Stories A Custom Home Built in Texas

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After working for years as a custom home builder in Texas, Jeff Derebery knew exactly what he wanted when he approached Lindal dealer Brent Hughes of Majestic Peaks Custom Homes. Most people have an image of their dream home – one that perfectly suits their needs, lifestyle, and sensibility. What Jeff had in mind was a custom post-and-beam home built around a central courtyard. He and his wife, Janice Fischer, a professor at the University of Texas in Austin, own 15 acres in the Texas Hill Country outside of Austin. A quarter mile of the property borders the Pedernales River, a tributary of the Colorado River that runs through central Texas.  After meeting with Brent and showing him the floor plans he had sketched out, Jeff was delighted to discover that Lindal’s Hestia home design by Aris Georges of OM Studio Design was practically identical to the one he had drawn himself. He was finally ready to build his own home in Texas.

Jeff and Janice built their new home in Johnson City, Texas (population 2,051); the hometown of former President Lyndon Johnson and about an hour’s drive from Austin. The home perches on the peak of a hill overlooking the river. The single-story home is just under 3,000 square feet.

The living area, screened porch and master suite look toward the river and surrounding countryside.

Rich, clear cedar soffits, turquoise copper panels, charred wood siding and a glass-paneled entry door combine perfectly with the entry lighting.

A full band of clerestory windows above the great room uplifts the living, dining, and kitchen spaces which are located just off the entry.

Janice selected new Stickley furniture as she felt it fit nicely into the home’s mid-century modern aesthetic. To the right of the gas fireplace, a glass door leads through to the courtyard.

The Kitchen

Jeff developed his own kitchen design, interior decoration and lighting plan.

The black cabinets are by Ikea and won the Red Dot award for design in 2018. The counters and island – with its waterfall edge  –  are topped with quartz in a Carrera marble pattern. The use of both black and white cabinets is a unique design choice for kitchens. The accent cabinets above the window were created by a friend and made of ebony. This is a great study of black and white, with the natural light and beautiful warm wood acting as an accent.

A Screened Porch for Bug-Free Outdoor Living

The 350-square-foot screened porch contains a casual eating area, perfect for outdoor dining without the bother of insects. A small gas fireplace, charred wood walls, and rich clear-cedar ceiling liner make for a comfortable indoor-outdoor living area. The porch is perched to take in the surrounding views of the river and Texas Hill Country.

Copper panels are brought inside as a backdrop to the table.

The Cost To Build a New Home in Texas

Other than the framing and drywall, Jeff dramatically decreased the cost of building his Texas home by doing most of the construction and finish work himself. The home took 10 months to build. Jeff estimates the final cost of a new custom home of this size and quality in Texas – for a client who hires a contractor for the construction and tradespeople for the finish work – would be closer to $300 per square foot. This includes the porch, garage and courtyard areas.

Bedrooms and Bathrooms

The home has four bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. Two of the bedrooms are used as offices. The master suite, with a view to the river on two sides, has sliding glass door access to the courtyard.

In the master bath, counters of leather-textured black granite, porcelain tile that mimics slate, a long vanity with generously sized sinks, polished concrete floors, a heated towel rack, and cedar stepping mats, all combine to provide a luxurious, spa-like feeling.  A large rain shower is behind the tile wall near the tub. A curved Kohler bath with water descending from the ceiling provides even more comfort.

The master suite is ahead on the left and guest bedrooms and office are on the right. The concrete floors are diamond polished to 3,000 grit. This process does not require sealing or waxing as it becomes too smooth to be porous. The floor requires no maintenance other than water mopping.

The Courtyard: The Heart of the Home

The 21’ x 32‘ courtyard is really the heart of this home. Hestia means “hearth” in Greek, and designer Aris Georges specifically designed the home to wrap around an open, intimate courtyard, surrounded by glass hallways. Sliding glass doors provide access from the great room and master suite.

The courtyard furniture and planters are made of recycled plastic by Vondom. The surrounding walls provide welcome protection from the Texas heat.

The glass rail is from Falcon Railing MFG in British Columbia.

Part of the walkway cantilevers over the landscape below. No formal landscaping is necessary with the pretty cactus and natural grasses.

The glass garage doors are called Envy and made by the Overhead Door company.  This project marked their first residential use in the country. Jeff’s are translucent black on the outside but transparent glass on the interior.

Energy-Efficient and Eco Friendly

The roof of the home has commercial-grade foam panels that provide the necessary slope in a solar-reflecting white that meets energy star ratings.

The carport structure holds 36 solar panels that provide all of the home’s electricity needs. The carport and solar system cost $37,000 after rebates. Jeff and Janice are able to regularly sell back power to the local utility and have a negative electric bill in both winter and summer.

Well and Water Catchment System

The well has one 2,500 gallon holding tank. Two additional 2,500 gallon tanks are used to collect rainwater – one from the solar carport and the other from the horse barn. This precious resource is used for fire safety and to take care of the horses, wildlife and birds. The well and catchment system cost $15,000.

LED Lighting

The light fixtures are provided by Vonn lights and use energy efficient LED lights.

Custom Finishes and Quirky Design Features

Aris Georges and Brent Hughes are in the business of fueling the creative dreams of homeowners. The goal is that each and every home will resonate with the client and connect to its location. The Dereberys love the beauty of wood and have individual and unique tastes in home style and finishes. They added many custom touches and additional details to make this home truly one of a kind.

Shou Sugi Ban Charred Siding


Charred siding (known by the Japanese term shou sugi ban) originated in Japan and is growing in popularity among modern home designers and builders. Slowly charring the wood planks converts the sugars in the cellulose of the wood to starch. It’s the sugars that attract insects, mold, and fungus, so eliminating the sugar makes for an extremely insect and mold-resistant siding material. Is is a low-maintenance siding option that also has rot and UV-resistant properties. The natural black color that results is quite striking, and often used in contrast with other exterior siding materials. It can be left as is for a textured, rougher look, or brushed for a smoother finish. Shou sugi ban is a green option because no toxic chemical treatment of the wood is required to preserve it. There are temples in Japan with charred wood siding that are 500 years old and still in good condition.

Copper Panels

Jeff’s ‘secret finish’ on the beautiful copper panels in the entry and the screened porch area is Miracle Gro fertilizer, which he says provides an almost instant patina.


The window frames are made of a composite material formed using real wood, which allows for a narrower frame and thus more glass. They are also energy efficient and low-maintenance.

A hidden drain system in the courtyard prevents water buildup during rainstorms.

An outdoor dog run is located at the back of the home, and a dog washing station inside, near the garage.

Meet Cubie. This 12’ cube is made of polycarbonate panels designed to light up at night. It encloses the well holding tank, the water softener, and the UV filtration system. It also serves as storage for garden tools. The smaller red cube hides the actual well head.

Nods to popular culture around the property include a propane tank shaped like a yellow submarine with four shaggy-haired Brits painted in the windows.

In a tribute to Warhol’s iconic pop art designs, a deer feeder is disguised as an over-sized can of Campbell’s soup.

Style and Substance

When it comes to style, for some it’s about making a bold statement, while others opt for elegant, inviting homes. Good design stands the test of time, and this custom Hestia home is built to last. As with all Lindal Cedar Homes, it comes with a Lifetime Structural Warranty, giving these happy homeowners a great sense of confidence and satisfaction in their new residence.

This home was profiled in an article in the Wall Street Journal.

To build a home in Texas or anywhere else, worldwide, contact your local Lindal representative.

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