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Thursday, August 29, 2013

GreenTex Builders - Crestview Home Tour in Austin Texas

Most of you know I was a home builder in my past life, and every once in awhile I come across a custom home builder that really gets my attention. I kept coming across GreenTex Builders located in Austin Texas. On Houzz they were chosen Best of Houzz 2013, then I saw them on HGTV (more about that another day) and on facebook, pinterest and everywhere else I turned. They are two young men, Cory McCallum and Cameron Ponsford who started their own building company, building and renovating residential homes and commercial spaces. They are LEED certified and dedicated to building homes that are sustainable and energy efficient. They shared with me this project that they did in the neighborhood of Crestview in Austin Texas, and it is a beauty!

First take a look at the front of this completed home. It has 2 bedrooms and 2-1/2 bathrooms on the first floor, and a second living room / media room and 2 bedrooms with 2 baths upstairs.

Below is the original home that the owners purchased and then they went to their friend and custom homebuilder, GreenTex Builders who recommended the architect, Chuck Krueger who came up with the design to be able to construct this house.

The original 2,000 square foot house was built in the 1950's. GreenTex Builders kept the original footprint of the house but stripped it down to the studs and added a second floor for a total of 4,000 square feet. They reused the original brick on the house to brick the front and the sides of the home. You can see the beautiful entryway with the 30" roof overhangs with down lights and the standing seam metal roof. There is spray foam on the underside of the roof as well as the walls increasing the efficiency of the home. The exterior wood used here on the front porch is salvaged wood and isn't it absolutely beautiful.
This is an open floor plan, you can see the front door entry into the living room, and also the kitchen.

The living room has gorgeous built-in custom cabinetry made from reclaimed wood. The slats which are pine came from House+Earth, a local green building material supplier. Do you see those three doors at the end of the living room, well they are accordion doors and all three of them fully open to rest against the right wall, allowing you to really enjoy the outside space as well. Also notice the built-in bookcases - in my world these are a necessity. If you want to see more about those doors and other aspects of this home go to this youtube video.

Do you see that dutch double door? It leads into the laundry and mud room and the owners put it in so that their Great Danes could see into the living room space without actually being in the room - how smart is that!
All of the cabinetry in the laundry room is custom made and the countertops are Silestone, which is composed of 94% natural quartz. If you are not familiar with Silestone you can go to their website here and find out all about them. The owners installed high quality materials throughout this house. 
The space you see to the left under the cabinets in the picture below is where the giant dog kennels go for those Great Danes. You gotta love a dog owner who consider their pets needs. Glass mosaic tiles for the backsplash above the sink in the laundry area.


This Kitchen is fabulous and I am loving everything, the dark custom cabinetry, the reclaimed pine wood slats on the island, Wolf range with a grill, double door refrigerator with wood panels, those Silestone countertops, glass mosaic backsplash, and the dishwasher also with wood panels, that Kohler sink and Delta faucet. And if all that weren't enough - well just check out the double chandeliers!

I adore a table pulled up to a window seat, first of all it is beautiful, secondly it saves a lot of space - no need to pull out chairs. The master bedroom is right down that hallway.

The island cabinetry is painted, which is a nice contrast to the dark stained cabinetry and it has a small raised bar so you can pull up some bar stools. In the room behind the kitchen you can see a glimpse of the dining room.



All of the hardwood flooring is refurbished long leaf pine floors which were sourced from House+Earth. They are installed over a 3/4" plywood subfloor, then sanded and stained. The stain and sealer used on the hardwoods is a water based product.

Never underestimate the power of lighting. Hanging lights, can lights, under counter lights - it is all beautiful and functional.

Here is the formal dining room space. This house seems to be filled with natural light and notice that tree branch hanging light, very original.

The Master Bedroom is located on the first floor and has a ton of natural light and coming from those double french doors.



The master bathroom has separate sink areas with Silestone countertops, vessel sinks and mosaic tile backsplash. I am loving those faucets at the sinks and those pendants lights that are hanging right and left of the mirrors which the owners are waiting to have installed. 

This tub is a BainUltra Origami freestanding bathtub. I NEED one of these. The fully tiled wall with the row of mosaics is a very nice touch and I am loving that faucet.

