Home Magnificent Homes Mediterranean Splendor at the Resaca

Mediterranean Splendor at the Resaca

by Ole Decor


Written by Linda Lewis

Unexpectedly, this newly built Brownsville home transported me to an exotic land. Describing the scene as exotic is accurate, but incomplete. After looking at all the design features, I realized that the home is highly eclectic. It reflects the birthplace of the homeowners, but also incorporates designs specific to their current homeland.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 7.14.42 PMChef’s kitchen with high-end appliances, hammered copper sinks, custom cabinetry, coffered ceiling and chandelier with clear and colored crystals. The marble countertops and backsplash shown here and throughout the home are all from Superior Granite & Marble.


This unique assemblage was brought to life by the contractor and interior designer of the home, Beth Gomez of Scanlin Designs. Her mission is to incorporate family heirlooms and tastes into a cohesive design for their new homes and remodels.

The most striking evidence of her success, with this project, is in the enormous family room.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 7.15.09 PMThe moldings are a distinctive architectural feature. Every door and window is elaborately framed. Indoor moldings are painted wood and outdoor moldings are cantera. Each door is a grand entrance and every window is a framed picture.


Vertical space is enhanced by a soaring square pyramid ceiling. Decorative crown moldings, with indirect lighting, accentuate the perimeter of the room and travel up the edges of the pyramid to meet at the apex. A lavish hand hammered chandelier, with sparkling crystal drops and garlands, hangs from this point. The bright white millwork lightens and brightens the voluminous family room. A cornice, placed a few inches below the crown molding, adds dimension and interest to the walls.

The moldings are a distinctive architectural feature. Every door and window is elaborately framed. Indoor moldings are painted wood and outdoor moldings are cantera. Each door is a grand entrance and every window is a framed

Beth ingeniously applied a wallpaper treatment to mimic the look of textured Venetian plaster. She mixed cream, gold, and bronze paint to create a slightly metallic golden finish that accentuates the texture. The textured walls are repeated in the formal living areas.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 7.14.55 PMThe formal dining room features custom upholstered designer furniture, Spanish marble floors, and elegant crown molding with indirect lighting.


Four separate spaces are delineated within the family room. A space dominated by dark wood and colorful designs drew my attention first. Grounded by a handwoven carpet, the space contains an arrangement of low sofas, chairs, small chests, and tables made of intricately carved rosewood from Pakistan. Colorful handwoven and embroidered textiles cover pillows and cushions. Decorative embellishments include two hookahs and other items from Pakistan. White framed windows and Crema Marfil marble flooring provide a striking contrast of materials. While this setting is specifically Pakistani, other areas show the influence of middle eastern and palatial
European design.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 7.15.23 PMArtisanal furniture and textiles from Pakistan set the direction for the design of the home.


This influence can be seen, in the second defined space, in a vintage table base and scroll back dining chairs the owners imported from Pakistan. Arabesque design motifs, inspired by calligraphy, are repeated in this space, and throughout the dwelling. For example, the backs of the dining chairs have interlocking metal ovals inset in the chair back. A tall vitrine next to the dining table is embellished with a graceful looped line, and the base of a nearby console has interwoven loops.

Beth designed the third space to take advantage of the large picture frame windows extending across the rear of the room. They give a wonderful view of the custom designed swimming pool and a completely natural resaca. She established a seating area next to the windows that would give a sense of warmth enhanced by the serenity of nature. An inviting scroll style two-person chaise lounge, two lounge chairs, coffee and side tables makes this a comfortable space for reading or an intimate conversation.

The fourth area features a massive eight foot chest carved with foliate scroll designs. It is a reproduction of a Spanish style chest produced in Mexico before Porfirio Diaz. Two luxurious curvilinear sofas and lounge chairs create a comfortable place for watching television. Neutral browns and golds enlivened with accents of blue create a serene mood.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 7.15.40 PMComfortable designer seating offers a view of the pool and the resaca.


