Kelly Wilson feels Spanish Colonial elements mix with everything. (Photo by Michael Hunter)
The home's foyer was already grand, Wilson accentuated the moldings in white lacquer. Photo by Michael Hunter.
Wilson shuns gray homes with expressive wallpapers and designer touches. Photo by Michael Hunter.
Wilson chose a bold Kelly Wearstler wallpaper for the power room. Photo by Michael Hunter.
The soapstone island is the centerpiece of the modern meets traditional kitchen. Photo by Michael Hunter.
The custom iron China cabinet is backed by salvaged antique Japanese wallpaper in the kitchen. Photo by Michael Hunter
The heart of this home includes its adjoining sun room. Photo by Michael Hunter.
The freshly painted exterior brick along Eldridge Street, a remodel by Bowen Wilson Development. Photo by Michael Hunter.
Painting the ceiling the same color as the walls makes the room feel bigger. Photo by Michael Hunter.
There is nothing builder basic about Bowen Wilson Development projects. Photo by Michael Hunter.
Kelly Wilson's eclectic mix and designers eye makes for truly magical spaces. Photo by Michael Hunter.
Can you imagine working with your spouse? Some people manage to pull it off and others can’t imagine their work-life any other way. For nearly 15 years now, homebuilder Stephen Wilson and his realtor/designer wife Kelly Bowen Wilson have been putting a fresh face on their projects, capitalizing on the strengths of each. From remodels and new builds in Santa Fe and Dallas’ Preston Hollow to neighborhoods all over Fort Worth, they’ve pulled together their own unique portfolio of completely custom work.
While the Wilsons love the blank canvas of a new build project, Bowen Wilson Development is equally adept at remodeling existing spaces, combining the design and build process all in one.
“Stephen started building in 2008,” Kelly Wilson tells PaperCity Fort Worth. “I was doing real estate and raising my kids. His background was in high-end design, so we launched with four spec homes located in Fort Worth’s Montserrat neighborhood ― just prior to the ’08 crash.”
Not ideal timing for sure. But the husband and wife team parlayed their expertise into a series of successful remodels and builds for others, before going out on their own five years ago.
Conventional wisdom says that in order to stage a home for sale, it should appeal to the majority of potential buyers. That usually takes the form of what Wilson calls “bland gray houses” often with little, if any personal styling in the design and staging. Bowen Wilson shatters that mold.
The look of a Bowen Wilson-designed home is never cookie cutter or builder basic. Instead, it’s styled to the nines.
Every detail is custom, from the finishes to the lighting choices, even the decor. Oh and if you like the furnishings, they can be yours as well, which is an especially appealing option for corporate transplants wanting a fresh start.
“Not everyone wants a blank slate,” Kelly Wilson says. “In fact, it’s often overwhelming for buyers who might not know where to start. They need to see a vision of what the home could be.”
A Bold Rivercrest Remodel
Kelly Bowen Wilson took me on a tour of one of their recent Fort Worth house projects to show an example. This one (though already sold) was located on Eldridge Street in Fort Worth’s Rivercrest neighborhood.
“I put in things that I personally like,” Kelly Wilson says. “It needs to feel right. This one looked like a time-worn doctor’s office when we found it.”
Some friends even suggest the lot be cleared. But Wilson appreciated the expensive Chicago brick exterior and it now looks fresh, painted white. She also chose to add large white windows, forgoing the black window frame trend for a cohesive look and light-filled interior.
The home’s foyer was already a grand space, so Wilson amplified it with new iron railings along the staircase and clean white marble flooring and she not only kept the moldings, she accentuated them, finishing them with a high gloss Farrow & Ball white.
Take the modern meets traditional kitchen.
“The island is topped in soapstone for durability,” Wilson says. “I chose white oak for the custom cabinetry and designed an iron China cabinet, which is lined in antique Japanese wallpaper. Which we rescued from another part of the home.”
The special touches and custom details don’t end there. At the built-in coffee bar, she added a pop of bluish-black lacquer that mimics the paint color chosen for the front door and stairs. Interesting inset display nooks above the refrigerator and wine fridge showcase antique pottery.
The bold powder room sprung to life from one original element ― only the painted ceramic sink remained.
“It’s very out of the box, but powder rooms can go bold,” Wilson says. “I added a geometric Kelly Wearstler wallpaper.”
Wilson collects artworks, accessories, textiles and rugs whenever she finds them and warehouses them until she finds just the right project. But the mix of custom and vintage furnishings she utilizes are ordered or purchased specifically for their starring role in each home that Bowen Wilson Development designs. Some buyers choose to keep much of the designs when they purchase the home, while others keep some pieces or rooms to blend with their own collections.
In many spaces, Kelly Wilson adds Southwestern touches, a nod to Santa Barbara or Santa Fe style.
“I think Spanish Colonial mixes with everything,” she says. “This home has a traditional feel, so I removed the built-ins on either side of the fireplace and installed bookcases that fit the space perfectly.”
Wilson also likes to paint the ceilings the same color as the walls, as she did in one of the bedrooms in this Rivercrest remodel since she feels it makes the room look bigger, without adding visual divisions with trim and a white ceiling.
Bowen Wilson Development has certainly found its niche in custom builds as well as soup-to-nuts remodels, all while injecting its custom/designer vision into each and every project.