How To Make The Most Of Your Home

When you think about your home, you may have a laundry list of imperfections that you think you can’t overcome. But what you may not realize is that you can turn a perceived weakness into a strength. Read more to find out how you can make the most of your living space! Read More »

4 Simple and Effective Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

For the uninitiated, curb appeal is the term used to describe the eye-catching qualities of a property that’s for sale, as viewed from the street. When selling your home, curb appeal is incredibly important. An attractive home with good curb appeal can catch somebody’s eye in a split second – which means you are more likely to sell your home fast! Today, we’re going to talk about 4 simple and effective methods you can use to boost your home’s curb appeal!

Clean Up Your Landscaping

Good landscaping is an instant eye-grabber. A well-manicured lawn with even some basic flowerbeds can change the look of an exterior so quickly. Think about the last time you saw a house that you liked that had terrible landscaping. It’s probably never happened! The good news is that landscaping doesn’t have to be complicated, and just a little bit of effort is noticeable. So get outside and mow, pull any weeds from your flowerbeds, and plant some new shrubs and flowers. You’ll be shocked at how much better your home looks from the street once you tidy up your landscaping. 

Get Some Plants on the Porch!

This point is somewhat related to the first one, but it’s even easier to implement. Get a few hanging planters, and hang some luscious plants on your porch. Trust me, you wouldn’t believe how big a difference a few plants can make. Plants make a space more inviting, and help to breathe life and color to an otherwise unassuming home. For best results, I would recommend at least 3-4 hanging plants if you have the space. Make sure to find plants that can tolerate the lighting conditions on your front porch! I would also recommend finding some leafy or cascading plants such as Boston ferns, pothos, or begonias.

BONUS TIP: For more information on using plants to liven up your interior spaces, make sure to read this article!

Add Some Color to the Front Door

This is another tip that’s quick, easy, and effective. Painting your front door with a fun accent color really helps to catch people’s eyes from the street. It also makes for a nice visual marker for people to remember your house by. “The one with the red door” makes a memorable identifier that may mean your house sells faster! Just make sure to sample a few different paint colors so that you can find one that works with your overall exterior aesthetic. 

Pressure Wash Your Driveway & Sidewalks

This one may be a bit trickier if you don’t have a pressure washer, but you can easily rent one for a day and knock this one out! You may not believe how much grime can build up on your sidewalks and driveways through years of use. Giving your sidewalks and driveway a good, thorough pressure washing will instantly transform your exterior look. Give that concrete the sparkle it deserves! 

BONUS TIP: If you have wooden fencing, use the pressure washer on that too! You’ll be amazed at how great they look after a good wash!

Building A Piece of History

Over the past couple years I’ve developed a keen interest in woodworking. I was drawn to the art after watching Ron Swanson build a canoe in Parks and Recreation. I remember being attracted to the idea that I could use my own hands to shape raw materials into something useful. It’s funny – I’ve never wanted to be a home builder like my dad or my Pops before him. But it’s become apparent to me that the drive to create something out of wood is embedded in my psyche. I may not be a home builder, but my dad and Pops have rubbed off on me all the same. Now, I want to tell a story about my dad and me building a piece of history.

The Rusty Plane

Shortly after I discovered woodworking, I was visiting my parents and started digging around in my dad’s shop to see if there were any tools that were of any use to me in my new hobby. Most of what I found wasn’t suited for woodworking, but I did come across a rusty old Craftsman jack plane that was sitting at the bottom of a Husky drawer. I pulled it out from underneath the other tools, and took the blade out of the frog. It was in rough shape.

That night I took the plane apart and soaked each piece in vinegar – a trick I picked up during my time at YouTube University. The next day I took some steel wool to the pieces and restored them as close to their former glory as I could muster. Unfortunately, the blade was so far gone that no amount of vinegar could save it. 

Since then I’ve completed a handful of projects – a coat hanger, a decorative paddle, some corner shelves, a bar cart for my parents (which is hysterically ugly. The frame didn’t come out at all like I had planned). I was honing my abilities so that I could eventually tackle the white whale: a large, beautiful, walnut desk. For this project, I enlisted the help of my dad. He had a table saw, a steady hand, and he and I had never worked on a piece of furniture together.  

