By: Jacqueline Gonzalez Photos by: Jason Page
A long the tree-lined streets of the historic and timeless Bessar Park neighborhood sits an array of beautiful, traditional homes built in the 1930s and ’40s. When Randi and Mark Wiley moved to Corpus Christi from Anchorage, Alaska, they fell in love with the friendly, quiet atmosphere and the large lots. The Wileys had their eye on one specific home, but before they could secure it, the house went off the market. Luckily, there was an empty, perfectly sized lot for Randi and Mark to build their dream home, right in the neighborhood of which they had grown so fond.
The goal was to create a big, open living concept modeled on the Scandinavian style Randi fell in love with while living in Oslo, Norway—but she also wanted the house to fit into the atmosphere of the neighborhood. To achieve this, she opted for a metal roof, Hardie board, and board and batten siding for a Texas farmhouse exterior. She also added a modern touch with black gutters and black windows.
In order to emulate the minimalistic Scandinavian style she desired, Randi went with pure white walls and maple wood accents. “It’s a very specific taste,” she says. “I love the natural wood elements with the white background, and then I throw in the black elements for a more modern look.”
Randi and Mark agree that less is more, so creating a functional space was top priority for their family. With children and pets to accommodate, each space in the home had to serve a purpose. When designing the layout, they thought about how best to create the most functional space based on their daily activities. “What’s the first thing we do [when walking into the home]? We set our things down,” said Randi. So, rather than using shelving units to fill an alcove at the entrance from the garage door, Randi and Mark built a bench and added coat hooks on the wall to create a small nook for the kids to put their backpacks and shoes. This maximizes smaller spaces in the house, while also minimizing the chance of losing their items.
The kitchen and living room are the primary rooms in any home, but for the Wileys, achieving the right layout was important, since they spend a lot of time with family and other guests in this area.
“We love to cook,” says Mark, “so we put a lot of thought into the kitchen.” The Wileys worked with a local designer to create the spacious area that gives them enough room to move around while cooking, and serves as a gathering space for family time. Directly across from the kitchen is the living room, which combines comfort with the best views in the house. The open floor plan and minimalistic design provide ease, while the views of the backyard offer a relaxing atmosphere.
Shifting from Alaskan temperatures to the South Texas heat was quite an adjustment for the Wileys in moving to the Coastal Bend, but it was nothing that adding a pool in their backyard couldn’t solve. The 16×32 foot pool with the sun shelf and small fountains is the perfect addition to their large backyard—not to mention serving as a picturesque view from the living room. The addition of the pool allows them to cool off during the hotter temperatures, while the fountains also provide calming sounds during family time outside in the evening. The playful looking, UV- resistant white plastic chairs on the patio combine quality and function into one design. They won’t mold or rust, and the small opening in the center allows water to drain through, so guests can dry off.
Nature and the home’s landscape played a major part in the design of the backyard. With such a large space, and a pool, the rest of the yard was filled with lush greenery and shade provided by the trees, creating the perfect space for kids and dogs to run around. After a day of fun in the sun, guests will need a spot to shower without dripping all over the house, so Randi and Mark designed a small outdoor wooden shower for guests to rinse off in. A nearby door leads into a small hallway with a powder room, whose black-and-white nautical theme and mixed metals provide an eye-catching, yet functional space for guests.
Randi and Mark wanted their staircase to match the house’s modern aesthetic—the maple wood steps, flanked by all-black railing, provide a clean and minimalistic statement separating the first and second floors.
While the Wileys plan to move out of their beloved build in the fall, they are certainly sad to see it go. Their hope is that all the hard work and love that they’ve put into the design will be treasured by its new owners.