A collected dwelling with coronary heart at By way of Libre backyard

December 03, 2021

Recognized in Abilene for his or her intensive gardens, designer and artist Cynthia Williams Deegan and her husband, Bobby, picked up and moved to Austin in 2013 to be close to their youngsters and grandchildren. Austin has grown extra enchanting in consequence. As I’ve written beforehand, Cynthia and Bobby remodeled a rundown, unloved Tarrytown dwelling on MoPac’s feeder highway right into a inexperienced oasis for the attention and spirit.

I returned to By way of Libre — By way of Libre means Freeway, illustrating the couple’s humorousness about residing in MoPac’s shadow — in mid-November with a number of mates who hadn’t seen it. Their response mirrored mine the primary time I’d visited — pure delight. Heck, I felt that means over again on my second go to. Possibly Cynthia feels it each morning when she opens her eyes and walks via the house and backyard she’s full of collected treasures. If that’s the case, she’s residing her greatest life!

Like most Austin gardeners, Cynthia misplaced quite a bit within the February freeze-pocalypse, together with gigantic American agaves alongside the drive and fig ivy that greened up her fence-walls. The ivy ultimately got here again (or she planted anew), however she’s made peace with the agave loss. I requested if she’d replant, however she needs to attempt gentle, waving grasses in that sunny spot as a substitute.

You enter Cynthia’s backyard via mossy-green double doorways below a picket arbor, Santa Fe-style. That is proper out entrance, set again from the road about 10 or 15 ft. A picket fence swathed in evergreen fig ivy and vines, with cattle-panel wire for home windows, shields the entrance of their dwelling from the busy road and creates a semi-private courtyard.

Adorned with tin milagros, Mexican people charms, and a dangling conical planter, the doorways set the tone, promising a magical house inside.

Courtyard backyard

Step inside and splashing water from a New Orleans-style fountain washes away the freeway noise. The water spills into a pretty big fishpond that, unexpectedly, extends via one cattle-panel window. Streamered with vines, the wire home windows admit gentle and breezes and permit selectively framed views of the skin world.

Inside, it’s tranquil, inexperienced, and personal. Cynthia says that the backyard rooms they’ve made successfully double the residing house of their small Nineteen Forties ranch.

‘Cinco de Mayo’ rose glows smoky pink alongside the fence.

Cynthia has a eager eye for creative alchemy. She turns different folks’s cast-off objects into artworks and artistic vignettes. She has an affinity for antlered deer, hearts, fingers, wings, and backyard orbs, and I discovered them all through her dwelling and backyard.

I noticed fairly a number of St. Francis figures too, together with this one wrapped in a strand of picket beads.

Pond-side view

Purple and inexperienced dominate the pond backyard, together with purple coronary heart, jewels-of-Opar, and gomphrena.

Mossy inexperienced and dusky purple accents proceed the colour scheme via the courtyard.

The courtyard fence is became a gallery wall with preparations of mirrors, spiritual items, hanging planters, and backyard faces.

Hacienda creeper runs in inexperienced ribbons between the items, serving to to border every merchandise. Cynthia additionally makes use of outdated image frames to attract the attention to specific items and preparations.

Its edges blurred by vines, a tall mirror reflecting the fountain nearly seems to be like a doorway into one other backyard room.

A leafy face planter holds a fringy euphorbia. Chartreuse-edged orange coleus provides visible warmth.

A tabletop vignette features a stone planter with succulent cuttings.

In a mattress of inexperienced sedge, a dented steel sphere rests like a semi-deflated playground ball. Wabi-sabi magnificence.

Ming fern stands tall like a inexperienced ostrich plume alongside gomphrena, jewels-of-Opar, purple coronary heart, and purple fountain grass.

The view from the entrance porch

Cynthia makes her porch steps a spot of discovery too, with extra orbs, a St. Francis, and grey pumpkins.

Orbs and orbs and orbs

Above a planter head with golden wings tacked up on either side, a burned-in inscription reads, Ideas have wings.


With Cynthia’s permission, I’m sharing a number of inside photos too. She has such eye for organizing her art- and nature-based collections into charming preparations. Right here, animal bones, antlers, hearts, feathers, and nests inform the story of somebody at all times bringing dwelling fairly issues discovered on a woodland path.

