501Der Women 2024: Boldly Begley

By Donna Benton

There’s a well-worn anecdote often imparted upon couples who are building a new home. The particular wisecrack involves an exclamation of disbelief that the pair have been able to maintain their happy marriage during such a stressful and trying endeavor as homebuilding. It is true that building a home always comes with a little pain, but it is not as hard as riding one of those bicycles built for two, which I think is a much better test of a couple’s enduring compatibility.

Photos by Makenzie Evans

Yes, building a home can be challenging, but Katie and Nick Begley have built three of them and are none the worse for wear! Now, I’m not going to tell you that it is all peace and tranquility in the third and most current Begley home. After all, Katie is as sweet as strawberry pie, but she is also a fiery redhead who ain’t afraid of nothing, and their boys, Grant and Grahl, are young, high-octane thrill-seekers who like to punk one another. Nick mans the kitchen with a hot fire and the music cranking, and Allie the dog likes to launch big air off the back of the sofa (That’s lifestyle performance fabric on the sectional, of course). Usually, this is all going at a fever pitch that seems at first like anarchy but then melds into an enjoyable accord that keeps the Begleys going strong.

Katie and Allie snuggling in an oversized down chair that got a fresh look with new plaid upholstery. The Begleys do lots of living in the living room, so we made sure to select fabrics that are pet and family friendly and hold up to real life, ready for worry-free relaxation and an occasional dogpile.

Katie is a Wonder Woman who can find peace in the eye of the storm. If you have taken a header off your bike lately or if your gallbladder has exploded, you might recognize Katie patching you up in the emergency department at Conway Regional Hospital. When she’s not patching wounds and saving lives, her alter ego can be found enhancing natural beauty at Begley Aesthetics. Her eye for beauty and the grace under pressure required in the ER also suit her perfectly to handle the rigors of contracting her own home, which she does with extraordinary special powers. Every superhero needs a sidekick, so when Katie called for my help with design, I pulled on my stretchy tights and came running! 

It took an arduous search to find the blue beaded chandelier framed by the arched tub nook. It’s the same dramatic blue we used on the paneled walls in the adjoining bedroom.

Katie envisioned native stone and natural beams to complement the rustic setting. We located a fellow just down the road who reclaims old beams and recycles them for new construction. After a Saturday afternoon in his workshop experimenting with different wood species, stains and textures, the look and feel was beginning to take shape. From that beam color, we selected stone for the fireplace, matched flooring, paint colors, the kitchen countertop and even the fabric for the living room sofa.

Katie wanted to soften the look of the stone and beams with arched doorways and elements. We made sure to play off of the arches and add subtle curves whenever we could. You know the craftsmen love it when you start talking about curves! We used curves in the marble countertop surround, curves in the fireplace design and vent hood, arched mirrors in the master bath and counters, arched panels on the dining room walls, and a fabulous natural wood cathedral ceiling in the entryway. Repeating this arched shape throughout the house enhanced the custom look and thoughtful design.

Katie had her heart set on some natural stone sinks for the master bath, so we headed to the legendary Antique Show in Round Top, Texas. We found those stone sinks, some vintage lighting and some fabulous old tile from a French chateau that we used in the laundry room. Yes, we found a trailer load of other cool stuff while we were there! Vintage art and décor really make for an authentic old world feel. And a set of antique worn leather dining chairs helps a custom sofa table turn double duty as overflow dining. The hunt for historic one-of-a-kind pieces to incorporate into the design is all part of the fun.

A white oak island and marble backsplash add earthy elegance to the kitchen.

Contracting your own home, especially while balancing a family and career, is no easy task. It takes a lot of hands-on communication to get your design ideas into the heads and hands of the craftsmen building your home. In the Begleys’ home, there were lots of sawdust sessions where designs were laid out and crafted into reality, lots of flashlight trips to check on the day’s work. Some days, we admired the beauty of those ideas becoming reality, and sometimes, we had to take a step back and rework something that didn’t come out as expected. Sticking to your guns to get what you want takes a lot of resolve for a homeowner when deadlines are looming and spirits are growing weary, but a beautiful home is always worth the labor of love.