Garden Oaks

We build primarily in Houston from the heights, all the way to Montgomery County and Lake Conroe. In all the communities we are fortunate enough to be a part of, our design style is often tempered by the deed restrictions of that area. One of the most interesting neighborhoods in Houston is Garden Oaks. 

Located just on the 610 at the Sheppard exit, Garden Oaks offers rarely found space and green shaded avenues with an eclectic mix of home styles. The spacious lots are protected by deed restrictions and 10 ft easements. This means there is double the space between each home compared with most neighborhoods of a similar design.  

What really excites me about this area is the opportunity for individuality in our home designs. 

We have several homes going up at the moment from a neo modernist to Craftsman and Farmhouse inspired residences. There are few areas in Houston that could hold this variety of home, but Garden Oaks is the exception. 

A Neo Modernist at 934 Gardenia Dr

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If ever you want to "Window shop" and get ideas for your home or project, there are few neighborhoods that offer you the kaleidoscope of styles that you will find here. The residents are friendly and range from new arrivals to those who have lived in the same home for decades.  

We met a man in the street recently who was now retired but was born in the house on 1554 Sue Barnett that we are replacing. His story helped paint the pictures of history in this residence and allowed us valuable insights into the population changes and development. 

 

963 Lamonte Ln is our American Craftsman  

963 Lamonte Ln is our American Craftsman  

Our opportunity here is more than the flexibility rarely offered to a builder in a neighborhood to create different styled residences next door to each other, it is to pay respect to and be part of the history of this area. 

It can feel like the Hand of history is on one shoulder, and the residents trust is on the other.  

We live in Montgomery and have six children so living closer to the city for us will probably never happen, but I love the time driving and walking through this diverse gem located a stones throw from one of the fastest growing cities in the US.  

There are several restaurants in the area and Liberty Kitchen, The Inn on Sheppard and Union Kitchen are my favorites right now. 

If you are thinking of building or just enjoy browsing the pages and images of Houzz and Pinterest, then Garden Oaks is a wonderful opportunity to grab ideas and understand styles. The diversity of design surrounded in a lush southern setting is a huge impact on a simple chap from across the pond like me.

 

Black Grout and Inset Shaker Cabinets

Black Grout and Inset Shaker Cabinets

Have a great Tuesday, and I hope to see you in the hood!

Craftsman

Saturday morning is the best! Watching daylight slowly develop and thinking about my day, I can organize all the grandiose plans I have for the day, until my wife wakes up and tells me what we are going to be actually doing. Saturday offers a freedom of possibilities and so far we both decided on several agenda items that I am looking forward to.

Today my wife and I have some time to ourselves and in addition to several errands we are headed to Garden Oaks to see some of the projects there. There is an added excitement today that is always felt as a project draws to a close.

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963 Lamonte Lane is almost ready, and this has been an important project for me. This Craftsman style home represents all that I love about hand made refinements and timeless elegance.

The Craftsman style (named after the Craftsman magazine that featured it circa 1901) actually is rooted in the British arts and crafts movement of the 1860's, and was a direct reaction to mass production emphasizing hand made expertise and refinements. So then as now the details matter. 

Craftsman style homes were the ultimate expression of this style and often used expensive materials as well as highly skilled master craftsman.

So our story with 963 Lamonte lane starts with a Craftsman like desire for the unique, married with a 2017 lifestyle that looks for large open plan and restful spaces. 

The details are everything and The Craftsman style really exploded in popularity here in the US showcasing sturdy structures, clean lines and natural materials that found inspiration with the the shaker style.

The details are everything and The Craftsman style really exploded in popularity here in the US showcasing sturdy structures, clean lines and natural materials that found inspiration with the the shaker style.

I love this look! 

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So cased windows, inset cabinets, white oaks hand laid and jobsite finished white oak floors, combined with large open plan spaces, oceans of quartz and marble in a meticulously engineered and built structure, really showcase our vision of the 2017 Craftsman Style home.  

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We are so blessed to have so many wonderful craftsmen in our team. Florencio and his team created these hand made cabinets that were built on site, and created all the carpentry details that the home showcases. Roys team create magic with wood flooring and we try to use him wherever we are able. Miguel is probably the best mason I have ever worked with and he even lets me lay some bricks occasionally to recapture my memories of younger days.

