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If the outside of Bonnie and Armon’s house looks like an “after” from Fixer Upper, you’re not too far off: no, Chip and Jo haven’t lent a helping hand, but B + A do live in Waco, and I think there just might be some decorating fairy dust in the water! Bonnie and Armon have spent many hours on their bungalow, crafting a space that’s just right for their current lifestyle, and it shows. Come take a peek!

Bigs hugs to Rachel Whyte for these photographs! (And don’t miss Rachel’s own home tour, as actually seen on Fixer Upper!)

P.S. Fun fact: Bonnie appeared as a bridesmaid model in one of our Volume 6 editorials! See if you can spot her here :)

The couple: Bonnie (25) and Armon (26)
Years married: Four
Where you live: Waco, Texas
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Armon is a full-time student finishing a degree in International Studies at Baylor University after serving four years in the Air Force. I’m the owner of b is for bonnie design, where I partner with creative entrepreneurs to bring their brand stories to life through heartfelt design and strategy, as well as the founder of the Illume Retreat. When we’re not in class or hard at work, we love to romp around in the great outdoors with our rambunctious one-year-old golden retriever, Boone, or you can find us in the kitchen attempting a new recipe. We’re almost fanatical in our love of Tex-Mex, and love any excuse to host a taco-inspired soirée in our home.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Best friends turned college sweethearts who fall hopelessly in love and weather years of long distance dating before getting hitched and exploring the world together!
What is your favorite part of being married? We are crazy about the fact that we get to walk through life together as a team. At the risk of sounding cliché, we strive to bring out the best in one another in all seasons. Armon challenges me to let go of my Type A ways and I help ground his big ideas with a more honed sense of focus. Together, we feel unstoppable!

Do you rent or own? Tell us a little bit about where you live. We own our sweet little slice of heaven here in Waco! Our home was built in the 1940s, and for all its quirks, it has so much character that we adore. Armon and I met, built a friendship, and fell in love in Waco. Our story truly started here, and to be able to spend this next chapter in a city we love so much is a true joy.
Tell us about the process of moving in together. Prior to our wedding, Armon was living in military housing on base all the way out in California. When we moved in together, I brought what little furniture I had from college, which was mostly vintage pieces, to our little apartment. We quickly furnished the space with finds from Target and IKEA, and over the years, we’ve been thoughtfully replacing those budget-friendly items with pieces that will stand the test of time. My style is bright and full of light and feminine details, while Armon would like everything to be made out of wood, preferably in a dark stain. Blending our two styles took a lot of experimentation, a lot of discussion, and some big compromises on his part. In the end, we’ve focused on filling out our home with neutral hues, cozy textures, and an intentional mix of masculine and feminine details.

What most makes your house feel like home? I think the art throughout each room adds that personal touch that brings it all together. Armon and I like to collect a piece of art whenever we travel to new places, so the prints, paintings, and ceramics throughout our home carry special memories and fun anecdotes. Some pieces were budget finds and others were more of a splurge, but each one is special in its own way and adds so much warmth and personality to every room.
Who cooks dinner? I usually do, but over this past summer, Armon has really stepped into that role to help me out while I prepped for an online course launch. Regardless of who the chef of the day is, we like both be in the kitchen at the same time, helping each other prep and clean while catching up on our days.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? We’re big Tex-Mex fans in this house! Tacos with homemade chips and salsa are a go-to weeknight meal for us. I’m a vegetarian and Armon isn’t, and tacos are easily customizable to fit both of our dietary preferences.

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? Strong boundaries that separate your work, outside commitments, or school load from the time spent with your spouse make all the difference! As a creative entrepreneur who works from a home studio, I don’t have the option to physically leave work each night to come home for dinner. Instead, we’ve worked hard to thoughtfully create a system of boundaries with clients, my office hours, and even my business’ social media accounts so we can be fully present when we’re together. As Armon has gone back to school, we’ve applied a similar approach to his class work so we can purposefully spend meals and evenings together for good conversation and much-needed quality time!

Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? When the intensity of Texas summers starts to wane a bit, we love to visit our favorite vantage point in Cameron Park, Waco’s beautiful municipal green space. Here, we can perch on top of a limestone cliff and look over the Brazos River and the surrounding valley, soak up the sunset, and chat openly about how we can love one another better in the week ahead. In the thick of summer when being outdoors at any hour isn’t too fun, we opt to grab appetizers and drinks at our favorite restaurant during happy hour, where we can chat, people watch, and fill up on our favorite eats.

This year, our family is most excited about… continuing to turn our house into our dream home! We’re currently furnishing our patio space to turn it into an outdoor haven, and are adding a few finishing touches throughout the interior, too.

Thank you so much for sharing your hearts and home with us, Bonnie and Armon!

A little reminder: we’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – not just folks who write blogs (though we love them, too!), but also your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Our Waco, TX Home Tour Featured on Southern Weddings reply

    […] how we meshed our decorating styles together to turn this space into our home! Head on over for the full post, […]

  2. avatar b is for bonnie design | brand design, strategy & education for creative boss ladies | Our Waco, TX Home Tour Featured on Southern Weddings reply

    […] how we meshed our decorating styles together to turn this space into our home! Head on over for the full post, […]

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Friends, there is so much to love about today’s home tour, our kick-off of 2015! My first impression of Val and Tyler’s bungalow was that it was simple, calming, and clutter-free, so I wasn’t surprised to read that that’s the look they’re going for: “Having a peaceful, simple home is super important to us. We have places in our home that look bare and probably unfinished to others, but to us, it is perfect. It is so easy to outgrow a house, simply by filling it with too much stuff.” Read on for much more wisdom from this sweet and creative pair, and an exciting discount from Val’s shop!

Big hugs to Ashleigh Jayne for these lovely photos!

The couple: Valerie (29) and Tyler (30)
Years married: 4 1/2
Where they live: Lafayette, Louisiana
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Valerie is the owner of Val Marie Paper and designs wedding stationery and prayer journals. Tyler is owner of Pixelbrush Studios and develops websites. Two business owners means date nights involve trying to figure out how many tables a restaurant has to seat to turn a profit or daydreaming about our goals.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We became best friends and stayed that way for a year and a half, tried to start a business together (!), and finally realized we wanted to be best friends for life.
What is your favorite part of being married? The laughter. We are so silly and weird together. That feeling that you are totally accepted just as you are is amazing.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? You hear people talk about getting comfortable and the relationship changing from puppy love to becoming an old married couple, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are incredible perks to being an “old married couple.” You learn to communicate, so big fights are now short “discussions,” and once you learn how to be a “we,” you are more laid back with things.

Tell us a little bit about where you live. We just bought our first home this past summer. We live in traditional neighborhood development and are surrounded by family. There is always something fun happening here!
Tell us about the process of moving in together. This was pretty easy. Tyler tells everyone his life was definitely upgraded when he got married–sheets on the mattress, purified water filters, and everything! ;) Our style has developed and changed over the years, especially as we’ve both had to hone in on our business brands. It has influenced our home life tremendously, and we are much more confident with our style now!

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? Our living room. We have almost two walls completely covered in windows that overlook a bunch of big oaks and our porches.
What most makes your house feel like home? Our house was prayed for for so long. Being here is a constant reminder of how God’s plan is so much bigger (and better) than ours. We were originally going to build a house somewhere else several years ago, but Tyler got cold feet. I was devastated and tired of waiting, but didn’t want to push it if God was leading him in this decision. Had I forced it, we never would be where we are now! There are days when I’ll start the “I wish our house had…” and I have to snap back to reality and gratitude for the many blessings we have.
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? We splurged on the house, which has great bones, so we’ve been able to save on actual items. We have tons of Ikea furniture, World Market pieces, and hand-me-downs.

What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Two moments really stand out for me. We wrote our own vows and shared them with each other for the first time during our first look. Also, when we got to the front of the aisle, I took a deep breath and looked out at all the faces in the crowd. This was my way of switching gears and slowing down to enjoy the celebration.
How do you remember your wedding in your home? We have our favorite print from our wedding hanging in our bedroom and a shelf in our living room with our wedding album and polaroids.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? The dishes. We got simple ivory dishes from Bed, Bath & Beyond. They definitely seemed like a boring choice at the time, but we still love them!
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? A nicer knife set. We got one of the least expensive ones because we thought knives were knives. It’s already time to invest in a new set!
Who cooks dinner? Tyler does! This started when I was nauseous while pregnant with Vivi. I never really took the kitchen back over once we realized he was the better cook!
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? Tyler gets so creative, we rarely have the same meal twice, but he does indulge me by serving a lemon chicken pasta from The Pioneer Woman every few weeks. In the winter on weekends, it’s a chicken and sausage gumbo.

