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Energy Entrepreneur’s Stunning Texas Oasis Takes the Ranch Life to a New Level

Inside Spread Oaks Ranch — Get an Exclusive Look

BY // 08.06.19
photography Michael Hunter

When energy entrepreneur and conservationist Forrest Wylie began putting together his 5,500-acre cattle ranch/commercial hunting preserve along the Colorado River in Matagorda County, he envisioned a beautiful rustic lodge and equally appealing casitas geared to hunters accustomed to luxurious hunting experiences. To fulfill this dream, he called on award-winning interior designer Ginger Barber, tasking her with creating a comfortable lodge imbued with western-style elegance.

The result is a stunning retreat, with the main house as the epicenter of Spread Oaks Ranch activities. Carved from rugged stone and embraced by hand-hewn oak beams, which were reclaimed from barns across the country, the lodge speaks to a western heritage and to the grandeur of the surrounding nature.

“The design of this project is a direct reflection of its all-natural and beautiful surroundings,” Barber says. “By incorporating rich, earthy tones with classically detailed pieces, we achieved a timeless look.”

Wylie‘s ambition was to offer guests “the finest outdoor experiences and indoor amenities in an elite, remote environment enriched by an attentive and capable staff.” His organic farming, ranching and wildlife operation meld in a conservation-minded triad that works to make the best of all three. In fact, he has put a conservation easement on the property, a unique agricultural/waterfowl habitat system, to insure its permanence and protection of the birdlife and deer that populate the ranch.

“It was truly a pleasure working closely with the Wylies to achieve their vision of creating a true Texas oasis. Their love for the outdoors and passion for preserving wildlife inspired my design style and transcends throughout the home,” Barber says of the property near Bay City.

“Spread Oaks embodies Texas hospitality and to be able to infuse that into every corner of the project through timeless pieces and textures was an exciting and fulfilling experience.”

Screen Shot 2019-08-06 at 12.31.31 PM (Photo by Michael Hunter)
Spread Oaks Ranch interiors reflect the western heritage of the region and the natural environment of the 5,500 acre hunting retreat near Bay City, Texas. (Photo by Michael Hunter)

That infusion is a curated combination of timeless leather furniture, rustic ranch decor and artful accoutrements. Leather sofas and chairs in the great room, a well-appointed stone bar with hair-on-hide barstools, equipale Mexican chairs, hand-carved sculptures, and rustic outdoor rocking chairs on lengthy porches are just a few examples of the ranch-style splendor.

“The range of what I was able to work with was so wide that being able to bring it to life was a process I so enjoyed,” Barber says. “From the stone casitas to the live oaks surrounding the lake, I took so much inspiration from the outdoors to create a downhome, classic retreat.”

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