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!
Backyards, pools, and patios that are styled after resorts are becoming a popular choice for custom home clients. According to U.S. Real Estate News editor, Devon Thorsby, “Homebuilders, residential architects, and landscape construction specialists are seeing more and more homeowners looking to include outdoor living – or better yet, a design that allows for flowing indoor-outdoor living space – in their home design.”
For many homeowners, being able to enjoy the exterior of the home is equally as important as the interior. In the custom-home industry, our clients desire luxury and ease of living. Their outdoor living spaces pull in aspects from resorts they have visited, or beautiful vacations they have taken. With resort-style pools, luxury outdoor kitchens, fire pits, and water features, these backyards become a vacation right at home.
Let’s Talk Food
The key to designing any space is personalization, and this especially rings true with outdoor kitchens. Plan with your tastes and preferences in mind, as well as how many people you would entertain and what kind of food you like to serve your guests. If you like to grill, make that a priority in the kitchen space. Maybe smoking meats is a priority for the man of the house, that is a possibility too! Or maybe you are a pizza chef extraordinaire, think about installing an outdoor pizza oven like those that Alfresco grills offer.
Storage also ranks high in importance for the outdoor kitchen. From pull-out meat cutting boards to barbecue spice racks, to storage pantries, knowing what you will cook outside will help you determine what storage options you need.
It’s Pool Time
Several new trends in the backyard pool industry are popping up for builders and architects. There are spa-sized pools, resort-style pools, or simple backyard pools graced with fire features and waterfalls. The size and design of your pool need to fit the house it accompanies. Maybe you want a resort style pool but it doesn’t seem to fit with the exterior of your home. Talking with an architectural designer will help you get the most out of what you want while still fitting into the style of your home.
It is also important to keep in mind the value-added from building a pool in your yard. Chances are, if several of your neighbors have pools, building a nice one in your yard will increase the value of your home. If the pool is graced with beautiful landscaping and the other outdoor living features mentioned in this blog, your home’s resale value is sure to increase.
Somewhere Over the Waterfall
Water in motion engages a multitude of human senses; we hear it, we see it, we feel it, and all of these experiences make us feel different types of emotions. The sound brings a sense of relaxation and peace to our minds and bodies. The look of it lures us into the depths of its environment…
In order to receive all of these restorative, tranquil feelings, your water feature needs to fit into the design and style of the home, outdoor living area, and pool. Talk with an architectural and landscape designer when deciding the size, style, and location of your pool’s water feature.
Your Outdoor Living Area
Outdoor living areas are one of the topics we discuss with clients when doing a lifestyle analysis. The outside of the home is equally as important as the inside of the home. Both should offer peace, safety, tranquility, and relaxation for the homeowner. To ensure this, they should still fit into the overall design of your residence. Finding the balance between inside and outside could turn your home into a beautiful vacation away from the everyday stress of life.
So, you’ve decided to build the house of your dreams, and you’re ready to sit down with a professional and get the creative juices flowing. Whether they are an architect, landscape designer, interior designer, or another design professional; communicating your preferences in a clear and concise way can help your designer understand your goals and desires—and deliver results you love. So what are some of the best ways to create a successful and pain-free design process meeting?
By gathering inspiration and assessing your likes and dislikes, you will be better armed to have those crucial conversations with your design professional. Below are some tips on how to best prepare yourself for the design process meeting:
#1: Make a “Love” List and a “Not for Me” List:
We are probably all familiar with the pros and cons list. When it comes to designing your house, it is a natural inclination to want to list everything you want, but listing your “don’t wants” is equally as important for the process with your designer.
For example, you may love the idea of a pool in the
backyard, but you may not like the concept of a water feature. Having these
preferences laid out before the design process begins will increase your
satisfaction with everything from start to finish.
#2 Get Visual
Any designer would agree that their work is highly visual.
Keeping this in mind, the best way to communicate your ideas and desires is
through images. If you are getting your inspiration from homes you have seen in
magazines, cut out the images! If it came from online, bring those too!
Every piece of visual inspiration will help the designer
understand what you see as your dream home and will hasten the process and lead
to excellent results.
#3 Practice Being Picky
When you first start filling those idea-books with
photos, allow yourself free rein to choose as many photos as you want. Have fun
with it! But when you’re ready to go back in for a second look, it’s time to
get picky. Aim to narrow down each list to the top 10 or 20 best examples.
