Jenkins Custom Homes designs and builds award-winning luxury spaces. As one of Austin's premier custom home builders, we have had the privilege of building some pretty amazing projects! Here you can see lifestyles of the rich and famous, room by room!
Once again, Austin has been named the #1 best place to live in America (https://realestate.usnews.com/places/rankings/best-places-to-live). This time, U.S. News and World Report did the naming, and it was the second year in a row Austin ended up first on the prestigious list. Of course, any Austinite will tell you that the litany of publications to list our fare city as #1 is long and ongoing. Thus, we locals have all noticed an increase in traffic and overall heightening of activity in our fare city. Of course, when we say traffic, it doesn’t compare to the traffic of, say, Houston or Dallas. However, with over 100 people moving to Austin every day, the changes have been noticeable over the past 5-10 years.
The fun part about already living in the best place to live in America is that we are able to take advantage of all of the attractions on any given Saturday. Besides the festivals, we can enjoy outdoor venues for food, drink, music, and many other fun activities like theater. Yes, there is even an outdoor theater in downtown Austin. Living here also allows us to stay at home when the weather isn’t cooperative. The weather is usually fairly cooperative, however. That is another great advantage to Austin, Texas, especially if you don’t mind the heat. So many of our new Austin transplants moved here to escape colder climates and are perfectly happy to roast in our warm Texas Summers. After all, there is a swimming pool or a lake every 10 feet or so. So there’s that.
The climate is so nice here that owning a convertible is almost a requirement, at least it seems like it. Alas, you may see 10 convertibles out and about any day that the sun is shining and the temperature is above 60 degrees. Since that is most days in Austin, convertible owners get the benefit of our fare city alfresco quite a bit!
Finally, there is the simple fact that Austinites are friendly and nice. Folks actually speak to each other at the dry cleaner’s, and you will see lots of smiles when you’re out and about. As far as quality of living goes, that one ranks way up there for most of us. Maybe it’s all the Vitamin D we get from all that sunshine, or maybe it’s because we started from such simple beginnings, but Austin is a happy place with happy people. Hopefully, we will continue to attract more of the same. So, if you’re reading this and considering Austin as your retirement home, on behalf of all of us, please plan to be happy when you get here. It’s okay if you’re unhappy right now because you don’t live in Austin yet, but somewhere along the way it is important to the Austin way of life that you shake off that old attitude and smile when you get here. You do that, and we’ve really got something worth bragging about here in Austin, Texas!
People often ask about new home prices in Austin. Everyone wants a way to project a budget for their project. Unfortunately, there are no standard prices, as every project is different. Recently, however, the Austin Business Journal published some average pricing based on information provided by the Texas Association of Realtors. Even though these prices look back over last year and don’t take into account that current pricing has to look forward (as it takes 10-12 months to build a custom home), it does provide some insight into Austin’s custom home pricing.
Over the past five years, luxury home pricing has increased, and 2017 was no different. “Despite slowing growth trends across the Texas housing market, job market and economy in 2017, Texas luxury home sales volume has continued to grow at a booming pace,” Vicki Fullerton, chairwoman of the Texas Association of Realtors, said in a statement. “Rising home prices, high-end remodeling activity in major metro areas and relocation activity from out-of-state residents all continue to be drivers for Texas home sales of $1 million and higher.”
According to the Texas Luxury Home Sales Report, released Dec. 14 by the Texas Association of Realtors, 868 sales of single-family homes priced at $1 million or more in the Austin metro area were up nearly 21 percent from the same period a year earlier. Those sales made up 11.8 percent of all listed home sales.
New Home Prices per Square Foot
The Journal reports that the average price per square foot in Austin for luxury homes sold in the past year was $452 per square foot. This puts the median size at 3,493 square feet.
Price increases in the custom home sector in Austin have been influenced heavily by labor shortages and increased material cost. While more and more people move to Austin every day, trade contractors and skilled labor have not kept pace. Hurricanes and strong housing throughout the country have kept labor growth at a modest pace. Add to that the increase in material cost, and the result is the steady increase in custom home pricing.
How Design affects Prices
The primary factors affecting new home prices are not style and colors but rather material and architecture. That is why we integrate the design team into the process (via in-house design) and have done so for many years. Designing to the budget of the client allows the overall project to maintain a cohesiveness from the very first day. Instead of “upgrading” just the items that the client specifies, the entire home is considered in terms of the budget. With literally thousands of options, there is simply no way to standardize custom home pricing. There are “good/better/best” options and even some bad options for our climate and soil conditions. For an example of how design affects pricing, see our article on How to Compare Pricing. Even within the “best” options, some options don’t work well with others. That is why it is so important to consider budget before a single line is drawn on the page. With a design and construction team working side by side from day one, the budget can be a reality and the end result is a better design.
