Behind The Divine New Look Of A Texas Home That Belonged To A Bishop


house with a stucco exterior...

With a creamy stucco exterior and terra-cotta roof tiles, this Austin home’s architecture recalls that of old Texas. Heritage oak trees cast dappled shade onto Saltillo tile steps leading to the front door, which is accented by a hanging lantern by St. James Lighting.

red-clay tile patio seating area...

This red-clay tile patio houses modern caned lounge seating by Summer Classics, cushions of cabana-striped Kravet outdoor fabric and a concrete modular coffee table by CB2.

white entry hall with black...

Custom blackened-copper pendants by Bradley Lighting coordinate with both Kelly Wearstler for Visual Comfort and Mr. Brown London sconces in the entry hall. A painting by Santa Fe artist Erin Cone presides over a settee in Schumacher’s Luna linen.

living room with ample sunshine...

Draperies in Jim Thompson Fabrics’ Palampore linen speak to art by Karen Smidth over the family room fireplace. An Oly chandelier lights Lee Industries stools in Virginia White Collection linen. Aerin lamps flank pillows in an Hermès textile.

dramatic dining room with fantastical...

Kit Kemp’s Mythical Land wallpaper and a ceiling painted Farrow & Ball’s Pitch Black give the dining room a fantastical quality. An inherited Staffordshire collection lines Highland House étagères customized in coral lacquer. The raw-crystal chandelier suspends above a table by Iatesta Studio.

kitchen with statement backsplash

Tabarka Studio tiles from Architerra climb up the kitchen backsplash, coordinating with malachite-and-brass cabinet knobs by Modern Matter. Regina Andrew’s French Maid chandeliers illuminate counter stools by Gabby. The Ilve range pairs with a Newport Brass faucet.

breezy patio with dining table...

A breezy patio accommodates dining amongst lush plantings finessed by Stronger Than Dirt Gardens. Vibrant tablecloths from Furbish Studio accent the teak dining table and Ridgeline armchairs from Terrain.

main bathroom with a mix...

Textiles originally from the Lakai Uzbeks in Afghanistan line the primary bedroom walls. Oly’s Marco bed complements Alan Campbell’s Silvio linen on the settee. Fanny Shorter’s fabric peeks from behind Matouk bedding.

powder room with statement wallpaper

The powder room’s vintage cabinet sits below a Chelsea House mirror and custom Moroccan-style sconce by Tazi Designs. Kit Kemp’s Wychwood wallpaper from Kravet extends into the vestibule.

main bathroom with patterned tiles

A frameless glass shower in the primary bathroom ensures unobstructed views of patterned tiles from Clay Imports installed by Barrett Flooring + Design. Laura Kirar’s Filamento chandelier for Arteriors references Aerin’s Beaumont sconces above the RH vanities.

study with black-painted doors and...

Farrow & Ball’s Pitch Black adds gravitas to arched doorways in a study adjacent to the primary bedroom. A caned chair holds cushions in Stevie Howell fabric from Supply Showroom.

Something seems fated about the home designer Shazalynn Cavin Winfrey has made her own in Austin. She wasn’t even in Texas when the residence came on the market, but she immediately knew it was special. “I texted my husband, who was nearby, and said, ‘the minute you wake up, get in the car and go over there,’” recounts the designer, recalling how she fell in love with the property sight unseen.

Seated on one of the highest points in the city, the home had previously belonged to Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, whose bishop lived there for more than 40 years. It had served as a parsonage, providing living quarters for the bishop as well as plentiful spaces for hosting parishioners and visiting clergy. However, the abode’s traditional hallmarks—white stucco, stacked stone, red-clay floors, terra-cotta roof tiles—resonated with the designer, who spent much of her life in the western part of the state and was anxious to find her way back. “There was something old-school Texas about this architecture,” she muses.

When Cavin Winfrey finally set foot on the property, she found a tangle of overgrowth. Taming the vast landscape included preserving its heritage trees, inserting a sleek swimming pool and updating the bishop’s four beloved terraces—with one perfectly positioned to soak up the area’s golden sunsets. Interior design decisions were similarly predicated on natural light, with the floor plan preserving outdoor access from virtually every room and hallway. From there, a family room was captured for a daughter’s bedroom, the dining room was swapped with the living area, and an upstairs apartment kitchen was converted to a closet. 

Meanwhile, the kitchen was reconfigured for both beauty and functionality. Here, the influence of Cavin Winfrey’s former culinary arts career is evident in the custom private-label cabinetry as well as the layout. “Most professional kitchens have a galley style, and that’s my preference,” the designer shares. “I think zones are important, and keeping the working area and serving area separate.” One end of the space features an entertaining station complete with a refrigerator in Kelly green—a hue repeated on a lacquered china cabinet that anchors the opposing breakfast nook. The color choice is a nod to the bishop’s annual Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations but is also a direct response to the natural surroundings. “I believe a house will tell you what it should be,” explains Cavin Winfrey.

Verdant hues also appear prominently in a Jack-and-Jill bathroom, which the designer clad in handmade ceramic tiles. Teamed with patterned selections adorning the stair risers and running up the kitchen backsplash, the tile assortments have the added benefit of appearing original to the house. “It was a tribute to my Southwestern roots,” she describes, “that 50 years ago, materials would have been made and sourced locally with indigenous qualities.”

Complementing the spaces are favorite pieces that have followed Cavin Winfrey and her family from place to place. “I can’t think of a single item in this house that doesn’t fit better here than it did anywhere else,” she expresses. In the dining room, a raw-crystal chandelier from a previous residence illuminates a backdrop of scenic wallpaper bedecked with fanciful creatures. And an inherited collection of Staffordshire figurines feels right at home atop twin étagères tucked into the window niches. Adds the designer: “These pieces are about our history and the ancestors who have helped deliver us to this place.”

It was much the same case for the couple’s eclectic collection of art. “Truthfully, I only purchased one new piece for this home,” Cavin Winfrey reveals. Framed textiles—originally from the Lakai Uzbeks in Afghanistan—hang in the primary bedroom, conversing with a mix of Southwest-style and other vibrant rugs throughout the interiors. In a daughter’s bedroom, art pops against sketchy grid-like walls underscoring the designer’s deftness for combining scales and patterns. While in the entryway, a small landscape of her native New Mexico suspends above seven tortoise shells, and a cherished angel figurine poses within a niche retained during the renovation.

The residence is a sacred vignette of sorts—one that honors Cavin Winfrey’s story as much as that of the bishop before her. “There has been a spiritual journey in arriving to this home,” the designer notes. “I know this place has a history, a divinity, and those are my touchstones.”