We’re building a new home!

by Dana on March 29, 2013

When we moved to Austin, Texas almost 4 years ago from Southern California we weren’t sure if it was a short-term or long-term adventure.   Mostly we wanted change from our current situation.  And we needed to get equity out of an investment home we had purchased in the Austin area.  So, we moved into the investment home and started a new life for our little family.

And turns out, we love it here.



Texas is a wonderful place.  You’ve got beautiful country land mixed with really fun cities. It’s super affordable.  There’s tons to do (and eat).  And Austin in particular is a very friendly, active, outdoorsy, artsy, musical, football-y, political, and just a cool, chill environment.  If you’ve never visited you must.  And wave hello!


In summary, Austin won.  We’re staying a bit longer.

So we decided it was time to upgrade from our starter home investment and tackle a new, larger adventure: Land and a custom home.
Now coming from California, “land” means about 5,000-8,000 square feet of property space.   To texans we’re talking 20 acres.  I needed an in-between.

And last year we found this lovely property, 1.5 acres (still more than I’ll get used to), in a normal neighborhood with neighbors around and kids down the street.  Yay!

…because I need an environment where I can still sort of hear people and wave/chat in passing.  And this neighborhood has plenty of friendly folks who have already come out to introduce themselves when we’re there.  And the property is loaded with trees!….and it’s on a slope, so it has interesting dimension (which isn’t so common in flat Texas).  Plus, it’s on the end of a cul-de-sac (which Owen referred to today as the “sac a dull”).  We loved it the first time we saw it.  And Casey’s parents loved it when we shared it with them.


And we spent the next 4 months thinking about it.

And thinking about it.

And just thinking about it some more.

And then we bought it!


And now we’re gonna build a house on that land!  Well, we’ve hired someone to build our house on that land.  A custom, one-of-a-kind home with just the particular items we love (within budget)(that darn budget).   The land isn’t as lush in winter as it was in the summer,

But there are still plenty of trees, prickly pear (for Owen to whack down with a stick), there are some crazy but cool looking weeds, and all sorts of dirt for kids to get lost in.


From the back of the property looking toward the street, you sort of get a feel for the slope and property distance.

So with the land purchased, we’ve moved on to the design stage.
Fun!
Now if it were entirely up to me, the exterior would be either gray/white craftsman style,

a modern farmhouse or East Coast shingled beauty,

or maybe a gorgeous beach home/cottage with wood siding:

But if you live in Texas you know that people here are big on the Texas Stone look.  It’s pretty and I think it’s cool to use materials from your local surroundings (photo source, source),

But it’s just not me and not my favorite when you’re a person who loves gray, white, and pops of color.  But according to our neighborhood rules the exterior house facade must include some stone masonry.  So….I’m finding ways to incorporate my style/colors with the stone look and I think it’s gonna be fun (photo source).  The Interior of course can be whatever we want.

We hired the local Austin builder, Lake Hills to create our vision.  And one of their designers Felicia did a wonderful job listening to our ideas, creating a plan, and inserting ideas she thought we would like.

Casey even came up with a rough initial plan to share with her, using floorplanner.com.  That site it cool!  And I’m impressed with how much of his original plan we actually stuck with (as far as room location)

The design process was an interesting collaboration.  And after many meetings, tweaks, and reworkings we love what Felicia did.  Here’s a peek at the Front Exterior:

And another look at the back:

My two favorite parts of the home are the back porch/upper deck with all those railings (I sort of get my beach house!….only 4 hours from the ocean).

And check out that fun room in the top right corner below….the Studio!  It won’t just be a workspace for me but more of a creative room for the whole family.  Because I’ve realized in our current home that when I’m sewing, we all seem to find each other.  Next thing I know Lucy’s sitting at the computer table next to me drawing, Owen’s playing with Star Wars legos on the floor nearby.  And we’re all in our creative spaces but we like to be near each other.  So I hope this large open room is where we do homework and art projects and everything in between.

So what’s next?  We’re ready to break ground!
And we’re also working on the interior design of the home.  I’m actually meeting with our designer Donna this morning to finalize the bathrooms, great room, and other details.  It’s a bit overwhelming to conceptualize the look of the entire house when the sky is the limit (or rather, the budget is the limit).  Sometimes I actually wish I was limited to 5 options for the kitchen….then it would be easier to make up my mind.  But a HUGE thank you to Pinterest and Houzz (oh lovely Houzz) for making home design so much easier!

I opened another Pinterest account under the name MADE House–until we decide on a more exciting name for our home—so I can keep track of all our likes, wants, and ideas (you’ll find my personal pinterest account here).  So if you’d like to see what we’ve got it mind, follow along!

And I’d love your input on a few items:
• I really want the back porch railings to be painted white wood but we live in an environment that requires a lot upkeep on that….probably an annual paint job.  Am I crazy?  Another option is white-painted wrought-iron railing which would have zero upkeep but it’s just not as cozy to me.  And synthetic/composite railings are way too pricey.  Any ideas/input?
• I’m looking for a cool chandelier for the front entry and love this one that’s been floating around blogland.  But um, it’s $4000. Haah.  Any cool/unique chandeliers you’ve found?
• Wood burning fireplace vs. gas?  I want wood, he wants gas.  We’re prob doing wood but would love your thoughts.
• Any fun, cool, great websites you recommend?  Please leave them in the comments!  I enjoy new sites for furniture, rugs, lights, and accent pieces.

Okay.
These city kids are going to learn a thing or two about having more space (me included)…..which at this point means playing with sticks and dirt.   Owen’s dreamland.

We’re in for an adventure!  And we’re thankful we have that chance.  Living in California we never imagined this idea of land and space and building a custom design.  But Texas has allowed us some great opportunities and we feel blessed. Our home is your home!…in the virtual sense.  So come on over and enjoy the photo adventure with us.

Have a wonderful weekend.
I’ll update you when we break ground, very soon!

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{ 149 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hannah @ MiniMe Paperdolls March 29, 2013 at 10:20 am

EEEEEEKKKK! How exciting!!! Congrats you guys!

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2 Chris March 29, 2013 at 10:22 am

How wonderful! Enjoy the process..it will be fun to follow the progress. Best wishes.

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3 Felicia March 29, 2013 at 10:24 am

We live in upstate NY where the elements are hard on wood too, and I’ve seen alot of people going the vinyl route for fencing, not sure (but I would guess yes) if they have it for deck railings?

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4 kellie March 29, 2013 at 10:29 am

How exciting!!!

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5 Sarah March 29, 2013 at 10:39 am

I usually don’t respond to these things, but I feel kinda strong about the fireplace for some reason. My husband and I grew up East coast with wood fireplaces and it’s so nostalgic for us. The wood, the smell, the sound! It’s wonderful. We now live in Montana and LOVE it. We bought a house just last year that had a fireplace and it was such a such a selling point for us. The problem was that there is upkeep with getting fireplace cleaned, keeping wood around for a fire. We ended up getting a gas insert put in and I dont’ regret it at all. We use our fireplace so much more than if we would have a wood one. And it’s become such a meeting place in our house when friends come to visit. It’s a great cozy spot when the kids are in bed, and a great place to drink coffee in the AM. And the best thing is that you don’t have to build anything to have that cozy feel, just turn on the fire with a remote. It actually puts out a lot of heat and is actually more efficient in heating a space than a wood fire. Yes you lose that smell and sound but the overall feel of cozy is there and there is no ash to clean up afterwards. Just my 2 cents.

