Helen Thompson
Helen Thompson
In PrintIn StyleIn BooksIn MediaIn the KnowIn House


Frequent collaborators Austin-based interior designer Fern Santini and architect Paul Lamb undertook the extensive renovation of a 7500-square-foot Austin lakefront home purchased five years ago by Hollywood transplants Jensen and Dannell Ackles. Jensen, originally from Dallas, is now in his 14th season as star of the CW’s “Supernatural,” and Danneel, a native of Lafayette, Louisiana, is best known for recurring roles in the Harold & Kumar movies as well as for her stint as bad girl Rachel on “One Tree Hill.” They also have three young children and chose Austin as the place they wanted as a permanent home where they could raise their children.

The sunken living room is punctuated with a deep-blue banquette couch, white shag rug, macrame chair, and oak beams. Behind the sofa is a gold birdcage artwork by Austin artist Micky Hoogendijk.

Architect Lamb simplified and opened spaces, morphing the feel of the masonry house to the warmth of a wood-framed home—courtesy of exposed beams, expanses of windows, and rich wooden ceilings.

It was imperative that the house express the Ackleses’ young, bold, and irreverent personalities. Lamb describes the former house as straight-laced and vaguely Mediterranean; now it’s a free-spirited lake house with an attitude.

A painting by Kenton Parker hangs above the fireplace, just opposite the kitchen.

Architect Lamb removed walls to create a sense that the interiors have e no boundaries. The media room received the least amount of work—the dark ceiling trusses were painted grey to lighten the space and the fireplace received a German schmear facade to tone down its orange color.

The couple’s cherished Boyd Elder bull skull hangs in the dining room. It’s part of a 10-piece series from the ’70s, the most famous of the skulls appears on the cover of the Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits album.

Reclaimed barn wood clads the walls of the master bedroom and sitting room. Danneel already owned the two petrified wood and resin log tables that sit in front of the vintage ’50s daybed.

Trove wallpaper lines the walls in the master bedrrom.

Sliding panels in the master bedroom make for different moods as the doors can either hide or expose the wallpaper-covered walls.

Lamb created a simple vaulted space for the master bathroom with a white oak board ceiling and fumed and cerused walnut cabinets. Interior designer Santini chose a huge Kyle Bunting cowhide rug to make a statement in the room; Holly Hunt ombre-dyed handkerchief linen window treatments frame the lake view.

The master bathroom shower was inspired by an Architectural Digest story featuring a steel and glass shower in the home of Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka.

Lamb changed the profile of the house with a double-height screened porch. Jensen’s favorite piece in the house is the long table, custom made using a centuries-old sinker cypress log dug out of the West Bank of New Orleans. The four-foot tall glass lanterns are from the estate of the legendary interior designer Tony Duquette.

The reimagined pool room includes a secondary kitchen for big gatherings with access to a barbecue area on the lawn, and a wine room.

The ultra-private home looks out at a nature preserve across the water. Durable throw pillows around the house were made of old quilts purchased online.



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