Architectural Work of Art
● By Jacqueline Gonzalez
By: Jaqueline Gonzalez Photos by: Jason Page
Ocean Drive is known for its prestigious homes and stunning views of Corpus Christi’s waterfront. A 1950s architectural real estate masterpiece, designed by renowned local architect Walter Wisznia, is no exception to the beauty this area has to offer. After learning from a friend that the two-story stucco structure would be on the market soon, Sallie Ohmsteade visited and fell in love with the spacious property. The extensive floor plan, along with its close proximity to great schools, created the perfect location for Sallie to build her dream home with her husband and their three sons.
Originally a midcentury modern design with a gorgeous layout, the home required some improvements to become the family’s own. This would be quite the undertaking, and not for lack of trying. Sallie has built homes from the floor up – but this time, she would gut and rebuild an existing structure, which presented many challenges.
The results are nothing short of magnificent, and during the tour of the house, the many eye-catching elements in the home made it difficult to find one spot to focus on. Our visit took place on a heavily rainy day, and the large floor-to-ceiling windows provided a beautifully artistic setting, and undoubtedly, one of my favorite features in the house. The windows not only present a natural aesthetic, they also add a contemporary touch to the family room.
Sallie pulled out all the stops to create a backyard area perfect for entertaining friends and family, or simply to enjoy a relaxing day. Through the before mentioned picturesque windows, you’ll see a screened-in porch that creates a bridge between the indoor and outdoor space, providing the feeling of being inside while still enjoying the view and avoiding harsh weather. She added a pool house, complete with a shower and a bathroom, in the backyard to complement the sparkling blue 14-foot-deep swimming pool. To the side, the lush green garden houses an orchard with fruit trees, allowing easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and adding a pop of color to the garden.
Inside, the galley kitchen design provides a streamlined layout to a small space, allowing for optimal mobility. The combination of the crisp white shade of the cabinetry, quartz countertops, stainless-steel appliances, and gray tile backsplash creates a clean, clutter-free environment. In the dining area, a combination of old and new adds the perfect touch to the area. The oval wooden table, a family heirloom, pairs nicely with contemporary dining chairs, and provides artistic value to the area.
Nostalgia takes form in a small bar between the family room and the kitchen. The bar originally came from the popular old Town Club several years ago, and was simply a pile of wood with a large hunk of copper. Sallie chose to streamline the look by polishing the copper and building a wooden casing to tone down the amount of copper on display, thus creating a sleek and modern in-home wet bar.
Sallie and her husband love art, and they have an excellent array found throughout the home. The majority of the artwork is from local artist Abbey Keel, known for her love of color and abstract art techniques. Other pieces are created by artists in San Antonio, Houston, Massachusetts, New York, and Colorado. A wall-sized Eastern European creation that had extensive water damage and took two years to restore is one of the statelier pieces. The restoration is flawless, and provides a majestic view to the crossover between the living and family rooms.
Artistic value continues through the choices and placement of furniture and decor. The family room offers a fresh, vibrant color scheme with plush blue chairs sitting atop a multi-colored rug in geometric shapes, while the living room provides a warmer touch with taupe couches, leopard print low-seating chairs, and a multi-colored rug in deep shades of burgundy and cream. A masculine touch is presented throughout the home in the form of hunting trophies.
Last, but not least, a unique teen hangout space allows Sallie’s three sons to have the perfect space to relax and unwind. The room is properly equipped with gaming consoles, a locker room, and a comfortable couch to provide the perfect “boys’ cave.” As an added bonus, the refrigerator is right around the corner, which allows the boys easy access to snacks.
The entire transformation of the home was carefully thought out, and although some challenges presented themselves along the way, Sallie and her husband did a wonderful job adapting a unique historic structure and creating a flexible living space that works for their tastes.