WACOAN at Home: November 2022

By Kevin Tankersley

Custom Contemporary

When Rachel and Tommy Pechacek built their custom home in Woodway last year, they had the architect move the back wall of the house out to give them a larger dining room. But they didn’t need the extra space for a big table with a bunch of chairs. They needed room for their pool table which was built in 1976.

“I bought it from [retired judge] Rex Davis, and I love this pool table,” Rachel Pechacek said. “And we needed room for my baby grand piano that I’ve had since the sixth grade.”

The piano and pool table are on the far wall of the home’s open great room. A six-seat island separates the kitchen from the living area. “We’re not very traditional. We never sit down and eat at a table,” she said, “so I wanted an island that would seat six.”

Tommy does most of the cooking for the family. He’ll make brisket and ribs and other main dishes on an outdoor smoker, and things like chicken noodle soup and King Ranch casserole when he’s in the kitchen.

“He’s a great cook,” Rachel said. “He’s not the best at making sides, so usually I’ll come up with something. I don’t know how to cook. And every time I’ve attempted it, they say it’s terrible.”

Lauryn, her 15-year-old daughter, agreed.

“She literally tried to cook macaroni and it was like crusty on top and raw on the bottom,” she said. “I don’t know how you do that.”

About the only thing that Rachel can successfully cook is Malt-O-Meal, “and you need boiling water for it,” she said. So there’s a pot filler faucet on the wall over the gas cooktop.

“I wanted a pot filler for my Malt-O-Meal,” she said.

Jonathan and Cailtyn Barrow of BAM Builders built the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home. Rachel worked with them on the things that she wanted in the house. For instance, just inside the garage is a small mudroom, which leads to a half bath, which leads to the laundry room, which is just off the main bedroom and closet. “This layout is advantageous,” Rachel said because she takes Lauryn to Plano two or three times each week for practice with the Ladycats team at Cheer Athletics. While Lauryn is at practice, Rachel goes for a run, “so when you’re coming from Plano and you’re rushing in, it doesn’t matter if you’re dirty or whatever.”

The Pechacek family downsized into their new nearly 2,000-square-foot home. To maximize space, Rachel and the builders chose pocket doors in the mudroom/half bath/laundry room.

“And since it’s a custom home, Jonathan let me pick out details that I love so much,” she said, including crystal-like drawer pulls and doorknobs in the bathroom, which remind Rachel of the glass knobs in her grandmother’s 1800s farmhouse in Mount Calm.

Before moving to Woodway, the Pechacek family lived in a 3,500-square-foot house with a pool on 5 acres in China Spring. They decided to downsize when their son, Tristyn, left to attend East Texas Baptist University, where he’s a sophomore linebacker on the Tiger football team. Their current house is on a little less than a quarter acre.

“Tommy said, after mowing 5 acres for 10 years, that he wanted a lot he could mow with scissors,” Rachel said.

Their new place is seven minutes from Lehigh Portland Cement, where Tommy works; and six minutes from the Woodway branch of First National Bank of Central Texas, where Rachel is a senior vice president. They’re also close to Ridgewood Country Club, which is where their houseboat is docked. And barely a mile down Estates Drive is Woodway Park, where Rachel likes to run, and where there’s access to Lake Waco.

“In the summer after I get off work, we put the stand-up paddleboards on top of the golf cart and go down there where we can paddle and watch the sunset,” Rachel said.

“I just love this area so much,” Rachel said of the Lake Forest neighborhood. “We’ve seen deer and rabbits and foxes, the same things we saw in China Spring on 5 acres, I’ve seen here.”

The new house “feels comfortable, but a little bit fancy,” Rachel said.

A couple of elements BAM added that Rachel likes are windows that open into the house, which makes them easy to clean, and blinds that can be raised or lowered almost effortlessly, without cords that can tangle.

“Jonathan was a great builder, even though we were going through COVID,” Rachel said, “so the supply chain was really messed up. Luckily, we missed the lumber shortage. And we looked and looked and were eventually able to find gray shingles. But other than that, everything went fine, despite COVID.”

One of her favorites is the outdoor space, which features an instant-light fireplace, hot tub and television.

“We can sit out here and relax and have a glass of wine or a Cayman Jack and watch football,” she said. “I watch Law and Order while sitting in the hot tub.”

When the house was nearing completion, in April of 2021, Rachel took an old German Bible, which had belonged to her mother’s grandparents, and placed it in the foundation of the house under the front porch.

“We prayed over the house, and blessings for anyone entering the front door,” she said. “I know that people write on the studs and things like that, but I really wanted to put that Bible in the foundation.”

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