreed that even though we live on a cattle ranch, we haven’t really gone for a “ranch look” in our décor. What has come together in our kitchen is just local items, local history and reducing our belongings to what we really enjoy. Are there hats, boots and spurs in our kitchen? Yep, and here at the ranch, we use them (but not at the table, please.) Nothing fake here. This is just who we are.
Pass the Salt, Please As far as tourist attractions go, salt mines are probably on the rock bottom of the awesome scale for some folks, right next to field trips to the dentist, or a visit to the county landfill. In fact, when I toured the local salt lake near our home a few months […]
A Savory Question “What are you going to do with that?” I asked, pointing to the large zapallo squash she had stashed behind her sales counter. Usually when I meet country folks in their merchant stall or on their farm, I’m a little star struck. I am in awe of people that work from sun […]
The turns on the narrow mountainside road were so sharp, our tour bus would stop on the hairpin curves, back up, and then reposition itself to continue up the steep muddy slope. We were all holding our breath. We rode the bus until the road faded into a dusty path, and then we continued on […]