This Land is My Land

To build a custom dream home you first have to find the dream spot to put it on…  I did not have too much trouble since I knew I wanted to move to the Austin area, I wanted more acreage then the less than postage stamp lot I currently live on, and I wanted to have a large garden (and maybe chickens) but not be too isolated.

I found a community that I really liked where period type homes were required, lots were nearly an acre or more,  and while not close to my work was still manageable.  Most important it gave off the vibe I wanted.

Selecting a lot within the limited number available in this community and in my price point was not hard as long as I completely gave up my price point boundaries and took a risk.

As I write these blog entries, I have told myself I will only comment on the cost once.  If I allow myself I could go on…

If you are considering building a custom home ground up, get familiar with these terms- new construction loan, loan to perm loan, personal line of credit, and lte value.   Plan on providing the same set of information about 42 times, allow  yourself one good cry a week where you invoke the name of the mortgage lender, your mortgage broker, your builder, your land owner, and all of their assistants who call and call and call.

Consider a budget, then consider it again, then double it and grind your teeth. Unless of course 1) you have unlimited dollars, 2) go with the flow on the selections of flooring, paint, siding, sinks, toilets, tubs, kitchen appliances, door knobs, tile and the fact that they are all out of stock, out of your budget and you must tone done your expectations. or 3) mr. builder you pick everything–I trust you.

Ok out of my system.

So this land is my land –and soon it will have a lovely home perched just waiting for me.land1






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Can you imagine…

what it felt like to receive the architectural rendering of my dream home? It was like Christmas Morning, an Easter Hunt and a New Party Dress all rolled into one giant great big ball of fun.


Whoo hoooo

and here it is…


As I mentioned before I wanted a farmhouse style that looked like it had stood the test of time and been “added on to” over time.  And I got just that..

What is not readable here is all the coding for electrical, plumbing, support, windows, doors, egress, ingress, foundation, etc etc etc…if you build a custom house, you will learn a new set of codes or be at the mercy of the builder every time you want to check something or make decision.

I have been slow to post again due to giant constraints at work but will be putting up the floor plan in detail and some of the unique things we did later this week.


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If you draw it…


As I mentioned in an earlier post, my grandmother’s house, my extensive list of important to me/not important to me  items and my fabulous sketch below all came together in a single booklet that accompanied me to the architect’s office.

In this book, which my daughter and I threw together in a few hours we show pictures of rooms, things we like and things we did not like (Romeo and Juliet balconies overlooking the great room), pictures of farmhouses, and other key notes.

Janet Hobbs of Hobbs Ink, who is the building designer of my house,  said “wow, they printed something instead of only pointing to the digital version”.  Of course, we also had a whole pinterest site dedicated to the dream home.  Check out Hobbs Ink at and my pinterest page called thehetrickhouse.


my idea of a dream house



Quick Book of Ideas


kitchen ideas


bathroom ideas



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40 years in the making

At least 40 Years ago…

I was already being influenced about the kind of dream house I would want to build.  Finding out what I wanted in a second house,  decidedly called my “dream” home came over time but ultimately it was influenced by my Grandmother’s house.

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Grandma Irene’s House

When I first started looking for 1) a weekend home/fixer upper, then a 2) vintage home fixer upper, then a 3) home on a nice size piece of land, I never found what I wanted.  Of course my priorities and pocketbook changed over the years.

One day about 3 years ago, I sketched out a floorplan and made a must-have list of features.   I kept the sketch in a drawer and eventually used it (along with other pictures and lists) to get my architect to design my dream house.


Big Screen Porch, Extra Large Kitchen with professional appliances, one large great room with stone fireplace, lots of windows, a sleeping porch, clutter room, large pantry…and the list goes on…


an idea for my big screened porch



Sleeping Porch

Since the climate in Austin is less humid and a bit cooler especially in the evenings, I really wanted a sleeping porch.  If you do not know what that is, in days before air conditioning, people would screen porches (especially second floor) and pull mattresses, hammocks or beds out on the porch to sleep in the cool night air…


This may end up being my favorite part of the house.


Another idea

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Starting Over Again

Starting Over AGAIN…seems hard for me to get into a rhythm of writing about anything, nothing or something. I skip whole years, usually months but I am going to try to be committed to writing multiple times a week.   So to foster more devotion to the art of blogging, I am going to focus on one of the big “Start Over” events going on in my life.  I am building a modern farmhouse on a lovely piece of land outside of Austin, Texas.

