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HOME

ISSUE

PARTY OF TWO Empty nesters downsize to a home in town By Kathleen McKinney Photographs by Marlo Collins, marlocollins.com

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ike and Beth Raymond moved to Waco from St. Louis, Missouri, in 2002, and for 10 years, they lived in Stone Creek Ranch off U.S. Highway 84. The home included four bedrooms, plus a media room and three bathrooms, and it was set on a 2-acre lot that featured a backyard oasis, complete with a pool, hot tub and cascading waterfall. At the time, the Raymonds had two teenagers at home, but now that their daughter, Carolyn, is out of college and working in New York City and their son, Drew, has started his junior year at the University of Texas, Mike and Beth decided it was time to downsize. “What you need in a house when you have teenagers is very different than what you need in a house when you don’t,” Mike said. “Teenagers love swimming pools. Teenagers need private areas to socialize with their friends. All of those being things we don’t need anymore now that they’re not living with us full time.” The Raymonds had been considering moving to a home with less upkeep for a while — they even looked at a few houses — but it wasn’t until they learned about the Oaks at Ridgewood that they made a decision. “It was this development that spurred us into action because we just thought it’s such a good location, and we

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liked the design of the houses. That’s kind of what sparked going from interest to action,” Mike said. The Oaks at Ridgewood is a gated community being developed by Branch Family Property Development. The homes are built by J. Michael Clark, Builders, and feature more modest lot sizes that are lower maintenance for the Raymonds. “Interestingly enough, the house we only downsized by 10 to 15 percent, but the lot we downsized by probably 90 percent, and there’s no pool,” Mike said. “It’s a dramatic reduction in maintenance and upkeep costs monthly, and in 10 years, energy efficiency in homebuilding has increased dramatically, so it’s also a reduction in our energy costs.” Plus, after driving to and from McGregor multiple times a day for a decade, Beth loves the development’s convenient location, which is just off state Highway 6 near Valley Mills Drive. “It’s a huge difference,” Beth said. “I don’t spend any money on gas, really. [Driving from McGregor], you put so Continued on page 88

Opening page: The home’s open floor plan allows guests to be in any of the main living areas and still feel connected to the rest of the party. Above left: With a large granite island to gather around, the kitchen is a great place for guests to hang out. Above right: The kitchen’s painted wood cabinets extend all the way to the ceiling and feature bubbled-glass fronts. Opposite page: Even though the Raymonds’ downsized, the home still has multiple spaces for entertaining, including a formal dining room.


Above left: Designer Larie Coleman describes the Raymonds’ home as Texas transitional because it’s a mix of modern clean lines, warm color tones and traditional textures. Above right: When designing the home, Beth tried to get all of her furnishings from local vendors, such as the unique sink basin in the powder room. Below: Beth’s favorite room is the master bathroom, which features marble countertops and floors and lots of storage space. Opposite page, top and bottom right: Mike and Beth Raymond can enjoy a glass of wine as well as beautiful sunsets in their outdoor living area. Opposite page, bottom left: Beth’s “New York” garden is a great place for her to relax in the afternoon shade.

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Party of Two Continued from page 70 many miles [on your car]. It’s not one time a day that you come in [to town]; it’s three or four.” Beth is a sales account executive for the Wacoan, so now she is a lot closer to the office, which is on Valley Mills Drive. Mike is vice president of marketing for Curves International. His office is on Ritchie Road right off Highway 84, so there hasn’t been much of a change in his commute to work, but because of his involvement in the community, he is appreciating the new location as well. “Our church is here. I’m on several boards, all of which are either downtown or out in this area,” he said. “It’s so much more convenient for the other activities that we’re involved in.” The Raymonds are both involved at their church, Lake Shore Baptist Church, and Mike is on the board for Cameron Park Zoo, McLennan Community College and Vanguard College Preparatory School, where Carolyn and Drew went to high school. Another bonus to the home is its beautiful view of Lake Waco. In town, Mike said, new constructions with lake views are hard to come by. “Right behind us is the Texas Farm Bureau,” Beth said. “And I think there’s something about [the land] being grandfathered for 300 years and that no one would build behind you. In the beginning, we didn’t have that big of a lake view, but as they started trimming the cedars on Farm Bureau’s lot, the lake view just kept on opening up bigger and bigger.” When it came to building their home, the Raymonds had a few options: They could buy a lot and build a completely custom home or choose from a selection of floor plans, or they could buy a house that was move-in ready. The Raymonds were shown several floor plans and ended up loving one that already had a home in the early stages of construction. “It was just the shell,” Beth said. “We walked through all of these floor plans, and this was the floor plan we liked.”

