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By Diane S. Morales, Caller-Times
You can take a girl off the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of Tammy Hearn.
“I grew up on a farm in Kentucky and my husband John (Hearn) grew up hunting. He thinks the South Texas brush country is the most beautiful in the world,” she said.
The longtime city-dwellers and their two kids ditched town five years ago after building a house in Chapman Ranch on 650 acres of land bordering King Ranch. They named the ranch Jubalee after Tammy’s quarter horse died.
Horses, ponies and exotic deer graze on the range — most of them named after soft drinks. The Hearns pay back their good fortune hosting friends, family and church youth groups to enjoy their borrowed graces.
“We’re just stewards of God. All we have is because of Him,” Tammy said.
Feels like home
After interviewing several builders, the Hearns chose Terrell Pruett to combine a farm girl’s wishes and a hunter’s lodge.
“After we showed him the plans he asked ‘What do you want the house to feel like? What’s John and Tammy?,’” she said. “No one has ever asked me that and we’ve built a lot of homes.”
Pruett got to the core of their outdoor love affair, creating a rustic, lodge–like country home decked in distressed woodwork, limestone, cypress accents and plenty of windows. To finish the look, the Hearns’ designer friend Kathi Robichaux selected earthy-colored granite counters finished with a chiseled edge and slate floors in subdued blue, green and tan colors.
“I just love that everything flows. I don’t have to worry about kids spilling drinks or ruining anything because it’s all rustic,” Tammy said.
Distressed to impress
Austin limestone and Chicago brick create a lodge-style facade with its 24-foot Cathedral pitch at the covered porch.
Wrought iron panels on the double door front open to a floor to ceiling wall of limestone — the fireplace’s backside.
Slate floors lead around the limestone wall to a windowed great room decorated in brown leather furniture, Native American accessories from the Hearns’ days in Oklahoma and tan, troweled faux finished walls. The worn–looking wall treatment by Aaron Chatham blends with the distressed woodwork of Gregg Wilman seen throughout the home.
“Every finished piece of wood was hand-distressed with chains, utility knives, mallets… almost every edge of every piece of wood had a hand put on it,” Pruett said.
Wilman beat the splinters out of the pine wood. The more unsightly wood knots, the more the wood’s character seeps through the dark stain finish.
On one side, the great room’s core branches to a dining room and another living area. Rows of beams form squares on the dining room’s ceiling, framing embossed tin panels faux-painted brown to blend with the home’s chocolatey palette.
A custom wood plank table with ladder back chairs for 12 sits under a wrought iron chandelier ring. Diners can step out on the slate-floored, 1,000 foot covered patio and take in the vista or mingle under the kitchen’s cypress ceiling.
“I wanted the kitchen closed off a bit because I like to cook and I make a big mess,” Tammy said. Amber black chiseled granite counters, dark plank wood cabinets, a pitched ceiling and deer peeking through the breakfast room windows detracts from any mess.
On the patio, the cathedral pitch from the front of the house repeats in the back where limestone columns extend the length of the veranda. Water fountains flow from a swimming pool tricked with a twisting, theme park-style slide. A limestone kitchen with granite counters and stainless steel appliances across the pool overlooks a firepit ring for roasting marshmallows and good conversation. Just across the way, a pond surrounds a circular peninsula where the Hearns’ animals drink water.
“Once mom and I were sitting out here watching the sunrise and a skunk came by,” Tammy said. “We were so afraid he would spray us, but he just rubbed my leg like a cat and left.”
Contact Diane S. Morales at 886-3758 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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