Where do you live when your heritage is as rugged as the Old West and as wide as a New Mexico vista, and you have plenty of friends and family to share that with?
In a big house.
Of course, if you’re a die-hard Lake Highlander like Dee and Joe Broome, you have an added criteria.
“We’ve lived in the area for 25 years, all within a two-mile radius,” says Dee, sitting in the warm, spacious den of her Oak Highlands division home. “The house was three years old when we bought it 15 years ago — very contemporary — but we made it our own.”
The Broomes added paneling, softened and neutralized the color scheme, put in French doors. Plenty of light streams into the expansive home that Dee says appealed to her and her husband, Joe, because the layout lent itself to socializing.
“We decided we wanted to have friends over, to entertain a lot,” she recalls. “And that’s been part of the fun of being in Lake Highlands.
We also tried to include our family heritage,” she says, holding up a weathered wooden watering bucket from Joe’s mother’s ranch. “We had my dad’s old chaps shadowboxed (and displayed in the den).”
Nearby is a tintype of Joe’s great-grandfather, looking the quintessential rancher, and a chair made up of iron horse shoes crafted by Dee’s father. The children’s bronzed baby shoes … well, boots actually, rest on a sofa table. Above the large fireplace coils barbed wire and her dad’s branding irons — quarter circle HH … or HH quarter circle.
There’s a story there. “My dad was a farmer and a rancher,” laughs Dee. “I actually worked cattle. A totally different life.
We had a ranch in Colorado. When Dad went up there to register his brand, he couldn’t remember which it was. So we ended up with two.”
The women that came before left behind some softer touches … a miniature pitcher collection was found when Dee and her daughter, Holly, were cleaning out Dee’s mother’s house. Each of the 150-plus tiny items were wrapped in old newspaper. Holly was captivated by the collection and began to add to it; she also kept and read the 1940s and 1950s newspapers.
Both grandmothers’ rocking chairs are in residence and their two portraits grace an upstairs nook. A large, colorful framed piece of artwork on one side of the open second-story walkway turns out to be an afghan that Dee’s grandmother, who lived to be a spry 100, made out of old silk ties belonging to the men of the family.
Somehow everything just seems to work, to flow. What kind of master plan did all this take?
“It’s been fun putting everything together,” says Dee. “I didn’t try to make it fit — it just all kind of fell into place (with some help from decorator Debbie Parry). The antiques that we did have were useable and workable, not just something to look at.” Dee expresses hope that her children will enjoy the memories that are passed on to them eventually.
The two are pretty much “out of the nest” these days. Avid soccer players, both still compete — in fact both went to SMU on athletic scholarships. Holly’s a Kappa and a junior, and Paul, a recent graduate, was drafted last year by the Dallas Burn.
My. Do Mom and Dad play soccer too?
“No, but the whole family plays golf,” replies Dee. “Except Millie.” (Millie is the family’s Brittany spaniel named in honor of former first dog Millie Bush who, technically, is a Springer spaniel.) Dee goes on to say that she’s pretty sure that either she or her husband have been at every one of their kid’s soccer games — “a lot of time on planes. We made it a major priority.”
She says she’s glad her children spent their childhood in the neighborhood. “We grew up in a small town and knew everybody and had great friends, and this has the same feel. The majority of the class that Paul and Holly graduated with (at Lake Highlands High School) they had started elementary school with. And I think that’s just a really big plus in the fast world we live in today. Lake Highlands has been a great neighborhood … I’m glad we made the decision as a young married couple to settle here.
It’s such a community.”