In early 1996, Bob and Charlotte Hawthorne spent Sundays looking for the perfect home to raise the baby they were expecting in the fall. After months of searching, they realized they would have to create it themselves.

They found it in an unlikely place – a 30-year-old home on Estate Lane in Lake Highlands.

“With four cats, a dog and two children, we needed a house that would wear well,” Charlotte says. “We liked the big, open feel when we first walked in.”

The home’s original splendor had long-since faded. Aside from a minor kitchen remodel and some new wallpaper here and there, no updates had been done. Needless to say, the house needed a lot of work that hadn’t been completed when the Hawthorne’s baby daughter was born in November 1996.

The Hawthornes gutted the entire house, and renovated every room. Among the few things they kept were the brick floor in the kitchen and several brick walls.

“Our decorator had worked with us at our old house,” Bob says. “We hired a remodeler to coordinate the plumber, the carpenters, that kind of thing. The most important thing to us was getting our painter.

“He and I had worked together, and we knew each other, and we coordinated it so he could come over and do all the painting for us.”

And the neighborhood was perfect for the Hawthorne family’s lifestyle.

Bob is a veterinarian with a successful East Dallas practice who needed to be close to work at night and on weekends. He also is a Lake Highlands High School graduate with an appreciation for local history, and he wants to raise his children in the neighborhood he knew as a boy.

“This house was purposely built around a pecan tree, which is why the breakfast nook is separated from the kitchen,” he says. In fact, the house is on the original 1940s Texas A&M pecan farm, and there are different types of pecan trees throughout the neighborhood.

Most importantly, the home has grown with the family, and the addition this year of son Trapp.