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Home away from home

(Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to reflect that the contributed photo is by Madelyn Harper)

By Megan Wehring

WIMBERLEY – Just steps away from the heart of downtown Wimberley sits the Bell House – a renovation project that has become a hub for memorable experiences. 

Tracy and Bruce Levinson set out to make the Bell House a gathering place for everyone, including the renovated front porch area with a fire pit. (PHOTO BY MADELYN HARPER)

Located at 300 River Road in Wimberley, the property has worn many hats including a drive-thru snow cone shop, flower shop and the Wimberley Village Thrift Store. The well-known location is now under the ownership of Tracy and Bruce Levinson, who started dreaming of searching for a Texas Hill Country design project in 2018. 

Later in 2019, the property went under a long construction to become the Levinson’s home and a gathering place for special events, cooking classes and rentals.

“We decided to take it down to the studs. It was an 18-month process,” Bruce said. “Rather than just completely demolish it, we knew that it had such a history with the town because of all of the folks that used to volunteer their time in it, and we wanted to honor that. We tried to keep the footprint the same.”

The Bell House has received overwhelming amounts of community support, including being recognized as a recipient of the Keep Wimberley Beautiful Beautification Award. 

“I think [the award]was based on what Tracy was able to accomplish with her interior design mind to create this wonderful welcoming storefront when you walk up,” Bruce said. “It feels like a home where you can operate a business and that’s exactly what our goal was.”

Contributed Photo The Bell House offers a variety of experiences, including cooking classes from local high-end chefs.

Tracy said that they wanted to create a space to host a rehearsal dinner, bridesmaids’ luncheon or a wedding in the Hill Country but they want it to feel like a gathering of friends and family. 

“We have a big dining room where we have table extenders, it’s almost like the Last Supper,” Tracy said. “Everybody can be gathered together and it feels like family.”

With her interior design background, Tracy was overjoyed to be creative with the project. 

“What I loved was making it as beautiful as I could,” Tracy said. “I put in European hardwood floors and even the door handles are acrylic and cool. … We want people to feel like it’s special. We love leaving people a gift [or]an itinerary of all of the fun things they can do.”

While change can be unsettling for some, the Bell House has been welcomed into Wimberley. 

“We have been told by many people that they are very appreciative for the care that we took in making sure that we maintained as much integrity for the sake of having a nice profile in this city,” Bruce said. 

About Author

Megan Navarro (formerly Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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