Cloche Designs’ Grand Reveal Renovation
By: Lynn Darden
San Antonio-based Cloche Designs recently announced the grand reveal of the historically renovated Jackie’s Playhouse, located on the grounds of The Argyle. The reveal took place with a private event on the evening of September 17, 2017, with all proceeds benefiting The Generations Fund at Texas Biomedical Research Institute.
“Time had taken quite a toll on this treasured playhouse, so we volunteered to bring it back to its original glory. Carefully balanced with practical updates, we preserved its beauty and charm so that future generations of children can continue to make priceless memories at The Argyle,” said Laura Nell Burton, co-founder of Cloche Designs. “Cloche Designs assembled a best-in-class team of San Antonio artisans to contribute to this endeavor. After a year of working together, a great gift has been walking alongside each member of our extraordinary team and witnessing the discovery of their own individual passions for this magical project.”
Located on the historic grounds of The Argyle, a prestigious private dining club in Texas, Jackie’s Playhouse is the childhood retreat of Jacqueline Beretta, a sixth-generation Texan. Jackie’s parents—Mary Austin, a descendant of Stephen F. Austin, and Jack Beretta—designed the playhouse to honor their daughter’s birth. In 1953, they commissioned an artistic woodworker from their ranch to build it in Olmos Park, surrounded by an enchanting, perpetually blooming garden.
Mary Austin, an accomplished designer and collector of antique dollhouses, lovingly appointed Jackie’s Playhouse with furnishings, linens, china, art and other treasures from her favorite New England shops. It became Jackie’s castle and sanctuary, a place where she played for hours, hosting tea parties by her fireplace and gardening with her mother. In 1974, Jackie donated and relocated the playhouse to The Argyle, where it has been a prized attraction ever since.
At the helm of this project and donating their services to transform vision into reality is Cloche Designs, a San Antonio-based lifestyle brand specializing in full-service occasions and special projects that celebrate details. Mauzé Construction and a talented team of artisans curated by Cloche Designs worked to carefully restore and update Jackie’s Playhouse. Intoto Interiors, Chesney Morales Architects, John S. Troy Landscape Architect, Stone Standard, Virgini Paint and Design, and artist Gina Langford, among others, all generously contributed to the remodel.
“This entire project, including the theme of our grand reveal event, has been inspired by beloved Beatrix Potter children’s books, specifically The Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Tale of Two Bad Mice,” said Christin Gish, co-founder of Cloche Designs. “The primary goal was to preserve the playhouse’s history, including original furnishings and design elements; yet, interior appointments, including the wallpaper, upholstery and other whimsical design features, are a fresh update.”
Characterized by a fanciful nod to the Victorian era including a steep pitched roof, decorative trim and authentic furnishings, the expert craftsmanship of Jackie’s Playhouse has withstood the test of time. The original architecture complements The Argyle and exterior paint colors continue to exactly match those of the main house. Renovations include a new slate roof with copper detail, a porch extension and the addition of “Mr. McGregor’s Secret Garden,” captured inside a charming white picket fence to give children more real estate for play.
Inside the playhouse, rare black and white nursery rhyme themed tile was preserved surrounding the fireplace. Original kitchen cabinetry, longleaf pine flooring and all existing hardware have been salvaged and resurrected. Interior walls are appointed with Farrow & Ball paints in a mint green and pink palette. The new garden is home to a hand-forged “Mr. McGregor’s scarecrow” sculpture by Ted Voss Metals, incorporating salvaged elements from the interior’s fireplace andirons and other brass fixtures original to the playhouse.l
Jackie’s Playhouse is now open, coinciding with the private grand reveal celebration at The Argyle.
Photos courtesy of Jackie’s Playhouse