I saw both my parents and my in-laws retire and look for a new place to live (mostly warmer climates) and I thought since I will likely work until they find me hunched over my laptop no longer able to write, calculate, make power points or herd cats, I better build my dream house now and enjoy it.

This has been a two-year process to-date of figuring out what I want, finding land, finding a builder, and finding an architect while learning some very hard lessons along the way.  If you have built a totally custom house from ground up, this will resonate with you.  This process is not for the faint of heart….

So today we will visit in photos, the AS-IS version of my home before we talk about the TO-BE version.

I have a lovely house now and have had it for 26 years, yep, once I get in somewhere I tend to stay put.  Since I enjoy decorating my home, my current house has been through 4 or 5 redos.  There was the move in, I have no money phase, the now I have some money but no direction phase, the red walls, red anything phase (loved loved loved this), the more shabby chic (ish) phase and the present day pottery barn meets vintage and re-purposed stuff phase.



Benjamin Moore Seaspray on the walls–a white with under tone of green, my vintage bee poster (Save the Queen) and lots of layers on my bed





My dining room table that seats 14 set for a baby shower.  The paint is my favorite greenish khaki and is meadowview from Benjamin Moore and the trim is Linen White from Benjamin Moore

and the outside is set up for vegetable and flower gardening..


Before the 25 inches of rain we had in one month, these were part of the 80 heirloom tomato plants I had growing…


house c

and  a great room with a chocolate lab

Please leave comments, follow this blog and if compelled tell your friends and neighbors to follow and watch as we build my modern farmhouse.

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Lunch Bunch

Jar SaladsIt’s nice to know that I can go to the Urban Harvest and get some beets-several colors, potatoes, carrots, fennel in February. I roasted the veggies and incorporated them into some Mason Jar Salads with a mustard vinaigrette. So easy to grab each morning and go..

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dandelionroads’ photostream

buggy traingowithallyourheartbittersweetleft alonefollowtheleadersomedays
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dandelionroads’ photostream

DSC_0570DSC_0469buggy traingowithallyourheartbittersweetleft alone
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Growing on…

By end of April the garden is growing on, some things are going to make it and some are not…I like to think of myself as a urban farmer but I cannot imagine if I had to depend on this garden for my livelihood. 


At Roundtop, I bought two old garden gates.  On one of them, the people had taken the time to attach all the screws and extra pieces on a wire and tie it on the gate, I left them there.  It looked like they had been there for 50 years.

So we come to the time when the tomatoes are 5 or 6 feet tall and producing lots of yellow flowers, then the temperamental heirlooms think twice about producing and start a bit of bud drop.  If I told you I have tried every remedy from epsom salts, to bud drop prevent spray, to a plant hormone, to outdoor fans cooling the temperatures, would you believe me?

That yellowing stem is hours away from dropping and another heirloom tomato to-be is a has-been. 


Since heirloom tomatoes have very little disease resistance, they are very susceptible to blights, wilts, and other perplexing diseases.  Despite being a State Certified Master Gardner, I am almost never sure (100%) whether it was a wilt or a blight or something else entirely.  Here is one under-achiever.



 Alive, green, healthy with tomatoes one day and gone the next.  Like I said, thank goodness my livelihood does not depend on heirloom tomatoes.

The good growing on news..


A forest of tomato plants growing and growing..



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The Spider in The Secret Garden

The guest of honor in the Secret Garden was this spider and his web.  The secret garden in my urban plot is simply the long narrow side of the house leading to the air conditioner unit.  We created a tiny narrow space for a cutting garden or overflow…and this year we are in overflow with our tomato count up to 69 plants.


This past two weeks were Roundtop Antiques Weeks and I attended 5 days worth of old stuff goodness.  In the many years I have been going to the fields, tents, and trucks full of vintage things, I usually go with a theme in mind.  If I am throwing a baby shower, then I am looking for all things vintage baby, if I am re-doing a room in my house, then I am looking for something to complement the new colors.  This past week, I have come full circle and am back to looking for vintage garden items to use in the yard.  The first things I bought in 1998 were old garden tools…more postings to come as I build my potting bench, and re-purpose a few more items into garden décor.


Rusty Old Gates Waiting to be mounted to my raised beds as a trellis..

An old Farmstand table about to replace my current (falling apart) potting bench and my best dog Bandie guarding this fine furniture.


To the garden we go, the tomato plants are robust and about 3 to 4 feet high, and just starting to set tomatoes.  The lettuce is ready to be picked, the beans are flowering, the radish seedlings are getting new leaves and the herbs are flourishing.






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