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6 Nici March 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm

We too live in MT! There are so many wood stoves on the market. We built our house 10 years ago, and I’m sure there are even more eco-friendly, heat efficient one’s now. We have a Vermont castings with a Catallytic (Sp?) converter. It heats 14oo sq ft of space (the lower level is all radiant heat), on about 4 cords of wood in a cold winter (no other heat is used on this level, unless we leave out of town). I keep it around 70-72 since I have small children. We had a log railing built around it to keep the kids from getting burnt. We are happy with it, but also know that your Homeowners insurance may be higher with one. Ours is, but it is a primary source of heat. Good luck! Love your ideas!

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7 Jenny March 29, 2013 at 10:39 am

Congratulations! My husband is a custom fine home builder in North Western Vermont, so the climate is a little different, however… Vinyl is an option for railings, etc for sure, (although he would shoot me for saying that! Vinyl isn’t a recommendation he typically makes if possible). I have heard him recently talk about the AZEK decking, it’s PVC, has the “look” of wood but not the maintenance! I’ll pick his brain and let you know what he says! Again, Congratulations!!

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8 Amanda March 29, 2013 at 10:40 am

As someone who lived in TX and had white railings…at least on the lower level…they were dirty dirty dirty and I could never get them to stay looking clean. :/ So, I would suggest not going with the white wood. Can you a lighter gray for the wood? That might hide the dirt a bit better. Wrought iron isn’t my fav either.

On the wood burning v. gas. I ADORE wood burning…the crackling and all that…the smell. But, honestly we have had MANY more fires in our fireplace when it is gas. Every morning in the winter months my kids and I flick on the gas fire place and flick it off if the room gets too toasty. I don’t think we would voluntarily go back to wood. Also…my husband works in the natural gas industry so…you can help keep him employed. ;) In all seriousness though…it’s so much less work while you still get the warm cozy feel of a fire.

Enjoy the house planning!!!! We’re getting ready to begin the same process in a year or two. :)

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9 Talina March 29, 2013 at 10:42 am

Aluminum Railing! It’s a little chunkier than iron and it’s powder coated – no upkeep!
This is a Canadian company – but I know they ship to contractors in the States:
http://www.imperialgroup.ca/railings.cfm
I love your ideas – have fun!

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10 Angela March 29, 2013 at 10:43 am

So exciting, I look forward to seeing your vision become a reality, i love your design sense. We have two gas fireplaces in our home and I love that it is so easy to turn on and off throughout the day and there is not smell.

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11 ellie March 29, 2013 at 10:47 am

As far as painting the railings white, are you going to paint the rest of the porch another color? If so, it is a PAIN to paint a two tone porch. I did our very small one this summer and it drove me crazy. (all one color means you don’t have to be as careful). It’s difficult to paint all those little rails and after a half day you’ll really wish you could just slop it on there instead of making sure there aren’t any drips.

Houzz is the pinterest of house stuff. It has great search features and you can have boards just like on pinterest for different rooms/elements. I use both. We are breaking ground in June on our own home! So exciting!

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12 Hannah @ MiniMe Paperdolls March 29, 2013 at 10:51 am

One more thing. Outlets! You’ve probably already thought of this but if you can, make sure their are outlets all around your garage (for some reason we have three on one side and none on the other), walk in closet…you’ll be glad you have an outlet in there, room under the stairs (if this is applicable) and also a light in that area is important. Again you’re probably smart enough to remember all of that but those are a few things we missed in our planning stages. SO excited for you guys!

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13 Carolyn March 29, 2013 at 10:52 am

That is incredibly exciting news! Although I’m overwhelmed just thinking about all of the decisions that you have to make :) Perhaps that’s because I’m the most indecisive person ever!
I’m also on the lazy end of things so I have to vote for deck rails that require as little up keep as possible. We love our little deck but it is a pain to take care of and sometimes I wish it just wasn’t there.
Along that same line, I vote for gas fireplace. We have a wood one right now and I love the look of it, but we hardly ever use it probably because it’s a bit of an effort. I’m sure we’d use it more if we just had to flick a switch.
(do we sound like the laziest people alive??)

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14 carrie March 29, 2013 at 10:53 am

how exciting! I would love to build a custom home! And live in Austin. It’s like the best of 2 works!
on wood vs. gas, I would opt for gas.
living in a state where we deal with inversions and have no burn days I am keenly aware of how bad wood smoke is for your health. it is actually worse than 2 have some and does contain carcinogens. look into that before you decide as I know that the health and pollution concerns have become a major deciding factor for me in choosing gas over wood.

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15 Sensibility March 29, 2013 at 10:54 am

Have you checked out Houzz for ideas? It’s just as addictive as Pinterest but for house interiors and exteriors.

Also I’d go with wood for the fireplace and get a gas starter, so that way you can have either or. :) good luck with all of your plans.

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16 Sheri March 29, 2013 at 10:59 am

We just built our house last fall and I have the same kitchen layout. I love it!!! The large island is soooo great! For the fireplace why don’t you compromise and get a gas one indoors and add a wood burning one outside. I’ve had both and it’s so much easier to have gas if you want to use it regularly. Also, with the small kids I’d be concerned about safety with a wood burning one. Make sure you check out houzz.com for lots of great ideas.

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17 Allison Hansen March 29, 2013 at 11:00 am

Hey, Lady. Let’s collaborate — we are building a custom too! So much to think about. We are just wrapping up plans, no permits yet. So we are a bit behind you guys, but I just picked out kitchen appliances so I’m getting excited!!! Drop me an email, I’ve got thoughts on the above debates. Love to you all.

AL

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18 jessica March 29, 2013 at 11:20 am

you might want to check out the opaque stains, my brother used that on his front porch and as i understand it it’s more of a stain than a paint that would peel off… would be worth talking to your builder or hardware store about. :) can’t wait to see the progress and finished project! I would LOVE to build our own home someday!

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19 HeatherM March 29, 2013 at 11:24 am

So excited for you and your family!! We’ve been in our custom built/dream house for a year and love it. The planning stage was a bit overwhelming. Tons of options and hard to decide. I posted a few FB ??’s to see what my friends liked. Outlets for our Christmas lights outside was a huge favorite.

It’s fabulous to watch your dreams and thoughts you’ve imagine come to life!! I took pictures of each stage of the building. It’s fun to watch the house be built via pictures. It’s been a great tool when we need to know what the house looked like before the sheetrock stage. {for example: cutting into the wall to hide some of those tv wires. my DH knew right where to go.}

Good Luck and enjoy the process!

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20 birdyboots March 29, 2013 at 11:26 am

We are just finishing a big gut/renovation on a home we bought last fall. One great source for ideas/color planning/space usage I used a TON was houzz.com — if you haven’t checked it out yet, do. It is like the Pinterest for home building with personal Ideaboards, etc ;)
Tara

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21 RC March 29, 2013 at 11:30 am

Even though you want white wood for outside, I wouldn’t do it. I have white posts in front of my house and I live in the suburbs. They get so dirty in no time at all. If we had land, I would want something that was not white.

Gorgeous plans – can’t wait to see how it all shakes out!

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22 Melissa March 29, 2013 at 11:30 am

My hubs is a fine home builder and restorer in eastern mass on the ocean and we see a lot of people choosing AZEK and vinyl to keep maintnance down and also using stain instead of paint. He’s all about great detail that goes with the period/style of the home so Restoration Hardware is a good place to check out, everything from lighting to bathroom fixtures!