#4 Get Specific
Add a note beneath each photo in your idea-book that
explains in words exactly what it is about the space that made you include it.
What you love about it, how you think it ties into the rest of the home you are
envisioning, and where else you might want to include this design.
The design process can be stressful if you let it become that way. What if the end product doesn’t look like how I envisioned it? That is a common fear everyone has, but if you come prepared to your meeting and follow the tips we listed above, chances are the process will be a happier and more successful one for both you and your designer.
Content contributed by our lead Interior Designer, Tracy Miller, NCIDQ.
A continuation of the Waterways Magazine article, Summer 2019
I hope you’ve been enjoying my “Ask the Builder” series in Waterways magazine. If you missed it or want a more in-depth discussion, you’ve come to the right place. I get asked a lot of questions about designing and building a home. Many of them relate to creating a healthy home. We want our homes to be the safest and healthiest places they can be…and rightly so. I like to describe the healthy home as four major contributors to good health. In this article, we discuss the first two of those components.
The Air We Breathe
The air inside our homes can be more polluted than the air outside. Factors that contribute to poor indoor air quality include pollutants, such as glues and adhesives used in building materials, household chemicals such as bleach and ammonia, and airborne allergens such as mold, pollen, and dust. Many of the products that we bring into our homes, like rugs or carpeting, can produce chemicals or pollutants for days, weeks, or even months. To combat these, it’s important to start with a well-sealed home. Keeping pollutants out (particularly the gas and carbon monoxide in the garage) is the first line of defense. A proper air barrier on the shared wall of your garage and home is one of the more important and most overlooked components. Once the home is properly sealed, adequate fresh air and superior filtration are the second line of defense. Not to be overlooked, properly-sized equipment is critical for controlling humidity for air quality as well. Most airborne allergens, particularly mold, require higher humidity levels to bloom and grow, and we don’t want that. A well-designed system with appropriate filters will also handle the allergens and toxins found in most day-to-day household products. Then, it’s also important to run that system year-round to keep humidity levels optimal inside the home. Many HVAC systems contain a sensor for humidity levels and cause the system to kick on when humidity gets too high. I always recommend humidity sensors for your HVAC system. In some cases we even recommend a separate de-humidifier (especially for larger lake homes) to keep humidity optimal. Finally, keep a close eye out for plumbing or roof leaks, which can allow moisture in and result in mold. As we all know, mold can cause major health issues. Those allergic to mold should consider periodically testing for mold using a home test kit.
Food & Water
Austin and Central Texas’ water is rich in calcium (hard water), so we plumb every home we build for a water softener. In addition, we like to install whole house reverse osmosis (RO) to all the drinking faucets (including the bathroom sinks if you drink water before bed or after brushing your teeth) and to all ice makers. Most water we drink is disinfected with chlorine (a known carcinogen), whether it’s municipal water, or certainly if it’s well water, so we also like to make sure the water entering your home is filtered with activated carbon (we do the same with your indoor air by the way). If whole house filtration isn’t an option, at a minimum, we recommend point-of-use filtration for all drinking water and ice makers. The Pentair Everpure system is a great example of this. Our drinking water is first priority, but the water we bathe in should be free of toxins as well. In addition to the water we drink, don’t forget about food as well. A good refrigerator and well-ventilated dry food and vegetable storage will help keep your foods fresh. I recommend a commercial grade refrigerator like Subzero or Thermador to my clients because it will keep foods fresh for up to a week longer than other models.
A healthy home is a place where we can go to feel restored and rejuvenated. It is a place that is designed to care for us, keep us safe and healthy. It’s one of the best investments we can make, an investment in ourselves.
When you work one-on-one with a custom home builder to create a luxury custom home, you can personalize every detail to ensure the home meets your expectations. You retain full control over the experience, allowing you to create the custom home exactly the way you want it.
Even if you don’t plan to sell your home at some point, it will be a part of your overall net worth. So it’s important that every element, from the location to the design, adds value. Everything from flooring to outdoor upgrades can impact your custom home’s resale value.
Should you add a resort-style pool? Should you opt for a viewing tower? Should you add a mother-in-law suite? All of these features and more play a vital role in determining the resale value when appraising a custom home.
To elevate your custom home’s resale value and provide more benefits to your family while living there, follow these simple steps.
Step #1: Choose a prime location to increase the resale value.
