Tabors of San Angelo
In the 1920s, San Angelo, TX, was up and coming. Its population was doubling to more than 25,000—much thanks to oil found in the Permian Basin in 1923—and this “Queen of the Conchos,” formerly a ranching and railroad hub in West Texas was a verifiable boomtown. It attracted R.D. Amacker to the shores of the Middle and North Concho rivers. Amacker was the first Ford dealer in San Angelo and one of a group of gentlemen who decided to develop one area of town into an exclusive residential area.
By the luck of a draw, Amacker got the first pick at a piece of property and there, in 1925, he built a large Spanish Mediterranean house for his wife and four children. More than seven decades later, and with its third owner, that house was ready for remodeling, but in keeping with its original, historic tastes. That’s when Lydy Tabor got involved.
Tabor, president of Tabors of San Angelo, Inc., had steadily built what began as a one-person, two-room company creating window treatments and bedding into a 38-employee, 30,000-square-foot workroom along with a dedicated interior design studio. She spent a great deal of time, energy and talent on this home for the new owner, a politically connected San Angelo doctor and his family.
“It’s very, very beautiful and very lush,” Tabor says of the house today. The room she concentrated on was the living room, the first room guests see off the entryway.
“The room has five different types of openings in it,” she explains. Along the front of the home (behind the grand piano in this photograph) is a set of rectangular windows. On the wall to the left are three arched openings—the middle one larger than the others because it spans a doorway. “There’s another arched window across from the three,” Tabor adds.
Getting all the treatments to look like they belonged together was especially difficult. Inspiration for the window treatments came from R. Ackerman’s “Designs for Window Draperies,” which features historic treatments from England. Tabor also was influenced by a San Francisco, CA, workshop run by two women who had been selected to work on 95 windows in the palace for the king of Thailand. She even visited the workroom to learn the construction and fabrication techniques they used and incorporated them in these treatments. “Most of the work was done by hand,” Tabor says. “Hems, trims, linings, everything but the seams.
“Things that we do not do anymore. It’s things that were done years and years ago, which are so beautiful. But I felt like the house and the fabric lend themselves to this sort of treatment . . . lined, interlined, and all the hand work.”
A VERY SPECIAL JOB
Besides the beauty of the final treatments, two facets of this project especially stand out: the sheers and the arches.
“The sheers were so interesting,” Tabor says. “They are sort of a faux Austrian sheer—a very loose weave. It’s like a lace, but it’s much heavier than a lace. The customer didn’t want white and an ecru, buff color wasn’t available. So I had to take all that fabric home—and it was yards and yards and yards—and I had to put it into my bathtub and tea stain it.”
The wood arched cornices themselves were made by a local cabinetmaker and feature gold leaf. Each arch was made especially for each opening, and working with this trim was tricky: No one wanted to mar the gold leaf! When the arches were completed, they were brought into Tabor’s workshop to have the treatments permanently attached, then were taken to the house to be installed.
All the research, care and hard work that went into this project, has left Tabor with exceptional, emotional memories. “It took over a year for us to work on this room. It was such a relief to have it done because it was so beautiful. We were working on a deadline—a Fourth of July party.”