Much of the interior design process took place throughout the planning, designing, and construction of the home. Beth and her clients began selecting special pieces that would fit into the context of each room. Mixing textures, shapes, and color tones, is what she loves to do. The cohesion created by her skillful integration of old world antiques and new world modern classic furniture shows it. In a departure from current trends, the kitchen is accessed through a door from the family room. The overall design scheme, in the home, is carried effectively into the kitchen with a quiet elegance. Traditional honey colored cabinetry is accented with a rosewood stained cabinet designed to look like a freestanding hutch. Great consideration was given to functionality with gleaming high-end appliances and convenient pull-out shelving.

The kitchen boasts the most elaborately designed ceiling in the entire house. The beam spoke design directs your attention to a charming chandelier, with multicolored crystal fruit. Hammered copper sinks in both the island and the counter, decorative corbels on the island, and intricately veined marble countertops complete the look.

An eye-catching arrangement, of fifteen embellished mirrors, makes a strong statement in the powder room. Beth’s client’s preference for In the dining room, Beth established a neutral background for the elaborately designed furnishings. The straight lines of the white tray ceiling and crown moldings, delicately textured marble flooring and the simply designed Murano glass chandelier, makes the furniture the star of the show. An elegant butler’s pantry, between the dining room and kitchen, serves as a staging and serving area for food. It’s a great transitional space that is de rigueur in new upscale homes.

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In an earlier issue of Olé Decor Magazine, I gave detailed information about Insulated Concrete Block (ICF) homes. Beth has built many ICF homes, but in this home, she used Hebel construction materials. Like ICF, Hebel is a concrete product that has many of the same wonderful properties that are so attractive in ICF construction. Beth is very enthusiastic about Hebel, because she thinks it rivals ICF, but costs less.

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Hebel is a tried and true material that has withstood the test of time in European structures. Deforestation in Sweden led to the invention of Hebel in the 1920s. Taking advantage of available materials, Johan Eriksson experimented to come up with a lightweight concrete building material. When he used an autoclave (a heated high pressure steam chamber) to speed up curing of the concrete, he discovered that it strengthened it. It was branded as Ytong, but once it came into popular use, it was nicknamed “warm stone,” due to its thermal properties.

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The formal dining room features custom upholstered designer furniture, Spanish marble floors, and elegant crown molding with indirect lighting.


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A German, Josef Hebel, improved the concrete by adding steel reinforcements to it in 1945. Europe had mountains of construction debris in landfills after WWII. Rebuilding with materials that wouldn’t add to this was a perfect solution. In 2002, Ytong and Hebel merged and are the leading suppliers of Hebel construction materials.

Hebel is heralded as the first environmentally friendly building product. The trend toward green building and the conservation of nature are making it very attractive for building in the United States.

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A few highlights of the product are:
• Its unique closed cellular structure and thermal mass create an air-tight environment that will reduce your heating and cooling costs dramatically.

• Easy to assemble, saving time and labor costs.

• Resistant to both seismic and wind forces, including flying debris.

• Boasts the highest fire rating in the industry because it is nonflammable. The Underwriters Laboratory has given many of the components (such as the block walls and wall panels) a U919 rating, which means they can withstand four hours of intense  heat without damage.

• Reduces exterior sounds and vibrations.

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Gomez’s goal is to provide her clients with the high-end products they desire at the lowest cost. To do this, she has spent many years developing resources, and often works directly with the manufacturers of the products.

It takes a special talent to combine seemingly disparate materials and designs. Beth does this through her use of texture, line, pattern and color. For example, she employs sensual curvilinear elements in the furniture, carpets and fabrics. The Spanish and contemporary classic furniture keep to deep natural browns, golds, caramels, and creams in these deftly arranged rooms. Her finesse in layering all these elements creates a uniquely sophisticated environment that the homeowners will enjoy for many years.

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