The Desk

So we got to work on crafting a piece of furniture that will probably end up outliving either one of us. My intention for the project was to create a large desk that I could use for many years, but I also wanted to create an altar to creativity. A sanctuary where I can sit down and let the world melt away while I make music, write whatever is in my head, and read stories about fantastic worlds. I wanted to create something designed to last longer than me – an heirloom. 

The desk took several months for us to finish, since I had to travel from Dallas to Waco on the weekends to get anything done. But it was worth it. I’d do it all again without thinking twice. The desk itself is absolutely gorgeous. With its giant walnut top and contrasting white maple frame, finished with danish oil and meticulously sanded to glass-like perfection. But the time spent is equally important. My dad and I worked really hard on this desk. Our intentions are embedded inside the fibers of the wood. Every time I sit down at this desk, I’m inspired by the work we did.

This kind of attention, care, and intention is unique to our family. When we are passionate about something, we pour ourselves into it whole-heartedly. The physical product is something that you just can’t find anywhere else. A piece of history.

Customer Spotlight: Mastergeorge

Echterling Builders has had the pleasure of working with so many fantastic people in the central Texas area, and we really benefit from hearing their stories. We want to take the time to hear about their experiences with us. Several years ago, we built a home in Robinson for Jim and Dolores Mastergeorge. The Mastergeorge home was actually the first job site that I ever worked on. I was about eleven or twelve years old, and I remember wanting to buy a Motorola Razr. So, my dad hired me to sweep floors and install door knobs at the Mastergeorge site. It was a real treat to sit down with Jim and Dolores, and talk about what it was like to build a custom home when they weren’t living in Texas at the time, how they found Echterling Builders, and how their home has stood the test of time. I also managed to snag a few pictures of the house today, and Dolores was kind enough to share some photos of the building process.

The home building process is underway!


You lived in another state while your home was under construction. Could you talk a bit about how you found Echterling Builders, and how you decided to put your trust in Bert from hundreds of miles away?

Jim Mastergeorge

Dolores and I made the decision to relocate to Texas in 2007, when we were both retired from our jobs and living in Connecticut. After much research, we picked Robinson as our place of choice. Seeing that there are several high quality builders in the area, it came down to picking one to work with. The reputation of Echterling Builders made it an easy choice and we moved ahead. After making a special visit to Robinson, we purchased a building lot and then proceeded to pick out a plan for the house. After meeting with Bert, the building process began. Our only direction to him was that he “Build us a home as if he was going to be living in it”. We trusted him to do just that and he did.


That’s incredible. What was the building process like, being so far away from the construction site?


The distance presented us with some very unique problems (we were 1200 miles away). Local friends were able to take pictures daily of the progress and if there were any questions, we would either email Bert or call him and talk directly to resolve any issues or questions that we had. We did come to see the home one time to pick out the necessary fixtures for the interior of the house. This included lighting fixtures, bathroom and kitchen accessories, tile and carpeting, and paint color choices for the walls. This meant driving all over the city of Waco finding different companies. Just driving up and down Waco Drive was an adventure in itself because of the different names applied to the same stretch of road!


Since you moved in, what has your relationship with Echterling Builders been like? How has your home held up over time?


We’ve been in the house now since June of 2008. The durability of the build is what makes the house so enjoyable to live in. There really isn’t one favorite room or area that we have. The whole house gives us a comfortable place to relax and entertain in. We’ve always been quick to recommend Bert and his company to anyone with an interest in building their own home. He’s always given us quick and accurate answers and recommendations of people to contact anytime we’ve had questions about making any changes or improvements .

All in all, it’s been a great pleasure working with Echterling Builders and both Dolores and I are more than satisfied with our home    

Calling Waco Home – Quality of Life in Waco Beyond Magnolia

Waco has garnered national attention, largely as a result of the popularity of Fixer Upper and the Gaines family as a brand. This expansion will be sustained because of the communities that make Waco a unique place to live, the communities that will be here long after the Magnolia Effect wears off. This is an excellent time to be a Wacoan.  Read More »