Under the Tuscan Sun
By Jacqueline Gonzalez
By: Jacqueline Gonzalez Photos by: Jason Page
Creating a vision of your perfect home is equal to making a commitment; the vivid picture you’ve painted in your mind allows you to engage fully in making this dream a reality. Interior designer Lori Desenberg was invited to be a part of the Architectural Control Committee for the Tuscan Place gated community, an upscale, quiet, secluded spot on the outskirts of Corpus Christi. Fortunately for Lori and her husband, Dave, this meant that their dream home would become a reality – and the peaceful setting of the 1.3-acre lot situated on the high bank of the Nueces River provided the perfect area for them to begin building their dream home.
No home is complete without a theme and suitable decor. Desenberg loved the Tuscan region’s ambience and flavor – both decor and lifestyle – and she decided to implement the aesthetics into her home. Although the majority of her decor is purchased from markets in Dallas, there are a few traditional pieces that hold a special place in her heart.
Desenberg had a vision of the perfect home for entertaining. She had ideas of furniture placement, kitchen size, and accommodations for guests. “The entire floor plan was drawn to accommodate the furniture,” she says. A proud grandmother and a lover of family gatherings, she wanted her home to properly handle crowds.
With family in mind, she ensured that the guest bedrooms were fully equipped with additional sleeping space: Each guest room holds a queen-sized bed complete with a trundle, allowing children to sleep soundly by their parents.
“We didn’t want anything formal; we wanted something multi-functional – casual, yet elegant,” says Desenberg. She designed multi-room living areas to allow for a transformation during parties. A quick shuffle of the furniture allows for her to mingle with her guests as she takes on the role of chef in the kitchen.
The kitchen is the heart of the home, an expansive area that contains a large gas grill for ample cooking space. The long wooden bar with chandeliers perfectly achieves Desenberg’s casual, yet elegant design. Large wood-framed windows and french doors reveal picturesque views of nature, and a pool table and shuffleboard are strategically placed next to the kitchen, allowing for an area conducive to entertainment.
Although the inside of the house has plenty to offer, the majority of their entertaining is done outside, alfresco style. The courtyard – complete with an outdoor kitchen, a stained deck with granite countertop, and a cooking egg – allows for a variety of entertainment options, and also offers a stunning backdrop of nature, complete with birds chirping.
The true gem of the courtyard is the pizza oven, called the “Nueces River Grill.” Desenberg reflects on a recent party she hosted with several children under the age of 6. “The kids donned chef hats and aprons and created their own pizzas in the Nueces River Grill.”
The 9-car garage was the cherry on top of the perfect home for Dave, an avid car collector. The 18’ insulated doors open to reveal a space reminiscent of a mechanic’s shop, complete with an automobile lift and vintage signage offering rock and roll vibes. Dave’s vintage cars, including Studebakers and GTOs, all dating between 1952 and 1964, add nostalgia. The stained pine walls are reminiscent of the mossy green color of the river.
The garage also adds to the entertainment vibe of the home, with an area doubling as a showroom. “Dave places a particular car; we keep the door closed and air-conditioned, allowing people to view the car on display. We also sometimes leave the door open during parties,” says Lori. The garage also has fluorescent and track lighting, and anytime there is a party, the cars are illuminated.
The Desenbergs also use the spacious garage as a party room. With the cars backed out into the driveway or the lawn, the garage holds several tables and is perfect for brunches, showers, and dinners. “We designed these areas to double as party rooms because we were able to with so much space.”
This remarkably versatile home is specifically designed for entertaining. “I’ve done interior design for other people over the span of 40 years, so it was a whole lot of fun to do it for myself. It was a dream come true,” says Lori of her experience with this project. A lot of heart and soul was put into the construction of their home, and whether the Desenbergs are hosting an event or simply have a few people over, one thing is for sure: “Friends just don’t want to leave!”