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23 Jennifer March 29, 2013 at 11:32 am

Congratulations!!!! Such exciting news. We have two gas burning fireplaces. We ended up taking out the fake wood in our downstairs so we could burn wood. We usually start it with gas and once it gets going we turn the gas off. But it does smell like campfire in our home. I wish we had the recessed outlets so that our furniture could be right smack up against our walls. I also wish we had outlets hidden around our mantles for Christmas time and outlets placed in convenient spots near the roof line for Christmas lights would be my husband’s request. And the expense of the synthetic railings might just be worth it over the lifetime/upkeep of the house. I am currently watching the paint fall off our pergola over our patio. We’ve only been in our house 4 years but the pergola is at least 20 years and there are spots where the wood is just rotted. But they didn’t have these fab materials when the previous owner built this custom home. Good luck with all your choices!!

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24 bleu March 29, 2013 at 11:33 am

Thanks for sharing, looking forward to your read about your journey

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25 Shannon March 29, 2013 at 11:36 am

Congratulations on the new adventure! All of my close friends are in Texas (lived there for 10 years). Enjoy the creative process.

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26 whit March 29, 2013 at 11:36 am

I have no idea if they still do these, but my parents’ house has a fireplace plumbed for gas and uses wood. When my grandparents built it, the idea was the gas would ignite the wood more quickly. My parents have since put one of those fake log things in it. Just a thought…

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27 marta March 29, 2013 at 11:38 am

You will love to live with more space! It’s great for us but even better for the kids! They will have the time of their lives in this new home.
I’ve moved from a flat in central Lisbon to a house with a big garden and a pool by the beach 20 minutes from the city two years ago and I can’t imagine going back to the city. I love living in the country side!

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28 Megan March 29, 2013 at 11:39 am

check out:
http://www.inspirationfordecoration.com/

And what about a cable type railing for your deck? It’s a little nautical feeling and you could have white posts with the cables running in between. This is just from a quick google search :

http://www.front-porch-ideas-and-more.com/stainless-steel-cable-railing.html

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29 Betsy C. March 29, 2013 at 11:41 am

Congratulations! We’re a military family and move A LOT (move 16 is coming up this June!). I absolutely loved the time we spent in the Austin area and would move there again in a heartbeat! Enjoy making a wonderful home!

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30 Kim DiGiorgio March 29, 2013 at 12:03 pm

What a wonderful time for all of you!! I Outlets for christmas lights, think about the top and bottom of the stairs. We light our railing with orange for halloween and thanksgiving, white for christmas, red for Valentines, etc. My husband spend an ENORMOUS amount of time planning out our light switches and sockets. I thought he was crazy, but it turns out, I can turn out the lights no matter what path I take around the house. I never have to walk into a dark corner to turn on a light. My husband also took lots of pictures of the process which I assume you will do, too. After six years, the ones we still search out are the ones of the walls before sheetrock and after plumbing and electrical. We never have to worry if we will nail into something important. Our back yard is still a work in progress and my 10 and 11 year old girls are still digging in the dirt and cultivating weeds. We have had a “water park” for the bugs with channels and waterfalls. An island with a moat. I just tell my friends and family I am growing kids and the landscape will grow at some point.

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31 oon March 29, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Congratulations!
I’m afraid I’m too European to give you any decent advice about building a house.
What strikes me time after time is that the light is so nice. Very different from here. The atmosphere in your photo’s is so beautiful.

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32 Stitches March 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm

How exciting! We moved from So Cal about 6 years ago to Washington State and we were blown away that we could also buy land and build our own house. It was so much fun doing it and I love my house. I will never move. The amount of land is abit overwhelming. We just have no idea what to do with it all!
Good luck!

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33 Sharron March 29, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Congrats! We are in the midst of the same thing in Houston! Our house will be finished in early-mid June. It is a process but seeing it go from a drawing to a 3 dimensional building is amazing. I did/do a lot of searching on Houzz.com, and go back to the same photos a lot – if I first looked at a kitchen photo for cabinets, I look at it again for hardware, how the kitchen island is organized, what the granite looks like, etc. It can be a full time job, but I think the end result will be fantastic! I can’t wait to see what you come up with! Oh, and don’t worry too much about the choices you have to make… You will find that you are consistent with your likes/dislikes, so decisions aren’t as difficult as you might think!

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34 Tami Brown March 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm

So excited for you and your family! I can’t wait to see your creative juices evolve into a house. Best of luck!

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35 Jackie March 29, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Oh, yea!! That’s awesome. :)

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36 kelly March 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Congrats! It’ll be fun to follow along and see everything step by step. :)

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37 jane d March 29, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Lucky you! We moved FROM Austin (Oct. 2010) to WASHINGTON! Austin (and all of Texas) will always be HOME–I miss it so much! It’s THE best place in the world to live. Enjoy it and think of me (and everyone else who doesn’t have the privilege of living in such a wonderful place) often!

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38 Jessica @ Running With Scissors March 29, 2013 at 1:04 pm

congrats! We’re in the same process! We have land and my husband I designed the floor plans…but unlike you we have to wait until next year to break ground and in the meantime I’m planning everything, kind of overwhelming but exciting!

Can’t wait what you do! It shocks me how much plumbing fixtures and lighting cost!

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39 Tracy March 29, 2013 at 1:22 pm

I found my mom a lovely chandelier to replace her builder’s grade one at the local Habitat Restore for $75! Just an idea that maybe you can find something old and make it new. Beautiful house!

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40 Brenna March 29, 2013 at 1:28 pm

I too love the look, smell, ambiance of a wood burning fireplace, but I think I would opt for gas. Its easier, so more likely to get used. And safer, as far as sparks and kids, and also chimneys and creosote build-up and such. And healthier, as that lovely smell is not great for lungs.

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41 Kailee March 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm

That’s so cool!! You’re getting me excited for it already. When I was 12-13 years old my family built our house, and it took a long time (about a year) but it was a really fun process to continually go and see how the house was progressing. Me and my siblings had a lot of fun playing around in there when it was only party built (you’d be surprised at the types of games we could come up with haha). But yeah, I love our house. It was pretty hard to move but I think it helped that we had built it ourselves so that when we moved in, we were moving to a place that was kind of already our home. So excited for you!! Oh and a thought about the chandelier…what if you got someone to make one for you? Like find a place that makes custom ones and see if they could make it for a lot less but very similar to that one you like. Just a thought!

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42 Deborah Jennings March 29, 2013 at 1:46 pm

I love the Hill Country around Austin. In fact, we were there in March. I live about 5 – 1/2 hours North-ish of the Austin area. Oh, and Texas is only flat I the Western area. We have it all! Hills, plains, forests, you name it. We are in what is called East Texas Piney Woods area.

I couldn’t live anywhere else. We love it here. I have lived here all my life. I have lived within about 50 miles from where I was born.

Come on up to Tyler and go through the Azalea trails. Beautiful!

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43 Hayley March 30, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Tyler-ites unite!

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44 Camille March 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Congrats!! How exciting! As for the fireplace – I really wanted wood, but our house came with gas and I kinda sorta love it. One click of a remote and there is a warm, cozy fire. Sure, no crackling, but love the convenience.

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45 Jennifer S March 29, 2013 at 2:39 pm

I’ve seen this tutorial to make your own beaded chandelier. I imagine you could customize it the way you would like and would be much less expensive.

http://www.gusandlula.com/2010/08/beaded-chandelier-tutorial.html

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46 Lucia Brown March 29, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Congratulations! What could be more exciting than living in a brand new house and in such a beautiful neighborhood.

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47 Courtney March 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Supre fun! We live in the Austin area too and are also in a custom home on an acre and half! You’ll love it.
Of course it means lots of yard work which sound like fun in the spring but sucks in the summer when it’s blazing hot.
Looks to me like your in the south side of the city but if you make it up towards the northern side, say hello!

