Meet the Allen-Dykes Family!
When Matthew Dykes and his husband Ryan Allen wanted a new adventure, they didn’t expect to move to Texas! But, after researching tech cities and taking a trip to Austin, they found the home of their dreams in Easton Park. We were excited to catch up with Matthew and hear how they’re adjusting to the Texas summer and socially distanced happy hours with their new neighbors.
When did you guys move to Easton Park?
We closed on our house in Skyline on the 9th of March, and moved to Texas on March 30th.
Oh wow—you moved during the pandemic! How did that happen?
We were living in Denver, and we wanted a change. We wanted something a little more liberal, but we never thought the sentence, “We’re moving the Texas” would leave our lips! We looked at places that were tech cities, and short of going up in cost of living, Austin was the best choice. The market is good here, there are houses in a reasonable price range, and we had heard it was a great city.
How did you find Easton Park?
When we started looking, we’d never been to anywhere in Texas. We came down for a visit at the end of January to look at a bunch of pre-existing homes in Round Rock and Pflugerville, but we wanted to be closer to downtown. We drove to a ton of models all throughout the area, and when we landed here at Easton, we fell in love with the floorplan of the Dreamfinders Avalon. Then we saw the community center, and it was so gorgeous and stunning. My husband was like, “This is a really good perk!”
What was it about the Avalon that appealed to you?
The entertaining space! We do a lot of wine and cocktails, and the open floorplan is perfect for a couple. We have a bigger lot with a great backyard, and we want to put in a pool. Also, it’s a nicer build of home than a lot of places we had seen.
And Easton seemed like a good fit?
The homes are pretty, and the neighborhood is designed well. Once everything is built out and we have more commercial stuff closer, it’s going to increase in value. They need to put in a neighborhood bar, a boutique pizzeria, and someplace that serves coffee. Austin loves small businesses, and I would love to see that!
Have you guys met any neighbors yet?
Everyone is very sweet and welcoming, and we’ve strongly appreciated that. We’ve met more of our neighbors here in 2 months than in 5 years at our last house. We’ve been having driveway happy hours in lawn chairs where we’re social distanced and can chat, and we haven’t met anyone that we haven’t liked. We’re starting to form those relationships, and they’re good people.
What do you love about Easton?
I like the look that all of the builders give the neighborhood—it feels like an upscale entertaining community. The pathways, and the ease of being able to enjoy the neighborhoods that are built out—they’ve laid it out really well. Some people complain that there aren’t more streetlights, but l dig the fact that there’s less light pollution. I love that it’s close to downtown, even though we can’t go there right now. And you can commute in 10-15 minutes to the airport.
Do you guys have to commute for work?
Not right now. I’ve been director of sales for several companies, and I’m doing contract work. Ryan is a software developer.
Tell me about Mr. Ripley and Miss Lola!
They are our fur babies! Ripley is 5 and Lola is 3.
Have y’all gotten to experience Austin yet?
We’ve explored a little bit—we’ve gone to Zilker Park, and to Emma Long Park to sit along the lake. We did a hike up to Sculpture Falls. Really, the food scene is our scene, but we’re waiting for a while to try Austin restaurants—there’s stuff that’s lost when it’s takeout. We were told to go to Lockhart to try the barbeque!
I hate to ask this, but are you ready for the Texas heat?
We knew it was going to get hot, and we’re trying to get acclimated. It’s all part of this new adventure! We’d been in Colorado forever, and there you have stretches of zero degrees, which can be just as bad as heat. I’ve never loved the snow anyway!
What do you guys do for fun? Should we put something about that?
We’re both video gamers. We collect art and first edition books. I worked in design for a long time, so I’m dying to do more to our home. We like outdoor stuff to an extent. We’re movie and music nerds, and I’m really into music recording. Happy hour is one of our favorite hours—and we enjoy it more with company.
What would you say to someone who was thinking about moving to Easton Park?
YES! Move here! I try to invest well, and we looked at other new builds, existing older homes, stuff like that, and Easton was the best choice. The floorplans are better here than most places we had seen, and we researched for 2.5 months—looking at everything from Leander to everywhere around. We didn’t want to do tolls, so South Austin was ideal. We wanted to be closer to downtown, whether for working or just enjoying it, and from Easton it’s only a $15 Uber ride. It’s next to McKinney Falls State Park, so if you like the outdoorsy stuff, it’s perfect. If you travel, you’re closet to the airport. And the community overall seems to be not extremely young couples—it’s people in their late 20s to mid 40s, professionals, and I like that. Being able to be a pioneer in a new neighborhood, you get to know people better than existing neighborhoods where the people have already formed those kinds of relationships.
Interview has been edited for length and clarity.