"Very pure in design and appearance—the architectural detailing and materials are appropriate for the Texas Hill Country." Russell Versaci, AIA
"Elegantly straightforward and honest; I love the stonework in this house." Cynthia Stewart, AIA, ASID
"This Texas structure is authentically detailed and designed." David Barker, AIA
Wild Oaks Ranch was founded as a premier private dressage training and breeding facility. This picturesque 630-acre equine ranch is located in the rolling hills of North Texas, an hour northwest of Fort Worth. Drs. Jerry and Jackie Fulton, both sixth-generation Texans, approached Steve Chambers, AIA, to create an equestrian center at their ranch with a western architectural style that looked as though it had been in Paradise, Texas for 150 years. In particular, they were inspired by the ‘Sunday houses’ of Fredericksburg, Texas, where Jackie lived during her childhood. The Fultons began with the guest house, which gave them a comfortable place to reside while the equestrian training center, horse barn, and larger ranch home were being designed and constructed. The Sunday House-inspired guest house won the Southern Living Home of the Year Award.
In the mid-19th century, Sunday houses were used by farmers and ranchers as small places to stay while shopping on Saturdays and church-going on Sundays.
A traditional Sunday house is often too small for the space and conveniences necessary for this requirements of this guesthouse where the family planned to live full-time while the rest of the equestrian center and larger ranch home were undergoing construction. So, residential architect Steve Chambers designed a wider and deeper version with the same form as these original Texas houses. Familiar Hill Country building materials were employed: limestone, galvanized metal roofing, exposed rafter tails, cedar posts, and subtle stone arches above windows. A massive stone fireplace fills the corner of the family room. Befitting the rural roots of the home, interior trim is kept to a minimum. A deep front porch that provides plenty of room for rocking chairs completes the relaxed feeling of a truly Texas cottage.
Recent design and construction on the property added a dressage training facility, barn for the dressage horses, and a larger home for the family on the ranch property. The main business of this ranch and all of its structures is dressage, an equestrian sport defined by the International Equestrian Federation as "the highest expression of horse training. All of the structures, including the larger ranch home, retain the straighforward, honest and authentic details of historic Texas ranches. In the gallery below, the exterior and interior of the guest house (Sunday House), the equine barn, and the ranch home are pictured. A sustainable lifestyle with vegetable gardens, Texas heirloom rose garden, energy conservation (including 4 Rumford fireplaces), daylighting, and cross-venilation is important to the family. Steve Chambers, AIA, is pictured with Mattie and Rose, two of the Wild Oaks Ranch premier dressage horses. The final photo demonstrates the rustic rural setting of the terrain at the western edge of North Texas, as the home is approached from the south.
Photos: Stephanie Chambers and Dr. Jackie-Nixon Fulton