Installation Artist Creates A Home With Museum-Like Displays in South Carolina

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Becca Barnet grew up in Spartanburg, SC, where as a child she turned the entire basement of her family’s home into an interactive diorama of a rainforest. This penchant for detail and nature would most certainly inform the coming years in her life. Nowadays, Becca and Thomas Howell live with their dog, Bruce, just outside of Charleston, SC in a 1947 Hampton Park bungalow, where Becca is creative director of Sisal Creative and Thomas works for Urban Electric Company.

“I was living right in the middle of downtown Charleston and realized that I wanted to remove myself from the hustle and bustle,” Becca shares. “I love living in Hampton Park because it’s filled with families and dogs, everyone looks out for one another, and there are so many great things happening in the area. I was looking for a way to downsize but also to live in a more family-friendly part of town, away from the College of Charleston campus.”

But it was perhaps the creative path Becca took over time that would eventually lead them to this area and their eclectic home accented with earthy decorative elements.

In 2009, Becca received a BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. After RISD, Becca moved to New York City and worked at the American Museum of Natural History and created display items for traveling exhibits (think: 50-foot dinosaur!). She also worked for a metalsmith and a taxidermist while in NYC. In 2011 she moved to Charleston to work for the SC Aquarium and was a lead fabricator in the Madagascar Journey exhibit. Becca decided to start her own company in 2012 — Sisal Creative. Specializing in model-making, props, decor and taxidermy, Becca now designs and creates one-of-a-kind art installations for restaurants, offices, and museums full-time. 

It is abundantly clear that her lifetime fascination with nature and collections has made its imprint on their home. Rooms and vignettes alike are curated thoughtfully, elevating each treasured item to reflect her admiration for it — especially animals.

Just as their home fittingly portrays Becca’s strength in museum installation and reverence for nature, so too does the home’s location. “The house is right on the park, so it’s a great view,” Becca shares. “The birds in the park sometimes come over after the rain to feast in the front yard. Last week I saw 100 ibises on my lawn and it was my dream come true!”Erin

Photography by Landon Neil Philips

  1. sunshine says:

    what a great space! It’s hard to pick a favorite thing but I can definitely say the ‘what I like most..’ note on the lamp made me smile .

  2. Jessica says:

    Lovely place! You’ve got a great eye.

  3. This place is so full of personality! It’s also great to see such a unique skill set like mine turn into a successful company.

  4. Chet says:

    I’m jealous of that botanical chart! It looks awesome.

  5. C A says:

    One of my fantasies is to have a home where a room is a dedicated to an art installation. The whole room. Nothing else but 1 big art installation. A girl can dream…

    Great space!

  6. Nina says:

    This house is so perfect. I am so inspired. Must get more houseplants! What a difference they make! And so many gorgeous colors. It’s so well thought out. Thank you for sharing.

  7. linda says:

    So much to love about this place!It’s warm ,cozy and expressive of the owner’s artistic talent. And they have a great looking do!However,I’ll never warm up to taxidermy as decorative.It’s one thing to use shed antlers,another to have dead,stuffed animals on shelves and hanging from the walls.I just find it upsetting on so many levels……

  8. hannah says:

    I’m dying to know where that little yellow lamp came from! So cute!

  9. kate says:

    I just pinned every single picture. I am constantly grappling with my dual love of minimalism + my love of color & collecting. Somehow this home perfectly captures that balance between simplicity and actual lived-in-ness. This post has made me believe I can have my cake and eat it too. On a modernist cake stand, with a colorful painting of the cake framed in the background and mismatched frame.

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