PaperCity Magazine

January 2019- Dallas

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46 A s Josh Needleman's four- wheeler rumbles along a winding, heavily wooded trail on the family farm, dogs Cleo and Jewel lead the way, occasionally pausing to look back. A Rhodesian Ridgeback and a mutt, the dogs live on the farm and know the maze of interconnecting paths tunneling through its 54 acres by instinct. Josh and his brother, Jason Needleman, also know the way by heart: They have been clearing and building these trails since they were children, for more than 35 years. The four-wheeler chugs past a creek, then takes a path across a broad, green meadow, roars up a hill and comes to a stop in front of a farmhouse. Shaded by massive old oaks, the Prairie-style house has a sloping metal roof, stone chimney, and a screened-in porch that wraps almost entirely around. Built in the 1880s in Granbury, Texas, it had been abandoned for decades when the boys' mother, Mary Ella Gabler, the founder of Peacock Alley linens, and late stepfather Ray Gabler, purchased the acreage in 1981. "There weren't even any records of it in the courthouse. It was just a shack," Mary Ella recalls. The family made the trek from Dallas every weekend to fix up the house and clear acres of thigh-high grass that harbored copperheads and rattlesnakes. It was far removed from the family's comfortable lifestyle in University Park, but Ray had grown up on a cotton farm and yearned to dig in the soil again. Mary Ella looked forward to escaping to the country and giving her sons a taste of rural life. The rudimentary house was constructed about the same time that Granbury was founded, a pioneer's lair with one bedroom, a narrow sleeping porch, and a single bathroom. There was no kitchen, only a rustic metal sink attached to an outside wall, and a smokehouse some yards away. With space at a premium, the Needleman boys often camped in tents or teepees. "We battled going down there," Josh remembers. "All our friends went to the country club on the weekends, but we were put to work on the farm." They AS THE GLOBAL LINENS COMPANY PEACOCK ALLEY TURNS 45, REBECCA SHERMAN VISITS THE FAMILY FARM THAT NOT ONLY PROVIDES DESIGN INSPIRATION, BUT ONCE HELPED KEEP THE FAMILY AFLOAT. TOWN COUNTRY The Peacock Alley family farmhouse in Granbury was built in the 1880s. PHOTOGRAPHY: HEATHER HAWKINS, JANE SOBEL KLONSKY

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