What’s your favorite place to find recipes? Tyler loves going to YouTube for cooking techniques. I hear a lot about a “Chef John.” ;)
How does your family handle finances? Do you use a set budget? I handle the daily finances and Tyler is in charge of big picture finances (like retirement and taxes).
What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? We just started doing a family meeting on Sunday mornings during a big, relaxing breakfast before church. We go over each other’s schedules and any special things we need to know. I also talk about un-fun topics like health insurance and other things that I don’t like to bog our weeknights down with.

Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? Our favorite at-home date nights involve what we call the “super couch.” We move our mattress into the living room and eat take out in bed and watch a movie! After a long work day, it’s the perfect way to relax.
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? I tidy the house before he gets home and always try to greet him at the door with a smile and a kiss!

Do you have children? What are your hopes and plans for the future in this area? Yes! One sweet 16-month-old named Vivi Mae. We are hoping to add to our family soon!
Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… more of the positives and less of the negatives. I know it’s good to be prepared, and I don’t think we need to hide the hard stuff, but I remember being engaged and burnt out hearing about how hard things were going to be for the first week/month/year.

Is there anything else about your home or family life that you think our readers would be interested in? Having a peaceful, simple home is super important to us. We have places in our home that look bare and probably unfinished to others, but to us, it is perfect. It is so easy to outgrow a house, simply by filling it with too much stuff. Living in a two-bedroom, 800-square-foot apartment with a newborn and a stationery shop taught us so much about simplifying our things. Our mission when we doubled our space with our new home was to not lose the white space, and instead, to embrace it.

We’re so grateful to Val and Tyler for sharing their hearts and home with us! Be sure to follow along with Val on her blog and on instagram. And be sure to stop by her shop – Val just released her “Marriage Field Guide,” a conversation-starter and guide for married and engaged couples. She’s offering 10% off to y’all with code ILOVESWMAG!

A little reminder: we’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – not just folks who write blogs (though we love them, too!), but also your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

emily Written with love by Emily
6 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Your house is adorable, and I love your thoughts on keeping it clutter free! And I am super jealous of you living so close to so much family! :)

  2. avatar Valerie reply

    Thanks so much for having me!! I have absolutely loved this series and so honored to be a part of it! :)

  3. avatar Valerie reply

    Yes! Emily, it is so nice. I think we both were a little nervous at first but it’s been a great thing!

  4. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    Oh I love Val! She has such a sweet spirit :)

  5. avatar Mackenzie reply

    What brand are the shades on the bedroom windows?

  6. avatar Melissa Joynson reply

    Love the simplicity of this home! It is beautiful. If you do not mind me asking, what is the name of the blue paint color you used in the bedroom? It is lovely.

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I think it’s safe to say that the entire Southern Weddings office, led by yours truly, is smitten with Abby and Alex. We had the pleasure of featuring their beautiful wedding in our latest issue (you must pick up a copy to see it if you haven’t already!), and after getting to know them a bit, knew they’d be perfect for our Southern Newlywed column, too. Even with just eight months of marriage under their belt, they have lots of wisdom, as well as the coziest home, to share. Friends, please enjoy this holiday tour! P.S. You better believe that if their Chattanooga move goes through, we’ll be knocking on their new door in a few months to see their new digs!

Big hugs to our friends at A Bryan Photo for these sweet photos!