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48 Rachel March 29, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Oh Dana, I am so happy for you guys!! Your house looks A M A Z I N G. You are going to have so much fun watching it go up! I love that you’re going to have some land. I grew up with land and I loved it as a kid. Right now we live in a neighborhood, and it’s strange for me to have neighbors, haha. But I’ve decided I love both. I want a little bit of land but I still want to be around people – it’ll be a spread-out kind of neighborhood :)

The painted white wood sounds lovely – if you think you’re up for painting it every year, go for it. And if it’s not too much to one day switch from white wood to the iron railing, try out the wood first. If you really, really love it, the upkeep may not bother you as much.

I’ve seen dollar store chandeliers just like that one! Here’s the link to my favorite: http://dollarstorecrafts.com/2010/05/make-a-beaded-chandelier/. It’s gorgeous and it only cost around $10!

My Mom always preferred wood fireplaces. In the case of an emergency, we had a source of heat. Here’s an article from a guy who went through something similar. He eventually created a gas/wood burning fireplace – gas for the easy cleanup, and wood in case something happened and they ran out of gas: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/12/AR2007101200959.html

Have fun building your new home! I’m so excited for you!

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49 Taylor March 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Congrats! Your land is beautiful! How fun for your kids to grow up there! Two things, I have seen a ton of people DIY that exact chandi with wood beads, maybe that’s an option? Also I 110% vote for gas!!! Don’t do wood! The smell of campfire will stay for days after in your couch and clothes and rugs, also gas is so much easier to turn off and on- u never have to worry about the fire still being on!

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50 Emma March 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm
51 Emily March 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm

So exciting!!! Congrats!!! The plans look awesome! I’m totally in love with the craftsman style. There are lots of fun pictures on architecturaldesigns.com

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52 Melinda March 29, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Be sure to harewire for sound and Internet/cable. While you are in ground breaking phase, talk to the construction foreman. When we built our house, they dumped the stone for the backfill on the garage & foundation right where I was dreaming of a rose garden. Roses need a deep bed that is loose and well drained; not filled with stone! Landscape planning is often left to the end of the process and seldom consulted at the beginning. You might want an initial opinion before the dump trucks start messin’ things up for you.

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53 Julie March 29, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Dana- you are so awesome!!! Thank you so much for sharing your talents, ideas, family and experiences. Congratulations on the new house (to be) building is so exciting- though sometimes frustrating- can’t wait to watch the progress.
Happy Easter to you & yours.

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54 Heather March 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Hi,
Your website inspires me and I never comment, but I feel strongly enough this time that I should – DON’T even think about railings that require paint!!!! You will regret that forever. It is the worst, messy job, takes forever and will always need upkeep. Anything else would be better. :) Congratulations on your new home – love your ideas!

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55 Lynette March 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Congratulations! I am excited for you! We have almost 2/3 acre in Southern Utah, and we love it. It’s a lot of yard, and a lot of work, but the space is fantastic. Our kids will love playing in the backyard as they grow older (we just have an 11month old currently).
I think that iron railings would be fine. I’m all for low/no upkeep. And to make it a cozier feel, add some potted plants (you could even do hanging ones) and some deck furniture, and you’ll be good!
One tip: Put outlets in so you can plug in christmas lights up easy. Ours are in the roof of our porch so we look up and there they are!

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56 Shannon Hyer March 29, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Hey Dana–Congrats on the new house–definitely something we will never get to do in CA! I want to add my opinion to the majority here and say go with the gas fireplace–this winter we finally stopped burning the logs and had the gas line all re-done and put in a ceramic logs–we use it so much more now….and it’s true, the smell with wood lingers well into the next day…I love the idea of burning wood, but we have used the gas fireplace so much more because it’s easier, cleaner, and more convenient

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57 Karen March 29, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Dana, you are so clever, I reckon you could totally make that chandelier, just a thought!

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58 anna March 29, 2013 at 7:32 pm

this will be awesome!!!

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59 Jackie March 29, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Congrats on your new land and soon to be new house a cool site to check out for home design is houzz.com. So many ideas there.

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60 Kristin March 29, 2013 at 7:40 pm

SUPER exciting! can’t wait to see the progress! my folks built a house when i was in middle school – it was so fun to see the whole thing come together. enjoy!

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61 Lizzie March 29, 2013 at 8:05 pm

My mom has a hybrid gas/wood fireplace in her home – you get the best of both worlds. No time-consuming log/tinder set up, just throw in the wood, light the gas, and the wood eventually takes. Her home is in Southern California, and she gets a surprising amount of use out of it!

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62 Hayley March 30, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Perfect idea!

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63 Lizzie March 29, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Ooh, Wood burning for sure! I’m sixteen and from northern California and I love getting wood and building a fire with my dad, then sitting around it with my whole family! So many memories and lots of fun!
You should think about joining 4-H and filling some of that land up with some animals! I’m sure your kids would love it! I’ve been a member since I was nine, and have been raising and selling goats since!

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64 andrea March 29, 2013 at 8:49 pm

I grew up in Seattle and currently live in Virginia Beach. We always had a wood fireplace and had to chop, store, and clean our own place. Now I have a gas stove and I miss our wood so much. Not only the smell, but the feeling of creating something and being a part of the process of nature. Convenience does not always mean better and wood is a great way to teach kids about responsibility and how to be active and part of the world. By the way, it is just as easy to get burned with gas as with wood. I do not believe that gas is any safer for kids.

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65 Shanna March 29, 2013 at 9:46 pm

http://thestir.cafemom.com/home_garden/120516/diy_chandeliers_will_make_your

Here’s a link to a few different DIY beaded chandelier tutorials.

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66 Robyn March 29, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Congratulations! I look forward to reading about your design/building process!

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67 Marie-Claire March 29, 2013 at 10:56 pm

A gas fire place is the way to go! We’ve fallen for the romance of a wood fire and have had one twice in two separate homes and I would not want one ever again! Wood fires require so much effort, sourcing, purchasing, collecting, perhaps even chopping wood then collecting enough to bring inside all the time. And then the wood leaves mess everywhere. Trust me between kids, all the work you do and now with extra land to care for you will appreciate the ease of a gas fireplace. Some friends of ours got a gas fireplace (after talking with us, haha) and it is wonderful! It’s easy, efficient and looks great. So my vote is gas. :) you could always enjoy the sounds and smell of the real thing when on vacation when you actually have time for it. Good luck :)

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68 Heather March 29, 2013 at 11:15 pm

I LOVE real wood burning fireplaces and was adamant that we have one when we bought our house 12 years ago. We live in MN and have a long winter for those lovely crackly fires. But as time went on what started as a fireplace we love is now just decoration. We haven’t had a fire in it in at least 5 years. We are also building a house and never even thought of installing a wood buring fireplace. The idea of flipping a switch and having a fire sounds like perfection.

Like other’s mentioned, HOUZZ! The best site for home design!

Your home plan looks wonderful, especially the studio. :)

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69 Alyce Rodriguez March 29, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Congrats on the house! As a native Texan, it really warms my heart to see others find the beauty and adventure that Texas has to offer.

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70 bdaiss March 30, 2013 at 12:20 am

Conga-rats! So much fun! And such a headache. But SO worth it in the end. LOVE your concept. Just a thought: I know composite is steep up front, but have you worked it out over the long term? For us the cost/hassle to clean, paint, repair, replace was so much higher than just biting the bullet and going with composite. I gave up a few things inside to make it happen and I’ve been so glad I did. Because I can upgrade a light fixture here and a faucet there in a few years, but replacing our big wrap around porch and deck? No thanks!

