This stunning new home in Robinson is ready for move-in day! Perched on a picturesque plot of land just off of Hillside Drive, this home is sure to foster a lifetime of memories. Built with the care and expertise of 25 years in the business, the home features modern, luxurious amenities – while maintaining the charm of rural Texas living. Enjoy gorgeous sunsets on the porch. Spend time with family in the spacious back yard. Host memorable gatherings in the open concept living space. This home can accommodate it all.
This home is located in Robinson ISD, just a few minutes away from Moonlight Drive. This provides easy access to Highway 77 and Interstate 35, which means that you can easily reach everything that makes central Texas a wonderful place to live.
It’s no secret – the housing market is hot right now. Things are moving fast, home listings are going up and coming right back down, and custom home builders are filling up their schedules quickly. When the market heats up, it can feel like you need to act fast and make snap decisions. But when you’re looking for a builder to build your custom home, it’s vital that you remember to ask the right questions before you make the final decision. Today, we’re talking with Abby Morton about 3 questions you need to ask before choosing a home builder.
Abby is a realtor with Bentwood Realty in Waco, Texas, and I’m going to pass it over to her!
So Abby, what are some questions people NEED to ask before choosing a builder?
“First things first, I would highly suggest that buyers find a Realtor to help them in their home builder search. Local realtors will know who has a great reputation around town, and they will be able to help you communicate with builders throughout the building process. A realtor can also help walk you through all of the contracts and paperwork to make sure you and your new home are protected with the correct warranties, etc. Now, here are the questions buyers need to ask:
1. What Does Their Portfolio Look Like?
The first question I have my clients ask is to see previous work from a builder. By seeing their portfolio of past work, it will help a potential buyer decide if that is the right builder for them based on their design preference and quality. Choosing the right home builder is like any other relationship and a buyer will need to make sure that they can see themselves working with this builder for many months to come.
2. How Are Costs Determined?
The next question I like to see my buyers ask is concerning cost. How a particular builder determines costs will be a deciding factor for a new buyer. A buyer should know that a builder will quote a price per square foot. But, there will be elements added to that cost such as finishes, upgrades, appliances, etc. I also encourage buyers to understand how a materials escalation clause works in case the price of building materials increases during the home build.
3. How Customizable is the Home?
Another important question I encourage buyers to ask a potential home builder is how customizable the home can be. Some builders stick to building spec homes to keep costs low and that means that there will not be as many options to customize the home to your wants or needs. Knowing what customizations you want before choosing a builder can be helpful in determining which builder is right for you. Most custom home builders will say the sky is the limit when it comes to customizations; as long as you have the funds to do so.”
Choosing a home builder can seem like a daunting task, but knowing what questions you need to ask can make the process much easier. Thanks to Abby Morton for sharing her insight with us!
Abby is a fantastic agent, and comes highly recommended throughout Waco. Get in touch with her today!
Central Texas is a beautiful place. Waco is perfectly situated for easy access to a plethora of outdoor activities. With miles of hiking trails, multiple bodies of water, historical landmarks, and outdoor sporting activities, Waco is a fantastic city for outdoor enthusiasts to live. Today, we’re going to talk about some must-do outdoor activities in Waco, as well as the surrounding area.
Explore Cameron Park
Cameron Park is a 416-acre wonderland that is located just minutes from Downtown Waco. The park offers stunning scenic overlooks, serene walking paths along the river, and 20 miles of winding trails. Hikers, bikers, and even horseback riders all enjoy trails that range from beginner to advanced. There are plenty of pavilions available for picnics and parties. Make sure to check out Lover’s Leap, a beautiful historical overlook with a tragic backstory.
Cameron Park is renowned for the disc golf courses in the area. William Cameron Park course is located within Cameron Park near Redwood Shelter. This course is a 23-hole course that welcomes all skill levels. For more of a challenge, disc golfers should head to Brazos Park East, also affectionately known as “The Beast”. This course is near Cameron Park, but offers more of a challenge. The front nine holes are described as “open, but demanding”, while the back nine is forested and requires “pinpoint accuracy”.
Enjoy Serenity at Carleen Bright Arboretum
The Carleen Bright Arboretum is a 16-acre oasis with many beautiful things to see. The grounds feature beautiful botanical gardens, even including a nature trail that winds through peaceful woodlands. Visitors looking for a Zen escape can visit the Massey Meditation Grove and connect to nature in peace. The arboretum grounds even include a certified monarch butterfly waystation! I remember spending warm spring afternoons with my grandmother in the butterfly gardens. Carleen Bright Arboretum is a wonderful place to spend a serene day.
