We have a confession: when we are exploring a store we really love, we sometimes secretly wish we lived there! Imagine our delight upon discovering the local store Howl. Steeped in mystique and full of fun finds, this isn't just a well-hidden local resource for one-of-a-kind home furnishings, this is someone's house! Though this house tour won't appeal to everyone, we think it's a great example of that quirky, Austin style we love.
If you're looking for a perfectly styled house tour, you won't find one here. This orange house right off of South Lamar near Whole Foods and Waterloo Records serves as both artisan Barry's house and artist's studio, along with being a sometimes-antique store. When we came by to check out the store portion, he said his life was an open book--and let us look around the rest of his home. So, we didn't move the pile of laundry or the unicycle--but we fell in love with this unique place anyway.
Barry and his business partner Rob Pennington were lounging on some antique couches when we stopped by Howl, located at 603 Baylor Street in Austin, Texas. We were immediately greeted by two identical tabby cats who accompanied us on our exploration of Howl, and who acted as informal tour guides. When you first enter Howl, you're faced with a large, wide space full to the brim with old furniture finds, some of Barry's furniture creations, weird art, cool art, big mirrors and more. Though it's laid out like a home, it still feels very much like a store, and it's easy to take your time poking around all the accessories and objects.
Walking through the rest of the house you'll find an office, what probably once was a dining room but now holds more stuff for sale, a tiny kitchen and bathroom, a high-ceiling sitting room/closet and our favorite room: a tucked away bedroom with high ceilings and a hidden loft nook. Many of the walls are made of painted wood, some act as the canvas for urban art and light shines into the home through oddly-placed and sized windows.
Our favorite part, beyond all the fun furniture and accesory finds, is the dichotomy between new and old that exists here. DVR players rest comfortably next to statues of indians, and a printer rests on top of an old table next to a chandelier so rusty it looks like it could have come from a ship wreck. If you ever wondered where the characters from the short-lived TV show Carnivale would live in the year 2010, this is it. Barry is like a modern-day gypsy with a really cool home base.
Luckily for the rest of us who don't get to live in an antique store, you can take a bit of Howl home with you. Many of Barry's furniture creations combine the aesthetic of authentic and post-industrial antiques, but are constructed by scratch. (Look for more information on individual pieces in the future.) The store, or as they refer to it--gallery--on Baylor Street is by appointment only, but you won't regret setting one up. The store isn't the only place to find some of Barry's unique style, however: Howl Interiors frequently hosts Pop-Up Shops several times a year in various locations around Austin and other cities, with the next one tentatively scheduled for mid-April. You'll soon also be able to find many of Barry's pieces on sale on the new website, also planned to be ready quite soon. And, if you're in Austin you can find some items at Austin Store Mercury Design Studio and San Antonio spot The Cottage.
(Thanks, to Barry and to Rob!)
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