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This past weekend my family and I got to take a trip out to Horseshoe Bay, Texas to see the 2011 Southern Living Idea House. I was super excited to go because the 2009 Idea House in Port Aransas, Texas was AH-MAH-ZING.

The 2011 house was in the Escondido Golf Reserve. The house is 6,000 square feet with 22 rooms. There was a small guest house the back yard with a small pool.

So, I mostly want to cover the elements of the house that I loved, because there was a lot that I didn’t love.

The home was accented with wrought iron chandeliers, bright natural light, and barn wood tall ceilings. Barn wood and natural lighting I’m a big sucker for.

This was really cool. In the hallway, they took an antique french armoire and placed it in the wall. Such a cool idea for storage, but it might have looked better without the legs? I think that leaving the legs made it look like it was floating which I’m not so sure I’m down with. What do you think?

The kitchen was really beautiful, but seemed super small for the huge house. You just can’t go wrong with white subway tiles and dark cabinetry. I really like the open shelving but just don’t feel like it was enough. The railroad ties are awesome but they needed more storage. Maybe two shelves instead of just one. Or upper cabinets that went to the ceiling and the railroad ties underneath. I do really enjoy the romance that’s happening in this corner, though.

My absolute favorite element in the house was the peek-a-boo haint blue coming from the mudroom through that archway. Very pretty.

Another favorite of mine was the library area. Although it was over styled with too much furniture. This tufted chair next to those bookshelves was great. Also, hanging art on a bookshelves just adds so much depth and interest. The gold frame really added to the bookshelf too.

This was a great detail in the bathroom. There were floor to ceiling mirrors and the frame you see was simple white, marble tiles added to the mirror. The light color allows your eye to still move around the room but adds just the right amount of interest to the mirrors. Loved this detail. I’m iffy on the sconces though. (Also, why am I scrunching my face up like that?)

Across from the mirror the arches were emulated in this detail above the shower entry. It added such interest to the straight lines of the rest of the bathroom, I loved that.

Here’s that haint blue mudroom I mentioned that you could see from the kitchen. It’s so pretty right? Everything was painted in that color and contrasted by the dark countertops. Although, as my mom pointed out, the paint was done in a flat finish. For a mudroom, this is a major no-no. It won’t be before long that this all starts looking scuffed up, but in the meantime it’s really beautiful. The lighting was a great choice!

The wash area of the mudroom. This arch detailing was all through the house.

I’m a sucker for a trifecta of succulents. So pretty.

This table was something I stood and stared at for a good five minutes. I really, really wanted to love the varying heights of the chairs and think that this was something new and awesome. But, it’s just not. I think this is one of those ideas that sounds cool, but when you finish it you realize that it just breaks up the flow of the room. (Gosh, I sound so negative.)

There were lots of elements of this house that I liked and then a lot that I didn’t like at all. There were some issues with styling. Some rooms came across disjointed and looked too styled. Several times walking through the house, I found myself thinking “what’s that about?” or “why did they chose that?” The interior design and styling did feel purposeful, intentional, or functional (my family agreed too). Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely moments where it did, but lots of moments where it didn’t. Some things just needed to be scaled back and I would have loved to see more forward designs.

However, the architectural detailing was so beautiful and thoughtful. There were considerations for flow and lighting. The home felt warm and inviting. So, it’s too bad it was styled the way it was. Although, some of the furniture choices were quite beautiful.

I guess overall I was a little let down because the 2009 Idea House was, again, ah-mah-zing!

What do you think? Did you get to go? Any Southern Living Homes you’ve been to and loved?

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So Eclectic is a blog dedicated to great ideas for home design. Austin, Texas-based writer Mary Marcum and Savannah, Missouri-based writer Jess Rezac feature affordable decor, decorating solutions, and inspiration. At So Eclectic, we experiment with design together. So Eclectic posts new content every weekday.

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