At Home: Traditional Modern

by | May 13, 2021 | At Home, Current Issue, May/June 21 | 0 comments

Understated elegance defines this recently built Terrell Hills home.

By Steve Bennett

Photography by Al Rendon

Ashley Wingo At Home
Light pours into the Terrell Hills living room of Ashley Wingo, who takes good care of her West Highland Terrier, Duke.

One of the refinements Ashley Wingo made to her Terrell Hills home during a yearlong renovation was a built-in Thermador coffee machine, which grinds the beans and brews a cup at the touch of a button. It’s nestled in a dark-toned cabinet across from a rectangular island the size of a ping-pong table topped with a glowing slab of white quartz two inches thick. A small improvement, the slick, stainless-steel gadget seems to encompass her approach to home life.

“I don’t like clutter,” she said, surveying a spotless living room, open to the kitchen, which is flooded with afternoon sunlight from large windows on one side and Arcadia custom steel-and-glass French doors on the other. “It grinds the beans and has its own water supply, so it’s pretty much hands-off. And it gets the coffee maker off the counter. I like clean lines, a more tailored look. I’m in that space in between traditional and contemporary — black and white, a neutral palette with pops of color.”

Built in 2016, the home is classic American with a touch of South Texas in its white stucco exterior and metal roof. The roof was one of the major changes made, along with the removal of dormer windows to give it a cleaner look, Wingo said.

The Wingos — Ashley from Corpus Christi, her husband Robert from the Woodlands, who met a decade ago while both working in the Houston energy industry — bought the house in 2018, after living five years in Pittsburgh, PA. Robert’s job brought him to San Antonio, and Terrell Hills just seemed like home.

While the rest of the house is mostly bright white, Wingo went with navy blue walls in the study, which has chairs by Lillian August, an ottoman by Bernhardt, and a table by Baker.  

“That was the initial attraction; we really liked the Terrell Hills community,” she said. “When I walked into the house, I saw a lot of potential. I liked the size of the house, and the layout, with the master on the first floor, in kind of its own wing. And I loved the fact that it was sort of a clean slate, that I could remake in my own style.”

With four bedrooms and four-and-a-half baths, the 4,800-square-foot, two-story house had plenty of room to raise a family. Twins — a boy and a girl — came along three years ago; Duke, an aging, affectionate Westie, rounds out the household.

Having renovated her Pittsburgh home not too long before moving back to Texas, Wingo knew what she wanted — and what she didn’t.

“We had a very white kitchen in Pittsburgh, and I knew I wanted dark cabinets in my new home,” she said. “We basically redid the kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, the study.”

She ripped out the fireplace and replaced it with handsome black marble, added a pool out back, and installed a new entrance to the home, again a custom Arcadia front door with clear glass panes in a black steel framework.

Wingo tapped Urban Electric for handsome lighting, including simple brass and glass cube fixtures over the kitchen island. Beige sofas by Baker Collections and a Lee Jofa glass-topped coffee table anchor the living room, with its 11-foot ceilings and bright white walls, like the rest of the house. Backsplashes in the kitchen and wet bar, in geometric black-and-white marble with slivers of gold, add an Art Deco touch, as does the angular black and gold wallpaper in the powder room. Perhaps Wingo’s favorite piece in the house is the brass-edged walnut dining table from Lillian August.

The living room, which features a Lee Jofa coffee table and sofas from Baker, is open to the kitchen, which was reworked with dark cabinetry and an Art Deco-influenced backsplash.

“That will be a family heirloom, I think,” she said.

Wingo adds “the right jewelry to the outfit,” said her friend and collaborator, Corpus Christi designer Tina Anastos. “She’s not fussy — not a lot of tchotchkes. She’s an updated classic, in everything she does, whether it’s a handbag or her home. Everything about her is understated elegance.”

The Terrell Hills house had all the basics right, Anastos said, just needed a tune-up.

“She saw this modern-traditional, classic style of home — a newbie in an old-world neighborhood — that had really good bones, but kind of vanilla basics,” added Anastos, who is also working on a beach home the Wingos currently are building in Port Aransas. “I think we added the critical upscale modifications, finishes, and touches to make the home really outstanding. And, I have to add that the natural light that pours into that house is really invigorating.”

Wingo replaced the floors, lighting, and fixtures and repainted the cabinets in the master bath, creating an Art Deco haven.

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Steve Bennett

A native Texan, Steve Bennett has written about art, architecture and books for more than 30 years, working for the San Antonio Light, Express-News and Austin American-Statesman. Currently a freelance writer and editor, Steve makes a mean dish of green enchiladas and believes there aren’t many better things in life than the drawings of Vincent Valdez and the Berlin noir detective novels of Philip Kerr.


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