This year, the 2018 International Builders Show was held in Orlando, FL. The International Builders Show is the industry’s largest annual trade show and exhibition. It allows professionals in every aspect of the building industry from all across the US to come together. Housing professionals are able to experience some of the most cutting-edge designs, technologies, products and services in the industry. Here are just a few of the exhibits we were able to visit at the showcase. Discovering these new advances allows us to provide our clients with high quality products in every room.
To kick off the show, the opening ceremonies included incredible speakers such as Terry Bradshaw who is a four-time Superbowl Champion (Pittsburgh Steelers) and current award-winning broadcaster on FOX NFL Sunday.
We were able to explore several of the exhibits set up at the show, such as the Kohler Exhibit! This booth featured the DTV+ Shower System with KOHLER Konnect. This incredible system allows enables you to create and automate personalized showering experiences. The KOHLER Konnect app allows you to create and manage presets for sound, water, steam, and lighting to program the shower experience. You can even use voice to access those presets! It also features a wall mounted interface to adjust water temperature, and control showerheads, body sprays, music, lighting, steam, and shower duration. This also allows you to use lights for Chromotherapy!
Ever feel too tired to even get up and make your cup of coffee in the morning? Problem solved! At the Therma
dor booth, we were able to see how Alexa works with the HomeConnect coffee machine. Simply tell Alexa to, “ask HomeConnect coffee machine to make a strong, small coffee.” This also allows you to make cappuccinos or any of your favorite pick-me-up’s which means you can stay in bed a few minutes longer or have your hands free to do other things!
Curtis Stone led the show at the Bosch exhibit! The Bosch Induction Cooktop is absolutely incredible; it boils water in under 1 minute! The Induction cooktop gives such precision with temperature as opposed to the typical electric cooktop. As if it needs any more pros, the clean up for it is a breeze and it happens to be more energy efficient than an electric cooktop!
Hafele is a company out of Germany, we love their products for closet organization. You’ll have no problem finding your things in style with standard full-extension, soft close drawers and pullouts. Some of the personal touches available include jewelry and watch organizers, shoe racks, hampers and much more. Hafele also has their own Wardrobe Tubes, which reduce noise all while preventing scratching and giving lasting beauty and functionality to the space. Mounting hardware options include standard wall fittings as well as suspension fittings which make wardrobe tubes appear to float for a sleek, sophisticated look.
At the Thermodor exhibit, we were able to see their beautiful new Steam Convection Ovens. These are full size ovens including the broil option. These ovens also include a self cleaning feature, so you never have to worry about cleaning your oven again! They are also are faster than the previous models and have greater nutrient retention.
An incredible device at the Bosch exhibit is able to detect what kind of stain you have on your clothes. The Bosch Xspect identifies the type of fabric (including blended fabrics) and can immediately send washing instructions to the nearest washing machine. In the future, Bosch plans to develop this product into one that is able to scan food for ripeness or even scan a pizza and automatically preheat the oven to the correct temperature for it!
Another amazing feature to add into a home is the Samsung Family Hub fridge. This is more than just a fridge! It allows you to see into your fridge and take a picture of an item and add it to your shopping list so that you know exactly what you need when you are grocery shopping. It is also able to work with Amazon Dash and show USDA recommendations on how long each item will take to age. In addition, you can view a doorbell camera right on the screen!
One of our favorite materials to use in our homes is Dekton. This is a Consentino product and is similar to a standard countertop, but is much thinner profile, as well as harder and stronger. It is highly scratch and stain resistant. It also has a high resistance for hot and cold temperatures, meaning you can place a hot pot right on the countertop with no worry of damage. It comes in a variety of natural and solid finishes and can even be used as flooring!
Here is a video of our experience at the International Builders show in Orlando this year. We are so excited to continue bringing top of the line products and technology right into our clients’ homes.
The International Builders Show in Orlando - YouTube
This year’s International Builders Show in Orlando was one of the largest in history. There were over 80,000 people in attendance and over 2 square miles of exhibits and displays. Our team was there, as always, to see the latest the industry has to offer. We created a video log (vlog) of our favorite new features and highlights. We will also be creating a series of posts about the best products and features of 2018.
So check back soon for the final cut of our video and follow our blog for regular posts about the newest products.
Moving away from neutrals with a bold statement sets the tone for 2018. Caliente is strong, vibrant, and full of energy. This powerful choice by Benjamin Moore brings spaces to life! This color is powerful alone as well as pairs beautifully with warm and cool tones, making it the perfect choice to rev up any space.