The shower has shower heads located on each wall, one with a handheld device, it also has built in shelving to hold shampoo and other necessities. They are awaiting the glass enclosure shower enclosure. The water closet has a pocket door.

A set of pocket doors closes this space off from the rest of the house.

This is the second bedroom located on the main floor with its own bathroom.

There are several sets of pocket doors in this house. Have you noticed the doors throughout this house. They are knotty alder solid wood doors which are stained in a beautiful rich finish as is the cabinetry.

I love this classic glazed tile and the strip of mosaic tile wrapping around and becoming the backsplash for the sink vanity gives it even more interest. Look at that floating cabinetry and the choice of finish on the faucets and the sconces.

Remember in the picture of the living room - the three accordion doors that fully opened, well there they are. Now at the end of the patio see that beige strip up along the ceiling, that is a retractable screen the raises and lowers with the push of a remote button to make this entire outside space a screen in porch, and when you don't want that screen down, well you just press a button and up and away it goes.You can see this in action if you watch the youtube video I talk about earlier.

All of the turf on the front yard was native to the area and it is able to sustain the droughts and hot summers that come with living in Texas. Right now the Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB) Program gave GreenTex Builders a 4 star for this house. The rating can be upgraded to a 5 star when the owners landscape their rear yard with the same native grass as is in the front. The goal of the owners and the builder was to build an affordable energy efficient home that will last for many decades. This was GreenTex Builders first AEGB rated home and they were very pleased to get the 4 star but are even more excited about receiving the 5 star once the rear yard is completed. They said that the AEGB program is awesome and that Miki Cook was very resourceful, that the rating worksheets were self explanatory and that you can get a lot of ideas on how to make your own home more efficient, sustainable and accessible. If you would like more information about AEGB go here.
A light filled staircase with operable windows leads us to the second story. The windows are all dual pane argon filled low E windows which increases the efficiency of the home and lowers your heating and air conditioning expense substantially.

This is their upstairs living room / media room complete with a built in refrigerator and upper and lower cabinetry. The raised ceiling makes the space feel even more expansive. 

They continued with the same flooring upstairs as on the first level.
The owners didn't just want an energy efficient home, they wanted a green home, so let me mention a few other items in this house. A top of the line Carrier furnace and an AC system with humidity controls was installed. All of the mechanical systems are networked together and are controlled by the owners smart phones or tablets from anywhere. Another very cool aspect of this home is what they did with the scrap lumber and other scrap materials, they called in Construction Waste Recyclers. CWR has a unique machine that separates the nails and other metal from the old lumber so that the materials could be used as landscaping mulch. Now how cool is that!

There are two bedrooms and two bathrooms on the second floor.
Isn't this bathroom lovely. The hot water heater for this house is a tankless hot water heater which uses less energy to heat your water, you will never run out of hot water, you never need to worry about your water heater rusting and flooding your house ever again, and you can put the heater just about anywhere.

Don't you just love the splash of green in this bathroom.



Isn't this an absolutely lovely home. When I look at this home I don't think about it being a green home, but rather I think what a beautiful home this is. Well these owners have the best of both worlds, a beautiful and a green energy efficient home. Cory and Cameron love building in the Central Austin area and they have been very successful renovating older homes and building new homes as well as commercial spaces. They shared with me that they strive to complete all of their projects under 10,000 square feet in a 4 to 8 month time frame depending on the scope of work of course, that they treat every home as if it were their own, and that being up front and communicating clearly with their customers is what allows them to build great relationships with their customers that will allow them to excel in the town of Austin for many years to come. So if you live in the Austin area and are thinking about renovating or custom building a new home you know who to get in contact with. I have included a lot of links to resources that can be very helpful and informative to you if you are wanting to become more aware of green building or need an architect. I hope you have enjoyed the tour of this home as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you.


Linking to: French Country Cottage
Linking to: Redoux Interiors
Linking to: Common Ground
Linking to: My Romantic Home
Linking to: Savvy Southern Style 
Linking to: Worthing Court Blog

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Winner of HGTV Brother vs Brother FINAL Episode

The winner of HGTV Brother vs Brother is David Font.