This project has been a wonderful vision, but only made possible by the incredibly skilled and experienced tradesmen that we are fortunate to have in our team. 

 

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This home is so specific a look and I am blown away by the attention to detail and hard work by my team over the last year to bring this home from a vision into life.  

So today our lives will all be busy, but I do get time to walk and examine our homage to one of the most important style movements of the 20th century. It's days like this that make the journey so much better. Anticipation and excitement, combined with coffee and daybreak. Quite a start to my day!

Have a great Saturday. 

RTH

See more about this unique residence here: http://www.har.com/u/e0227925

The Why Wall

My pastor started this week with a message asking for us to enjoy the moment and live without fear of the future. Easier said than done and this week has created plenty of live in the moment opportunities. However I have a moment this morning to reflect on what's important, and my anxieties definitely seem a little trivial when compared to others. 

For example yesterday and Wednesday I started my day at my local Starbucks: 

Not a bad view!

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It's a view that can be easily missed as I see it so frequently. This Starbucks is about one minute from my office so, over a period of time I have got to know some of the people who work and visit there. Today if I pass through no doubt there will be some polite exchanges followed by the obligatory "looking forward to the weekend". However in another part of my day, I see a different image more frequently: 

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This is the why wall and hangs by our kitchen table. These are children that we are fortunate to sponsor in different parts of the world and why we do what we do. It's supposed to serve a reminder of why we are here and what our mission is. The week has flown by and now it's Friday again. I don't know if anyone else loses sight of what's important during the day, but with the work load and drama of life it's easy to forget how my challenges are all first world problems and to keep a perspective on what's really important.

if anyone would like to learn more about child sponsorships, compassion have an event in the Woodlands starting May 5th. The website is  https://cts.compassion.com/events/741

This week we went to Sonrise again and I have to say thank you to Adam Richards, Jared Self and the entire Gringos leadership who once again stepped up. On Tuesday, Ed told me that he had no meat to feed the people who lived there. Within an hour I got a phone call from Derek at Gringos who told me they were just leaving after delivering a load of meat. Coincidence? Yesterday Adam and Jared took themselves over there and sealed the roof to prevent further leaks so we can begin the task of transforming the building. For anyone who wants to know more about this shelter, we visit on Tuesdays at 11, and you are welcome to join us. 

This week we have added more pictures and videos to our website and social media pages. Our videos are available here http://www.royaltexan.com/media/  

Our core values of Faith Integrity and Relationship have plenty of opportunities on Friday's. In construction Friday is when everyone gets paid and our sub contractors, workers and their families depend on their pay checks. This is the responsibility of being a business owner and whether our clients all pay us on time or not we have a responsibility to those people. As a small business the number of hats my team and I wear can mean Friday's can get a little busy Today I have two new client meetings, site visits, client follow ups, project meetings, vendor meetings, budget reviews and a trip to Lufkin and back. First world problems indeed!

We had some interesting opportunities this week as well. An investment group from California got in touch, and needs a partnership with a Texan builder, separately a TV producer wants to create a 30 minute show around us and we are opening the Royal Texan Homes Real Estate group to serve a wider real estate need in our community. 

Never a dull moment in our days, so today I hope to focus everything on today, leave the present, past and future outcomes to GOD and hope that I can keep a little perspective about my life, while remembering why we do this.  

If ever you see me please say hello, and you are always welcome to drop in to our Hwy 105 location for a coffee and a chat.

Have a great weekend. 

RTH

Unexpected Moments

Everyone has a routine to a greater or lesser extent I'm sure. Our home starts early during the week and depends completely on routine until the coffee starts to wor. So this morning it has been a pleasant surprise to wake up and move around without the usual zombie like state, but I actually woke up with my brain semi engaged. I enjoy the time before the family wakes up, to read, pray and prepare for the day. However from one day to the next as a builder you are often thrown a curve ball. A routine busting moment or two!

Today a client who was not supposed to arrive from overseas until later this week, will get in, so their house has to be ready. Yesterday and last night my team was hard at work putting the finishing touches to their extensive remodel before today's big reveal. Although our clients have a portal that allows them to view the progress of their project through uploaded videos and photos, today will be he first time they have seen their home since we took the project on.

