Even before there was a single house in Overton Walk, Ryan and Britt Bowker decided to build in the new development off Old Hammond Highway.
"We love this part of town, and the developers were willing to build a home that would work for us," Ryan Bowker said.
The Bowkers were the first to pick a lot in the 17-home site developed by Onsight Design. Working with founding principal Mike Hogstrum and architect Stephanie Potter, the Bowkers built their dream home and moved in in last August.
"All we told Stephanie is that we wanted a courtyard, and she came up with the layout 100 percent," Britt Bowker said. "We wanted a house that would be attractive to young families."
Potter designed what she calls a "transitional-style" home, not traditional, but not super contemporary. The idea was to use classic materials in a forward-thinking way.
"That way the house ages well," Potter said.
Instead of dedicating space to a backyard, the home was designed to use some of that space as a courtyard in the front of the house.
"We needed the courtyard for our dogs and as a place for children to play," said Ryan Bowker, the business development manager for Shell Oil Co.
The other part of the courtyard is a covered outdoor kitchen and seating area that opens to the main room of the house.
"The idea is that when we have guests, they can go into the exterior spaces without going through the house," said Britt Bowker, who recruits physicians for the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady.
The entry is through the courtyard with a second front door that opens to a foyer, leading to the home's main room on the right.
With 12-foot ceilings, the room has an open plan with the kitchen adjacent to the living room and the dining area in an alcove centered on the kitchen.
"The idea is that everyone would want to congregate in the center of the house," Britt Bowker said. "With this plan, the whole house becomes more usable."
Interior designer Kristin Stafford assisted Britt Bowker in selecting materials for the house including engineered hardwood flooring in a light stain that ties the public areas together.
"It doesn't scratch," Britt Bowker said. "It doesn't show dog hair."
The floor complements the dove white walls throughout the home.
"We wanted to pick fun furniture," she said. "We didn't want the walls to speak to you. We wanted them to be the background."
Stafford also helped pick other easy-care materials for the young mother of two.
"She gave me functionality," Britt Bowker said. "I wanted peacock pavers for the front entrance, but she recommended a stone we could pressure wash."
The master bedroom is to the left of the entrance, with a nearby wine bar, coffee bar and the study — which has been converted for now to a nursery for baby Merritt Kathyrn, born on Dec. 22. To the back of the main room is a separate wing with a mudroom, a bath and two bedrooms — a guest room and one for the Bowkers' daughter, 2-year-old McClain.
A stairway leads to a study-playroom upstairs, which Ryan Bowker is now using as an office.
The Bowker house was the first house completed in the development, but five others are in the process of being finished.
"It's a mix of all ages building here," Britt Bowker said. "There are empty-nesters and young families like ours."