Meet the Clays
Meet the Clays
When Brittany and Curtis Clay first came to check out Easton Park after a casual mention from their realtor, they had no idea they’d sign a contract on a new home that same day. Now, the couple and their young daughter, Norah, couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. After seeing their sweet Porch Portraits, we were thrilled to chat with Brittany about all things Easton and why their family feels so at home in Easton Park.
EP: When did you guys move to Easton Park?
BC: We moved to Knob Hill at the end of January, 2018.
EP: How did y’all find Easton?
BC: Honestly, it was a fluke, a true fluke—we were not motivated buyers! I was pregnant, and we were living in a 2-story townhome we loved on South Congress near St. Edwards University. We met with a real estate agent because my husband was a teacher at the time, and I had heard about a loan program for teachers. We met with her on a Friday, and told her the areas where we might want to look—south, around McKinney Falls and Burleson. She said, “Hey, you should check out Easton Park, it’s like the Mueller of South Austin; it’s really cool.” It was all very casual.
Then on Sunday, we went to church, then we went and had pho, and we thought, let’s go check out that place she told us about. We went around noon, and only the Pacesetter model home was open. Garret was working, and he was so warm. He drove us to go show us this model in a different neighborhood that was like 20 minutes away. When we came back, we saw a couple other builders, but we had had such a good rapport with Pacesetter. It was seamless and easy and great. We bought that same day! Our realtor didn’t even know that we bought in that neighborhood she recommended—we always say it was the easiest sale she ever made! With the new builds, it’s different from buying something that’s already built—you have some time to get yourself together for the closing.
EP: Do y’all have to commute far for work?
BC: At the time we purchased, my husband worked in Lakeway as a football coach. I worked up north, so it wasn’t the most convenient set up, but I could work from home 3 days a week. Then at the end of last year, I got a new job at UT, so now I don’t work from home as much, but the commute isn’t bad—it’s like 20 minutes.
EP: Any pets?
BC: NO. We’re trying not to have pets, but our daughter loves animals, especially dogs.
EP: Aw, what does she like about Easton Park?
BC: She loves to play at the trolley. If we’re not at that trolley, we’re up the hill at the bench. Our daughter will run up and down the hill by the mailboxes, looking for snails or puddles. We look for puddles and bugs every day.
EP: Have you made friends in the neighborhood?
BC: Have we ever! How do I even start?! As an adult, you tend to be set in your friendships; there’s not as much room to make new friends. Yet Easton cultivates this environment for people to build relationships and friendships. With our next door neighbors, we had the only houses on our street for months. We met them the second day we moved in, and we’ve been friends every day. Our kids go to daycare together—they’re 6 months apart. We’ve traveled together, and we have family quarantine dinners every Friday.
Then there’s our church group—we all go to same church up north, and twice a month we have fellowship on Wednesday nights.
EP: That’s wonderful! How did you find them?
BC: We met at the park! We all have kids around the same ages, and we just hit it off. We’re just at similar stages of life, and we work in similar areas—one’s a professor, one works at Facebook. We do similar volunteer work, too. A few of us we were hanging out, and they started talking about their church—it has a community group based on where you are in town. All these people welcomed us into their family, and now (before Covid!) we would see them every week. We watch shows together, celebrate Halloween as a group, get together for the kids’ birthdays. A bunch of the kids do ballet class together at Ballet Afrique, a diverse ballet studio way up north. There are 7 kids between all families! My daughter misses them so much right now!
EP: It will be so cool someday when they all go to Newton Collins together!
BC: Yes! We already go to the playground to play. Schools are a foundation of this community, and our neighbor has already been volunteering for Del Valle ISD, even though she has no kids at school yet. She wants to start building those relationships up now, so by the time our kids get there, we’ll be familiar with staff and teachers. You have to think about what you want your school to look like in the future.
EP: Have you guys been using the Union?
BC: When it was open, we were there every day. In the winter, we were there less frequently, but we were still there often. Our favorite thing was Music in the Park, when they have bands play in The Union. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience—you have this beautiful pool, kids are running around and jumping in pillows and dancing, there’s a food truck and bartenders! It kind of reminds me of a family-friendly downtown experience. We would have friends who would joke and say why go downtown?! I’ve got my live music and bar right here!
EP: Aw, the team will be thrilled to hear that. They work so hard to plan all the events!
BC: It’s like a mini Austin City Limits! It’s wild! They know how to put on events here. I love it all!
That’s what you get when you choose a community with a lifestyle director—I love Collette and Paul. And it’s a testament to them that the environment they’ve helped create is continuing to go on without them holding in-person events.
EP: Do you guys go to events like Parkapalooza and Easton Made?
BC: Absolutely. I go to every event I can make it to. Last year at Easton Made, I found a local food brand that makes paleo and vegan tortillas! I have an order that I’m picking up tomorrow. I’ll drive up to 183, and she’ll put them in my cooler, and then I’ll leave them in coolers on my friends’ porches.
EP: What would you say to someone who was thinking about moving here?
BC: The type of people I tell about Easton are people who value community. People who love to be outdoors, who have kids or pets, and people who enjoy activity or like to swim. I think the community appeals to everyone, but especially folks who value the convenience of having everything you need right there. I love the access to all the exercise and health and wellness opportunities.
EP: That gym is pretty great.
BC: There’s a woman who teaches yoga in the park, and there’s the exercise program at the gym—Nfinite fitness. Someone in the neighborhood leads Camp Gladiator classes in the park. I went to that a few times. You could see mamas with babies sleeping in strollers, or a toddler looking at toys or a book. There’s no need to need to leave to get the exercise you need!
EP: How have y’all been doing since the quarantine started?
BC: This time has helped me see the talents of my neighbors! There are chefs who prepare meals at home, and you can buy them. Someone was a vegan caterer, and if you need anything, you can pick it up. There’s a cookie decorator who makes boxes for kids with pre-made frosting and baked shortbread cookies—and they’re GOOD. Someone in neighborhood is making masks, so you can buy them from your neighbors. If someone’s in line at the grocery store, they’ll text and ask if anyone needs anything.
More than ever, there’s a stronger sense of community—you can rely on your neighbors. For Mother’s Day, our across-the-street neighbors surprised us with champagne and a card. There’s so much generosity here, so much respect and camaraderie around everyone. Everything is amplified now that the world is shut down. You start to see people for who they are, and it’s really beautiful.
Interview has been edited for length and clarity.