Also yesterday we finally figured out the layout of our model home at Teaswood. Sometimes the floor plan can be different due to the difficulties and nuances of the land. The combination of creative nput from several of the team yesterday was a really enjoyable process, but ultimately it resulted in something that I think will be quite spectacular. I wasn't expecting to be able to do everything that it looks like we can. That plan and the output of this work will be available to view online by the start of next week. I am so excited about the Teaswood project.

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Today at 11 I will be at the Sonrise Community Church and Homeless Shelter, as we take more people through a project that touches every emotion. As a believer I am always astounded by GODs perfect timing. Sonrise is an opportunity for us to serve in the most incredible way. I asked Ed once if the donation button worked on his web site and he replied "I have no idea, no one has ever used it". 

As we wonder through this project we realize the truth about our own lives and the responsibility we carry. If anyone wants to join our growing group of volunteers drawn to this impossible task please contact us through this web site.

Yesterday brought more unexpected opportunities for relationships with a couple I met at our 1554 Sue Barnett residence on Friday evening contacting us to discuss building a home for them. I was really hoping they would be in touch as I was so drawn to them during our first meeting. 

Another Lady originally from New Jersey came in to our visitor center on Hwy 105 yesterday and we were able to sit and discuss her project up in Walden. These moments when i meet new people and get the chance to speak about a subject that I'm passionate about are usually the highlights of my day. Our website will soon feature a developing archive of seminar and video presentations that will discuss both construction techniques and aesthetic opportunities and styles. As you will see I can get a little passionate about certain subjects...

 

 I don't know what the day holds. I have a number of tasks that I have to complete, but the unexpected moments are usually the most challenging and the most rewarding. I am hopeful to spend some time with my family this evening and focus on them, but we will see what's possible today. As the Sonrise project has shown me, just enjoy the moment, the routine and the unexpected. Today I hope to enjoy the challenges, receive rewards with grace and tackle challenges with wisdom and honor. 

Happy Tuesday. 

RTH

 

Rainy Sunday Morning

Our house can be a little busy on Sundays. I think it's a little self inflicted as we slowly pad around before we realize we need to get in gear to make it to church in time. This morning I ran to HEB and it rained the way it only rains in Houston, torrential.  

I take my vehicles to Magnolia Auto and it has become a joke there, that if it's raining I must be about to pour concrete! Weirdly true. Meteorologists could simply look on our scheduling app that we provide clients and then forecast the next few weeks of bad weather. 

So today I will sit indoors and pretend that it isn't raining and tomorrow we will begin the process of digging out footings and pad sites to then dry while we, and every other builder in Houston, try to get back on schedule for concrete.  

The fun awaits for us tomorrow, but today is Sunday.  

 

Yeterday was amazing. We found Sonrise Community Church about a month ago, and they are in desperate need as they house homeless families in Houston. Their only source of funding is the Pastor who works as a bounty hunter at night and pours all his wages into providing for up to 150 people every day. 

So we have been bringing people through this facility for a month so they can see first hand what an impossible task this is. The response continues to be overwhelming. Even writing this the tears are hard to hold back.  

As our personal and corporate values color our actions, I am so humbled to say thank you to Mike Wilson and his entire family, Michelle Gauna and her entire family, The Richards family and particularly Adam for finding this amazing donation from DR Horton, DR Horton for their incredible donations, the Gringos crew for their awesome turnout, Restoration Church for their continued support. All these people gave up their entire Saturday for this cause and I am so blessed to call them friends.  

Also in a stroke of genius, one Dad brought teenage girls, so teenage boys followed and we were able to put them to work. 

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A Job Well Done!! A combined effort of people provided mattresses, beds, and other furniture to Sonrise Community Church and homeless shelter.

Anyway, have a great Sunday and stay dry. Plenty for us to all do tomorrow, so enjoy family, rest and recharge.

My book for this aternoon...

 

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Yup, I'm that boring! 

Oops I'm running late! Happy Sunday. 

RTH

Quiet Time

Saturday is special to all of us, but today is derby day. In England my soccer team Liverpool is playing the city rivals Everton in a hugely anticipated rivalry that stretches back over 100 years. Well hugely anticipated in my house anyway, hence the reason I think that I have been up since 4am. So even though the game starts at 6:30, I have some time before to read and ponder.

