Terracotta Tones: This Boutique Hotel Design Takes Cues from the Natural Beauty of Texas

By Clay Imports 


Tucked away in the Terlingua Desert, Boutique Hotel Willow House’s southwestern color scheme brings Peace and Serenity.


Looking for a serene place to unwind? Terlingua’s Willow House is a magical desert retreat. The boutique hotel blends in perfectly in with its surroundings. A thoughtful and intentional design by its founder Lauren Werner:

The Built

Willow House sits on just under 300 acres of raw land. The structures, completed in Spring 2019, are single story stand-alone casitas. The water source for the entire property is a water well powered by a solar pump. Two heavy-duty reverse osmosis systems filter the well water. Drilling our own water source was a big moment for the project, as water is scarce in this dry, high-desert region.


Boutique Hotel Design

The structures were built with three principles in mind: 

  • Respect for the natural landscape.
  • Preservation of the Chisos Mountain Range views (for everyone in the town, not just our guests).
  • Protection from the elements (namely strong winds and sun).

The Boutique Hotel Design is sophisticated yet comfortable. We mixed design elements from high desert areas with warm modernism and a hint of inspiration from Georgia O'Keefe’s unforgettable southwestern style. In all design decisions, we chose to use colors and textures that naturally existed on the land.

For rock walls and pathways throughout the property, we used rocks that we sourced and collected from various areas of the property. For the shade structures, we used dead ocotillo branches we found around the property. In order to build structures that stand the test of time, we have used high-quality materials that are durable in a climate that can be dramatic.


The Tile

The Inspiration

Years ago, when I was beginning the design process of Willow House, I spent hours a day walking around the raw land and collecting rocks. I picked my favorite 8 to 10 rocks from the property. I carried those rocks around with me in a bag for about a year. The rocks varied in color and texture. They had deep desert reds, harsh blacks, soulful lavender purples, all shades of gray and muted greens mixed into their layers. I wanted every single piece of fabric and textile to be centered around that color scheme. It was my way of honoring the land. I kept that in mind while selecting the tile.


Antique Brick by Clay Imports at Willow House. Photography by Claire Shaper.

The Terracotta 

Antique Saltillo Tile is traditional Saltillo Tile with a rustic texture. The rugged or distressed surface allows for a century-old look right out of the box. Antique Saltillo has a higher slip resistance than traditional Saltillo Tile. It’s great for flooring and looks just stunning as a statement wall. Lauren chose an elongated rectangular antique Saltillo tile in size 3”x12”. Vertically stacked, this wall brings instant chic to the muted space.


Antique Brick by Clay Imports at Willow House. Photography by Claire Shaper.

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