The couple: Abby Bowlin, 26, and Alex Bowlin, 25
Years married: 0 years, 8 months!
Where you live: Birmingham, AL
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Alex and I are settling into married life, meaning we are still thrilled by Chinese takeout on the sofa, and we squeal when we get to buy things like house plants (okay, only I do the squealing). Alex is a true outdoorsman who would give anything to grow a beard, and I’m a wannabe foodie who recently launched a calligraphy business. We are bonded by our faith and intense love for our families, and we think marriage is just about the best thing ever.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We pretty much agreed on our first date that we could get married, so he put a ring on it five months later.
What is your favorite part of being married? We love that time together gets to be our default mode. It hit us on our honeymoon that synchronizing schedules was a thing of the past. No more driving across town to hang out or meeting for a quick coffee date before work. Our coffee dates now happen on our own front porch, and it is quite glorious.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? I have been the most surprised by just how much fun boy roommates can be. I was scared to trade in my BFFs with their fully accessible closets for wet towels and drawers full of camo. As it turns out, Alex is tidier than I am, and he kills bugs like nobody’s business! Double whammy!

Tell us a little bit about where you live. We rent our little bungalow, and we’re already sad about moving out one day. Our church is in our neighborhood, along with a handful of close friends, so we’re pretty much set in the community department. Birmingham has really boomed in the last few years and has incredible restaurants and a thriving artistic community. We love our city for its culture and our neighborhood for its small-town feel.

How do you remember your wedding in your home? Thankfully, our photographer is also my employer (hey Bryan!), so we have an incredible collection of fine art prints from our wedding. Most are in frames, some are in a fine art box, and we also have a stack of Polaroids from that day sitting in our living room. I love to see friends and family go straight to that stack when they visit; we all get to relive the day together!
What most makes your house feel like home? Our wall of Found Frames is like a permanent scrapbook. It tells the story of our families, our travels, and our road to marriage.

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? We’re definitely still trying to find that balance. Our greatest tip is to over communicate and be really honest about needs/expectations of time spent. We have found that if we secure a couple of nights each week to be at home, just the two of us, then we both feel rested and connected. When we feel connected, we also feel free to work on personal projects or hang with family and friends.

What is your approach to decorating your home for the holidays? Since we are just beginning our collection of Christmas decor, simplicity is our theme this Christmas. I am a huge fan of greenery, so I stocked up at my local wholesale florist for eucalyptus garland, lamb’s ears and all things evergreen. Alex and I picked leaves from a friend’s magnolia tree for our mantel adornment, and I finally let Alex move in his prize buck (Buckey) to join in the reindeer fun. I have found that I really lean towards understated Christmas decor, although I doubt that will last as we just ordered chicken ornaments in honor of our girls!
What is a favorite holiday tradition your family has created post-wedding? Since this is our first Christmas as a married couple, I’m curious to see what traditions will “stick” over the years. So far, I’ve been making homemade Chex Mix like my mom always did, and we’ve been enjoying our church’s daily Advent devotional. Christmas movies at the Alabama Theatre are up next!
How do you navigate the holidays with your extended families? Thankfully, both of our families live in Alabama, so we’ll be spending the couple of days leading up to Christmas with Alex’s family and will head down to be with mine on Christmas day! We are fortunate to have flexible families who are simply thankful for the times we can all be together.

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? Since we are renting, we vowed to only invest in items that we can take with us to our next home. That means no to painting the walls and yes to refinishing an inherited buffet. I am an avid antique hunter (I can’t say no to ironstone), and I think vintage treasures make a home’s furnishings feel collected over time. At the same time, I love modern design elements, and hit up Target and Domino Magazine’s online storefront to find trendier pieces.
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? We totally agree on this one. Our favorite moment took place during our ceremony; our family and friends joined as we collectively sang “Come Thou Fount,” our favorite hymn.

Tell us about the process of moving in together. Poor Alex. He graciously goes along with my design ideas and style (usually). Thankfully, cowhide rugs and antlers are very much in style, so those are basically his only decor items that have found permanent places in our house. Our most famous design compromise to date was our dining room chairs. I was craving ultra-modern metal, while Alex is a big fan of cross-back farm chairs. After he announced that our future children would NOT be forced to freeze on metal seats, we compromised on our modern (but not cold) acrylic ghost chairs.
Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? We love our dining room because it is right in the center of our house; everyone congregates there. Hosting family and friends is our favorite thing to do, and we have been known to squeeze up to seven people around our four-person table.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? We registered for beautiful Italian pottery that sits in our china cabinet. We use it to serve guests for special occasions, but get to enjoy it as decor every day!
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? There are a few random kitchen gadgets that I never thought I’d use but have bought since our wedding as I become a bit more kitchen-savvy. My list includes a citrus squeezer (hand squeezing is for the birds…and those pesky seeds!) and a pastry blender (I’m trying my hand at homemade quiche!).

