The Lee and Sue Kapetanakis Home
by Charlotte Caldwell
Tucked into a hillside on ten oak-studded acres, Sue Kapetanakis and her husband couldn't say no to purchasing this unfinished, semi-underground house in May 2014. The opportunity to leave the city and live in the Hill Country that they loved—plus being able to place their personal stamp on, and finishing the interior of a uniquely designed home—was something Sue and Lee did not want to pass up.
With no visible neighbors, and a front porch as wide as the house itself, Sue could envision the outdoor space that would allow her to sit, sipping her coffee, enjoying the flora, fauna and wildlife spread before her. For, at her heart, Sue is a child of nature. She immediately began collecting fossils that littered her property, putting them in baskets and embedding them into concrete edges that line walkways. Her intentions are to become a Master Naturalist as soon as time allows. At the moment her home and her travels keep her more than busy.
Sue loves Africa, having visited there at least twenty-five times; she has a library of books devoted to its stories and a house filled with treasured mementos from her travels. Entering this home, you will feel like you have walked into the savannas of Kenya. The colors in the window-filled, immense front room—that almost spans the entire length of the home—are shades of the trunk and limbs of the baobab tree and the dried grasslands of Africa. Soft browns, beige and ivory cover the multiple seating areas and top the pool table at the end of the room.
Wooden carvings of giraffes—seemingly as tall as the creatures themselves—stand in the far corner. Numerous big game trophies of magnificent African wildlife allow you to see in person the stateliness and beauty of these creatures; a cape buffalo, a leopard…a kudu. Walking through Sue Kapetanakis' front room is like walking through a museum; you may become distracted, not wanting to leave. Adorning multiple tables and cabinets and shelves are items collected from Texas, Greece, Mexico and Africa. Everywhere you look there is something unique.
However, venturing beyond this light-filled room you will discover clever use of space in one of the underground bedrooms; with its ample storage it is still configured to sleep five. A small bathroom containing ingeniously created walk-in showers will give you ideas for your own home. Furniture designed for the bedroom is now utilized as a spacious liquor cabinet in the kitchen; a marble tabletop has turned into an island counter top.
Catty-corner to the main house is the Old Gringo Cantina; a quick vacation to the colorful world of Mexico. Filled with warmth and charm and comfort, vibrant shades of paint, and a collection of cherished objects from Oaxaca, it is a place to curl up with a good book and sip a Margarita from the cantina bar.
Walking through this unique semi-subterranean home is like visiting three countries—the Texas Hill Country, Africa and Mexico—in one fell swoop.