When we first created the Besties series on the site, I had this particular pair of stylish creatives in the back of my mind. Claire Zinnecker and Kate Stafford Weaver have both long been part of the Camille Styles team (Kate lends her photographic eye to Pretty Simple and Claire has created dozens of ingenious interior DIYs for her series, Transformed). Their friendship is one that stands out for both it’s depth and span: these two sun-loving blondes have shared over twenty summers together in Austin, and all the seasons in between. We caught up with Kate and Claire at Deep Eddy Pool to talk about style, pursuing your passions, and a strong friendship forged in the blue-green waters of Austin summer. With a shared sense of faith and commitment to hard work, still waters run deep between these two quiet creatives.
photography by nicole mlakar
You two have been best friends for as long as we can remember. How did you first meet?
Claire: We met when we were 4 and 5 years old.
Kate: My brother and Claire were in the same preschool class and my parents set us up via play date. I gave Claire the cold shoulder the first time we met.
Clarie: She didn’t want to leave her barbies to play with me…
Kate: I guess that didn’t stop us from being friends!
How do you tend to spend time together?
Claire: We love to go running, especially on the greenbelt, or go sit at Barton Springs or my lakehouse (basically anything outside with water). We talk about everything: jobs, projects, boys, family. She is a great listener and advice giver.
What do you typically talk about with each other?
Kate: We talk about everything from relationships to faith to clothes to work and friends. Since we have known each other so long it’s nice to be able to just talk and know that I’m understood. Claire has been there with me through so much.
Are there any areas of style/music/pop-culture that you disagree on?
Kate: For the most part we are pretty similar —
Claire: –but she’s more of a Taylor Swift girl while I gravitate towards Kendrick Lamar.
You two look so much alike with your long blonde hair and petite frames. Do people ever think you’re sisters?
Claire: Yes! people definitely think we are sisters, or even get us mixed up sometimes.
You’re both in the relatively small percentage of Austinites who actually grew up here. What did you love about growing up in Austin? How has the city changed?
Claire: We grew up going to Barton Springs and tubing the greenbelt together. Both our sets of parents really encouraged outdoor time, which I think helped shape us into the creatives we are today.
Kate: I loved growing up outdoors — at the greenbelt, Barton Springs, parks and back yards. There were so many opportunities to explore and play. Claire and I both loved that. The city still has much to offer for the outdoors but it’s gotten way more crowded. I love that everyone loves it, but I definitely have to consider traffic like I never did before. Zilker Park gets crazy on the weekends and there’s so much foot traffic now when the greenbelt is flowing!
Kate, you’re a lifestyle photographer (and one of our favorites, at that.) What do you enjoy about what you do?
Kate: I love that photography is an art that makes you get to know people well and be creative at the same time. You can’t make a person really smile without breaking down a few walls.
Kate, we adore your watermelon swimsuit. Where’s it from?
Kate: I actually borrowed it from Claire! We are always swapping clothes for various occasions. It’s nice to add some variety to my wardrobe and I always know I can raid her closet when I’m in a last minute bind for a dress to wear to a wedding.
Nice. A hidden benefit to you two having such similar taste! Claire, where did you find it?
Claire: American Apparel!
Claire, how would you describe Kate’s style?
Claire: Bohemian chic? We both love our neutrals. Kate has a very defined style that only she can pull off. Though I do miss our umbro and t-shirt days!
Claire, you’ve emerged over the past few years as one of the best new interior designers in Austin. What do you love about what you do?
Claire: I love being able to be creative every day and getting to collaborate with so many other creatives.
Kate, how would you describe Claire’s personal style?
Kate: Claire’s style is all about neutrals and loose tops and hints of gold. I love it!
Claire, we love your delicate necklace — where did you find it?
Kate got married in April and she gave each bridesmaid a special necklace, specific to every girl’s style. She made mine delicate and neutral (the only kind of jewelry I wear!)
What would you say are your “shared values” as friends?
Kate: Our faith in Christ, how important family and friends are, that “things” aren’t what we live for, being creative and following your dreams.
Claire: Exactly. We both love the Lord, put family and friends before ourselves, and definitely believe in pursuing our passions!
Has anything funny happened while the two of you were together recently?
Kate: I can’t think of anything really recent, but we have chased a lot of stray dogs in our day trying to get them to their owner. Think we have spent entire afternoons on that activity!
So you both love animals?
Claire: YES! Love animals. I have two dogs and a cat. Two of my three pets chose me. I seem to find lost animals everywhere I turn.
Kate: We do! I’ve always loved farm animals and animals in the wild while Claire has always been way more of a “pet person.” From rabbits to tree frogs and dogs, she’s had just about every pet you could imagine! I recently became a dog owner when I got married, so I’m slowly understanding Claire’s love of her pups as well. Our dog is named Rue and she’s the sweetest German Short Haired pointer I know.
How does your friendship inspire you?
Claire: Kate is very determined and very strong. I love having a friend who is also pursuing her passions. I can bounce ideas off of her, get encouragement from her and have her help me with any project I’m stuck on. She’s the best! She gets me.
Kate: Claire inspires me to make things happen. We constantly talk through ideas with each other and I love how Claire actually goes home rearranges her house and paints furniture all in one afternoon without stopping to over-think it. She inspires me to go after my ideas and make them real.
Where do you see each other in ten years?
Kate: Claire will be living in her cute house constantly doing projects to make it even more beautiful. Surrounded by loving family, friends and dogs and will be following her dreams. I know she will be successful in whatever she does!
Claire: When we were little we planned to have adjoining farms, on lakes, with a creek, and a ton of farm animals. Though that might not be what our future really holds, I see Kate continuing to carve out her career using her talents and passions fully. She will be in a fabulous little house, all white, with 3 kids… going on 4!
Will you still be swimming together when you’re 80?
Claire and Kate: Oh yes! Of course!
That’s fabulous. We wish you many more sunny days together. Thanks, ladies!