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HOMEOWNERS - Bethany and Dan Shine

COMPLETED - 2004 Showcase of Homes in Austin

HOME SITE - Lakeway Golf Community in Austin, Texas

STYLE - "Tuscan Texas"

LIVING SPACE - 4,370 square feet indoors and 1,900 square feet of outdoor living space

UNIQUE FEATURES - Nightsky painted ceiling above columned bathtub in master suite, large pool area with waterfall spa and three arching water features, hand-carved stone fireplace

FAVORITE ROOMS - "The kitchen and family room. I love the brick archways connecting them, and how both rooms are so cozy and warm — there's nothing formal here!"

HOUSEBUILDING TIP - "I established a great relationship with the builder of our previous Craftsman-style home in California. I learned so much about material choices and technique. It became easier to detect quality inside and out, and I could see the quality in our nearly complete Austin home."
Grand arches accent the great room/kitchen where cooking becomes a "family event" as children gather around the oversized, granite-topped island. Shop Kitchen & Entertaining.

A columned bathtub is spectacular, but the spacious shower complete with three showerheads is Bethany's favorite. Shop Bed & Bath.

An elegant entryway "receiving room" is also where "the kids play, dance and race tricycles" without harming the travertine and granite floor. Shop Furnishings & Décor.
Builder - Jenkins Custom Homes, Austin TX

Artist - Zita Design, Austin TX

Designer - Vanguard Studio, Austin TX

Austin, TX - Bethany and Dan Shine never planned to raise their family in Texas, but fate intervened. They had just spent two years custom building their Craftsman-style dream home in Los Altos, CA. Within two weeks of moving in, Dan was asked to relocate to Austin. With their newborn son in tow, Bethany took four trips to Austin looking for the home that would meet her standards. “I had incorporated very personal touches into my California home, and had learned so much about quality while working closely with our builder,” she recalls.

Without the luxury of time and the energy to construct another custom home in Austin, the Shines decided to purchase an existing home. Bethany knew exactly what kind of amenities — and quality — she wanted to find in the home the couple would share with their four children and two dogs. Bethany spent hours explaining her vision and specific criteria to her Austin Realtor while looking through homes. On one visit, “we zoomed through 34 homes in a single day,” but came up empty-handed.


Shortly after Bethany’s fourth unsuccessful trip house hunting, the decision was made that she and the kids would stay in California while Dan commuted to Austin. Then in a matter of weeks, their Realtor called Bethany to enthusiastically announce, “Trust me. I’ve found your perfect home.” Still only 70% completed, the home was under construction by award-winning Jenkins Custom Homes for the 2004 Austin Showcase of Homes. “I was so thrilled that our Realtor had really listened to what I wanted, and I could see that this home had all the qualities I was looking for.”

From the bedroom’s arched verandah hideaway, Dan and Bethany revel in the glorious view of distant hill country and canyons. Shop Bed & Bath.

Based on photos, a thumbs-up from Dan’s parents who had recently moved to Austin, plus a quick trip to walk through the home — and a firm belief in the craftsmanship of the builder — the Shines purchased the Lakeway golf-community home a month before completion. Now two years later, the Shines are delighted with their move to Austin and their casual, 4,300-square foot “Texas Tuscan” home, which is filled with unique elements drawn from Italian architecture: grand sandstone and brick archways, travertine flooring, hand paintings on walls and ceilings, a landscaped front courtyard and a large hand-carved stone fireplace. With all the customized and unique features it has to offer, it’s no wonder it was awarded several top honors in 2004 by the Texas Association of Builders (including Best Custom Home, Best Kitchen, and Best Overall Interior Design).


A Tuscan villa atmosphere begins as soon as guests approach the home. A pebbled stone courtyard with a three-tiered fountain leads to a cut glass and wrought iron front door. Once inside, four oversized columns delineate the foyer from the receiving area. Above the foyer, a vaulted ceiling is stenciled and faux finished in shapes reminiscent of the wrought iron on the front door. In an arched alcove, an original hand-painted mural depicts the rolling hills of a Tuscan vineyard at dusk. “I love this painting because it reminds me of two wonderful vacations we took in the Tuscan countryside,” says Bethany.

Travertine floors, a wrought iron staircase with pecan treads, and a temperature-controlled wine room are other highlights of this multi-purpose space. Besides being a bright, airy space to receive guests at night, by day “it’s a place where the kids dance, play, and race bicycles without harming the travertine floors,” laughs Bethany.

