OPENING SPREAD: The Parador at Ten Triple X Ranch, which overlooks the 10,000 acre property, expertly blends the architectural styles of Richardsonian Romanesque, Texas Regional, and Old World Spanish.
Photography by Charles Davis Smith
Situated on 10,000 acres at the northern reach of the Texas Hill Country near Glen Rose, Ten Triple X Ranch is a bucolic paradise of rolling hills, oak groves, and peaceful lakes and creeks. It is a working cattle ranch, and thanks to a partnership with Source Population Alliance (SPA), a program of the Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2), it is also a wildlife sanctuary to several exotic species such as addax, axis, and red stag. The ranch boasts more than 40 bodies of water, 10 guest houses for the ultimate in entertaining and family gatherings, two antique barns imported from New York, and a restored 1835 dog trot log cabin from Ohio.
The name of the private ranch pays homage to the telecom business that enabled owners Joe and Connie Mitchell to purchase the property—one of 10 successful businesses the entrepreneurial couple founded. “We started our telecom business in 1988 at our kitchen table, and we grew it to 14 countries at one point,” explains Joe, who has an undergraduate degree in architectural engineering. Connie has more than 20 years of experience in education, and she also held positions in the fields of accounting, finance, and tax. “We flew all over the world, and we really enjoyed Spain—the history, the castles, and the paradors.” Paradors are luxury hotels housed in refurbished castles, palaces, convents, and other historic buildings throughout Spain. “Spanish mission architecture fits pretty well with what big ranches in Texas are,” Joe continues. “That’s kind of why we fell in love with Spain—the architecture is very familiar to us.”
The Spanish architecture the Mitchells admire served as inspiration for the main house they built on the ranch. Parador, as they call it, is a 13,000-square foot masterpiece designed by Dallas architect Greg Wyatt, AIA, Principal at Wyatt & Associates, Inc.
“During our telecom days, Connie and I used to drive around the affluent neighborhoods in the cities we visited, and when a design really tripped our trigger we would contact the owners and see who their architect was,” Joe recalls of their serendipitous connection to Wyatt. On one such trip to Dallas, a house caught their eye. “The house was actually Italian style, but I could tell the architect had mastered Old World techniques. So we found out the architect was Greg Wyatt in Dallas, and the rest is history,” Joe remembers fondly.
The same materials that were used on the exterior are brought inside the residence to create continuity and set a striking scene.
Wyatt merged several architectural influences into the home’s design, including Richardsonian—a notable architect who has always been a hero of Wyatt’s and whose style is characterized by heavy stone and round masonry arches—Old World Spanish and Texas Regional. “That architectural language is sort of embedded in me,” Wyatt describes of his affinity for the Richardsonian style. The Parador design features architectural blocks that stairstep down the hill, taking advantage of the topography and capitalizing on the sweeping views of the countryside.
The grand home has as much space on the porches, loggias, and verandas as it does on the interior.
“I tried to keep the rooms single-loaded with two exterior walls on each end. The one or two-story blocks would lay in a domino fashion perpendicular to each other down the hill. It was rather simple, but allowed me to get a certain viewpoint for each room and to always have the light and the air coming from two sides,” says Wyatt.
The home reflects the style and materials indigenous to the area while also incorporating the knowledge gained during two research trips the Mitchells took with Wyatt’s design team to the Andalusian region in southern Spain. “Greg says we are the only client that was so insistent on the kind of design they wanted that they took them to the location to scope it out. I guess most clients just aren’t as devout in what they want!” says Joe.
ABOVE: The owners and architect worked onsite with the stone mason through many iterations of stone cutting and placement before they achieved the final look, which is stunning. BELOW: The bull fountain is a nod to the cattle operation on the ranch, as well as the owners’ love of Spain.
Wyatt says the inspirational tour was impactful. “We spent every day traveling around looking at things, photographing details, and all the while Joe and Connie were telling us what they liked,” Wyatt recollects. “The way materials and colors were handled made a big impression on me for not only that project but also subsequent ones after that.”
The ornate sapele wood and pine ceiling in the great room is common in Spanish architecture, something the design team took note of when they toured the country with the clients.
Wyatt notes that the trips to Spain shaped the “attitude” of the design. “In Spain, I was able to study certain ceilings and their use of moldings, woods and tile, and the layering of textures. The color palettes also became pretty influential.” Wyatt credits the exterior details, including the impressive Texas limestone work, to the Richardsonian and regional architectural influences. At the same time, many of the intricate details, such as the decorative ceilings, ironwork, and metal accents, are decidedly Spanish.
“It became this curious mix of things,” says Wyatt. “I’m very creative and artistic, so I didn’t have a problem blending it back out into my own interpretation.” He adds, “Joe and Connie were great partners in the process—it was a journey of exploration that took a lot of drawings and patience. It was an honor to do it. Projects like this don’t come along very often.”
ABOVE: The weathervane dial is visible through the brick dome ceiling, an idea inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello, which Wyatt always wanted to incorporate into one of his designs. BELOW: The architect developed incredibly detailed drawings for many design elements, including the stonework and metal details, which were constructed to exacting standards.
The Mitchells say the house is exactly what they hoped for from their own personal parador. “Connie and I were so insistent about what we wanted, even to details as small as a door hinge, and Greg and his team took it a step further from that. I can’t give them enough credit,” says Joe. “I just love the house—more now more than I ever have.” Connie adds, “I think sitting on the porch is my favorite thing to do in the house. We have a view of the very best sunsets in Texas. It feels like that’s God’s gift to us.”
Wyatt & Associates, Inc.