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The home’s construction began in October of 2012, and the Raymonds were able to move in on March 8, 2013. According to Beth and Mike, the process was virtually painless thanks to the assistance of interior designer Larie Coleman. “She would be here if Mike and I couldn’t — picking out things, making sure they were putting the tile in right, making sure they had the right color on the walls. That was the beauty of it,” Beth said. “Plus, she had a scheme in her mind of how all these colors and the flow were going to work because it’s an open floor plan. This house is perfect for us because it’s been thought about from the beginning to the end by one designer with us working together and collaborating.” Mike and Beth aren’t strangers to the homebuilding process. They built their previous home as well as their home in St. Louis. But with the former homes they agreed that they had made some errors when deciding what would work best for their family. “We built the house we lived in before, and I think we clearly made some mistakes,” Mike said. “After 10 years, we were putting in a new bathroom, putting in new hardwood. Left to our own devices we didn’t do a very good job. We wanted to make sure that we were getting an outside perspective from somebody who really understands design, and Larie filled that role for us.” According to Coleman, the home’s style is Texas transitional. Its clean lines are modern, but it also includes traditional textures such as linens, velvets, wood floors, warm-toned furnishings and patterned sisal and Kalaty rugs. The Raymonds still own their home in Stone Creek Ranch, and they’re currently renting it fully furnished. Aside from family keepsakes that were brought from the old house, all of the furniture in this home is new. Since she had a house to fill, Beth tried as much as possible to shop at local stores and use local vendors. She bought furnishings from


Lane’s on Austin Avenue, Dubois Furniture and Honey’s Home & Style. Bathroom fixtures and kitchen appliances were purchased through Ferguson, and all of the home’s granite was installed by MTTS Granite & Marble. The back, front and side gardens were landscaped by Lawns Ltd., and Mike’s beloved sound system was installed by Custom Integrators. The home only has three bedrooms — a master and two “guest” rooms. “We’re trying to educate our kids that we no longer have a Drew’s room and a Carolyn’s room,” Mike said. Still, even from another state and another city, the Raymond children have managed to claim their spaces. The front guest room is unofficially Carolyn’s and definitely has a feminine feel to it. Its soft color palette features creams with accents of blue and green. The bed is finished with a shabby chic bed skirt, and floral touches are sparsely placed throughout. Next door, Drew’s area is much more masculine. The room has clean lines and lots of grays and browns. The bathroom cabinets have a distinct horizontal wood grain, leathered granite countertops and floor tiles that are made to look like hardwood and then laid in a herringbone pattern. Beth’s favorite areas of the house are the master bathroom and her side garden. The master has marble floors and countertops and dual sinks with a center cabinet to divide the space and offer additional storage. Built in to one of the bathroom doors is a full-length mirror. In the corner, a TV hangs from the ceiling so the Raymonds can watch the news while getting ready. And since the rooms are smaller than at their previous home, they decided to eliminate having a bulky dresser inside the room and instead had dressers built in to their closet. Just off of the kitchen on the side of the house is a small patio with lush flowers, a hummingbird feeder and a small herb garden. “I love my side garden. I call it my New York garden,” Beth said. “In the

afternoon it gets shade, and it’s always got a breeze.” The Raymonds may have downsized, but they love to entertain, and they made sure this house was perfect for that. It has an open floor plan and plenty of areas for guests to hang out and still feel involved and connected. “We had a party for Memorial Day, and both kids were home,” Beth said. “They had some of their friends. We had some of our friends. We easily had 30 people here, and it worked fine.” Like any home, a popular place for guests to mingle is the kitchen. The Raymonds have a large granite island with seating for three and an informal dining table to accommodate a few more. “Last night, we had people over, and four ladies sat right here [at the table], and everyone else stood right here [around the island], eating burgers. They didn’t want to sit down: ‘No, we want to hang out in your kitchen. We love your kitchen.’” And it’s quite a kitchen, featuring everything a gourmet chef would love, and at the Raymond home that chef is Mike. The kitchen features a concealed refrigerator and dishwasher, a wine fridge, an icemaker, a microwave under the countertop, a natural gas stove with a built-in griddle and a set of double ovens. The painted cabinets reach to the ceiling, providing an endless amount of storage space as well as an illusion of increased height. On the back patio the Raymonds have another living area and an outdoor kitchen with a grill and refrigerator. But of course, there’s no swimming pool. “It’s fine. We go to [Ridgewood Country Club’s] pool. It’s convenient. It’s a lot more social and a lot more fun now,” Beth said. After six months, Beth and Mike are loving their new home and so are all of their friends. “We are entertaining all the time,” Beth said. “Mike loves to cook. I love to get the house ready for it and have people over.” W S E P T E M B E R

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Party of Two