Kristen was one of the first friends that I met before moving to Dripping Springs from Lubbock. We met on the Dripping Springs Neighbors Facebook group and both had three boys, were professional photographers and moving here within weeks of each other. We got together at Reimer’s Ranch on one of our scouting trips last summer and introduced our kids and talked for hours while the boys swam in the river and met their first school friends.
Her and her husband experienced the housing shortage first hand and after searching for homes ended up buying a fixer upper in Sunset Canyon and have spent the last year remodeling non-stop! I remember her telling me that there just weren’t a lot of homes to choose from when they moved- that trend is still here today 16 months later!
Here is a little bit about the Hafner family…
What brought ya’ll to Dripping Springs?
Ultimately, a new job for my husband. I grew up in this area and moving back was a somewhat of a coming home after being in DFW for the last 10 years. We chose Dripping in particular for a number of reasons. The beauty of the hill county, the school system, the friendly community, the ease to get to Austin, and the local attractions. There are endless things to do here, which we love.
What drew you to your neighborhood?
When moving last summer things were in lockdown mode and homes were slim pickings (much different than this summer), so we feel very thankful we love where we ended up.
There are so many gorgeous neighborhoods here!
We ultimately ended up in Sunset Canyon North because we knew we wanted a bit of land, but also a neighborhood feel. The homes here are all one acre plus lots and uniquely different. We also knew if we found an older home we could put our personal touch on it.
You’ve almost remodeled your entire house with your husband, what was your inspiration for your remodel?
What was your biggest, most dramatic, project?
It’s been a busy year! I use Pinterest and Instagram as inspiration. We gravitate toward simplicity, neutral colors, nothing too modern, but also not too farmhouse either. Most weekends are spent checking things off our DIY to-do list. We have done everything from, white wash painted the exterior stone on our house (ourselves) to a complete, I mean complete, overhaul of our backyard. It was a neglected jungle back there.
I’d have to say the most time consuming and potentially biggest DIY was our kitchen. We are hoping to do a down-to-the-studs kitchen renovation in years to come, so for now it was simple fixes like paint, hardware and appliances to get us out of the 1990s.
I painted the cabinets with a roller and paint sprayer, inside and out. We added new hardware, and my husband added thicker molding to the top. We also switched the fridge location with a large set of the cabinets for easier access. I painted the tan, brown backsplash white with a roller and enamel paint. The biggest change was the counter tops. They were brown laminate. I used a marble epoxy kit to cover them. First I rolled the counter tops white then I painted grey veining to make it look realistic. Once that dried we sealed them with epoxy to get shine and durability. Guests have no idea it is indeed laminate. This was all under $1,000 and will get us by for a few years. I could hardly believe the transformation myself to be honest, ha!
You’re a local portrait photographer, tell us more about your photography and what you love to photograph the most…
I began my photography career in 2014, it began as a hobby and then I though to myself, hey, I’m not too bad at this! I saw a need to capture memories in a beautiful, artistic way, not just on a cell phone.
There are so many moments in life that we would completely forget about had it not been for a photo. I shoot everything from families, children, high school seniors, but I will tell you one of my favorite kind of sessions are newborns. Most photographers would disagree because these sessions are unpredictable, sweat inducing, and typically a challenge. But, what draws me to it are those first moments as new family need to be documented. I come to their homes and essentially paparazzi for an hour.
Real moments; some posed. Little fingers and toes, cries and coos. I am so thankful for those families who entrust me to do this. A postpartum mom who gets her family ready for a photoshoot, wow, super woman! But she knows babies don’t keep, so the moment needs to be captured.
You are a woman of many talents and also run a clothing boutique, tell us more about that too!
There are many times I question my sanity with putting too many things on my plate, but I need my creative outlets (enneagram 7 here)!
Last year a friend of mine and I started Wilde and Spry, a women’s clothing boutique. We are solely online at the moment. It has been a fun new entrepreneurial adventure, with a lot of learning happening along the way! We operate out of our homes, we deliver local and ship all over the US. I use my photography skills to contribute to our website and we use family and friends as models.
Clothing is a way to express yourself, and a good outfit can make your whole day better!
What do you do to keep your boys busy? What activities do you recommend for other moms who are looking for things to keep their kids active?
We are just finding our groove a year since our move. Outside of our normal, play in the backyard and swim, we have recently begun local sports and activities with our church. Urban Air Trampoline park, movies at EVO, jumping at Locomotion in Austin are also favorites.
Tell us about how you got your newest addition to the family- your puppy!
We became one of those families who did something rash during covid and got a puppy! We have a 12 year old husky mix who needed a companion to keep him youthful, so we had been thinking about this for some time. A post was made on Facebook by a man who found puppies on the side of the road in a bin. They had been malnourished, chewed up by fleas and ants, on their little deathbeds. One in particular caught my eye in the picture he posted, so I reached out to him.
The decision to rescue one of these pups was not made lightly or easily. I consulted my cousin who is a vet, as the puppies were abandoned the likelihood of them having diseases was high. She advised me against it, she didn’t want it to end in heartbreak if the puppy was not healthy. I visited with the puppy that night, without our kids knowing, so I could analyze her condition. She was indeed needing a lot of love and healing, and gosh, the fleas were jumping off her like there were at a trampoline park.
After a lot of discussion and prayer before we ultimately decided to take her home. We gave her the fitting name of, Hope. She is a Lab, Rottweiler mix and after a month’s worth of medicated baths and puppy meds she has been an amazing addition to our family!
What does a perfect day in Dripping Springs look like to you and your family?
I love this question. Let’s pretend it’s a 65 degree Saturday. A slow, coffee sipping kind of morning at home. The boys playing outside in their home made fort at the back of our property, Mark watering the garden, me on the porch swing taking it all in. Throw in a baseball game or two, followed by a chill dinner at a local brewery where the kids can play and the adults can relax and chat without interruption.
What are your favorite local dinner or date night places?
12 Fox Beer Co. or SudsMonkey for an easy family dinner night. They have a great play area for the kids and live music. Carve in Austin for a date night. I dream of their Brussel sprouts.
What advice do you have for new families moving into the area?
I will be honest with you, moving during covid was hard, and I imagine still is. It took away so many activities we would have normally participated in and potential connections were lost. I feel like we are playing catchup at the moment.
But, advice to new families; get involved where you can, and say YES. Say yes to the family who invites you for a bbq, say yes to a kid’s birthday party. Find a mom’s group, join a book club, make small talk with the parents at your kid’s sports or school events. It may start off awkward, but I wouldn’t have mine and my kid’s best friends without a little awkward conversation starter.
How do we find you on social media?
Kristen’s Hair Affair
If you are like Kristen and are interested in moving into this amazing community around Dripping Springs then I would love to help you find your home to rent or buy! Just reach out to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or text and call at 512-569-8480.
Are you just looking for some local recommendations of places to stay and things to do? I can help with that too! I explore the area weekly and want to be your go-to tour guide of fun in the Texas Hill Country and in Hays County! Just reach out to me and I’m happy to help.