After we got married (actually for many months before) my husband and I began searching for a new home. We looked at all types of houses, and both agreed that we gravitate towards a soft contemporary, very open floor plan with lots of windows and greenery. Clean yet comfortable, not stark. However, every house we found that fit the bill seemed to be missing something from our checklist. Either there weren’t enough bedrooms, garage spaces (Frank’s #1 priority), closet space (my #1 priority) or a big enough yard. In February, after a year of searching, we accepted that our dream home was probably out there, just not on the market. We would have to either compromise or build it ourselves.
Our awesome realtor team, Alex Perry and Kari Kloewer of Allie Beth Allman, told us about a teardown that was about to go on the market. Corner lot, half acre, and sure to sell in a day, Alex advised. We drove by and made an offer soon after. Weeks later, as we walked through our new 90 year old home, we realized that it was really special. It was built for the first mayor of University Park with poured concrete walls, solid to the core, but renovation was out of the question. We immediately enlisted Enrique Montenegro, who happens to be a family friend, from SHM Architects to get to work.
After seven months of weekly meetings at SHM, we are just about done with schematic design. Currently the lots stands scraped, but the house didn’t go down without a fight.. it took an entire week. Prior to demolition, I had fallen in love with the house’s original door knocker, a black lions head (pictured). Frank and I agreed that it would be special to keep for our new house, perhaps on the side gate since our front door will be glass. It would be a symbol of good luck. But somehow, the message to salvage the knocker never made it to the demolition crew. When our builder Mark Danuser, of Tatum Brown Custom Homes, got a desperate email from Frank saying that his wife was going to kill him if he didn’t find that lions head, he jumped into action. He credits his pre-construction services guy Blake Evenson, for procuring it. So, thank you to Mark, Blake, and whoever you are out there who had to take a dive in the dumpster!
We hired landscape architect Bill Bauer of The Garden Design Studio in Austin for the job and have been really impressed with both his and Enrique’s contemporary design skills.
I hope you enjoy following the rest of our adventures in home building. Stay tuned!