Home / THE GOOD LIFE / Showcase Home / Hill Country Modern: Can you really blend rustic style with a design that is clean, comfortable and unmistakably contemporary? Absolutely!

Hill Country Modern: Can you really blend rustic style with a design that is clean, comfortable and unmistakably contemporary? Absolutely!


BY DANNY MOGLE |  Photos by DAVID WHITE | Nov/Dec 2016

Combine a yesteryear Texas Hill Country retreat — complete with a chunky stone exterior and wooden beam timbering — with an open floor plan and the casual design of today and you begin to get the idea of what our Showcase Home is all about.

Suzanne Hargett, the Tyler, Texas-based interior designer who worked hand-in-hand with the homeowners, says the home is the best of both.

She likes to call it Hill Country Modern.

“I think it (Hill Country Modern) is a transitional style that is clean and modern but you also have that base of rustic. … It brings the two worlds together.”


The two-story house made of Austin stone is located in a gated community in south Tyler, just minutes away from shopping and dining hot spots. Not long ago, the lot was covered with trees and sloped severely from the street toward a lake just beyond the tree line.

But that didn’t bother the homeowners, a couple with three active boys. They loved the neighborhood and that they could live in the city but feel like they were tucked away in a pinewood forest.

The lot was big enough to hold the home they envisioned and still have plenty of room for a pool and a big backyard. They placed the task of making it all work in the hands of custom home builder Trent Williams of Trent Williams Construction Management.

As it turned out, the big slope of the lot was a good thing.

“It actually helped us because we were able to put the house on one level and we were able to put the pool about three feet lower,” Williams says. “So it actually allows you to be in the home and be looking down on the beautiful backyard and the pool.”

Many decisions centered around taking full advantage of the view. “As soon as you walk in (the front door) it is hard to not notice (through large windows) the backyard and the pool,” Williams says.

Williams praises the free-form pool with its rock formation waterfall and grotto as “a showstopper.”  It was designed in collaboration with and built by Trinity Valley Pools.

Overlooking the pool is a spacious outdoor living area. The covered area includes a full-service kitchen, picnic table and bench seating and more formal seating centered around a stone fireplace and large-screen TV.

“In the initial design phase, I noticed that we had designed probably one of the largest back porches in all the years that I have been doing this,” Williams says. “I attempted to shrink it just a bit …  and the homeowners actually said (to me) that you’re basically building a back porch with a house in front of it.

“The whole thing was designed around outdoor living. … Here we are right in the middle of town but when you are in the backyard, it feels like you’re out in the country.”

The home has a split design. On one side are a guest bedroom and the bedrooms of the three boys. On the opposite side, down a long hallway that runs the length of the house, is the master bedroom suite.

Steps from the master bedroom is the office used by the man of the house. Distinctively masculine, the office is anchored by a sturdy wooden desk and leather couch. Accessories that capture the western spirit of Texas include a big metal lone star atop a bookcase.

In the center of the home are the main living areas. The kitchen has rows of white cabinets. The counter tops and kitchen island are covered in marble that has a flowing gray and white grain pattern.

The family can either eat at the kitchen island or move steps away to a wooden table that seats six. In this part of the house, timbering frames doorways and is used as a decorative element on the ceiling.

The living room features a large sectional sofa in neutral tones and plush chairs in animal prints. The large-screen TV is mounted on the stone fireplace that mimics the exterior. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out on the pool.

A metal staircase leads to the second floor and a large game room that serves as a retreat and play area for the boys. The room’s built-in bunk beds  are a big hit when the kids have friends over for the night.


Hargett was thrilled to work with the homeowners, her longtime friends. She had helped them decorate their previous home. The homeowners had dozens and dozens of photos of design elements they loved and wanted to use.

That was just fine with Hargett.

“You want to know what they like because you are designing for them. She (the wife) totally changed her style from before. She has beautiful style. I just helped her bring it out.”

Standing in the master bedroom, Hargett is pleased with what she sees. “I think this room perfectly reflects the homeowners.”

The room is dominated by a four-poster bed. Unmistakable orange pillows rest atop neutral-toned bed coverings. A large round mirror in a wooden frame rests on one wall just above one of the distinctive chest of drawers in the room.

“She had chosen her neutral colors (for the room). In every room, you want something unexpected and we incorporated the orange color, which to me is the pop of color — the unexpected. It just shows her bright personality.”

An eye-cathcing, barrel-style chandelier with dangling glass crystals and polished nickel is another unexpected element.

“The chandelier reflects the homeowner and her more modern style … We mixed traditional with some modern elements to give it (the room) a transitional feel.”

Hargett and the homeowners also combine contrasting styles in the living room. Modern furniture shares space with an antique cabinet painted turquoise they bought at Canton’s First Monday Trade Days. The bold color is echoed in throw pillows and in the drapery and accessories.

“It (cabinet) is the anchor piece (for the room) because it was one of the colors she wanted to use. She wanted the color palette to be tranquil and to incorporate the turquoise color.”

Hargett says everyone is thrilled with the results,

“The homeowners’ personality shows the minute you walk in the door. It (the design) is light and fun. I think it (the home) is gorgeous inside and out and that it reflects the homeowners.”



Armando Balderas

Mata Concrete

Lonestar Concrete

Bug Busters Pest Control

Eddie Waterman Construction

Bannister Plumbing

Four Seasons Heating & A/C

6m Electric, LLC

JW Roofing & Construction, Inc.

ABC Supply

Loya Masonry

5 Star Stone

Biomax Spray Insulation

Cruz Bustos Trim Carpentry

MAC Cabinets

Estrada Paint

Morrison Supply

Sword Company

Overhead Door Systems

Stone Works

Albright Solutions

Remington Alarm Systems

Planet Landscape

Holland Marble & Granite

Omega Fabrication

Harrys Building Materials

Keenco, Inc.

Omega Fabrications

Superior Plastering

Worden Specialties

Sherwin Williams

David White Photography

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