Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Handcrafted Bohemian Homestead in Texas

Artist, biologist and plant ecologist Mary Phillips calls her Texas homestead a “7-acre experiment in sustainability and creativity.” She and her husband, Eddie, who is also an artist, have made it their life’s work to create an environment for extraordinary creativity by repurposing, reenvisioning and retooling their house.

The couple took recycling to a new level when they built their home, piecing together a derelict house, a lakeside cabin and a Wienerschnitzel fast-food restaurant — all of which were trucked from their original locations to the homestead. The Phillips family members also grow their own food, raise chickens and work from home in their welding and sculpture studio.

The homestead has grown from a single-family operation to an artist’s co-op. “When we realized we had enough space to host more than just our own Guard’n Gallery,’” Mary says, “we housed the whole shebang under the umbrella of Guard’n Planet and opened ourselves to the idea of adding more artisans to the mix.”

Houzz at a Glance

Who lives here: Eddie and Mary Phillips; their children, Soren (age 18) and Sally (15); their dogs, Milo and Henry; Trent the cat; a goat named Mama; and an assortment of chickens and other fowl

Size: 2,000 square feet (185 square meters); 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 studio spaces

Location: Near Mansfield, Texas


The first house to anchor the homestead was moved in its entirety on skids and transported by truck. The couple has since moved five other structures to the property: two to complete the main house and two freestanding homes that have been transformed into art studios.

There was no existing garden, so the couple began by creating a front porch and a stone path. A cabin, found at Lake Whitney, was then added to the left of the house, and the Wienerschnitzel structure, purchased from Hester House Movers, was added to the right.

AFTER: A whimsical bottle tree oversees the entrance to the main house. The couple’s welding and sculpture studio, called Forgotten Works, is named after the fictional place in Richard Brautigan’s novella In Watermelon Sugar. Last year two artists joined the co-op. Dave Goodwin of Green Doors Studio leased Eddie’s old welding shop for his photography business, and Mike Hoelcher joined Guard’n Planet by setting up a beekeeping operation.

A cobalt blue sculpture, titled Jazz, greets visitors as they ascend the porch steps. The blue and red color scheme is repeated throughout the home’s exterior. Eddie’s metal sculptures are peppered all over the grounds.

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A Handcrafted Bohemian Homestead in Texas

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