If you’ve never been paddle boarding, you need to give it a shot. There are several companies offering rentals for standup paddle boards and kayaks. Pura Vida Paddle offers two water locations, one on Lake Waco and one on the Brazos River. If you paddle on the Brazos River, you’re close enough to downtown Waco to enjoy a drink after your adventure!
Take A Hike! (At Meridian State Park)
This gorgeous hill country park is only 50 miles from Waco! Meridian State Park features five miles of forested hiking trails. Enjoy stunning views of limestone bluffs and the 72-acre Lake Meridian. The 2.2 mile Bosque Hiking Trail circles the lake and takes you to some beautiful scenic overlooks. Hikers with sharp eyes can even spot some of the plants and wildlife that are indigenous to the hill country! Meridian State Park has more to offer than just hiking, though. Visitors can fish, swim, or go for a tranquil paddle. Visit Meridian State Park and enjoy one of the finest outdoor refuges around Waco!
Lake Whitney Cliff Jumping
Lake Whitney is a beautiful lake located just about 30 miles from Waco. While the lake offers fantastic hiking trails, beautiful views, and excellent fishing, the true attraction is the cliff jumping. Lake Whitney is said to be home to the best cliff jumping in Central Texas. The two most popular cliffs are Walling Bend and Soldier’s Bluff. A quick YouTube search will bring up dozens of videos of thrill seekers enjoying the cliff jumping at Lake Whitney. Is there a better way to spend a summer day?!
Miller Springs Nature Center
This gorgeous park is a 260-acre nature refuge located in the historic Tennessee Valley, which is near Temple and Belton. Access to the nature preserve is easy for explorers coming from Waco, and the trip is well worth it. Hikers and bikers can enjoy the 10 miles of trails. However, the real draw to Miller Springs is the wildlife. The park features 25 acres of wetlands, which makes the area perfect for bird watching and wildlife viewing. Miller Springs is open to the public every day, at no charge.
Waco is a wonderful place to live if you’re an outdoor enthusiast. But the city has much more to offer! Make sure to check out some of the coolest craft bars in Waco after spending your days adventuring!
Waco has grown at a stunning rate in recent years, which means that some of the coolest craft bars in central Texas have set up shop right in our neighborhood! Here are some of our favorites!
Located inside Union Hall in downtown Waco, Sam’s Bar is a craft cocktail bar that perfectly blends old-school cool with casual sophistication. The ambiance of the bar is clean and timeless, and sets a welcoming vibe that makes for the perfect environment to enjoy one of the delicious cocktails that the bar offers. The menu at Sam’s features a nice selection of classic cocktails, each with a Texas-style spin. Many of the cocktails feature craft liquors distilled in Texas, such as The Barrel Aged Old Fashion – made with Texas-based Witherspoon Whiskey. Sam’s Bar also offers a respectable selection of craft beer and wine, as well as non-alcoholic options.
Visit Sam’s soon to get a taste of their brand new summer menu!
The Boiler Room
The Boiler Room is another stellar establishment that is setting a new standard in Downtown Waco. Located inside The Findery on 8th Street, The Boiler Room identifies as a craft beer and wine bar. There are indoor and outdoor courtyard seating options, but you might prefer the “sip and shop” experience that you can only get here. Grab your favorite cold beverage and meander through over 10,000 square feet of shopping under the same roof! The Boiler Room tastefully blends contemporary design with a nostalgic feel, all within walking distance of Waco’s hottest attractions. This could very well become your new favorite spot for drinks!
The Boiler Room is now offering Build Your Own Six Packs, so stop by soon!
Brotherwell Brewing is a craft brewery with a beer garden, indoor taproom, rotating food trucks, and a monthly local market called Eastside Market. The brewery boasts an impressive list of in-house beers, which makes it a perfect spot for anyone looking for an authentic Waco experience. This part of town is being revitalized, in part because of the community values that Brotherwell puts into practice. The taproom and beer garden is family and dog friendly, making it a perfect stop for those with pups and kiddos. Be sure to check out the Eastside Market every month and browse the wide array of vendors featuring vintage clothing, local artisans, and food trucks!
