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A Holiday Weekend Giveaway!




    The Cotton Eye Joe at the Sayles Ranch Guesthouses

    You may remember about two years ago, Cote de Texas had a giveaway for a weekend at the Sayles Ranch Guesthouses in Abilene, Texas. The owners, The Browders, had just completed their newest addition to their guest houses, the “Cotton Eye Joe” and wanted to celebrate it with the giveaway.  Terry Browder did much of the renovation himself – and judging by the comments, everyone loved it.  Since that time, Terry has been hard at work on two new guest houses – The Dance Hall and the Cottage Clare.   He has generously donated another free weekend to the winner of this latest giveaway.

    Located in Abilene, Texas, the Sayles Ranch Guesthouses offers a luxurious alternative to travelers.  Instead of staying at a local hotel or motel, visitors stay at one of their private houses – each restored by Terry.  All of their properties are located about five minutes from downtown in the National Register of Historic Places neighborhood called Sayles Boulevard.  The guest houses come in all different sizes, and each is uniquely decorated, no two are alike.   

    The idea for the Sayles Ranch Guesthouses was born 8 years ago when the Browders realized there were only a few chain hotels such as Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn in Abilene – a moderately sized city of 120,000.   Terry felt there was a need for something “more” for travelers to his city.  He and his wife began by buying their neighbor’s house – which they remodeled and furnished and rented out on a nightly basis.  They now have 10 furnished guest rentals (with one new one currently being restored) – all within a 2 to 3 block area!  Amazing!! 



     Abilene, a gateway to the west, is located in the middle of Texas, between Ft. Worth and Midland.    Last year, one of my besties stayed at the Sayles Ranch Guesthouse when she drove home from Aspen to Houston.   It was the perfect place to break up the long drive from Colorado.   Abilene has many guest attractions, including a zoo and the world famous Frontier Texas museum.   And there are lots of antiques stores for those who like to shop!

    Here is a look at the two newest guest houses.  The winner will have her pick of either one for the weekend stay.

    I.  Cottage Clare


    The newest edition to the Sayles Ranch Guesthouses is the charming Cottage Clare.  The turquoise and aqua colors hint at what is inside.




    The front porch has vintage furniture which overlooks the quiet, historic neighborhood.



    BEFORE:   Of course, like all the properties, the cottage started out like this!  The roof in the living room was raised to the rafters.



    Today, the cottage is a homage to turquoise!  At 1800 sq. ft., the 1938 cottage was named after the Browder’s daughter Clare.   It has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a living room, family room, dining room and a kitchen.  The ceilings were raised in this room to make the area appear larger.  Terry found the chandelier and added the turquoise beads to it.  The wood floors were painted on a diagonal to visually expand the space.  The teal leather chairs came from Z Gallerie.



    The bench came from a railway station.  So cute!  Love the tiled art work above it.





    Past the living room is the dining area with its Victorian settee.  The toile print was used throughout the ouse for continuity.   The 19th century dresser was limed gray.




    In the kitchen, Terry chose to keep the original cabinets because they still look good and fit right in with the décor. 




    Through the kitchen is the family room, a newer addition, where the painted floor is continued. The large piece is a vintage post office cubby!! Wow. What a statement!




    Love the high coffee table too. Terry told me this piece is 17th century. No wonder my eye went right to it. It’s an old Jacobean pub table, pegged and mortised – there are no nails. It’s beautiful and really adds character to this room. I also love the sign above the sofa. The wicker chair is an old Ethan Allen piece that Terry painted gray. I swear – I bought this same exact chair for a client (maybe we should paint hers too! hmmm.)



    In the master bedroom, the new reproduction bed was painted gray. 




    The second guestroom has a comfy bed, again it was painted with a gray wash to soften its color.  There are 3 bedrooms in the Cottage Clare.



    The guest bath got a darling new, painted console for the sink.  Cute chandelier too!



    #2  “Dance Hall”

    The second guesthouse, The Dance Hall, is quite different than the other guesthouses – it began life as a 1950s two story ballet studio.  The Dance Hall takes up the lower level of the building and is just 750 sq. ft.  This guest house is perfect for a smaller group – although it does have two bedrooms and a kitchen.  The upstairs space is The Hay Loft, which is also a part of Sayles Ranch Guesthouses.  A large group that wants privacy could rent out the downstairs and upstairs unit.




    The dropped acoustical tiled roof was removed and the ceiling now reaches 10” – a great luxury.



    Today, the space has a “loft” like appearance.  The tiled floor was removed, exposing the concrete foundation which was painted with stripes.   Doesn’t it resemble a rug?   The cubbie entertainment center came from a turn of the century hardware store.  Love the globe collection – it gives a great vibe to the guesthouse.  Notice the walls – they are book covers!  Terry used this same idea in the Cotton Eye Joe guesthouse, but here he color coordinated the covers. 



    Here you can see the book covers on the wall.  What happened to the pages of the books?   I’ll show that later!



    And looking the other way – towards the dining area and the kitchen.  On the right – before the kitchen, you can make out a jib door that leads into the utility room.  It is hidden in the book covers!!



    The table and benches are in the middle of the living/kitchen area.   The table is shaped like a guitar pick.  Notice the chandelier has Edison bulbs to give it a high tech look.  You can see one of the bedrooms and the bathroom in this picture.



    The stainless steel appliances and metal countertops are also high tech looking.  Notice the backsplash – it’s pennies!!!  Terry used 2,700 pennies for the job – costing only $27.00.  Stained glass windows are used for privacy from the nearby street.



    photo (2)

    Here’s a closeup of the pennies backsplash.





    Where in the world would Terry use these doors from a 1957 Chevy pick up truck? 


    Headboards in the master bedroom!!!



    Since the truck is the same age as the ballet studio – and they were turquoise – Terry said he had to use them somewhere.  Too cute!!!



    This 8 x 10 area serves as the guest bedroom – perfect for kids.




    In case you were wondering what happened to the pages from all the book covers used on the wall – well, here they are!  Terry put all the pages in this bookcase found in the upstairs unit – The Hayloft.

    So, now that you have had time to look at the two newest properties, be sure to check out the Sayles Ranch Guesthouses website – to look at ALL the properties.  Be sure to check out the The City Slickers.  That one is huge and really pretty!   There is one more new guesthouse coming soon – the original Sayles home built for the original Sayles family.  Built in 1889, it’s a Queen Anne Victorian and has six bedrooms.  I can’t wait to see that one!

    The Browders much have so much fun – running a “hotel” in their neighborhood.  It’s an interior designer’s dream come true to own so many houses that you can decorate in all different styles.  I would love to do this!   This would be a great idea for someone who lives in the Heights in Houston, or in Galveston – in one of their historic neighborhoods.


    To enter the giveaway – One Free Weekend at either location – The Cottage Clare or The Dance Hall - please visit the Sayles web site and let me know which one of their 10 guest houses is your favorite.  Then, come back here and leave me a comment telling me your favorite guest house.  That’s it!

    The winner will get to pick the weekend stay at either the Cottage Clare or the Dance Hall.

    The Sayles Ranch Guesthouses web site is at:

    Be sure to look at both page 1 AND page 2 of all the different guest houses.

    The contest ends Friday night at 11:59 p.m.


    A huge thank you Terry for your generous giveaway!!!

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