First for Dallas?
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First for Dallas?Posted by Jeffrey Rous at February 24. 2008
I saw a blurb about this builder in the DMN today. This is the first of the typical higher volume tear-down developers in Dallas I have seen who specializes in modern homes. Prices seem to start at $120/SF (renderings look more like $150/SF, but still). Any thoughts?
Re: First for Dallas?Posted by Tom Greico at February 25. 2008
Re: First for Dallas?Posted by Jeffrey Rous at February 27. 2008
Ah, I think I recognize your pic, but I cannot find the thread where I have seen you before. It is great to see a LM member doing the work out there. When I read Neo-MCM, my first thought was that it is too contemporary for that (it actually reminds me a lot of some of the stuff I see in Houses magazine from Down Under). But it does sort of slot in with the Howard Meyer tradition of 1950s modernism (rather than the usual SoCal/Case Study MCM). Do I really see on your site that you can put something like this together for under $120/SF? If so, then I wish I had found you three years ago! Nice work.
Re: First for Dallas?Posted by Tom Greico at February 28. 2008
Thank you for the kind words. I was aiming at a 60's Califorina feeling home that was clean but comfortable and somewhat cozy. Now that you mention it I can see the Howard Meyer, I wasn't aware of his work until I just googled him, you learn something new everyday.
I will let you all be the judge.
At present the home is in the final stages of painting. Countertops go in Tuesday of next week finals on the plumbing and electrical are scheduled for later in the week. The yard has been graded and fence and landscape should start within a few weeks. I will take some photos this week and upload the better of them. The concept designs on the web site can be hit and a reasonably affordable price point close to the 120.00 per foot but of course there are concessions in some of the finishout products. But yes it can be done. Note those prices are less land, sales and money cost.
A tour of the home, yeah, I'm game, let me get it a little further down the line.
Re: First for Dallas?Posted by Tom Greico at February 29. 2008
My painter has the interior covered up with drops.
So here are some interior renderings. I welcome your thoughts
Re: First for Dallas?Posted by Jeffrey Rous at March 03. 2008
I like the kitchen/family room combination in the Ridgelea (sp?) house, the more inclosed courtyard and the rear garage. However, in every other detail, I like the Concept 1 and Concept 3 better. I just like the scaling better on the smaller houses -- they seem more of-a-piece. The big one looks like the front 1/3 doesn't belong on the rear 2/3 of that house. As an economist, and one that has spent time thinking about such things, I understand that you needed the extra SF to get the price per SF down and get the SF up, but from a pure architecture standpoint, I like your other designs better. When you compete with run-of-the-mill McMansions, you gotta play by some of their rules.
I think Concept 1 would look great with a small study (facing the courtyard) between the kitchen and the master suite with the closet and master bath behind the study and the master bedroom turning the corner and creating a back to the courtyard. Of course, that would probably add 200 SF to the house.
Re: First for Dallas?Posted by Tom Greico at March 09. 2008
Thank you for your comments. I felt that it was important that the home meld with the existing cottages in the neighborhood and not be so full faced as most of the new construction in these neighborhoods do. I originally I was very concerned with the massing, but in person the home has a very comfortable human scale, both on the street and in the courtyard area due to the horizontal lines of the covered porch and patio. The narrow lot poses many challenges to designing a mid-century home. How do you give the home a horizontal look when the structure width is less than twice its height? The original homes, built in the 50, were on sprawling lots in the burbs designed for ranch style homes.
Your are very correct in your understanding of the economics of spec home building. The extra space on the upper level is what keep the cost per foot in line.
The concept homes on the web site were in response to the many request for a smaller design. They also serve as an example of the possibilities that are available. I do agree that the concept homes do have more of the "old school" mid century look but I have a fear of building a 3 bedroom home that would be priced in the high 500's.
New to the my web site is a single level, mid century , flat roof, split bedroom, front entry, 2600 sq ft design. The home is designed for a wider (65') lot. Check it out and give me your thoughts.
Re: First for Dallas?Posted by Jeffrey Rous at March 09. 2008
Ah context... Few Dallas buiders give it much thought. My current NW Dallas neighborhood has recently seen about 20-25 new houses go up (maybe 2% of the total). Every new house is 3200-4200 SF, two story with what must be 10' ceilings and 8:12+ roof pitches. They are easliy 2.5-3x taller than the older houses (1700-2200 SF 1950s ranches). I guess once all the older houses are gone, they will look fine (as fine as country estates can look in a suburban setting). But now that most of the run down <$150k houses are gone, I wonder if the builders will move on, leaving us with a scattering of houses that just do not fit in. Given that, I understand the smaller scale of the front part of the house. And even in the renderings, you can see the details that maintain a more intimate feel in the courtyard.