Instagram : @brotherwell_brewing
Website : http://www.brotherwell.com/home/
Freight’s ethos can be summed up pretty simply – good beer, good folks, and good music. This lively community space is the product of 25 years of friendship between the two guys who own the bar. Featuring a wide selection of craft beers, signature cocktails, and local food trucks, Freight provides a fantastic space for connecting with friends over a drink. Ample outdoor seating makes for a perfect environment to enjoy live music. The Bowen Electric Stage attracts some incredible local and touring acts! Freight also provides space to play corn hole, ping pong, or even a Waco original game called “GridBall”. The values of fun, connection, and camaraderie are exemplified in the space that Freight curates for the people of Waco.
Instagram : @freightwaco
Website : https://www.freightwaco.com
Southern Roots Brewing
Located on 8th street downtown, Southern Roots is built on the values of southern hospitality, camaraderie, and good craft beer over all else. What started as a small-batch brewing operation for a family wedding has grown into one of Waco’s finest breweries. Southern Roots has set out to be the most accessible craft brewery, rejecting the snobbery that is sometimes associated with craft beer connoisseurs. So, their team decided to tackle the basics first. Their menu offers exceptionally-made versions of beers that people already enjoy. This makes Southern Roots a perfect option for anyone looking to enjoy a good craft beer. Southern Roots also offers a full menu of delicious pizzas and wings, so you can enjoy an entire evening right there in-house.
Instagram : @southernrootsbrewingco
Website : https://southernrootsbrewingco.com
Make sure you check out these breweries next time to find yourself out on the town! If you visit, take a picture, tag the brewery, and get to know the folks who make these places special! For more things to do around Waco, check out this post!
Natural cleaning products are gaining popularity, and it’s easy to see why with a bit of digging!
Our homes get dirty. Unfortunately, that’s a fact of life. A quick visit to the home improvement store will show you a seemingly endless amount of chemical cleaning products for your home, but these products may not be welcome in your home once you learn about the dangers they pose. For example, the American Lung Association identifies eight different household cleaners that may contain Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs. Aerosol sprays, air fresheners, and even detergent/dishwashing liquid might contain dangerous chemical compounds! Luckily, there are natural cleaning products that you can use as alternatives to the hazardous products!
It’s hardly a secret that vinegar is a jack-of-all-trades within the household. Cheap, safe, and versatile, vinegar can be used for cooking, cleaning, and more! Vinegar can clean your countertops, your dishes, your stainless steel appliances, and even your laundry! Usually, you will want to dilute the vinegar with some water. You can add baking soda to vinegar to create a cleansing paste that can be used to scrub out your bathtub and shower! If the vinegar smell bothers you, you can use apple cider vinegar instead of regular distilled white vinegar, but the smell will disappear after about an hour. You can even add essential oils to your vinegar mixture!
Witch haze is as magical as it sounds! You can clean your jewelry, refresh your yoga mats, and use it in a room spray mixture. If you have vinyl, tile, or linoleum floors in your home, witch hazel can be a powerful cleaner when you mix it with some warm water. If your floors are particularly dirty, you can add a tablespoon of borax to the witch hazel solution.
Baking soda has more utility than being able to create an explosion when you mix it with vinegar! As mentioned above, baking soda is perfect if you need a more powerful cleaning agent to add to your vinegar. I have found baking soda to be perfect for absorbing odors from my upholstered furniture. Every six months or so, I like to do a refresh of my cloth furniture and rugs. Simply sprinkle a layer of baking soda around the surface, wait about an hour, and vacuum it all up!
Dr. Bronner’s All-One Castile Soap
Alright, y’all. If you somehow aren’t aware of Dr. Bronner’s soap, now you are. This stuff is amazing. It can be used for just about any kind of cleaning that you could imagine doing in your home. Use it on dishes, use it for your laundry, mop the floors, wash your hair, even brush your teeth! Dr. Bronner’s is safe and effective in so many applications. Seriously. Go get a bottle, you won’t regret it.
Bonus! Air Freshener Alternatives
Many commercially available air fresheners are terrible for the environment, and are definitely not good to be breathing in. If you want some natural, potent ways to keep your home smelling magnificent, there are lots of great options! One of my favorite air freshening methods is to create a potpourri on the stove. In the autumn, try mixing some apple cider, orange slices, vanilla, cinnamon, and clove in a large pot of water and simmer to create a warm, cozy scent that will fill your home! In the spring and summer, try mixing some lemon juice, orange slices, rosemary, and lavender into a large pot of water for a delightfully fresh springtime scent! You can also burn incense sticks, resin such as frankincense, or palo santo sticks as a way to fill your home with lovely scents without relying on chemicals.
