Saturday, January 4, 2014

Michael G. Imber Ranches, Villas, and Houses: Elizabeth Meredith Dowling

Being born and raised in Texas, I have an affinity for ranches. Elizabeth Meredith Dowling's new book on Texas architect Michael G. Imber: Ranches, Villas, and Houses, reveals the beautiful and captivating work that blends into the landscape of the desert southwest where I grew up. In fact, so many of the homes featured in this book are homes I've seen in person. 

Imber, is a native of Midland, Texas - just a short 80 miles from where I grew up. He studied at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, and after college he spent time in Europe and the US East Coast, before being called back to San Antonio, Texas. If you've ever met a Texan, you know that most of us fight a battle daily of being away from those big blue skies, and many of us don't stay gone for long. 

One of the ranches featured in the book is Butcher Ranch, nestled in the beautiful Gonzales County. Gonzales is East Central Texas, right outside of San Antonio. For those of you not familiar with Texas history, Gonzales is most famous for its volunteer militia, the Gonzales Rangers, who risked and ultimately lost their lives in the Battle at the Alamo. 

When Imber was commissioned by Wealthy Houston barge builder and land developer Milton Butcher to design a ranch home, Imber created this, his first "real" ranch house, ... and it's been reviewed as being one of the top 100 houses in the United States.  

Another farm house, my favorite in the book, is in Independence, Texas. Once the wealthiest county in Texas, it's sandwiched between Austin and Houston.

With more than 5,000 square feet, the octagonal designed house features a limestone exterior - a staple in Texas construction. The cedar roof, multitude of windows, and sweeping views of the Brazos River Valley from the many porches make this a dream home of mine. 

The book also features Imber's watercolors, which are incredibly beautiful: 

as well as amazingly impressive grand mansions or villas, including these brother and sister villas in Roswell, New Mexico: 

Overall, the book is a stunning catalog of the work of this Texas architect, building amazing homes - large and small - from the rich architectural traditions of the desert southwest. Spending time to understand the land, and the view, Imber's work is both gorgeous and natural. A seamless blend into the beauty of the Southwestern Landscape. 

I highly recommend this book for my Texas friends and readers, and anyone who appreciates a traditional and southwest inspired interior and exterior. Published by Rizzoli, and provided with top-shelf exposure thanks to RH Birdwell, the book is available on amazon below.

Happy Reading!