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71 carissaabc March 30, 2013 at 12:55 am

I see most people have voted for gas, but no one mentioned one of my favorite points about the gas fireplace–ditch the fake logs and get smooth stones instead. they look so modern and clean-lined!

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72 Sara March 30, 2013 at 12:58 am

So fun! I’m excited to see the progress and hopefully we’ll make a trip or
Um move to see it when it’s done!

I don’t know much about railings, but I would for sure look
Into vinyl. We are having our vinyl fence put in and it has a life time gurantee and no need to paint. Good luck!

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73 Hannah Elise March 30, 2013 at 1:14 am

yay! so excited for you guys and your new adventure. can’t wait to see the final house + layout, etc. :)

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74 Lindsay March 30, 2013 at 2:27 am

I thought something might be in the works from posts on Pinterest. Very exciting! I have no advice since I am no where close to building a house. I’ll enjoy watching things come together, and I would love to hear some of Casey’s thoughts on names for the house. That would be an interesting/entertaining brainstorm.

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75 Polkadotjes March 30, 2013 at 2:51 am

Wow, this is so exciting. Congratulations.
I must admit, I’m so jealous on that studio room ;). I dream of a place like that.

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76 Andrea March 30, 2013 at 3:18 am

Lovely house – my SIL lives in Austin with her family and we love visiting the ara.
We inherited a ‘gas’ wood burner when we moved into ths house and love it – almost instant heat and no mess, once it has been on for a short while, the flames glow more orange, definitely works for us although I do love a real fire, I just think we would use it less if we had to clen it and fetch logs !

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77 valetlesmonstres March 30, 2013 at 6:08 am

We moved in our new builded home 4 months ago. We live in Belgium, Europe, with our 7 children and the new house was a big and long project! I understand you when you are writing about budget… We thought that we wouldn’t have to work ourselves in the house but by the end, we did a lot and it’s not finished!
I wish luck, fun and are happy for you because it’s such a great family project.
If you have time and you can read French, have a look at http://maisonliernu.blogspot.com

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78 sarah watkins March 30, 2013 at 6:51 am

how exciting to be creating your own home. in regards to a chandelier on blog land there is a blog by kelly called truebias and she made her own chandelier which looked great.

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79 alice@kangaroo island March 30, 2013 at 8:13 am

We’re on a similar, but very different journey! We bought 206 acres, because I’m quite happy to drive some lovely dirt roads to say hi to the neighbours, and we bought it in a hilly rural landscape on Kangaroo Island, in South Australia. I love those American homes you’ve illustrated – but for us with no mains electricity and a severe bushfire threat, timber anything’s not a good plan, and anything that requires lots of heating and cooling won’t work either. We also have a ludicrously expensive ferry trip between us and most of our suppliers. So we’re going hippy straw bale (sourced down the road) with clay render (sourced 10 metres from the front door). Frustratingly we’ve had to move to the site already, part built, with our three kids; baby Poppy was 6 weeks old when we moved. Perhaps I should be blogging too…

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80 Stacey March 31, 2013 at 7:04 am

That is all kinds of awesome. I’m in Qld and dream about my strawbale one day. Hope it all goes fabulously for you x

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81 Becky Thompson March 30, 2013 at 8:19 am

So you will officially be Texans! Congratulations and welcome! There is no better place to raise children in the entire world than the great State of Texas. Sorry other staters…I’m biased.

Now, you’re talking Texas Hill Country. White railings are a no-go unless you want to find yourself on the business end of a power washer once a month. They will be filthy dirty two days after you wash them and stay that way. Being here for a little bit now, you know how bad the allergens are: oak, cedar, mold, etc. etc. Even if they don’t bother your nose, all that pollen loves to settle on pretty white railings. And you must consider the humidity. Early morning mositure will do a number on decking after a few years so if at all possible to do a composite, I highly recommend doing so. Also all that early morning moisture is why the pollen turns to pollen-mud and sticks to your railings. We just built a massive deck in our back yard around an above ground pool and I didn’t want the standard railings because of the dirty pollen issue. So I looked and looked and then we were at a retirement party at a cool winery place in New Braunfels (Gruene actually) and they had cattle panel railings. I absolutely LOVE them and so do all of our friends and neighbors. They simply do not get dirty and you can see straight through them so you’re not blocking the country side. Love, love, love.

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=cattle+panel+deck+fencing&id=B3EBAF028301E0145CAC9018E763E2C226C44BD0&FORM=IQFRBA

Congratulations on your new adventure. Enjoy enjoy!

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82 Polly @ Helping Little Hands March 30, 2013 at 8:56 am

So excited for you! We just had our house built a year ago. My main warning/word of advice is just know that it’s very likely that it will take longer to build than they tell you it will. You’re going to LOVE that yard. We’re still not done putting in our yard and our son LOVES the dirt.

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83 Kathleen March 30, 2013 at 9:04 am

Dana, congrats! That is just so exciting and fun! All your homes are right in wheelhouse.

Here’s a site with a lot of house plans that I liked:
http://www.stephenalexanderhomes.com/Award_Winning_Plans.aspx

Here’s another:
http://www.architecturalhouseplans.com/home_plans/

Can’t wait to see what you do!

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84 Kathleen March 30, 2013 at 9:12 am

Oh I see, you meant, websites with decor stuff. Duh. Rugsusa.com is a site I’ve bought stuff from before. They’re usually cheaper than any of the competition and free shipping!

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85 Cailin March 30, 2013 at 10:22 am

Congratulations! As for the chandelier have you thought about heading out to Round Top TX for the day (I would go without children). The antique fair is going on right now till April 6th I believe. Oh and it’s not all antiques I saw lots of cool craftsman style stuff, industrial and lots of other styles of cool things. The fair only happens twice a year once in the fall and once in the spring. Think the Passenda flea market on steroids but better!

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86 Jessica March 30, 2013 at 10:41 am

I think it looks fabulous! What a fun thing to do. I have to admit, I’m kind of jealous. :). And, not matter what you pick it will look fabulous because , well you just do everything fabulous. Good luck!

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87 Laurel March 30, 2013 at 11:12 am

I used to have a wood burning fireplace and I loved it! It was so cozy in the wintertime and made the house smell so yummy. Now we have a gas fireplace and it is a lot easier to be able to turn it on just by flicking a switch, but it is not nearly as cozy. If it were me, I would go with wood.

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88 Erica @ Acire Adventures March 30, 2013 at 11:39 am

Wow, that’s so exciting! The plan looks amazing! As for the annual paint job thing, I think it’s a little crazy. Especially with lots and lots of railing! Maybe when the kids are teenagers and can do it for you… ? :) But if you love it THAT much, maybe it would be worth it?
And that chandelier… Maybe I’m crazy, but it looks totally DIY-able. It’s mostly just beads! Definitely something new, but I think you could totally pull it off. Just look around the www for some knock-off inspiration, people do it all the time. :)

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89 Melissa March 30, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Yay! So happy for you and your family, and also for this post! We are deep in a remodel/building project, trying to get the new place livable so we can move in and sell our current home. I am so excited to see so many styles and elements on your post and Pinterest are similiar to my taste! -the Craftsman style, windows, white and gray – Love it all! I look forward to watching your progress and picking up tips, I’ll try to share mine too ;) So far Pinterest and Houzz are my main sources, but I have been doing some searches on Amazon for tile, light fixtures, etc. I’m even considering Ikea cabinets, but we’d have to have a pallet shipped from Seattle to Anchorage, AK!!

