Down on ReyRosa Ranch, life revolves around birds, not cattle. Fashion designer and 2023 Texas Medal of Arts honoree Lela Rose has been coming here since 1989, when her parents purchased the 8,600 lush acres of native grasses and trees less than an hour south of their Dallas home.

Her father, Rusty Rose, was a bird lover. Her mom, Deedie, has a passion for architecture. Together, they built their own oasis with floor-to-ceiling windows that turn the mid-century modern space into a tree house. The property has several lookouts built specifically for birdwatching, but you can just as easily indulge in the hobby from the living room, which is outfitted with ornithology books and hand-carved figurines.

Lela Rose now lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with her husband and two kids, but the ranch served as an escape for the first four months of the COVID-19 pandemic. She loved the daily walks with her Norwich terrier, Bobbin. “I grew up in Dallas. But I think of this more as Texas—with the trees and the big blue sky and how quiet everything can be, just listening to the birds,” she says. “It’s a place to reconnect.” 

Rose will join other luminaries such as Miranda Lambert, Taylor Sheridan, Luke Wilson, and Christopher Cross on Wednesday at Austin’s Long Center for the Texas Medal of Arts ceremony, held for the first time since before the pandemic in 2019. She’ll show her newest collection at the event, which is the main fundraiser for the nonprofit Texas Cultural Trust. And next month Rose will release her second guide to entertaining, Fresh Air Affairs: Entertaining With Style in the Great Outdoors, which features the ranch on the cover.

A version of this article appeared in the April 2023 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “Bird House.” Subscribe today.