With six children,  two dogs, a cat, parakeet, a lizard, fish and the aptly named hamster called rhino, we can get a little busy during the day. So my opportunity for quiet and creative time usually comes before everyone wakes up.

This morning in my hand is a book detailing the work of Walter Gropius, the founder of the legendary Bauhaus design school in German and the mid century modern community that developed near the base of Cape Cod as he accepted a lifetime professorship at Harvard and invited other Bauhaus masters, students and colleagues to join him at "a marvellous piece of earth". 

I'm sure that the troubles that they left behind, and the promise of hope and opportunity that moving to the United States offered and still offers, filled the newly formed emigre community with energy and optimism. As an immigrant myself, and leaving a country I knew well to arrive here in the land of rich opportunity and freedom, I can completely relate to the sense of both optimism and confusion of where do I go and how do I start.

Architects, artists and designers soon joined them in creating a community where mid century masters, living in their works, separated by the trees of the Cape could flourish. Now we are so used to seeing these types of mid century modern designs in communities around the country. I am definitely a sucker for a mid century modern classic and I recently bought and renovated a home in April Sound for this very reason. It made little economic sense, but my emotional homage to this ideal drove my decisions. (My wife has since been a little vocal in pointing out that I have checked this box and have no need to repeat this project). 

Regardless, these homes look a little dated now as the material and technologies they worked with in the late 30's are now fading and have been overtaken by 80 years of developments in construction. However the design principles are what fascinates me. 

It's no secret that I am looking for clients to build a modernist home for in woods or on land away from the city. I trust these clients are coming and so in preparation for meeting one day, I am spending time with my books to understand the passion, motivations  and energies of the innovators of this movement. It's interesting that they ended up in the same Country as me, where their creative freedoms could be expressed. Now I am not equating myself to a pioneer of the modernist movement, after all I am just a builder, but understanding the mindset and culture of the greats is sparking creative home ideas and sketches here on our little table this morning, that won't be possible in 30 minutes once I am again consumed with the life a death struggle of derby day followed by work and family activities.  

This time is precious, and when I have the most development daily. Today I am meeting some new clients and I really enjoy the opportunity for new relationships.  Last night I met a great couple at our home for sale at 1554 Sue Barnett, and I really hope that they decide to let us build for them. We didn't discuss much about their creative influences, but I get the feeling that a project creating, designing and building for them could be really enjoyable.

Later today we are renting a uhaul to pick up a load of donated furniture to deliver to Ed Burford at our favorite place the Sunrise Community Church. Ed has been running this homeless shelter for years and works through the night to then put his wages into feeding and housing up to 250 people without homes during the day. There is an exciting project growing with small businesses like mine and other churches that are just getting drawn to Ed and his cause, so today will also offer the opportunity to serve them. 

Then of course in a house of boys, we will need to get some dirt bike time in. I am not a lover of electronics so as many people know, with our boys we get outside whenever we can to enjoy what GOD has given us. So all things considered a busy day ahead. Hence the quiet moments this morning are being savored and enjoyed. Maybe a little calm before the storm?

I love a little quiet time, what do you do when you can't sleep? 

RTH

Friday already

Friday can be a little busy, like most we have weekend commitments calling for my attention, but I am not ready yet. I have a client who needs their plan finished, another who needs tile direction and a new client who wants to meet on site. Of everything we do it's the projects and the people I enjoy the most. Today was interrupted while we had to shoot some interviews in preparation for our ribbon cutting, but that was a welcome break. 

Its 4pm and headed to Houston to meet a new client at 6:30. This gives me a great chance to visit some sites and check in on the progress of my friend/clients, mid century modern remodel in Garden Oaks. 

Today we got involved in discussions about a farmhouse chic discussion. Elements of contemporary, Greek Revival and Barn stylings are running around in my head right now. Does anyone else wake up at night with these kinds of thoughts? If so Please let us build for you too!

Have a great weekend.

RTH

Fusion anybody?

Its my background that colors me, and my future that drives me. So i am looking to have worlds collide. Does anyone want to discuss a fusion project? I want to create an American Farmhouse with French feelings, a mid century modern surrounded by forest. In short I am looking for clients who want to create timeless, elegant spaces where cultural nuances can merge and define.

So that is simple! Anyone interested in a true one off?