When she first stepped foot in her new home on Towhee Drive in Buda 18 years ago, Missy Stephenson didn’t just see a single-story ranch-style residence.
She saw a fresh canvas.
Drawing inspiration from a variety of sources, Stephenson fulfilled the desire to paint her world as she saw fit. A world that called for pastel colors, stripes, polka dots in the interior and various matching accoutrements that all expressed the joy she feels in her heart on a daily basis.
“All the people who have come to see my home, they’ve had many wonderful comments,” Stephenson said. “Many say they can feel the joy and the love. They say it’s amazing as busy as it is, but it goes.”
So when Missy and her husband opted to downsize and put their house on the market several months ago, they had hoped to find someone who would equally appreciate the home’s interior.
What they didn’t expect was how their little home in Leisurewoods became an overnight viral sensation. Their listing on Redfin.com has generated more than 1.7 million views as of May 21.
Amid the notoriety, both Stephenson and her husband hope to find the right person who might keep the joy that’s lasted for nearly two decades.
“You know, my home isn’t going to be for everybody. But it’s going to be for somebody out there that’s different like me,” Stephenson said. “I’m not the only different person in the world.”
Moving in, color out
Stephenson’s path toward self-expression began when she and her husband purchased their home on Towhee in 2001. Previously, the couple had lived in a small home in Dripping Springs, but opted for a move to accommodate for the birth of their son.
While Stephenson loved the house, she didn’t like the feel of the white wallpaper with floral print. A request to her husband led to rose, yellow and blue colored walls that more closely fit Stephenson’s style.
Changes were also made in the kitchen, which had dark oak cabinetry that didn’t jive well with her or her mother.
Instead, she was urged by her mom, who is an interior decorator, to paint the kitchen to her liking. The news came as a surprise to her husband.
“He thought I wasn’t going to paint the kitchen,” Stephenson said. “But I said, ‘Honey, I’m always in the kitchen and it’s dark in here. I have to feel inspired because I’m always in here.’”
While Stephenson contracted someone to paint the cabinets and appliances in her Dripping Springs home, she chose to take a more personal approach.
Over the course of the next three months, and even after the birth of her son Seth, Stephenson made her own mark in the kitchen. She chose to emulate the style of ceramics manufacture Mackenzie Childs, which uses patterns upon patterns on furniture, ornaments and other items. Inspiration came from her own experience as an artist, where she painted “whimsical” images on the cabinet doors.
Stephenson also turned to a higher power for inspiration, too.
“Before I paint, I pray that the Holy Sprit would just let the joy I feel in my heart flow onto the canvas or whatever I’m painting,” Stephenson said.
Stephenson turned to her mom to help with finding accents and trinkets at flea markets and area antique shops that completed the ensemble. Stephenson said she was bit by the creativity bug when living with her mother in El Paso during her childhood. She also extolled her husband for his understanding.
“I’m blessed to have a husband that lets me have a pretty house, because I’m surrounded by all boys,” Stephenson said.
Generating as much internet interest in their listing has been a new experience for the couple. That includes having to deal with those who might disagree with Stephenson’s style. Neither have read, or care about, reviews posted about their home.
Recent weeks have also led to an influx of people calling and asking to check out their home. While they have received offers from prospective clients, they’ve also seen those who wish to check out the uniqueness of the residence.
That includes a burial ground for former rancher George Daniels, his wife and two sons, who once owned the land back in the 1800s. Some have suggested Stephenson turn her home into a museum.
“I’m not always sure if they’re coming to see the home or they’re coming to see the art,” Stephenson said. “I don’t care. Either way is fine with me.”
While in a perfect world Stephenson finds the right match for the house, she also understands her labor of love might not last, either.
“At that point, it’s their house. Once they buy it, I have no say,” Stephenson said.
Painting a new path
Wherever her path might lead, Stephenson has always kept an open mind when it comes to turning art into a hobby or profession.
She’s sold prints of her work to close friends; she’s also helped to paint three refrigerators for her mother.
Stephenson hopes she can foster the love of art in her sons, who both have artistic talents.
“I was told that whenever you keep your gift to the world, that can be selfish. I want to share it,” Stephenson said. “Wherever I go next, I know it will be a brand new canvas. It will work out.”