Who cooks dinner? I’m tempted to say that I usually cook dinner, but it’s probably 50/50. My cooking usually involves a researched recipe, new-to-me ingredients, and a sink full of dishes. Alex, on the other hand, has this crazy awesome talent of impromptu meal creating. He somehow uses whatever food we have and only a cast iron skillet to make dinner. It’s always delicious, and his “House Scramble” is something to write home about.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? We’re all about the bowl movement for the weeknights. Haven’t heard of it? You just make food and place it all in a bowl. Our favorite combo is quinoa + black beans + veggies + pork. Try it. We like to splurge on the weekends by visiting our favorite restaurants. You can’t beat a burger at Melt or El Barrio’s Saturday brunch.
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? We would eat all organic, farm fresh food if possible, and we love to find chefs and cooks who create recipes with whole foods. I love the Sprouted Kitchen blog, and Alex and I are currently obsessed with Vivian Howard, the star of A Chef’s Life. I made her raw veggie salad for Thanksgiving, and only a few family members turned their noses up at the brussels sprouts. Oh, and Alex is currently looking into buying a heritage hog to butcher and eat?!?!

Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? We have made it a Sunday tradition to head to Whole Foods after our church’s afternoon service. We eat at their central restaurant for dinner and shop for groceries afterwards. Our bank account isn’t necessarily loving this tradition, but what can we say? We’re suckers for cheese samples.
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? Alex is service-oriented by nature. In fact, when Bryan came over to shoot us in our home, I admitted that the most natural setting would be Alex making us coffee while I chat away at our counter. Knowing that Alex feels deeply cared for by acts of service, I try to surprise him with a swept porch or freshly folded laundry (it’s the little things, right?). Oh, and I try to never leave the grocery store without a sweet treat for my man.
Do you have children? We don’t have children yet, but we’re both hopeful for a big family (and feel called to adoption as well).

Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… that marriage is sooooo much better than engagement. Whew.
This year, our family is most excited about… our potential move! As sad as it will be to leave Birmingham, Alex has a job opportunity in Chattanooga, TN. We’re both Alabama natives, so this season will be full of adventure as we explore a brand new (but still Southern) state!
Is there anything else about your home or family life that you think our readers would be interested in? Alex is a hardcore animal lover. He also loves his parents’ farm. So how do you fulfill those kinds of loves in a small house with no yard and close neighbors? You build a chicken coop and adopt the stray cat from down the street. We started with two hens, Ina Garten and Martha Stewart, and we have since added Ree Drummond and Boots with the Fur (Boots has lots of feathers on her feet. What a cutie). We feel like such hipsters with our fresh eggs, just living the urban farm life. In actuality, Alex takes care of the chickens, and I just decorate their coop and collect the pretty eggs.

We’re so grateful to Abby and Alex for sharing their hearts and home with us! Be sure to follow along with them:
Abby’s calligraphy
Abby on Instagram
Alex on Instagram

P.S. We’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

emily Written with love by Emily
8 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Seriously, Abby and Alex are the coolest. So inspired by their marriage, their friendship, and their style!

  2. avatar Christy reply

    Abby & Alex, we would love to welcome you in Chattanooga! Our little city is growing in great ways, but doing everything it can to keep its small town feel. If you ever need advice, please let me know!

  3. avatar Kristina reply

    So pretty! Love your wall display of wedding photos!

  4. avatar Laura reply

    Although I am a born and bred North Carolinian, Chattanooga is my favorite southern city. I think you’ll love it! Speaking of love, that magnolia leaf garland on your mantel is to die for!

  5. avatar linda reply

    I just love these two.

  6. avatar Stephanie Creekmur reply

    Such a beautiful home and what a treat to spot my Hey Y’all print in that gorgeous gallery wall! So happy to play a small part in your home! <3

  7. avatar Kelly reply

    The chicken names!! Ina Garten and Boots with the fur!!! I’m dying. :-)

  8. avatar Callie reply

    Alex, you are probably the most famous hipster cousin I have ;) . We need to visit y’all now,

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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