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A Family Home in Texas Layered with History and Vintage Finds

by Sabrina Smelko

Just like people, what gives a home its personality is the result of countless attributes and myriad layers of depth. As Aristotle put it best, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

For textile designer Heather Winn Bowman and Tibaut Bowman, a musician, the search for the right home to welcome the arrival of their daughter, Lola, went on for what felt like an eternity. “We really felt the pressure to get settled somewhere before Lola was born,” Heather explains. “When our realtor showed us this house, we both knew instantly it was where we needed to be.” For the couple, everything about this Austin, TX abode felt right. It was cozy, yet still spacious enough to allow for them both to work from home, raise their daughter, and offer their dogs, Oliver and Amelie, and Kibi the cat space to roam free.

Built over the span of three time periods, the home is layered with history, charm, and eclecticism. “The front of the house was built in 1936, the middle sometime in the 1970s, and our bedroom in the mid 2000s,” Heather begins. “There are still original details in the front of the house, and it gradually gets more modern as you walk back, but it flows together so well you hardly notice.” Between the creaky slanted floors and doors that don’t close all the way, to the modern conveniences of the kitchen and bathroom — and the fact that it’s located just blocks away from family, friends, great hiking spots, and the lake — it was the whole package that sold them on this 2,200-square-foot home.

Over the two years since they moved in, the couple has created a harmonious, functional, and toddler-friendly space that pays homage to their earthy, vintage design aesthetic. Some of the keys to maintaining this effort has been storage solutions paired with smart furniture and decor choices. “We have baskets all over the house for Lola’s toys,” Heather says, “and vintage rugs with darker colors and lots of texture are great, soft spaces for her to play.” As someone who works from home, Heather’s studio not only lends itself well to a makeshift play space for Lola on busy days, but acts as a design shop for their own home as well. “I use our furniture to photograph new pillows I weave or sew from vintage textiles for my shop updates, so I’m constantly rotating them out,” she states. “This allows me to make subtle changes to the room on a regular basis.” Of course, while the studio works for Heather now, she dreams of one day building a detached studio space in the backyard and turning her existing studio into a dedicated playroom for Lola — or eventually, a second bedroom if the couple decides to expand their family further. But as for the rooms they have renovated, the couple tackled their kitchen just before Lola’s arrival, and they just completed work on their master bedroom and bathroom. So for now, they’re settled, satisfied and happy. “There was a big push to get everything in order before Lola was born,” Heather shares. “I feel like we just recently got fully settled into our home!”

Improvements aside, for these native Texans, it’s the life, laughs, and love inside of their home that make it perfect. –Sabrina

Photography by Molly Winters

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The whole family (Lola, Tibaut, and Heather) on their front porch. "I'm most thankful for the people in my home," Heather says, "My husband and daughter (and our animals). They fill our home with love and laughter every day."
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The living room is Heather's favorite room in the house. "It took us so long to figure out the layout because it's a very narrow room and there are two sets of steps on either side of the fireplace that go up to the dining room, which made furniture placement really tricky," she describes. The goal was to create a central gathering spot, but having a couch and two chairs in such a small space was difficult to achieve without feeling cramped. So Heather opted for furniture with low backs to help the space feel open. Both the couch and chairs are vintage Arne Norell purchased from Chairish and A Custom House, respectively.
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Another view of the living room showcases the fireplace which originally had green marble surrounding the hearth. When they had it removed, they were pleased to find lovely brick underneath. As Heather sells vintage rugs, she's constantly rotating out new pieces she finds to see how they feel in a space before getting them cleaned and posting them on her shop. "Same goes for new pillows that I make," she adds. "The couch and chairs are very photogenic, so it's a nice backdrop for new work."
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This dresser in their living room was once used in Lola's room as her changing table before they decided it would be a cool piece to hold their record player. "The living room has become [a] great place to entertain and listen to music," Heather comments. The moon print is by one of her favorite artists, Stella Maria Baer. Throughout the entire home, the walls are painted in Benjamin Moore's White Dove.
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The dining room chairs are from Hay, and the table came from an old Spanish Monastery. "I think it adds a lot of earthiness to the room," Heather adds. "The wood is very irregular, so glasses lay at a slight angle, but I think it makes our dining experience fun." Through the windows which flood in plenty of light, you can spot a view of the palm trees in their yard.
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This mushroom print is an old German pull-down school chart. It's one of Heather's most beloved pieces in the whole house.
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Elsewhere in the dining room is this seating area by the window. "One of my favorite stores when I lived in Brooklyn was Brook Farm General Store, where this chair comes from," Heather shares.
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At the back of the home in the addition that was created in 2007, you'll find the kitchen. "When we moved into the house, the kitchen was laid out very awkwardly -- there was no countertop space beside the stove for chopping!" She explains, "When we renovated before I had Lola, we centered the stove on the wall and added butcher block counters on either side."
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Across from the stove is this little eating area where the family enjoys breakfast every morning. "I love to look out the window at our garden while we eat," Heather says.
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Between the kitchen and Lola's bedroom is this wall of bookshelves. "My mom gave me all of these National Geographics she had collected over decades," Heather describes, "I love the pop of color [the collection] adds and it's so fun to look back on old issues from 30 years ago."
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Lola's room was once used as a sunroom which had wall-to-wall windows. After lots of consideration, they decided to close in some of the windows to allow for more wall space and make the room more energy efficient. They covered the new drywall with wallpaper from Cavern Home, and the rocking chair and curtains are from Anthropologie.
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In this little nook, a ladder is used as a bookshelf to display Lola's toys and books.
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The floor plan of their home is reminiscent of a shotgun-style home, but over the years, through the various add-ons that were made, it's morphed into the perfect family home for how the family functions.
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Heather's studio has several looms set up and ready to go so that she can work on different pieces throughout the day.
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A closer view of some of Heather's looms from The Woolery. "I have lots of great storage in my studio which helps me stay organized," she explains, "Having these shelves holding yarn and weaving tools at arms length when I'm working is very convenient." The shelves between the looms were designed by local decorator Claire Zinnecker and made by Travis Norman.
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Upstairs is the couple's master retreat. In the master bedroom, Heather rotates pillows in and out constantly to see how they look and to take photographs for her shop. Their bed is from Restoration Hardware and the bedding is from Matteo. The pillow, of course, is Heather's own creation.
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The master bath is on the second floor of their home and is surrounded by trees. "When I take a bath it feels like I'm in a treehouse," Heather adds.
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On the floor in the master bath you'll find this vintage rug with soft colors that warm the space.
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This is the view from sitting in the tub. "I bought this painting at a flea market in Brooklyn," Heather says. "My favorite thing about it is the frayed edges of the canvas."
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For Heather, home is a beautiful embodiment of her family.

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