Waco, Texas has been a hidden gem for a lot of its history. The past few years have brought enormous publicity and growth for the city, and the Magnolia brand certainly has a lot to do with it. But there are many more reasons to choose Waco, and today we’d like to highlight a few of them! Here are six of the top reasons that moving to Waco in 2022 could be your best decision yet!
The Central Texas Triangle
Texas is a massive state, with several bustling urban centers. Deciding between Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio can be quite a challenge. Enter Waco. Waco sits nearly in the center of what we refer to as the ‘Central Texas Triangle’ – with easy access to Houston and San Antonio, and even easier access to Dallas and Austin. Waco sits right along Interstate 35, and the rest of central Texas is a breeze to visit. Waco also boasts a lower cost of living than these major urban areas, without sacrificing the amenities of life in a city! Choosing Waco could save you money while still placing you close enough to all of the major centers of Texas life to access whenever you want.
We Aren’t Slowing Down
Waco’s booming market is hardly a secret at this point. Years of Magnolia frenzy, urban development, and a surge of transplants from around the country have put Waco on the map like never before. But here’s the good part – there’s no signs of it slowing down. In the bigger picture, Waco is really just getting started. So if you’ve wondered if you missed the “Waco wave”, you haven’t.
Small Town Feel, Urban Activity
As we mentioned before, Waco is a morning’s trip away from several large Texas cities. But part of the appeal of moving to Waco is its unique blend of small town charm and urban activity. Waco truly is a community, but you don’t have to feel like you’re moving to Smalltown, USA when you get here (not that there’s anything wrong with really small towns, of course).
Thriving Art Scene
Waco’s art scene might not be on the level of Austin or Dallas (yet!), but there is a thriving art community in the city. Music venues like Common Grounds and The Backyard attract some of the biggest touring acts in the country. I even remember seeing The Civil Wars at Common Grounds in high school! Baylor University offers a world-class music program, as well as visual arts such as graphic design and much more.
Many of you are probably familiar with Baylor University, a first-rate school offering exceptional programs from law to music to business education. But did you also know that McLennan Community College is also home to a great nursing program? That’s right! You can save money and get an education through MCC while enjoying the life that Waco has to offer!
Waco is filled with outdoor activities for the more adventurous types. Cameron Park is a beautiful park that runs along the Brazos River, and has some of the best hiking and mountain biking trails in central Texas. The park even offers some of the best disc golfing in Texas as well! If you’re a water lover, you can head to Lake Waco or to the Brazos River. Rent a paddle board or a kayak and get out on the water! If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, moving to Waco will definitely provide you with all the outdoor activities you could want.
If you feel like moving to Waco in 2022 is the right choice, the next step is finding a place to live! Are you thinking of building a new custom home and trying to choose a builder? Read our guide on this topic HERE!
Do you feel like your home is missing something? Do you want to liven up your space without shelling out hundreds of dollars for new furniture or a remodel? You need some houseplants! Houseplants are known to purify the air in your home, and may even improve your mood! From the snake plant to the devil’s ivy, there are many easy houseplants that you can add to your home. But if you’re looking for plants that are less common, you’ve come to the right place. Here is a list of exotic, easy to care for houseplants that are sure to liven up your space immediately! Read to the end to see our recommendations for online nurseries!
Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Adansonii)
This wonderful monstera variation is named for its exotic, heart-shaped leaves that develop the most delightfully strange little holes throughout the leaves. This plant loves to climb, but it can also do very well from a hanging pot. I have my monstera adansonii hanging in a south-facing window, and it’s growing so fast! It looks so beautiful in my bedroom, and it takes very little attention! Find more information about this plant here!
Marble Queen Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
The pothos, otherwise known as the devil’s ivy plant, is a very common houseplant that is notoriously easy to take care of. The plant can tolerate low light and doesn’t need a lot of attention. For a more exotic variety, check out the marble queen pothos. Same ease of care, with a more unique and exotic look! Find more information about this plant here!
Split Leaf Philodendron (Monstera Deliciosa)
This plant is beautifully exotic, and strikingly easy to care for. I have a monstera in a north facing window that I water every week and a half. The plant has exploded into a wonderful statement piece, and it’s so exciting to watch it continue to grow! This plant is a must-have if you want to add an exotic touch to your living space. Find more information about this plant here!
The hoya pubicalyx is an exotic climbing plant that is very easy to grow. I have mine in a south-facing window and it has grown so fast over the past year. There are several variations of this plant, and each one is just as beautiful as the last! Find more information here!