I am interested that neither of your concept houses have the kitchen open to the living area. I have read that the more formal layout is actually one of the few things people don't really love about MCM houses. I am guessing you have heard differently? Just curious. (Yes, I see that the Ridgelea house is more open, yet still has a formal dining room).
I really like Concept 3, but I wonder about the economics of it. I am not a big fan of 3500sf+ houses, but that is not the Dallas mind set. We are building a 2800SF house in Farmers Branch and I have had people tell me that if you are not doing at least 3000SF, your just building a tear-down. I hope I am wrong about that, but it seems that in Dallas (and elsewhere) size is the main thing that matters. But here is the curious question: Say the 3x house value to lot value basically holds ($150k lot means the profit maximizing house will be $450k for a $600k total). How much of a tradeoff is there for quality over quantity? I am gussing that the tradeoff is more feasible as lot value rises, but that relationship interests me.
Also, the first houses in Kessler Woods were all MCM-ish as is your most recent house and your concepts. Do you think there is a market for a more 21st cent. cutting edge modern house? I guess the success of Urban Reserve might give us some insight, but I think that development has other issues so perhaps a poor showing won't be definitive. It just occurs to me that it might be easier to pull off a 21st cent design on the tight lots your thinking about (although I think your Concept 1 and Ridgelea house are more 21st cent. than you do).
Re: First for Dallas?Posted by Jonathan Oltmann at March 10. 2008
Re: First for Dallas?Posted by Tom Greico at March 10. 2008
Yeah I must admit context and builders are two words not normally used in
the same sentence.
The area around Ridgelea is just starting to go through the "change". Presently
there are six houses and two more on the way on Ridgelea out of 30 existing
homes and a handful on the streets to the west. I am thinking that there is about
3-5 years till the neighborhood turns. The neighborhood see a lot of foot traffic
in the afternoons and evening, so I felt giving the home a human scale was a benefit.
I was also hoping to influence the design of the new starts. If the Ridgelea
home became surrounded by full faced behemoths the scale of street elevation
might take on the jewel box look. My thought process on or lack of the open kitchen
is that I cannot see having the kitchen visible from the front door on a 500k+ home.
This look is somewhat apartment/condo like. So I opted to open the space up with
the Living and Dining while providing a visual link to the Kitchen in the rear. Eliminating
the headers in the openings between the spaces is an attempt to have the ceiling
expand the space and make the kitchen the hub of the area. The concept designs are an
attempt to showcase some other examples of the design possibilities.That said,
I do agree with your observation and the desire for the kitchen/living space.
Economics of Concept 3 area at best questionable. The cost per foot after
factoring in the land value and selling cost will be high based on other
new homes. While the cost per foot is high the actual sales price will be on
the lower end of most if not all the new rebuilds in most areas. My idea here
is to be able to offer a buyer the ability to a.) build a single level "executive"
home and /or b.) own a new modern home in the mid 500 range. I would only
suggest this to buyers that intend to occupy their homes for an extended
period of time.
Mid Century vs. Cutting Edge Modern/Contemporary vs. Neo-Modern
Kessler Woods can support the Cutting Edge Modern Homes, I believe
due in part to the terrain. I enjoy driving through there.
Urban Reserve can somewhat pull it off because of the subdivision layout.
The water feature on the east side of the road pushes the homes a good
distance from the street so you can, at least at this point, take in the entire
structure. The small box houses (not the Morrison at the south end) on the
rail side the street don't do much for me, tough scale and too close to the
street, questionable materials. I believe they would look better in a large field
or forest. Not a commercially viable product in my opinion. As a whole the area
does not do much for me although I do enjoy the entry at north end
Neo-Modern tries to capture the essence of the mid century designs, the warmth,
openness and scale using a diverse pallet of materials, woods, stones and stucco
and glass. I believe/hope that there is more of a market for this style, in addition
you can slip a Neo-Modern home in to most urban areas without the normal objections
or comments from the neighbors that you've lost your mind, are building a barn or
whats that ugly white box and you've ruined the neighborhood.
I guess time will tell.
BTW I enjoy the comments, thanks for taking the time.