Dec 1, 2023

The Art of a Welcoming Home

Jenn and Lewis Bear III spent the first year they owned their home on Bayou Texar doing renovations. It started out with a kitchen update and … one thing led to another, ending in remodeling almost every room. Anyone who has ever done a renovation can relate. The Bears knew it was their forever home, so they wanted to get it right.  

“We love the Cordova area of Pensacola; it is convenient to everything Pensacola has to offer,” Lewis Bear III, vice president of The Lewis Bear Company, shared.

“I grew up waterskiing and hanging out at friends’ homes on Bayou Texar,” he said. “We spend a lot of our free time boating. It was always a dream of ours to live on the water, specifically Bayou Texar.”

The tremendous collection of artwork in Jenn and Lewis Bear’s home includes works from unknown as well as internationally acclaimed artists. The pieces encompass sculptures, paintings, glasswork, pencil drawings and more. Some new, some created decades ago.

They enjoy socializing and love giving back to the community that has given them such a great opportunity.

“When we designed our backyard, it was with intentions for entertaining. We look forward to continuing to host events, both personal parties and fundraisers,” Lewis said.

Jenn works at The Pearl as a counselor helping women overcome addictions, and she is grateful to be able to support many nonprofits.

“We have been blessed with the opportunity to have several fundraising events in our home. We raised money and awareness for Pace Center for Girls, Valerie’s House Pensacola, Baptist Hospital and Pensacola Beach Songwriters Festival. Not to mention the countless committee meetings for IMPACT 100 and Baptist Foundation,” she said.

When it comes to design, art is a clear focus in their home.

With astounding views of Bayou Texar and amazing sunsets, an expansive and well-thought outdoor entertainment area welcomes gatherings large and small — or just a couple on a swing.

“Art is something I never really put too much thought into until we moved into this house. Lewis’ father was the art collector and encouraged us to find art that brought us joy for our new home. He helped by ‘loaning’ us seven of his signed Dali watercolors,” Jenn shared.

She said she and her husband have completely different tastes when it comes to art.

Jenn Bear shares her cozy nest with two of her favorite companions

“However, when we visit other countries or cities, we’ve really found it to be an exciting mission to find pieces that we both like. It has led to an interesting showcase of art that we both love,” she said.

A Murano glass sculpture weighing hundreds of pounds was the couple’s first major art purchase.  

“We spent more money on that than we ever spent anywhere,” she laughed.

They selected shades of grey with white trim work for the interior. Not only does the art add color and make the home livelier, but each piece added to the collection brings memories for the couple. On prominent display is a painting by local artist, Laura Cole, done for the Bear’s hunting camp. The couple loved the piece so much they relocated it to their home so they could enjoy it full time.  

Another of their favorite works is by Jewish artist Marcus Botbol, who grew up in a multi-ethnic neighborhood including Jewish and Muslim residents. The moving artwork represents the diversity of the environment, alive with color and beautiful people, each one unique.  

When friends and family feel welcome to drop by unannounced just to hang out, that makes the place feel like home for Jenn Bear. And having her “nest” ready to lay around, surrounded by their dogs, to watch movies adds to that hominess.

The pair have created a showcase home, without a museum feel. They live a casual lifestyle and guests feel comfortable throughout the house.

“If you want to throw your feet up on the coffee table while watching TV, so be it,” Lewis said. 

“I’ve seen more glamorous homes than ours; I just love that ours is so open and welcoming … and the bayou view ain’t bad,” Jenn added.