Laura Bush's ranch

Laura says she and the president designed the house to fit modestly on their beloved Texas prairie, and its canyons, rivers, lakes and trails. "I wanted a one-story house also, with no thresholds," she says. "I wanted George and I to be able to grow old here and get our wheelchairs or walkers, if we have them, through all of the doors."
Laura Bush's oak tree

Laura says they gave special consideration to where the house would sit. "There's a huge oak tree right here in the front of the house, and that was one of the reasons we picked that site."
Laura Bush's Dining Room

"We hosted over a dozen heads of state here," she says of the ranch's dining room. "We'd serve, of course, Texas beef, tenderloin and sometimes a cheese grits soufflé with that and fried catfish."
Laura Bush's Kitchen

"This is the kitchen, which I have really had a good time designing," she says. "I'm very organized, and I like a really organized kitchen."
Laura Bush's Organized Kitchen

Though the kitchen has plenty of storage, Laura says she won't keep things she doesn't use. "The more things you have, the more things you have to handle, the more things you have to take care of," she says. "So I'm pretty ruthless about getting rid of things."
Laura Bush's Kitchen Backsplash

"This is a glass backsplash, which is a very inexpensive way to have a backsplash in your kitchen," she says. "You can paint whatever color you want behind it and you just have a big line of color."
Laura Bush's living room

Laura says she and the president spend most of their time in the living room. " Really, I mean any time of day that we're talking or watching sports on television," she says. "I love to lie on these couches in the afternoon and read. It's a great place for us to relax."

Part of the living room wall acts as a mini-library for these book lovers.

"We love to do puzzles, but we rent these puzzles from the company. They're expensive to buy, so we just rent one. We do it, and then we send it back," Laura says.
Laura Bush's library

"This is our library. This is the room that we really used to work in," she says. "It's more the office at the ranch where George would make phone calls to heads of state."
Laura Bush's swimming pool

"When we were building the house, Jenna and Barbara really wanted a swimming pool. They kept talking to their dad about, 'Be sure and build a swimming pool,'" she says. "So finally, we built a swimming pool. He called it the 'whining pool,' because they whined till they got it."
Laura Bush's prairie restoration

"This is the big prairie restoration that we did," she says. "The thing I love to do best here is go for walks. George will walk with me or the girls will walk with me."
Blue bonnets

"This property really is such a special place for George and me," she says. "At this time year, we get to see the beautiful blue bonnets that are the state flower."
Mountain bike trails

"George still loves mountain bike riding, and he's built some really great mountain bike trails."
George Bush's man-made lake

George also built a lake to indulge in another favorite activity. "This lake we built and then stocked it with large-mouth bass, which is what George likes to fish."
(NOTE: missing)

The property has been a part of the biggest moments of the Bush family's life. This limestone cross was built as an altar for their daughter Jenna's 2008 wedding. "Then, of course, this is where we came on that night of January 20, [2009], when we left the White House," she says. "It really is a dramatic end. It's probably not like any other job. This one—when it's over, it's over."
George and Laura Bush

"Having this home and this beautiful property is a wonderful way to think about how we want our lives to be forever."

Laura Bush on the accident that changed her life forever and her memories of September 11