Little House in the Hay Field
The Velazquez Home

By Lisa Stephens Rahn • Photography by Brian W. McDonald

The Headland, Alabama, home of Ann and Dino Velazquez is a far cry from small, but “little house in the hay field” is the jovial nickname a friend has given the home place. The couple turned what was flat farmland into a property with rolling patterns of land that better fit their chosen Tuscan style. Around town, it is affectionately known as “the Olive Garden house” for its unmistakable Italian vibe.
     Up close, it is apparent that nothing about this home falls short of extraordinary. No detail went unstudied, no amount of care was lacking as they brought the scene to life. “We wanted to build a very permanent house—one we will probably never sell,” Ann tells. Since this is the 30th home the couple has constructed in their 38-year marriage, they had the experience and know-how to make their dreams a reality. “Most of the time, we moved every five years,” Ann mentions. “I used to say, ‘we have to move before we have to paint.’”

     The Velazquezes came to the Wiregrass in 1988 to open what is now Dothan Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, and after more than 25 years and four additional dealerships, decided it was time for a “family forever house,” Ann says. When they came across the 30-acre property, they knew they could establish a home that would accommodate them for the long haul. “We have seven grandkids, three kids plus their spouses—that’s why we needed this big of a house,” Ann explains, noting that she and Dino also host friends who stop by on their way to the beach.

     With Wayne Lewis as the builder and Ann personally handling the design details, the team spent a year creating a highly customized space. “We had a lot of fun,” Ann says of the process. And although a lot of thought went into the home, Ann admits that advance planning wasn’t their strong suit. “This was a seat of your pants house. It kept growing,” Ann quips. “Every day it changed.”
     The Italian farmhouse style came as a result of...  [subscribe to read full article and see more photos]