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A Shore Thing
By Jessica Elliott | Photo: by Nathan Schroder | July 24, 2018
Dallas designer Shelby Wagner brings a subtle sense of refinement to a Long Cove lake house.
No heavy brown tones—and no bird prints. Those were the only must-nots for the Texas modern lake house built along the shore of Cedar Creek Lake at Long Cove. Neither is missed. From the moment you traverse the entryway stairs—on which sunlight pours—the muted hues and understated patterns set a mood that is more a state of mind than a particular style. It is subtle and relaxed—and refined.
The interiors have the hallmarks of Dallas-based residential interior designer Shelby Wagner. The longtime owner of Shelby Wagner Design has a transitional aesthetic that is subdued and tailored with minimal fuss—and, as a result, his spaces are comfortable without looking dated. A Wagner room will never scream to be noticed, which makes it inexplicably striking.
In this home, built by Charlie Little with architecture by Mark Hoesterey of SHM Architects, it helped that Wagner is friends with the homeowners. The fun-loving Park Cities residents grew up spending time on Texas lakes and wanted to share the same memories with their four children. They fell for Long Cove after one visit and bought a lakeside parcel.
The more than 1,000-acre resort development, which has six shoreline miles at Cedar Creek Reservoir’s deep end, was created by Don McNamara, the Dallas developer behind Cityplace and West Village in Uptown. It offers ponds for fishing, trails for hiking and biking, and a marina. “It’s community-oriented, and I think that’s a lot of the appeal,” the husband says. “If you want to be social, there are plenty of chances to be social.”
He and his wife also relished the chance to design a home. While he leans contemporary, his wife favors traditional, and the mix was a natural match for Wagner. Though the homeowners were heavily involved in the project, they had few directives. When initially searching for inspiration, Wagner did what any good designer would: He considered the surrounding environment. “It sounds elementary, but I looked out the window—all you see is blue and green,” says Wagner. “So that was the color palette: the same blues and greens, muted.”
He designed custom sofas and draperies, found and re-covered vintage pieces, and pulled art from the couple’s storage. (The Shane Pennington copper tree sculpture in the great room was a gift from the husband’s parents.) Statement pieces, such as the bedroom’s canopy bed found at Holly Hunt and the custom-made Hudson dining room table, were included in each space—as were a few daring choices.
The bar received coats of Benjamin Moore’s Van Deusen Blue; the powder room was papered in a blue floral Schumacher print accented by an Oly silver Twig mirror.
“There are some elegant moments,” says Wagner, who worked on the project with design associate Katie Coffee. “The homeowner wanted some refined areas, and it is very refined, especially for a lake house, but she didn’t want to have to worry about it.” Meaning, she needed durability. “They call it the ‘Stir It Up House’ because it is meant to be lived in and entertained in,” Wagner says. “We tried to meet that challenge.” To that end, the wife took a sample of Royal Hide, the toughest Edelman leather on the market, and soaked it in her pool—among other tests—to ensure its longevity. It’s now on the dining room chairs.
So far, furnishings have withstood the lake house living test—even with active children who “love the sense of freedom,” the husband says. “When we go to Long Cove, our children get to run in the field, go on the boat, swim in the lake, swim in the pool. It’s the experience my wife and I wanted to give them, to be on the lake and play.”
Meanwhile, the couple are enjoying the interiors too. Wagner “managed to sneak a few bird prints in on the pillows, and I love to tease him about it,” the husband says. “They ended up looking amazing, and I trusted him. I’ll trust him forever.”
Long Cove on Cedar Creek Lake
Charlie Little Construction Co.
Shelby Wagner Design
Formations chandeliers in great room, Gregorius|Pineo chandelier in kitchen
Bar stools in kitchen
Wicker egg chair in girls’ bunk room
SERENA & LILY
Leather stools in boys’ bunk room
Antelope rug in guest bedroom
John Dickinson coffee table on sleeping porch