Look at this charming, neat-as-a-pin, well-decorated, freshly painted three-bedroom and two-refinished-baths ranch in Northwest Dallas. I know what you will think: God that’s adorable! Storybook cottage, Property Brothers style. The home is located west of Marsh Lane south of Royal Lane. It’s on a juicy, .22-acre treed lot. The trees are abundant in this part of town, I know because…

We once lived in Northwest Dallas!

Our very first home in Dallas was at 3550 Ainsworth, north of Royal, but same wonderful quadrant of town. We moved in fresh from New York City (after a very short stint in an Oak Lawn apartment with aluminum wiring!) and dinner was served, courtesy of our neighbors, who still live next door to that Ainsworth house this day! I was blown away by the neighborhood kindness: dinners, cocktails, wine, party invitations, warmth. And when the time came for a poor, medical-school-debt-burdened OB resident’s family to have their first child, a crib was given to us by one neighbor, freshly re-painted by another. There were plenty of moms to offer parenting advice when the ‘rents and in-laws were 1,200 miles away!

I tell you this because 3480 Timberview, listed for $335,000 (reduced from $350,000) has this same spirit and is so much more than cute photos (with a cute agent, Rustin James.)

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The boys are back, this time I think they are just stalking me.

You may recall Tim Loecker and Justin Kettler when I wrote for D Home Mag, when I lauded them for saving North Dallas ranches one house at a time. It seems these two can never be satisfied with their home, which is why I love them.

It all began with a 2,400-square-foot cottage on Cromwell Drive, just a couple of blocks from our 3550 Ainsworth, which was our very first Dallas dirt. They flipped Cromwell and followed it up with three more projects, including a 2,500-square foot rancher near Forest and Midway, and a 4,000-square-foot fairy tale on Princess Lane that had, when they bought it, ADA-approved wide doorways and handlebars in all showers. Seriously: the place was a halfway home for people recovering from who knows what. After selling Princess, the two bought and renovated an original owner mid-century modern on Bobbitt Drive. This is where it got a little freaky for me: we also had lived about half a block away, at 4307 Melissa Lane. They lived on Bobbitt a couple of years, sold it, and now — you’ve got it — the boys are moving CTC: Closer to Candy! But this time, they have ditched the remodel and are building from scratch. As in, they scraped a post-WWII mini rancher on Azalea built in 1949 and are in the process of building a new home. And they are going to share the entire experience with you right here on CandysDirt.com.

It must have been hard for the guys to scrape that ranch, because I know how much they love them. Ranches have good bones, they once told me. They were built with an infrastructure of slow-grown, sturdy wood and easy-to-open floor plans. Well, so was I but someday we all gotta go, right?  Both guys always participated in their too-many-now-to count renovations, digging in with sledgehammers, getting knee-deep in sawdust, changing the floor plan, and staying hands-on with every last detail from designing cabinetry to choosing outlet covers.  Despite the bruises, gashes, black toenails, and occasional (or frequent) difference of opinion, the guys consider this a side hobby.  Loecker is a senior vice president for a global public relations firm. Kettler is a regional manager for a financial services company.  Building new has a whole new spin as they are no longer going to be managing the project, though no doubt they will be hands on.

“Now we are letting our builder do the contracting while we can focus on researching design and materials, giving input, and documenting the process in pictures.” says Justin.  “This approach is a much better fit with our day job demands, and better for our sanity.”

“All of our friends seem to be getting married and having babies,” says Tim. “We’d rather just do another house together.  It’s our version of renewing our vows and giving birth…every couple of years!”

Stay tuned for Building with the Boys. First episode: The big decision: Choosing a builder to create your next home.