The Power of Red
Don’t be afraid of this color! Although it might seem intimidating, it manages to warm up weathered rustic spaces as well as provide modern rooms with a striking confidence. From French Country to contemporary, Caliente is sure to complete the look with a dazzling touch. At Jenkins Design+Build, we design luxury our clients can use. We listen to their visions in order to provide them with the most compatible vibe in a home. This shade of red is energizing, spontaneous, and passionate. It excites our emotions and inspires us to take action – the perfect shade to set the tone for 2018!
Caliente is stunning on its own as well as compelling when paired with warm or cool tones. This particular shade is able to warm up weathered and worn rustic spaces. It also injects energy into deep cool-toned grays, bringing them to life. Here are a few paint choices that we love paired with Caliente AF-290!
Caliente allows us to turn any room into a statement setting. Our experts at Jenkins Design+Build create individualized spaces that capture the client’s personality through detail. Paint color is one of the details that complete the look and define the space. Caliente draws the eye and commands attention with its exuberant touch. Here are some of our favorite examples of how Caliente compliments any space from coastal to classic to modern!
Contrasting crisp white allows Caliente to take center stage.
A touch of red provides a striking first impression into this warm country home. Shades like Dreamy Cloud and Wolf Gray compliment the bold red.
We love it as a simple accent wall to spice up this modern bathroom. Whoever says simple is boring has never met Caliente!
Clean lines and warm toned woods tie modern and rustic together, providing the perfect blend of fresh with cozy.
Classic elements mixed with unique shapes and smooth finishes give this space its own character. Caliente spruces it up perfectly!
Make a bold statement like that of this rustic and charming entry way!
The Importance of Good Color
The final color selection is really all about flow, even down to all the little details. The biggest enemy of good color flow is changing the color palette midway through the project. For those who tend to be indecisive, a professional can be a huge help. Color is a very personal decision. Just like good design in any form, it should be highly unique to the client. At Jenkins Design+Build, we spend time learning our client’s preferences. Then we convert those preferences into their spaces. In the words of Eero Saarinen (who designed the famous St. Louis Arch), the best designs are “the shapes that the ‘creators’ best relate to and thrive in”. To see a sample of what we’ve been designing lately, check out our What’s in Design section.
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in a home. Homeowners and guests spend a lot of time here, cooking and socializing; and the quality of that time can be greatly impacted by how the kitchen is designed. Poor functionality leads to inefficiency and, ultimately, frustration and dissatisfaction with the kitchen and the home. Kitchens are constantly innovating both in style and function. Here are the 10 best design ideas to consider when designing a new kitchen.
Consider “point of use refrigeration” in addition to your main refrigerator. Your first thought might be a beverage cooler, which is a great start, but also think about installing one for produce or meat right beside your prep station.
Get Serious About Storage
Think beyond the deep drawers and extra cabinets: you want well-designed storage solutions with appropriate spaces for small appliances, food items, and more. When there’s truly a place for everything, it’s easier to stay organized.
Induction stoves, refrigerators that look like cabinets, and microwave drawers (as shown below) create a sleek, cohesive look for your kitchen, especially if it’s an open concept that blends into your living room.
In a brilliant combination move, you can conceal a walk-in pantry behind regular cabinet doors: you maintain your sleek design and take advantage of optimum storage at the same time.
Bluetooth-connected appliances allow for smoother multi-tasking. Automatic faucets make it easy to wash produce and dishes, and you’ll probably save water while you do it. Don’t forget to include energy-efficient washers, dryers, washing machines, and more.
Looking for a unique, eco-friendly option for countertops?
“Formed from materials such as fly ash or recycled paper, composite countertops inhibit the growth of bacteria and resist stains, scratches and heat. Most are free of VOCs, emit no radon gasses, and are considered food safe.”
You might need to seal the countertop, but that’s necessary for certain stone countertops, as well.
Go Gray in the Kitchen
Though white is still a great option for kitchen cabinets, it’s slightly darker cousin is getting a lot of attention lately, too. HGTV is calling gray the new white. A fun way to incorporate it is to go grey on the island or just the base cabinets in the kitchen. If gray isn’t your thing, shades of blue also make a nice contrast with lighter-tone cabinets. Even the wood flooring can bring in shades of gray if desired.
Bold, look-at-me hardware is fun, and the trend extends to lighting fixtures. Your kitchen hardware can draw attention because of size, shape, color, or “bling” (like these at right); so get creative when choosing knobs and handles.
“Big, bold and in long widths, this new, chunky look demands attention as an important design element in the kitchen. Warm finishes in brass, copper, bronzes continue to be strong, but black and polished or satin silvers such as nickel work just as well in these bigger, more modern designs.”
