While shopping for organic lettuce, Greg Heidel told the owners of Springdale Farm, located in East Austin, that he liked the look of their house. This home grew out of that conversation.
Greg was introduced to the couple’s architect, Eric Rauser, whose motto is “Let’s make stuff together.” Through a highly collaborative process, Greg’s house was completed in 2015.
“I wanted a lot of character, and I didn’t want to have to buy a lot of furniture, which is why there are so many built-ins,” he says. “I like that you can take out all the furniture and it’s still interesting inside.”
What’s also interesting about the interior is that there’s no drywall. By applying the insulation to the exterior, behind the siding, the framing was left visible. White walls were a must for Greg, who originally wanted whitewash but decided on paint for easy maintenance.
Formerly an orchard, Greg’s property is filled with pecan trees that produce so many nuts that he has to encourage neighbors to take them. “When the pecans drop on my metal roof, it sounds like a gun shot,” he says. The trees are surrounded by horseherb plants and crushed limestone, and behind the house there’s a pétanque court in the old foundation of what he believes was once a greenhouse.
Greg’s company transferred him here from Oregon 20 years ago, and he’s enjoyed watching Austin change in those two decades. His Govale neighborhood is still fairly eclectic, which he likes, but it’s quickly becoming more gentrified. “We now have four microbreweries and a rock climbing gym, plus a great coffee shop called Flitch that operates out of a vintage Spartan trailer,” he says.
An avid cyclist, he keeps his truck at home most days, preferring to be on two wheels. “Austin has bike lanes but also a lot of traffic. You need to be alert,” he says. The variety of outdoor activities is one of his favorite things about the city, but when Greg isn’t hiking, kayaking or playing golf, he’s just as happy being home, playing guitar or working in the yard.
When asked if he’s a modernist, Greg says that he has no idea. He sees the house as more rustic than modern, and he really appreciates how well it suits his lifestyle. “There isn’t a single square foot of this house that I don’t use,” he says.