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How a Sunset Valley Home-Design Project Led to Long-Lasting Friendship

Home on the Ranch

Home on the Ranch

Interior styling by Leah Anderson

Nestled on 3 acres in South Austin’s Sunset Valley, the 2,500-square-foot Spanish ranch-style home of Sarah Smith pays homage to Tejano culture and the bold colors of the Southwest with heirloom Mexican rugs and vibrant handcrafted tile. While her vision for the house was clear, she called on her now dear friend (and neighbor!) designer Christina Canales, of Canales & Co., to transform the space into a cohesive and comforting home, one that would showcase the pieces she had collected over the years and be a place where her growing family — she is currently pregnant with her first child — could forge forever memories.

“My husband, Jose, owns a design studio, and Sarah’s husband, Clint, was his client,” Canales recalls. “They lived in Sunset Valley, and we’d always wanted to live there, so Clint helped us find a property.” “At that time, properties just didn’t come up for sale,” Smith adds. Right after the Canales family moved into their new abode, they headed to the Smiths’ Oakdale Drive home for a holiday party.

Canales and Smith

“My daughter had just had spine surgery,” Canales recalls of the time. “In walks Sarah, just chitchatting with everyone, but it was obvious how much I didn’t want to be there.” And while it wasn’t the best of circumstances, Canales and Smith look back on that night as the one that cemented their friendship. “We got to talking and realized that we were born on the same street in Corpus Christi, unknowingly,” Smith says. “Now we are best friends and talk every day.”

And when it was time to remodel Smith’s stunning hacienda-inspired home, which included adding a new wing where the foyer and master bedroom now stand, she knew her friend was the woman for the job. From architectural work to blending an array of colors, textures and patterns, the duo seamlessly crafted each room, leaning on their shared South Texas roots for guidance.

Now that the home is finished, they fondly recall the joys of working together, their favorite elements of the home and their plans to complete the last room in the house, the nursery.

Barn Finds

“We found the kitchen island four years ago at Round Top, and since then it’s lived in our barn,” Smith says. “It weighs 1,000 pounds, and when Christina was designing the kitchen, we gave her the dimensions and said she had to go around it.”

Pieces of Home

“Sarah had very clear goals with what she wanted, and most of the furniture she already had,” Canales says. “The green couch in the living room was from Room Service Vintage and the pink Turkish rug in the entryway is from Round Top.” “The dining room table came with my husband when we met, and we purchased the entryway mirror from Arhaus,” Smith adds.

Horse Appeal

“I grew up in South Texas, so Saltillo tile was everywhere and we went to Mexico a lot,” Smith says. “It’s very warm and feels like home to me. Plus, it never goes out of style. We took the hacienda approach and looked at California ranch-style homes, as we have horses.”

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