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90 Jessica March 30, 2013 at 12:38 pm

I live on the East Coast and have always had a wood burning stove. We LOVE it so much, that it’s our only source of heat. If you are worried about keeping wood around a great option is a pellet stove. You get the look of wood burning and the popping and crackling, but without the mess of wood. We have 6 acres of land, so wood is pretty available to us. I hope you enjoy your new adventure!

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91 Manu March 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Wow, this is gonna be a great house! I just thought that maybe you could make your own chandelier? If you take a cheaper one (since i live in Switzerland i can’t really give you a tip where to buy one but i saw a few ones with a similar shape online) and replace the boring glass or plastic pieces with strings of pretty beads? It would still cost more than an average lamp but maybe 500.- instead of 400.- ;)

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92 Manu March 30, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Ehm…i meant 500.- instead of 4000.-
Sorry :)

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93 Disney March 30, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Oh man, those pesky neighborhood rules! (And I bet you can’t put a sofa on your porch either!) ;o)
But seriously, how exciting is this, Dana!? I can’t wait to see all the plans coming together! I know it’s going to be beautiful and so inspiring!

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94 Darlene Lehman March 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Congratulations!!! Hope all goes well with the process! Looks to be lovely, though!

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95 Mary Weaver March 30, 2013 at 5:36 pm
96 Julie March 30, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Super exciting~ I saw a DIY chandelier like the one you want…there are a lot out there: here’s one http://www.gusandlula.com/2010/08/beaded-chandelier-tutorial.html.

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97 Petra March 30, 2013 at 9:04 pm

My 2 cents worth from Aussie! A gas fireplace is more practical for indoors (even though I prefer the real deal) – you could always have a “real” fireplace outside with a BBQ etc for you all to gather ’round and toast marshmallows!

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98 Sarah J. March 30, 2013 at 9:23 pm

i’m a fan of the wood fireplace. my parents have gas, we have wood, and i much prefer ours. :) but it’s always a personal preference.

for railings, i would probably paint the iron. with having 3 kiddo’s in the house, i have a feeling you would rather focus your time and money on other outdoor projects (like tree forts and landscaping). and you could always upgrade to composite down the road when the finances are there.

enjoy the adventure!

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99 allison March 30, 2013 at 10:56 pm

We just finished building a custom home. I used Houzz.com a lot for ideas..specifically to take to my designer when making interior selections. You might like shadesoflight.com for a lighting source. While they are not at all like what you pictured, I chose 2 Moravian Star lights from this website. They are clear glass and they are large–hung two in my front entry hallway. My one piece of advice is if you really want something, you should do it. I really wanted a farmhouse sink and decided against it (b/c of cost), but realize now it was silly not do it. I regret it now. Good luck…please share what you select. Your creativity is very inspiring!!

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100 Leslie R. March 30, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Congrats on the new home. We are building here in the Austin area ~ I know how exciting it can be. For our back deck railings we used galvanized cattle pen with a wood rail and frame. I see this all over Austin and I think it fits the area. It comes in different sizes/gauges and doesn’t obstruct the view. If you need a photo, email me separately and I’ll send you some photos. Another option is something my bestie used at her lake house ~ cable with turn buckles. Very cool with stone.

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101 Delia March 30, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Wow wow! How exciting Dana. I’m so excited to see how it all comes together. Sounds like a dream so far!

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102 Lindsay March 31, 2013 at 12:46 am

Get rid of some of those roof pitches. They add cost to construction. Looking at the back of the house, it appears that they aren’t primarily functional nor do they add much to the aesthetic quality. They break up the continuity of the roof and create more details where you could face water penetration issues in the future. You could powder coat metal handrails.

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103 Lacey March 31, 2013 at 1:22 am

What a beautiful design! You guys are living the dream — how exciting. You must be thrilled/slightly overwhelmed.

A small piece of my experience: we just painted our patio fence and it ain’t fun. I can’t imagine doing that every year, or even every second year. It’s a bit of an unrewarding paint job, and with house maintenance there are just so many things to do. I would reduce yourself out of a job if it were up to me — bigger houses = more work!

All the best, looks like so much fun!

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104 Sara March 31, 2013 at 1:25 am

Wood is great and here’s the reason: if the apocalypse comes (Zombie or otherwise) or you have a tornado or something and lose power, a wood fireplace is still functional. I realize it’s never really that cold in Austin (I lived there as a kid), but it would figure that the Zombie apocalypse would come in the middle of winter and the last thing you would want would to be cold.

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105 Kate March 31, 2013 at 3:39 am

Congratulations on your new adventure! Can’t wait to see pics!

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106 Sam M. | Atkinson Drive March 31, 2013 at 3:41 pm

We put a gas fireplace in our home, but my in-laws have a wood burning. We’re in a subdivision, and it would be expensive to get wood here to fuel a fire every night in the winter time. My in-laws happen to live on a tree farm, so collecting wood isn’t really a big deal to them. I would always lean towards a gas fireplace after seeing all the work that goes into running a wood fireplace, but if you don’t NEED it to heat the house, then maybe wood would be ok!

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107 KC March 31, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Very exciting! I live in Central Texas as well. I think wrought iron railings would be extremely hot to touch in Texas in the summer. But, that’s me. ;)

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108 Ana March 31, 2013 at 7:29 pm

What a great adventure for you all. The interior looks great but I do think it’s a shame that your architect didn’t make more use of the slope.

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109 Dana March 31, 2013 at 7:37 pm

it wasn’t sloped enough to have a walkout basement and would have cost tons more money. We’ll be doing some cool stuff with the decking and terracing of the yard.

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110 vianely March 31, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Hi. I live in the tropics – you know, suuuun, raaaaain, HURRICANS…- and painting every year it’s a normal thing: go for the color you want, just plan ahead the month for painting and be ready. Good luck and Felicidades!

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111 Sandy March 31, 2013 at 8:51 pm

That’s awesome! We are a few stages ahead of you, but hopeful! As for the fireplace, have you considered a gas insert to help get the logs started? Kinda the best of both worlds.

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112 Mel Vo March 31, 2013 at 9:21 pm

I love the grey Craftsman exterior, but that might have something to do with how I’d like our California bungalow painted ;)

As for the fireplace dilemma, I vote for gas. I also love the coziness you only get from a wood burning fireplace, however, here in the Bay Area we have so many Spare the Air days in winter now that you can rarely burn wood when you want to. I’m not sure if you get these days in Texas, but if they do or start to, you’ll be so glad that you have a gas fireplace. Plus, there’s not messy clean-up!

Love the chandelier, btw! I’m willing to bet you could make one fairly easily with some basic lighting pieces. Sure would beat the $4000 price tag!

Good luck and so excited for you and the family!!!

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113 Lori April 1, 2013 at 1:09 am

How exciting about building your home from scratch–what a dream! I look forward to seeing your progress…Good luck! Lori

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114 Patrycja April 1, 2013 at 5:23 am

how wonderful! I’m so jealous…

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115 Julia April 1, 2013 at 9:41 am

Dana, seriously, I think you can make that chandelier.

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116 Julia April 1, 2013 at 10:12 am

Dana, seriously, I think you can make that pretty chandelier.

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117 Ilene April 1, 2013 at 10:32 am

How EXCITING!!! I think that fuzzy plant under the cactus is called Mullen. It’s like lamb’s ear but not as furry. My mom picked up some in Colorado and brought it back here to Kansas and it took off! It can grow big and apparently the Native Americans would smoke it to purify their lungs. We had a German foreign exchange student when I was in high school that liked to just eat it…but he was a weird one.

