Single father adds his own style to house with Clear Lake view
There’s a view of Clear Lake from almost every room in Frank Tamborella’s Nassau Bay home.
The race car driver, restaurateur and graphic artist designed a house for both entertaining and everyday living. The single father of daughter Mariah, who just graduated from college, built her a house no child could forget.
Although Mariah is grown, Tamborella hasn’t change her bedroom, a replica of a Disney castle.
“You walk in the room to a castle front, behind which is a playroom and above the castle front is the bed,” Tamborella said. “She still sleeps in there sometimes when we have company. She still loves it. I’ve never had the heart to change it.”
Mariah’s grown-up bedroom has a clear view of the lake. The bed, designed and constructed by Tamborella, is suspended from the ceiling by steel rods.
The technique is duplicated in the dining room, where the table also is suspended from the ceiling. As the owner of Frank’s Custom Paint in Clear Lake Shores, Tamborella designs and builds much of his own furniture airbrushed in his own style.
“You name it and I have painted it,” he said. “I have painted my race cars and many of the cars and the rides you see at the Kemah Boardwalk.”
Tamborella’s personal touches can be found throughout the house. When driving up to the house, visitors are greeted by a winding, moss rock waterfall built into the lawn. Upon entering the house, they meet a 12-foot rock waterfall, which appears to be spilling out of a 200-gallon aquarium on the second floor. Two staircases — one on each side of the waterfall — follow curved walls with niches containing art pieces along the way up the stairs. The second floor is the living room, kitchen and dining room, complete with a blacklight-edged curved bar and the master bedroom.
“I love curves and angles, so the entire house is curved around a panoramic view of the lake,” Tamborella said.
Tamborella, who, at this writing was close to selling his home, also likes the color purple, which was evident until a real estate agent advised him to tone it down with neutral colors.
A comfortable living room, with a surround-sound music system, looks onto the outside deck. A granite counter-topped kitchen is adjacent to the bar.
An English phone booth, which can be converted to an elevator shaft off the dining room, features an etched-glass door. The ceiling over the staircase, which is domed, is painted with clouds; it lights up at night to give the illusion of clouds in the sunset.
The master bedroom, with curved glass windows, is highlighted by the glass-brick lit bed on the bottom and the mirrored backlit headboard, which changes colors. Tamborella built that, too. Off the bedroom is a bathroom literally fit for a king. A large round Jacuzzi tub is surrounded by columns and is topped by a lit domed ceiling, painted with an aerospace scene, easily visible from the bedroom.
Decks surround all four floors. A roof deck overlooks Clear Lake.
The third floor is the play floor, which includes a pool table and movie theater lobby. A ticket taker room is where Trixie sits, a mannequin with several different wigs. Inside the 25-seat home theater is a surround-sound Lucas-system movie room, which often is used by the owner and his friends. An entire room is devoted to holding all of the wires.
And then there’s the outside. Sitting on a half-acre lot with four palapas reminiscent of Fiji, is a place to enjoy drinks and snacks. Along with bars is a TV set built into the wall.
A pool with a grotto has a sound system built into the concrete with speakers hooked up with TV and black lights.
“You could sit in there and watch a game, if you want,” Tamborella said. “There is also a double boat house if you want to own a couple of boats. Guests coming over for a visit can also park there. It’s all lit up for nighttime entertaining. This is really two houses, one during the day and one at night when all the special lights are on; it is really incredible.”
Tamborella is preparing to move to a smaller house, but will miss this one, he said. But a nearly 4,000-square-foot house is a lot for one person.
“My daughter moved out and it’s me and the dog,” Tamborella said.