Text by Elizabeth Czapski
For Linda O’Neal and Rob Rosenbaum, it all started with a serendipitous Saturday drive to take in the wildflower-laden roads of the Texas countryside. They stumbled upon an old cottage, fell in love with the land, and quickly traded city life for the full country experience, creating not only a new home but also a picturesque lodging and event venue. Today, The White House on the Hill, inspired by the quaint rural church buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries, and its sister site, an original cedar barn with finely renovated interiors, host visitors in sophisticated vintage style reflective of the tranquil atmosphere of days gone by that still exists in Greenvine, Texas.
“It was never our intent to have a lodging venue,” Rob says of the property where they also hold events spanning art classes and small weddings. “We built out here, and we loved the country and community so much, we wanted to have a guesthouse so people could come visit, and we wanted it to look like an old church from the 1800s. We did the church; people started wanting to stay, and it just took off.”
This was a whole new world for Rob, who is a chiropractor, and Linda, a nurse. “We both loved what we did, but it was time,” Rob says, as Linda finishes, “Time to do something different.” After purchasing their first cottage on 1.5 acres, Rob was soon itching for more land, and once again on a chance drive, they discovered their current 20-acre plot. Knowing they wanted an aged, rustic look to complement the location, they considered moving old structures to the land, but on the advice of their builder, they opted to construct new ones in the historic architectural styles they desired.
After completing their personal residence, they drew up the plans for a charming white chapel, finished with a steeple that can be seen from miles away, and began the hunt to fill the new build with authentic interiors—from reclaimed wood to refined antique furnishings. The space sleeps two and includes a kitchenette, lounge area, and bathroom with a restored claw-foot tub.
As demand grew, they decided to convert their on-site barn into a second lodging venue for bigger groups—adding three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Lofty 30-foot vaulted ceilings now give way to an open floor plan with a living room, dining room, and kitchen plus an art loft. An outdoor gas firepit overlooks stunning sunsets at the highest point in the county, and inside, guests will find the same vintage aesthetic as in the chapel.
While Linda had previously gravitated toward modern décor, she wanted to infuse their country houses with a fitting ambience. “I like contemporary, but I also like French country,” she says. “That always spurred my interest, and this was the perfect venue to do that in.” This undercurrent of European elegance elevates the old-fashioned style they desired. “We want to give it a fresh, updated look,” Rob says.
From sprawling chandeliers that cast a soft glow upon old stained glass windows to cabinets and counters made from repurposed French buffets, decorative and functional antique finds abound in both venues. One of their favorite creations, the chapel’s bathroom mirror set in a weathered window frame came with a coincidental connection to their first guest, an antiques dealer from New York, who immediately recognized the frame as something she had sold years before Linda came across it.
The couple’s goal was to blend their vintage treasures with lavish amenities, such as designer linens and complimentary breakfast, providing a serene escape rooted in both the meticulous thought put into their spaces and the natural environment of their locale. “We want to offer a country experience, but we want to offer it in a way that provides comfort, a way to explore what we have out here, and just the peace of being out here,” says Rob, whose current project is adding a vineyard to their land. “We want it to be special and more than they expected. A lot of people are impressed with the attention to detail. That’s probably the most important thing—all the little details add up.”