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118 tracy April 1, 2013 at 11:02 am

You should TOTALLY make your own chandelier! Here’s a spot that links up to 15 different tutorials for that look: http://tatertotsandjello.com/2013/01/diy-wood-bead-chandelier-and-15-beaded-chandelier-tutorials.html

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119 Erin April 1, 2013 at 11:56 am

I am so excited for your family’s adventure and all of the happiness a home built to *your* needs will bring. As far as the fireplace goes, why not do a gas-starter and wood burning? I grew up in Vermont and we used wood heat for heating our house most of the time. I frankly shy away from natural gas these days as there is quite a controversy about harvesting the material. Yes, wood may may take a little more work but then you just enjoy the result much more. (And you could keep my dad employed – he’s still lives in Vermont and is a Forester) I agree with many others who said that painting the railing white is a little much…why not paint the trim, top of the railing and other architectural details white and let the wood go gray naturally as you see in many of the capes – those people know what’s up! They live in a very harsh climate and painting a lot of white, or any other color, is just not reasonable.

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120 Liz J April 1, 2013 at 2:09 pm

We had a wood fireplace in Idaho and used it a lot! Ours had an insert that would blow the hot air into the room which was nice. Now we have a gas and never use it. I feel like it wastes a lot of heat and it’s hotter out by the box then up by the glass. So with that I would say a gas one that is more efficient would be used but not otherwise.

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121 valerie April 1, 2013 at 2:31 pm

How thrilling for you!! For the fireplace….we have had both and much prefer our woodburning fireplace. But you can have the best of both by doing a woodburning fireplace with a gas starter. If you get tired of the wood….you can always convert the gas starter to gas logs.

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122 Angelique April 1, 2013 at 3:09 pm

I didn’t read through all the comments above so I apologize if I repeat anything. We live in Houston and built a home. We had a wood-burning fireplace put in and have never used it. BUT I would recommend it and see if you like it. Then, if you don’t use it much because of the cleaning and upkeep requirements, install gas logs (as we intend to). I think there’s more value ($ and experience) in the availability of a wood-burning fireplace and it’s easily converted one way or the other. Also, with a gas fireplace I don’t think you get a real chimney; just a pipe. At least you didn’t with our builder. And a real chimney just says ‘home’ to me.

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123 Jenoside April 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Gas v. wood? I prefer gas 100%. No cleaning, no kindling, and you can turn it on with a switch. Although I think I’d want to check out radiant heat fireplaces as well (not real fire) as I think they put out more actual heat than gas, but I’m not sure.

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124 Jesslyn April 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm

I figured something was brewing when the house options started appearing on Pinterest. Having been involved in several home builds/renovations, this is a fun process. A few thoughts – unless you want the wood for alternative emergency heating, I’d go with gas. We’ve had both and used the gas far more frequently. Both our wood and gas stoves had blowers to distribute the heat. Gas is much easier and cleaner.
Also – in the garage, put outlets higher up on the wall, about chest high, and all the way around the garage. It’s one of the best things we did in our last house and we’ll definitely do it in our next. Made it so easy to find an outlet for the shop vac and Mark’s tools when working on the cars, etc. Obviously wouldn’t look good in a regular room, but in the garage it’s great.

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125 Liz April 1, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Hey! Congrats on building a house. We built ours 5 years ago and tackled waaaaay too many of the building projects ourselves, but it was so gratifying to see it come together. Anyways…we were on a super tight budget so we ended up scouring ebay and we scored major deals! It was time consuming, but almost all of our light fixtures in the house are from Pottery Barn – via ebay…our designer pedestal sinks were several hundred less on ebay, and my favorite find – a fancy schmacy island stove that was originally $1700, but I only paid $900 (delivered) through ebay. All of those items were brand new and still in their packaging, but were a fraction of the cost. Good luck! It is overwhelming at times, but you’ll love it.

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126 Heidi April 1, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Congrats! What an exciting time, I’ll definitely be following along to see the progress!
I really like CB2.com for house stuff. Okay, I think I’ve only made 1 purchase there but their style is really great, I think you would like it.
That chandelier is awesome but I bet you could totally make it with a hanging planter and bunch of beads.
What about a white aluminum railing?

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127 Nicole L. April 2, 2013 at 10:21 am

Why don’t you make the chandelier? You can find a metal working company and have them fabricate the metal part of the chandelier for you then you could string the beads.

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128 Ashley April 2, 2013 at 11:15 am

Congratulations! So beautiful and I love the studio :-)

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129 Pam April 2, 2013 at 11:18 am

I have followed you for a while but don’t think I have ever commented but I had to on this post! We moved to Austin last summer and we decided to rent just incase it was for us but man oh man, I must have TX in my blood. We LOVE it here and we too just bought a lot and our building! I can hardly wait! I am off to Franny’s tomorrow to look at some fabric!!!

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130 Anneliese April 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Looks like a blast! You’ll do a great job with all the details! I love painted wood. Really, repaint every year? That does seem like a lot of upkeep. Wish the composite (hardy board?) weren’t so excpensive… Maybe wrought iron without any curves would work. Or what about a diffent idea with chunky posts and then heavy gauge wire in a horizontal pattern–or even metal pieces horizontal. It’s a bit more modern, not sure it would work, but I like the look. We have an open wood-burning fireplace into which we are putting gas and that seems like the ultimate, because you have options. Is that possible? I do have to say I envy the gas fireplaces for the convenience. And here is a good lighting resource–lots of different styles and some beaded chandeliers… http://www.shadesoflight.com (though you could probably pull off a great DIY!) And a great highend resource: http://www.ylighting.com/

Can’t wait to see more!

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131 Tonyette H. April 2, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Congratulations!!!! (I may be a lurker, can’t remember if this is my first time commenting or not!)

This is very exciting!!

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132 Pam April 3, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Love the house plan. I had to search for your studio on it, and laughed when I saw how big it is. How much fun.

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133 Simple Simon and Co April 3, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Oh! I am so envious! It looks absolutely wonderful.
-liZ

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134 melle@feathered ruffles April 4, 2013 at 5:42 am

ugh. no wood. the smell… it’ll get in EVERYTHING…. I’m not crazy about smelling like burning logs… and finding EVERYTHING in my closet smelling like them also. :( i’d go with gas. I know wood is *potentially* cheaper but still….

(i’ve had both… I just prefer natural gas or propane as opposed to wood. I’ve got lots of allergies and the smoke just makes it impossible for me to breathe….)

(I grew up in Houston… :) It is a wonderful place. Lots of fond memories of wide open flat spaces to run and play in, picking blackberries on the side of the road, the way the ground cracks open in the middle of dry summers….)

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135 laurie April 4, 2013 at 2:17 pm

What a blessing to be able to design and build your own home! So many people would love to have the opportunity to do this. While I don’t have any interior design tips, I used to work at Habitat for Humanity in Oakland, CA and remember some green/environmentally friendly things we did as we built homes:

* foundations made with fly ash – fly ash is a waste product of coal and can be used mixed together with concrete. I remember that it was not only green but also cheaper to go this route. There’s so much carbon dioxide emissions that can be saved this way. http://www.greeneducationfoundation.org/green-building-program-sub/learn-about-green-building/1229-fly-ash-concrete.html

* solar panels – we had companies donate them and it was a blessing to low-income families who were going to live in the homes to have a lower electric bill + be green. I know you mentioned that there’s a standard in the neighborhood about how the house should look, but this is totally worth looking into. You could possibly put them on the back side of your house so it’s not visible from the front …

* ask the builder about framing 24 inches on center – usually, everybody frames 16 inches on center. At Habitat in Oakland, we framed (put studs on the walls/put in a 2×4) every 24 inches on center instead of 16 inches. It saves lumber and the house is just as sturdy. We did 2 story homes this way too.

