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The Story of Farmhouse on Elder Hill: Our pursuit of simple...

Since having our three children, we had always dreamed of escaping the hustle and bustle of the suburbs of Austin, Texas and finding a piece of land to spread out and watch the kids roam and play. Don’t get me wrong. We thoroughly enjoyed the ten years we lived in suburbia with a friend on every corner and where our kids could walk to school everyday. But there came a time for us when we realized time was slipping through our fingers like sand in an hourglass marking the short years that remained with these kiddos of ours under the same roof. We yearned for quiet. simple. A life that slowed down when you drove home.

My husband’s original dream was to purchase some property and build from the ground up—a new, top of the line custom home designed by us and for us. The problem was—though we could possibly afford the price tag on a few acres, we would be left with no reserves for building. Until….one blistering summer day, since we are both real estate agents, we stumbled across an old barn shaped farmhouse on five acres in Driftwood, Texas, just fifteen minutes down the road from our current cookie cutter home.

Being the strategic persuader that I am, I convinced John to take a quick look with the family on our way to a family day on the Blanco River, under the guise of role-playing as if we were ‘potential buyers’. He took the bait. Surprisingly, the photos on the MLS did not do the home justice. The cedar planked twenty foot ceilings soared above an expansive living area complete with floor-to-ceiling fireplace and vintage spiral staircase leading to precisely three bedrooms upstairs. The children immediately staked their claim on bedrooms. And I had to pick my jaw off the ground after seeing the birds-eye view of the grandfather oaks that graced the perfectly manicured native landscape.

Lest you think this home was picture perfect I must point out to you that though it had great bones, there would be loads of work required to bring it up to code and a resident of the 21st century. (John would interject that ‘loads of work’ is putting it lightly). John gave me an ultimatum secretly hoping that both me and the home wouldn’t perform. I had to execute real estate magic and negotiate the price of the home down by $75K. Unheard of in this market. Then the home would have to pass inspection. It was 44 years old with the original septic, windows, a 25-year-old air conditioner, and nondescript sheet metal roof. Guess what? After lots of work and prayer, the kind sellers and tireless inspector met my husband’s criteria. The house was ours.

And so our story begins…

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