You know the sink has to be big, but there are options beyond size to consider. Draining grates and cutting boards that fit into a groove to slide without slipping are easily removed for washing, but they allow you to transform your sink into a full work station with less mess. When you go really big, you can install two faucets and make space for two people to work at once, perfect for hosting large dinner parties or family meals where everyone shares in the prep work.
In the kitchen? Hear us out. This allows for a seamless kitchen-to-living-space look in an open concept, and hardwood floors are tough. Choosing a hardwood like oak or maple will help it last and last, despite the high volume of traffic in the area. Plus, “Solid hardwood flooring can be refinished 10 to 12 times during it’s typical 100-year lifespan.”
If you’re concerned about the upkeep, go with wood-patterned tile: it’s easy to clean and care for, and these look-alikes are getting so good you’ll hardly notice it’s not real wood.
Great for floors or counters, polished concrete offers a wide range of colors and patterns. It’s long-lasting and resilient, perfect for your high-traffic kitchen. It does have to be sealed, as it is more porous than tile. However, it will stand up really well to pets, people, and parties.
This striking farmhouse chic vibe is created through several elements of design that give it a soothing yet elegant appearance. The experts at Jenkins Design+Build created this unique home from start to finish. Here are a few tips on how you can achieve the Farmhouse Chic look!
Farmhouse Chic Look – Neutral Colors
Soft colors play a major role in creating a soothing atmosphere. Think about it, when you enter a relaxing spa there are typically no bright colors jumping out at you. There’s a reason for that; neutral colors reduce stress! Using colors like Shoji White and Modern Grey create a perfect space to put your feet up and unwind.
Farmhouse Chic Look – Rustic Finishes
The farmhouse chic feel comes from incorporating rustic elements into modern and traditional pieces. For example, the ceiling in this great room is a rustic grey pine with a whitewash finish. With a more polished finish, this material would have taken on a richer feeling. A key to achieving the look is using natural materials such as wood, stone, and shiplap. Using actual farm pieces such as barn doors give the home a unique charm. Accessories with a worn finish, such as a vintage flour sifter or garden watering can as a flower vase, can add a whimsy touch.
Soft Plush Furnishings
Designing a calming farmhouse space requires completing the look with soft, plush furnishings. These comforting materials can be incorporated into several elements such as cloth on dining room chairs, an eclectic table setting, and cozy pillows/throws that incorporate the neutral color palette.
Refurbished Elegant Lighting
Ahh lighting! Lighting, lighting, lighting! This is one of the most important features in my opinion. Unique choices show personality and give a space character. Distinctive light fixtures bring a space to life! When going for a farmhouse chic vibe, lighting that incorporates glass or crystal combined with a dark iron contrast spruce up the space. Rustic elegance is tied into each lighting fixture to tie the home together.
Open Concept Floor Plan
The ultimate factor that creates a farmhouse feel is the open concept floor plan. This references an actual barn with its high cathedral ceiling that draws the eye and provides a seamless connection between the kitchen, dining, and living spaces. The overall feel of the home comes from several other aspects that add to the ‘open’ feel as well. Details like the large stackable glass doors (window walls) in the main living space capture the year-round cross breezes due to the North-South orientation. These also provide a continuation of space between the interior and exterior to give the ultimate farmhouse feel.
AUSTIN, TX (September 29, 2017) — Locally-owned Jenkins Design Build has named Skyler North to Vice President of Operations effective October 1, 2017. In this new position, he will be responsible for leading daily operations for the company, including the oversight of design, construction, and maintenance operations.
“Skyler has proven himself invaluable as both a manager and leader in our business,” said Shan Jenkins, President and CEO of Jenkins Design Build. “We are pleased to have him join the senior management team. Not only is he an excellent representation of our company and brand, but he also leads by example and serves our company interests well.”
Prior to this position, North held numerous positions in construction management, including his longest stent in Estimating & Procurement. Beginning in the ranks as a Construction Superintendent over a decade ago, North quickly moved into management. As both Superintendent and Estimator, North showed tremendous leadership and a firm understanding of the financial as well as operations side of the business. He began contributing almost immediately to the success and overall improvement of the systems and processes within the company. Today, his teams applaud his leadership style and respect his vast knowledge. Please join us in congratulating Skyler North on being one of the youngest and most accomplished construction executives in Austin!
About Jenkins Design Build
Jenkins Design Build is a privately-held architecture and construction firm in Austin, Texas, focusing on the luxury real estate market in Austin and the Hill Country for the past three decades. Its offices are located at Jenkins Park Plaza in Austin, Texas, where it staffs a team of 14.