The kitchen/family room/dining room area, separated by two stunning 20-foot-wide hand-built rock and brick archways (each took a week to create around a wooden framework), is the heart of the home. “These three adjoining spaces, though large, are so cozy and warm,” says Bethany. “And the views from the French doors and out every window — of the pool area, the golf course and the rolling hills beyond — are spectacular."

Dramatic ceiling treatments vary from room to room, in keeping with the Italian-inspired design. The kitchen’s vaulted ceiling with pine beams gives way to a cathedral-ceiling dining room that opens to a beamed-ceiling family room. Travertine stone flooring, so prevalent in Italian country homes, is used on much of the main floor, offset by the occasional rich look of wood flooring, as in Dan’s study and on the spiral staircase.

Travertine stone flooring is used on much of the main floor, offset by the occasional rich look of wood flooring, as in Dan’s study and on the spiral staircase. Shop Furnishings & Décor.

The kitchen’s focal point is the faux-finished island with an eight-foot solid slab of granite that’s big enough for “the kids and friends to gather around, so cooking becomes a family event.”

Also dominating the kitchen is the huge “fireplace” look above the Wolf range. To create this masterpiece, an overlay of crushed stone and aggregate that conceals the range’s vent hood was fabricated on site for the distinctive antiqued stone fireplace look. It beautifully mimics the shape of the family room fireplace. Also cleverly disguised above that same family room stone mantel, and fitted perfectly within an elaborate oil-rubbed frame, is a flat-panel TV, which the Shines often use to display photo slide shows.

Many other kitchen features stand out, which may account for the fact that the design was selected “Best Kitchen 2004” by the Texas Association of Builders. Nothing was overlooked, from well-curved granite countertop edges to the hammered copper sink, copper fixtures and a tumbled travertine backsplash with glass tile accents. Wrought iron-look detailing on all the cabinetry was artfully created from lightweight aluminum to prevent heaviness and sagging. To accommodate buffet dinners, there’s an 11-foot serving counter with glass-front upper cabinets.

The spacious first-floor master suite provides a private respite from children, at least most of the time. Because one of Bethany’s favorite features is a triple-showerhead, “family-sized” shower, she often herds her younger children there to rinse off after playing in the outdoor pool. Adding a more romantic feeling to the master bath is the twinkling starlight effect that illuminates the painted night-sky oval ceiling above the columned bathtub. “It’s so lovely, and something I’d never think of. I’m glad the builder thought of it for me!” says Bethany.

Above the vanity, a TV concealed behind a two-way mirror lets the Shines enjoy the morning news; when the TV is off, all you see is mirror. The master bedroom’s scalloped, recessed ceiling continues the unique ceiling theme evident throughout the home. And from the bedroom’s arched verandah hideaway, Dan and Bethany revel in the glorious view of distant hill country and canyons.


From last minute grill-outs with neighborhood friends to more formal entertaining of Dan’s business associates, Bethany reports that “we use the entire pool area all the time, and we absolutely love it.” A waterfalls spa flows gracefully into the pool. To the delight of guests at night (and frolicking children by day), three water features send arching water spouts from one side of the pool to the other, echoing the three curving archways that set off the patio area from the pool. Having a deluxe grill so near the pool area assures that fun and food go hand-in-hand, and comfortable patio seating is also close by.


Happily, Bethany was able to make most all of the new furniture from her Craftsman-style California home fit beautifully into her new Italian-style décor. “The interior designer for Jenkins Custom Homes, who knew the home inside and out, helped find ways to incorporate the pieces I already had. And she introduced clever accessories that carried the home’s curving, arched style throughout the interiors,” reports Bethany.

To the delight of guests at night (and frolicking children by day), three water features send arching water spouts from one side of the pool to the other, echoing the three curving archways that set off the
patio area from the pool. Shop Outdoor Living.

Although moving from their custom-built Craftsman home in California to an almost-completed Tuscan home in Austin wasn’t in their 2004 plans, Bethany and Dan and family are happy being transplanted. “Looking out the huge arched window in our family room, I’m always amazed at the gorgeous view of trees and rolling hills. Everything is so much more beautiful than I dreamed Texas would be,” Bethany muses. “Having lived in this home for two years now, I’ve found so many features that tell me this house was built for living in, not just as a showpiece.” Bethany Jenkins of Jenkins Custom Homes couldn’t agree more. “Designing and building this home was truly a labor of love on our part, knowing someone was going to live here and enjoy it so much one day.”

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