Her warm-gray front room is a curated imaginative and prescient of hominess and luxury, with a wasabi-green couch, purple pillows, and a burnt-orange straightforward chair and ottoman. I couldn’t resist sinking into the simple chair and simply soaking all of it up.

A gifted author herself, Cynthia collects significant quotes from her readings, inscribing them on slips of paper she tucks into her vignettes. Her personal poems seem right here and there too. As you lean in for a better look, it’s a bit of like peeking into her coronary heart and studying what has impressed itself on her.

The partitions are adorned to the ceiling, and Cynthia may give the handmade provenance of every piece. An authentic oil portray she discovered spackled with mud dauber tunnels, which she painstakingly cleaned and now has pleasure of place in a corridor area of interest. A portray of her personal, layered onto a discovered canvas. A steel coronary heart (pictured above) that she texturized with driftwoody branches and different small hearts to create one thing even higher. Mushy lighting highlights the artwork, drawing you to it.

A beaded St. Francis stands half in shadow in a home made altar, lit by a glowing bulb, the guide Coronary heart of Darkness leaning alongside.

On a corridor door, an Emily Dickinson quote (barely altered) is written in chalk beneath a folk-art Madonna: “Not figuring out whence the sunshine could come, I open each door.”

What a snug, eye-pleasing, and attention-grabbing dwelling.

Eating room cabinets maintain extra meals for thought: “Gratitude is the way in which dwelling.” – Brené Brown

Wings and feathers

On the desk, velvet pumpkins and acorns line a picket candle holder. “And but we give thanks!” reads a observe.

One other folk-art piece guarantees, “Hassle will quickly be over.”

On a sideboard, velvet pumpkins, golden pears, and brass beetles share house with fairly munchies and cookies — treats for grandchildren, who keep over usually.

Again backyard

Stepping onto the again porch, I laughed to see an ashamed satan (I feel?) in a nest-like hanging shelf. What has he been as much as, I ponder.

A Day of the Useless skeleton dangled close by, echoing a lime-green snake plant container.

Palms to hearts, reads a blue signal. Cynthia takes this concept to coronary heart, scouring resale retailers and storage gross sales for castaways, bargains, and freebies, to which she applies her magic contact to create artworks. She sells her found-art items at a sales space she shares with a buddy at Wimberley Market Days, held on the primary Saturday of every month from March via December. The final Market Day of 2021 shall be held tomorrow (12/4), and Cynthia’s sales space is #443 if you wish to go store.

A velvety pink hibiscus

Upstairs above Cynthia and Bobby’s home, they run an Airbnb referred to as, naturally, By way of Libre. It has its personal again entrance and deck, and what an ideal location.

Exterior a indifferent storage, one among Bobby’s stone sculptures stands alongside a set of Mexican clay cathedrals.

LOVE grows right here…

…and thrives below Cynthia’s creative eye.

In a artistic workspace behind the storage — a she-shed of kinds. Or see-shed?

Beer backyard

Backed up in opposition to the freeway’s sound-proofing wall, a colourful beer backyard makes essentially the most of a shady spot below an enormous tree. Painted doorways line up alongside a chain-link fence, creating privateness from the neighbors’ yard play house.

A desk mosaicked with bottle caps shows a green-dish succulent planter. Caps from not too long ago imbibed drinks add a colourful mulch.

What a splendidly artistic backyard — and residential — to revisit. Thanks, Cynthia, for sharing it with me once more!

To learn extra about Cynthia’s backyard and see a “earlier than” image, take a look at my weblog put up from July 2019.

I welcome your feedback; please scroll to the top of this put up to go away one. When you’re studying this in a subscription electronic mail, click on right here to go to Digging and discover the remark field on the finish of every put up.


Digging Deeper: Information and Upcoming Occasions

Want design assist together with your yard? Rent me as your private backyard coach! Possibly you want substitute plant concepts after the massive freeze. Or possibly your landscaping has grown drained, and also you need contemporary curb attraction. Or maybe you’re able to do away with some garden and create a pollinator backyard, chicken habitat, or hangout house for you and your pals. I’m right here to assist! Contact me to let me know what’s occurring, and let’s determine it out collectively. My vary is Austin and suburbs inside a 25-min. drive of NW Austin, however I’m versatile and might journey farther with a surcharge, so let me know the place you might be. Weekday morning appts. solely.

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