While most of Texas is experiencing rolling black outs 2444 Gruene Rd. is not because we are on the hospitals electric grid. Yet another great feature of our super resilient homestead.
The details at 2444 Gruene are truly one of a kind. For example so much of the functional, user friendly woodwork makes great use of unique, repurposed, de-nailed materials harvested from tear downs, old barns, or 1800’s homes right here in Comal Town.
— When the sheds needed siding we looked to the “cut off” wood piles to see what we might make siding from.
— When we needed fencing we looked to locally harvested and renewable resourced cedar trees.
— When we wanted something unique for our counter tops we used spalted pecan cut and milled on site at 2444 for the materials.
— Walls for the studio: locally reclaimed cedar fencing.
— Materials for the EV Solar power port: overstock and reuse materials from local lumber yards.
— Posts for the wrap around porches: hand honed reclaimed fachwerk timbers from a 1860’s tear down around the corner.
— The floors in the mudroom and primary bedroom closet are reclaimed and were stained with liquid seaweed a non-chemical solution.
Every chance we got we reused and recycled while also sticking to the theme and style that define the overall look and feel of the homestead. Even the rocks for the front porch, rock band detail in the “spa” shower and all the rocks used for the garden and outdoor shower paths were harvested, piece by piece, right here on the Guadalupe River.
Details matter. And here at 2444, details are a primary and important part of the story.
2444 Gruene Rd. is situated in the middle of New Braunfels on the highest ground, well out of the flood plain, in between the two most fantastic rivers in Texas, the Guadalupe and Comal. The area between the rivers is affectionately known as Comal Town. It is literally situated on the best street in the best neighborhood in New Braunfels. This area is serviced by many great restaurants, locally owned shops, the outstanding New Braunfels Library, great schools, The Comal County fair grounds, excellent access to some of the best parks in Texas and then there is Schlitterbahn, the best water park in the U.S. just 4 short blocks from the property.
Comal town is a front porch neighborhood with many mid 1800 to early 1900 homes mixed in with many newer homes that are being built in the front porch tradition to fit right in. One of the very best things about Comal town is many old trees, some of which are upwards of 400 and 500 years old.
Comal town is also the most walkable neighborhood in all of New Braunfels. Wide streets, little traffic, old growth trees and many front porches make it a unique place where neighbors still hang outside, in the front of their homes, say hello and catch up on local happenings and current events.
Many outstanding parks are within walking distance and include Cypress Bend Park, Prince Solms Park, Torrey Park and one of the greatest parks in Texas, Landa Park where the the Comal River begins at the Comal Springs, the largest spring West of the Mississippi in the U.S.
The homestead is also located only a few blocks away from one of the best hospitals in the area Christus Santa Rosa.
Comal Town is indeed one of the very best neighborhoods in one of the most vibrant, full of character towns in all of Texas.
Get on this horse and ride…
2444 Gruene Rd is only 5 blocks from the best of the best river recreation in the whole state of Texas. The Comal River in downtown New Braunfels, Texas is fed by the largest spring west of the Mississippi in the United States. The crystal clear water comes from the Edwards Aquifer which is recharged in the Texas Hill Country. This is the tube chute in the middle of town, a favorite of locals and all Texans for tubing, paddle boarding, swimming and cooling off in the hot summers. The river maintains a 70 degree temperature even steaming in the winter time.
2444 Gruene Rd is only a couple miles from River Road, the best scenic drive in all of Texas leading to Canyon Lake, one of the cleanest and most beautiful lakes in the whole state. Recreation opportunities on Canyon Lake include fishing, boating, skiing, sailing, swimming paddle boarding and much more.
2444 Gruene Rd makes up two separate city lots each being zoned R2 which allows for 2 duplexs without a change in zoning. In 2020 we hired Design Hound to complete a site assessment and worked with them for over 6 months to design a duplex for the back lot that would allow for the existing RV/car port to be integrated into a luxury small footprint/large living space duplex that continues the sustainability theme of the property. This design and these “builders set” drawings are included with the purchase of the property. Thoughtfully situated, very little of the existing garden designs would be taken over with this build and in addition the roof lines of the building will allow for a 12 kw “maximum solar gain” power plant that would be able to supply all of the duplex’s power needs. The design would be split in the middle by a very large two story shop/garage that will allow for a sound buffer between the two units. The layout and relatively small footprint also take advantage of a future natural pool build that could be shared between the front and back dwellings. In addition to this build the existing front dwelling is also designed for maximum flexibility as it can easily be converted into a duplex as this possibility was designed into the renovations.
The 2444 Gruene Rd. homestead could make for a great investment property, corporate retreat or even an artist in residency program and could potentially and comfortably accommodate up to 15 people with the addition of this back duplex. Flexibility, resilience and productivity have all been top priorities as I set out to build one of the most dynamic properties in all of Central Texas. This combined with one of the most convenient and peaceful locations in Central Texas makes 2444 Gruene Rd. not only a crown jewel property in New Braunfels but also one of the best bargains your money can buy.
Included with the purchase of 2444 Gruene Rd. are 4 rainwater storage tanks that provide and invaluable tool for getting seeds and transplants started in addition to being a back up for drinking water if an emergency were to arise. The tanks provide over 6000 gallons of chemical free storage that sustains 2444 even during extended periods of drought. The system illustrates well the value of creating redundant systems keeping with the permaculture spirit. By having an additional water source to back up the municipal supply we have water at 2444 even in the case of a plumbing failure. These long life stainless steel tanks will provide multiple generations of water security.
