The Boneyard at Round Top Spring 2019
the ideal second home for Barnwood Builders.
The Boneyard at Round Top is the ideal second home for Barnwood Builders.
“Round Top is the perfect town for Barnwood Builders’ expansion into Texas,” said Mark Bowe, who specializes in recovering and restoring 19th century hand-hewn log and timber frame structures. “Because the antiques show is only twice a year, we are able to manage our resources and test the market without permanently relocating our team.”
Bowe and David Snell are working together on this new Texas outpost, where they are also joined by a number of antiques, art, home decor and vintage dealers during the Round Top Antiques Show. Following a soft opening in Fall 2018, the duo will host dealers in seven barns encompassing 20,000 square feet beginning March 21 and running through April 7.
“We are focusing on showing people how barns can be repurposed for today’s living,” Snell said. “With Mark’s sourcing, we will have cabins and barns on-site — ready to be sited in a new location.”
Bowe, a West Virginia native and a self-described serial entrepreneur, began his unique, history-tinged business in 1996 under the banner of Antique Cabins and Barns. In 2011, the DIY Network introduced Antique Cabins and Barns based in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., to the nation as Barnwood Builders. The show’s eighth season will air in spring 2019 with the previous seasons being enjoyed by audiences around the globe. The team is preparing for a ninth season.
Texas, especially the Hill Country with its German-inspired vernacular architecture and growing population, has been a strong market for the company.
“We have always appreciated the German heritage and craftsmanship in the Hill Country, but we had completed projects throughout the state,” Bowe said.
The Snell Connection
A cabin in New Braunfels was the genesis for the friendship between Bowe and David and Cheryl Snell that eventually led to the new business partnership responsible for The Boneyard at Round Top.
“The Snells were clients and they introduced us to the Round Top Antiques Show several years ago,” Bowe said. “We finished their project, but our friendship continued to grow—and we had an opportunity to go into business together.”
The opportunity arrived when, a five-acre antiques venue with a prime location on Highway 237 just one mile north of Round Top became available.
“Our location is perfect,” Bowe said. “We are right next door to The Arbors-Round Top and just across the road from Paul Michael’s Market Hill—two of the most respected venues in the entire antiques show.
“We want The Boneyard to become a destination location—one of a handful of must see locations when the crowds come to Round Top.”
In short order, the partners developed the property’s infrastructure and laid the foundation for the future. The first phase included roads, parking and four covered pavilions to showcase vendors. The team, using Barnwood Builders’ signature materials, also constructed a Round Top showroom to house Barnwood Living merchandise. During the building process, the team experienced one of the community’s best attributes.
“I have never felt more at home, more welcome and more appreciated than I did when we began working in Round Top,” said Bowe, who, like the other members of Barnwood Builders, was reared in a small town. “We didn’t get the ‘OMG, it’s a TV star treatment. We got the ‘Love your show, Mark and if y’all need anything, I’m just up the road’ treatment.”
The fall’s soft opening was just a small taste of what shoppers can expect in the spring.
By the spring, the new location will be common knowledge among the show’s legions of fans. The Boneyard at Round Top and the surrounding area are featured in two episodes.
“We will also be a hosting a meet and greet with the entire Barnwood Builders team in Round Top,” Bowe said. “Details will be announced so keep an eye on our social media and website.”
While the team will be on-site for a limited amount of time, their craftsmanship will be on display for the entire run of the show.
“We have 5 acres and plan on using every square inch of it,” Bowe said.
Currently, the team anticipates building a timber-frame barn and several log-and-timber models featuring 18th and 19th century building materials. One model will have an extra dose of historic appeal.
“We’re building a replica of Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood cabin,” said Bowe, noting the first Lincoln replica the team constructed is housed at the Abraham Lincoln National Presidential Library.
All models are for sale.
“Our work allows people to own a unique piece of Americana,” Bowe said.
And while the team is committed to offering a mix of high-quality goods, they are less concerned with what those products are than with the feelings the products inspire.
“We want to fill The Boneyard with vendors who love what they do,” Bowe said. “We all know what it feels like to walk into a vendor space that radiates pride. We’re all about pride and craftsmanship in our own lives—and that will be reflected at The Boneyard.”
In the short term, The Boneyard at Round Top will be open during the antiques show. In the long-term, it the team is considering various development options.