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
The peace lily is an exotic, tropical plant that can be used as a dainty ornament or a striking display. This plant seriously grows like a weed, and it flowers beautifully in the spring time. Put this plant in a small pot and set it on a shelf, or put it in a large pot on the floor and turn your space into a jungle! No houseplant collection is complete without a peace lily (or several!) Find more information here!
Prayer Plant (Maranta Leuconeura)
The prayer plant is one of the most beautifully exotic and interesting houseplants that you can find. The leaves are not only strikingly decorative, they also have a velvet texture that is impossible not to touch! This plant gets its names from the leaves, which fold up at night and lay flat during the day. This plant is so easy to care for, and will add a beautiful touch of life to any space you place it in. Find more information here!
Black Raven ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia)
The ZZ plant is frequently at the top of the list of easy houseplants. The plant can tolerate low light, and infrequent watering. The black raven ZZ is a beautiful variation that is a must-have if you want a more exotic touch. The leaves produce a gorgeous, deep purple/black color that is so unique. Find more information here!
These easy and exotic houseplants will immediately make you feel like your space is alive with beauty! If you’re looking for an online nursery to purchase plants, we would recommend these vendors!
These floating bookshelves are an excellent, money-saving project for virtually every type of DIY’er! Beginners and veterans alike will LOVE the simple sophistication that these DIY rustic floating bookshelves add to a space. You can even complete this simple, inexpensive project in a single afternoon! To make this project as pain-free as possible, I used dimensional project boards. Follow along and let’s get building!
Step 1 : Select Your Wood
For my bookshelves, I used 1 in. x 10 in. x 8 ft. boards. I chose this size because the width provided more than enough space for the books, and the length meant I could saw a few inches off of each side to construct the little side walls you see in the image above! You can choose whatever kind of wood you’d like! If you use plywood, you will have to cut each piece to length, as well as cut each piece to width. Selecting 1×10 boards means I didn’t have to make any width cuts!
Now, you don’t absolutely have to do this part. So, if you prefer the sleek look of totally flat bookshelves, you can leave your boards as-is and move on the the next step! I don’t own any substantial bookends, so I opted to cut about 4 inches off of each side of the boards and then screw them into the face of the shelf to make little walls. I like the look, and it keeps everything from tumbling off the sides!
Step 3 : Sand & Finish Your Boards
This step is entirely up to you. I prefer the natural color of the pine, so I simply smooth sanded the boards with 200 grit sandpaper and applied two coats of Watco Danish Oil to each shelf. You can do whatever you’d like! You can paint, stain, or simply seal the shelves with a clear coat of your choice!
Step 4 : Install brackets
To install the shelf brackets, I measured 8 inches from each end and marked the holes with a pencil. Then, I screwed the shelf brackets into the bottom of each shelf. Super simple!
The time has come for you to choose the perfect home builder for your project. After weighing your options, you have decided that you want to build your own custom home from the ground up. You found the perfect piece of land, you’ve secured a loan to buy the land, and now you’re ready to build on it. But before you can build your castle, you have to find the perfect home builder! Though this task may seem daunting, there are resources you can use to ensure that you choose the right builder for the job. In this post, we will talk about 3 things you MUST do before you settle on a builder.
Check Their Credentials
This should be one of the first things you should do when you find a potential home builder. While this step may seem like a no-brainer, it can be easy to be dazzled by polished photos of trendy designs and website testimonials. But don’t fall in love just yet! It’s important to dig deeper into a builder’s credentials to ensure that they can truly deliver the experience, and final product, that you deserve. Do your due diligence!
You need to make sure that the builder you’re interested in is the right fit for your project. The size of your home, the style you’re interested in, and your budget will all need to be within the wheelhouse of the builder you have your eyes on. If you’re impressed and enamored with a builder who specializes in cutting-edge luxury homes, but are looking to build a mid-sized, modern craftsman, then that particular builder may not be the best fit for you. Make sure that you look into a builder’s previous projects so that you know that your vision will be in the most capable hands.
Meet The Builder!
This is perhaps the most important step in the process of selecting the right builder for you. You need to meet them! There is no better way to get a sense for a builder than meeting with them in person. Not only will you be able to communicate your needs, your vision, and your requirements – you will also be able to get a feel for the builder on a personal level. Do they approach their work with compassion and expertise? Will they be able to walk through the process with you in a way that mitigates stress? Do they communicate well, and do they understand what it is you’re looking for? All of these questions can be answered in a face-to-face meeting with a builder. Don’t skip this step!
These three tips are sure to help you choose the perfect home builder for your custom home project. The right builder can make your dream home come to life, and will also provide a positive, memorable experience throughout the process.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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