When I put my homestead 2444 Gruene up for sale I thought to myself “the soil is one of the most valuable things about this property” When I first purchased the lot in the back I set out to heal this tired old vestige of a pecan orchard, to build the soil, improve the drainage and do my part to prevent flooding and proactively harvest water. It was becoming very apparent to me that rain water was way too valuable to knee jerk it out into the street to become someone else’s problem. I’m all about turning liabilities into assets and this is one great example. The raised hugelkultur garden beds take advantage of these linked systems. Rain falls on the roof, races down the gutters into the storage tanks, they overflow into the berm and swell system and into the wicking pond. The pond fills up several times a year and the surrounding raised (to get the plants up in the breezes and out of wet, low lying areas that encourage fungal issues), hugelkultur beds “wick” the water up from below. Hugelkultur beds by design have rotten wood 6-10 inches below the surface of the soil that act as a sponge or wick, drawing up water from the swells and to the roots of the plants where they need it the most.
For 12 years I have been building, layer upon layer of soil in these raised beds. The “living” soil is teaming with microbes and the symbiotic mycorrhizal relationship between the soil, fungus and plants equates into explosive abundance with minimal inputs. Lively healthy soils make healthy vegetables, plants and people. The plants taste better, are more nutritious, don’t have as many pest issues, don’t need fertilizing and are much more drought tolerant as a result of the mineral dense, living soils. By continually amending with compost, layering with organic matter and adding bio-char (activated charcoal which supplies living space for microbes, filters toxins and increases nitrogen absorption) these beds increase yields every year while simultaneously reducing labor inputs.
If you want to build safety and add food security into your lives at a time when food scarcity (no food on the shelves at HEB) is among us then this is the way.
Gruene is one of the coolest little towns in Texas. Anchored by Texas’ oldest dance hall, Gruene Hall, and the Gristmill River restaurant where you can have a long neck and a grist burger overlooking tubers on the Guadalupe River, Gruene is a destination spot for every Texan. Whether you want to raft the Guadalupe, two step to Two Tons of Steel, purchase some high quality antiques at Gruene Antique Company, or outfit yourself for the river at Gruene Outfitters with the best outfit money can buy Gruene Texas is the hottest spot around. Gruene is the coolest place for fun friends and sun.
2444 Gruene Rd. is 2 miles from downtown Gruene with quick access to the best music, river activities and unique shopping opportunities on Earth.
The Guadalupe River is the most storied and beautiful river in the state of Texas. The recreational opportunities on the Guadalupe are numerous. White water rafting during high water events, paddle boarding, swimming, fly fishing and or just laying around it’s banks under the deep cool shade of a Bald Cypress tree. The Guadalupe River watershed starts deep in the heart of the Texas Hill Country collecting and bringing it’s crystal clear waters to New Braunfels. 2444 Gruene Rd. is less than 200 yards as the bird flys from the Guadalupe and a few blocks from several outstanding parks that offer great recreational access as well as outfitters that can hook you up with gear or even guide you down the river. The Guadalupe River is truly the jewel of the Texas River system as any good Texan would confess.
When I needed to remove the pecan tree from between the driveways I was a little sad. But in accordance with my beliefs that when one door closes another one always opens, taking down the pecan tree that had given me so many years of shade but was dying and dropping limbs on my cars, was turned into yet another opportunity at 2444 to harvest the wood and make way for the solar power port.
Years after harvesting this tree and storing the pieces, the pecan tree was brought back to life inside and outside of the home.
The cornerstone of the porch
When my carpenter and mentor Kirby Fry said “you need to go to Home Depot and get one more post for the corner of the porch” I thought two things:
1. a perfectly square post would look out of place considering the rest of the house so whimsically natured with reclaimed and reused wood already built in and around the house.
2. this corner post was a corner stone piece of the porch so I felt like it needed some girth and substance.
I remembered the pecan tree I harvested years ago and found in the back yard a roughly chainsaw-chiseled spalted pecan post just the right size.
It still needed some fine tuning. Often times when reusing wood I have to whittle to get to the beauty, to get to the story that the tree is trying to tell — to get to the heart of the matter if you will. So, I lofted it onto a couple of horses and whittled the post with my hand planer, belt sander, and palm sander. As I whittled, a work of art was revealed. In that reveal, I find endless inspiration in the grain and cellular structure of wood. Reused woods tell the best stories.
To take a limb that fell in a storm from my own property, set it on blocks, let it age (spalt) for 3 + years, kind of forget about it then have it there when I needed it most was thoroughly rewarding in ways only possible by intentionally harvesting the wood for repurposing later. It is in this kind of repurposing that I live my passion.
Unique live edge wood work in all three bathrooms
In this time lapse I am hand (electric) plaining the sometimes obtuse nature of live edge planks into a more “square” form. This particular piece was used when I redesigned the sink/vanity in the original bathroom. Every bathroom renovation at 2444 makes great use of the repeating theme by using pecan sourced right here on site. This is partly a result of the larger permaculture “wood lot” design intention as well as my passion as an artist to take what Mother Nature gives us and make not only good but respectful use of her bounty.
Extensively whittled, reuse wood is a theme I have kept with throughout the rehabilitation of this home. The spirit of renewing something old with something reclaimed, in this case harvested and claimed on-site materials that would otherwise have been turned into firewood, has been repeated with much success. I see these slabs and post of pecan harvested right here on this property in Old Comal Town from trees that once produced pecans for a pecan farm as rare jewels that have no equal.
The tree lives on…