The final episode was very evenly matched after Monica was told she would move to Team Jonathan and join Torche, which they both seemed pleased about. Although I think they were at a disadvantage having never worked together before.

Here is Team Jonathan with Monica Reese and Torche Perkins. Monica has a Masters Degree in Interior Design, and Torche has a Masters Degree in Fine Arts in Sculpture and a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Design. They worked very well together, but it wasn't enough to win the grand prize.
Below is the entry into their home showing the kitchen and flooring before renovation. They spent $29,200 on the renovations and the appraisers came up with a $60,000. increase in value.
They removed all of the existing tile and replaced it with an updated tile flooring.  I think they might need to touch up that ceiling above where the old upper cabinets were attached. Notice this house was painted all white, the new colors look so much better.
I think what probably hurt Team Jonathan the most was the removal of the upper cabinetry leaving the homeowners with only 2 upper cabinets. An island was installed giving them additional counter space and lower cabinetry, but no additional uppers.
 I think we can all agree that this kitchen is vastly improved.
I love the color that was brought into this kitchen by choosing this glass mosaic tile backsplash. Originally Monica had choosen a more neutral backsplash and countertop which Torche agreed to, but Jonathan stepped in and said it was too neutral so she liven it up and it looks great.
By removing the wall that was seperating the kitchen from the eating area it greatly improved the function of this space and it all feels more open and larger. Have you heard, grey is the new beige. I like those small pendant lights over the bar counter.

 Below is the before of the living room with a boring fireplace and all white walls.
Monica was suppose to do the fireplace but Jonathan stated they needed something with more WOW factor, so Torche came up with the idea for the fireplace wall and mantel and Monica agreed. The judges did not the lack of a focal point while sitting on the sofa. We are so accustomed to seeing a tv these days front and center. What did they do with that tv? Designers please stop hiding the tv set.

Here is Team Drew with Brett Karns and the winner of this show, David Font. Brett is a real estate agent and he has flipped more than 12 houses and apartments. David is a landscape architect. Well David's degree is in landscape architecture, but we see he has a full set of skills when it comes to creativity, design, and renovation. Oh, and he can lay some tile.
Below is a photograph of their entry, they removed the tile in the entry and installed hardwood flooring that matched the existing hardwoods. They also removed the wall separating the kitchen from the living room.
Team Drew spent $29,600 on their renovation and increase the value of the home by $75,000.


They also removed the wall that separated the kitchen from the eating area. This space is fully open from one end to the other. I believe having the fireplace on the side wall instead of the rear wall makes this space seem larger. They also installed upper cabinets on both walls and I believe having more upper cabinets was a major factor in them winning this challenge. I also think they did a better job at designing the living room space.
Um, what is going on with those sad drapes?
By making all the floors hardwood, this creates a continuous, uninterrupted flow from one end to the other, which makes this space appear much larger.

I really like the color choices for this space and I find the feature wall with the fireplace charming, but I think they could have improved this space greatly but putting in an actual gas fireplace instead of reusing the small electric fireplace, but remember they only had three days. This room looks great.
This space also has a lot of seating furniture.  I love the mix of the different pieces, no matchy, matchy going on. The fireplace wall with the horizontal lines against the dark color makes your eye move horizontally along the space, and not stop abruptly at the rear wall,making this space appear larger. David was responsible for this wall.

They had four judges for this challenge. Hilary Farr and David Visentin from Love it or List it, Kennon Earl from Selling LA, and Mike Aubrey from Power Broker and Real Estate Intervention.
Team Drew won and David Font was chosen as the first winner ever of Brother vs Brother and he is the winner of $50,000.00 He was a very happy man!
Congratulations to David, may his future be very bright.
Do you think the right team won? If Team Jonathan had won who do you think would have been the winner, Monica or Torche? Remember there is no new show for the winner, at least not yet, but if there was who would you enjoy watching the most?

Of all of the episodes, I have to say I enjoyed watching Torche and Francis the most. They were both very entertaining, innovative and talented. I think we will be seeing something more from them in the near future.




All of the photographs are from HGTV.

Linking to: Savvy Southern Style
Linking to: The Everyday Home

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