MEET YOUR HOST & HOSTESS
Rancho Mirando is a luxury guest ranch and former private estate owned and operated by the magical mother-daughter team of Donna Aldred and Leslie Aldred Lambert. As owners of the property, Donna and Leslie have the ability to work directly with their guests to ensure satisfaction down to the smallest detail. Whether weekday guest ranch rentals or weekend destination weddings, their guests complete privacy and enjoyment of the ranch “as if it were your own” is their top priority.
Donna Aldred, Owner/Artist-in-Residence
When Dallas-based retired dentist and ceramic artist Donna Aldred purchased Rancho Mirando with her late husband Dr. Stephen Aldred in 2007, she immediately moved into action to transform the ranch into a real live work of art for her family.
A friend was recruited to create the faux finishes throughout the house while she and her daughter Leslie tackled the kitchen cabinets. Together they created a look that is centuries old. It was the perfect backdrop to serve as a showcase for Donna’s unique sculptural majolica-glazed ceramics.
Donna’s love of ceramics began in 1976 while she was finishing dental school. Starting a as hobby, she designed and painted tiles for kitchens and tables for herself and friends. After practicing dentistry for twenty-one years, Donna retired to devote full time to her love of ceramics. She took formal training at SMU with Peter Beseaker and at the University of Dallas with Dan Hammett.
A love for gardening and the natural world surrounding Rancho Mirando inspires Donna’s ceramic artistry. She makes small molds out of leaves, bugs, and twigs she finds in her gardens. She is also responsible for the decision to incorporate sustainable herbal and botanical crops, as well as Rancho Mirando Florals into the ranch’s operation.
After making the decision to relocate permanently to Austin in 2009, Donna and her daughter began sharing the fabulous family retreat that they created at Rancho Mirando with other lucky families beginning in 2009.With the ranch’s resounding success with hill country brides, Donna and Mark completed the Pavilion in 2013. He then designed and built Bella Vista and the Beer Garden specifically for their 2015 wedding. Donna was the first Bella Vista Bride. Mark has now added sculpture, The Sunset Grill and the Deck House for wedding couples to experience and enjoy. His creative touch is everywhere on the ranch.
Mark A. Canada
Mark W. Canada, AIA is recognized as one of the finest architects of custom residences in Central Texas. He possesses exemplary skills at maneuvering the difficult and often complex problems of challenging Texas Hill Country sites. From the firm’s beginnings, passive solar design has been elemental in the design philosophy of Canada + Associates, Architecture. Green and sustainable building is encouraged through a holistic approach to design, including active solar photo voltaic electricity production, geo-thermal heating/ventilation/air conditioning systems, rain water harvesting and utilizing a comprehensive radiant barrier/vapor barrier/insulation construction specification.
Canada’s work is well known for utilizing site view orientation – such as that employed in the spectacular Pavilion at Rancho Mirando – in addition to various green building techniques. An intuitive Feng Shui-friendly approach towards design is integrated into all of the firm’s work. Canada is interested in exploring the possibilities of Texas Hill Country vernacular styling, blending Spanish, German, Texas Frontier and Old World Craftsmanship into his projects all with a flair for the contemporary. Furthermore, he has had opportunities to develop knowledge regarding sustainable building materials affecting environmentally sensitive clients.
Philosophically, he ascribes to the principle that the professional service of architecture is responsible for instilling value within its product. He sets a unique client -responsive approach as a criteria for all of the firm’s projects. He has written and published in various industry related publications on the role of the architect within the building and development process.
The firm’s work has been recognized with numerous awards, among them an Austin Chapter of the American Institute of Architects Award for Excellence in Design, award of selection on six annual Austin AIA Homes Tours and was selected as one of thirty exceptional design firms in Texas with it’s nomination to the Small Firms-Great Projects display at the Texas Society of Architects Convention.
Canada is registered with the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners, the Austin Chapter of the AIA, the Texas Society of Architects and the National American Institute of Architects.
Mark Canada graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, Virginia, with a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1977. After a brief internship working for former professors Harold Hill in Blacksburg, Virginia and Donald Chandler in McLean, Virginia, in 1978 he began his professional career in Austin, Texas, working for the Shiflet Group, Architects. In 1984, he founded the firm of Mark W. Canada, Architect, AIA, shortly thereafter changing the firm’s name to Canada + Associates, Architecture.
In 2010, Canada took a sabbatical from the practice of architecture and acted on a long held desire to paint. For two years the artist traveled, painted and exhibited his work. He is now represented with galleries in Texas, Hawaii and Georgia. More about his fine art paintings can be seen on his artist’s website.
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