* using low/no VOC paints, you might already know this one – less toxic and better for the kiddos too

* a tankless water heater

* recycled denim/ spray insulation instead of fiberglass

* if you have an attic, using radiant barrier to keep it cool = less cost for a/c

* energy efficient windows = less cost for a/c

Hope you’ll take these things into consideration. Home-building can surprisingly contribute a lot of waste to the environment. If you google LEED certification, there’s a ton more resources to look into.

Love reading your blog. Excited to see the plans come together for your new home. God bless!

~Laurie

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136 Jean C. April 4, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Your house plans love wonderful. I’m sure that you will enjoy all the space. Such fun and hard work too. I was looking at the chandelier that you pinned; that is a lot of money… ahem, your talented, and creative, couldn’t you make that? Maybe not exactly; but close and a whole lot less expensive. Just a thought. Have fun with this new stage in your lives.

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137 Sydney April 5, 2013 at 10:52 am

The upkeep for our wood burning fireplace is a bit more than we expected. If it’s not immediately cleaned, our house smells like we’ve been cooking bbq no matter what we make. Our wood burner has a gas lighting source and that’s really neat since the fire starts immediately and only takes a minute or two to burn before we turn the gas source off.

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138 Amber April 5, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Wow. Super awesome and exciting. We have lived here one year as of last week. And loVE it. Hopefully someday we’ll build our dream house here too :)

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139 melissaerin April 5, 2013 at 8:52 pm

as if you need one MORE opinion…but you asked, so here it goes. :) We live in south eastern pennsylvania, in an old farmhouse, on the family farm my husband grew up on. we have a wood stove. i totally love it. it’s cozy. however, it is a lot.lot.lot of work and dirt. if you are up for the extra work and cleaning, go for it. :) but ya might have more “fun” family time with gas. :) gorgeous plans. :)

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140 Kristin April 5, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Oh my goodness how exciting for you guys! :) Your property looks so lovely. I have to tell you that when I scrolled down to your floorplan I was struck with how similar it is to the one I have been designing in my head for our someday build. :) But who knows when that will be. I can’t wait for you to share the end result, I’m sure you can’t either. :)

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141 Meghan April 8, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Very exciting! Congratulations!!
For the railing, I like the painted white wood, but yes you will have maintenance. Probably powerwash once or twice a year and then a paint touch up every couple of years. Most metal work now, at least in Chicago where I am, is not wrought iron. It would likely be either painted or powder coated steel. Even that will require touch up painting every 3-5 years. If you’re seriously looking for no maintenance you can go to vinyl or Azek, but I don’t think it looks as nice and it is expensive. Cable railings are fun and modern, but some Village/City codes don’t allow horizontal cable railings because they can be climbed so check into that.
For the fireplace, I would go for a wood burning fireplace with a gas log lighter (gas pipe that you will manually light with a match) since I love the smell and ambience of real wood burning. If you don’t like the hassle of real wood, you could buy gas logs and still use the gas starter. If you install a gas fireplace insert unit you can’t burn real wood, but gas is easy and clean. If you really want to get high tech, you could do a gas fireplace with a remote automatic starter. And then a step beyond that is to tie it into a smart house system and your smart phones. Once you add a remote feature to the fireplace, though, you can’t ever burn wood as it will melt the electric components (from what I’ve been told at least).
Lastly, as a landscape architect I will say – don’t forget the landscaping! It will always cost more than you think, but in my biased opinion it’s worth it. Also, please don’t do everything that Pinterest suggests like painting your concrete walk to look like bricks or using a plastic mold to make a concrete walk look like stone pavers.
Good luck!

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142 electricians in springfield mo April 9, 2013 at 2:04 am

Goodluck in your new home! I hope you will have a great time designing and living on it!

Rose

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143 Cindy April 9, 2013 at 2:39 am

Hi, just saw your post about the rug. I have the same rug and I don’t want to give you bad news, but wanted to warn you. I broke 2 vacume cleaners trying to get rid of all of the shedding. I’ve had it for years and it still creates balls of lint all over the room. I have also found that it has a petrol odor that comes from it when the room it’s in gets hot. Bottom line I hate the rug and if it were not such a nightmare to get it out of the room it’s in it would have been looooong gone. Hope your’s doesn’t cause you the same problems. :-(

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144 katie Evans April 12, 2013 at 2:45 am

I am sooooooo excited for you!!!! WOW. I can’t believe it is finally happening. I LOVE the look of the exterior. Nice job incorporating that stone while still getting a modern style. And the creative room for the whole family is going to be a dream.

We have a gas fireplace here and I LOVE IT. It really is still fun and cozy even if it’s not wood. I know for a fact that we wouldn’t use it a fraction of what we do now if we had to actually build a fire each and every time and then clean out the fireplace afterwards. But if you want the best of both worlds, have you thought of having it be gas and wood burning? Jon’s parents have that. On Christmas eve they always build a real fire for that crackling homey feel and other times when they just want something quick, they use the gas.

That chandelier is beautiful. It would make such a dramatic statement when you entered the house! have you thought of trying to create one yourself? I bet you would do an amazing job.

I have so much I want to chat with you about!! I also have so many questions for you about how to start on our own house. I need to meet you for a play date… Hopefully I’ll see you this summer. I’m rolling around the idea of coming out to Texas for a visit. So much to catch up on!

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145 Lynne April 16, 2013 at 10:34 am

I just stumbled onto your amazing blog through my love of all things Peeps – I’ll be cranking out those garlands for sure!
I love your new home plans – how exciting. My 2 cents is for the gas fire place. We had wood forever but we would only light a fire if we were planning to be home all day. We switched to gas and how I love to come down in the morning and click on the fire with the remote! The is no soot either and no messy cleaning up.
Thanks for such a fantastic blog!

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146 Katie April 21, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Yay! How exciting! Congratulations Willards! And I just have to say, seriously, our brains are on the same design wavelength. Even when it comes to houses. Just another reason I love you and your blog. :)

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147 Gabi April 28, 2013 at 6:00 pm

How exciting! Congratulations :).

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148 Jill Frank May 20, 2013 at 12:12 am

so very exciting! We did one custom home on a little over 3 acres. Then, after 4 years, decided we needed more land. Now we have a farm on 21 acres. We hope to build another custom home in the woods in another year or 2. For railings, I LOVED doing horizontal rebar. I painted the rebar with rustoleum (sp?) in a dark grey (about 80%). That way it they eye is not drawn to the railing and you can look right past it to see the kids playing. You can see a pic here http://pinterest.com/jfrank5427/dh-s-handywork/ along with some of the other details we used in a couple of our houses. The mini shower in the mudroom was used WAY more than I ever thought it would. We WILL repeat the shower in the next house. I like wood burning fireplaces. If you will be on propane gas – watch out, it is EXPENSIVE(at least it is for us)! We have a gas fireplace now and I never want to run it as it doesn’t heat the house much and I can’t justify the cost of the propane. The next house will have propane (because natural gas is not an option) for just the stove. LOVED the slate in the entry and mudroom. Totally hides dirt. And, I am so thankful for Pinterest! It is making planning the next build so much easier! Enjoy the process!

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149 Queenie January 19, 2014 at 9:24 pm

It’s so exciting! I can’t wait to see the inside. As far as the fireplace I’d go with gas it’s much easier to care of.

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