No matter how amazing your custom home may be, the location still matters. Fortunately, Austin is the top city in the U.S., so most areas where you choose to build, you can trust that the location will be attractive to home buyers.
When deciding where to build your custom home, think about your favorite activities. If you aspire to spend your weekends jet skiing or boating, consider a Lake Austin waterfront property, or if you prefer to go golfing with your friends, a property neighboring the Spanish Oaks or Escondido golf course may be a better fit. If you would rather have great views and raise your family away from the city, look no further than the picturesque Texas Hill Country.
The ideal location will depend on the individual home buyer’s lifestyle. All you need to do is ensure that you choose a desirable location with plenty of amenities to attract home buyers and improve your resale value during a custom home appraisal.
Step #2: Build a unique home with curb appeal to increase the resale value.
A custom build can help you achieve the look you want, whether that is a transitional or farmhouse chic style. It offers a variety of finishes and unique rooms and spaces. Nothing on the market compares to a custom home, which is why it can be challenging to determine the resale value.
To make the most of your resale value, add your own subtle, unique touches, while also considering how the build will benefit other families who may live there in the future. For instance, you could add a home theater, a hidden wine cellar, or a spacious outdoor living area for entertaining. These features will provide more value to your family and potential home buyers, which will help during the custom home appraisal.
You can also improve your custom home’s resale value by enhancing its curb appeal with luxurious features, such as a rock or brick exterior. After you’ve covered the outside of the custom home, focus on improving the kitchen, master bathroom, and master bedroom.
Step #3: Make the proper design selections to increase the resale value.
The design of your custom home is crucial. To enhance your resale value during a custom home appraisal, opt for a versatile floor plan with elegant, timeless design features. Consider whether your custom home has:
A split floor plan
Aging in place (specifically, no steps and a bedroom downstairs)
Your design team features luxury home experts who excel in determining value. You may consult with a design professional, such as an interior designer, to ensure that your home will appeal to home buyers and maintain a higher resale value during a custom home appraisal.
If you’re in the design-build process, take the time to do your own custom home appraisal. Ask yourself whether you are designing something that will keep or prohibit someone from buying the home later. If so, make the necessary changes to save time down the road. You can also ask the design team for advice in determining the custom home value, as they know the ins and outs of what qualities will captivate potential buyers. In the end, the investment is yours and a thoughtful approach will result in the best return on that investment.
What is the definition of “luxury home”? Is it an amazing master bathroom? Is it a home that is so technologically-advanced that it anticipates your every move? Is it a simple elegance that frames amazing views with its large windows? The answer to the question “What is luxury?” depends on the individual being asked because luxury is different for everyone. For Lori, one of our recent clients, it is simple clean lines and a place for everything. For her husband, Brad, it is amazing outdoor living spaces. What is your definition?
Here are some of our client’s favorites and how we interpreted and brought their vision to life.
Luxury Home Defined
The Farmhouse Chic look was made popular by Magnolia Homes and HGTV. Maybe due to Waco’s proximity to Austin, we find it widely popular in our market. People love its clean and modern vibe with the rustic charm of more traditional and even sentimental or antique decor. For Christy and Kevin, their farmhouse chic home was all about entertaining. They told us the story of how their charity events meant so much to them, and how they wanted to be able to host events at the home.
So they fell in love with the indoor-outdoor design of this large living area with doors that open all the way up to the large front and back outdoor living areas. Large limestone blocks form built-in seating in the front yard for our crisp Spring evenings, perfect for hosting charity events.
Santa Barbara is a lovely contrast of Spanish-style dark woods and very white and creamy natural materials and paints.
In this Santa Barbara home, a doctor and his wife wanted to feature their antiques and many travel “treasures”. Included in these were some doors they purchased in China and a flea market find light fixture for the kitchen. Our design team created a special place for the doors to be featured in the main living room, while the light fixture became the centerpiece of the kitchen.
To tie it all together, the interior design team created what appears to be antique cabinets mixed in with the other cabinets in the kitchen. As of today, the light fixture is one of our most popular and frequently-requested light fixtures. Of course, it is a one-of-a-kind, just like its owners.
Lake Home Getaway
For Liz and Scott, they needed a place to go to escape the cold Connecticut Winters. They wanted a place on Lake Austin where they could walk out in the back yard and hop in the boat to go skiing. They didn’t need a fancy home – in fact, they preferred to get away from that whole lifestyle and just “chill” in the Summers in Austin. They wanted to home to have a comfortable vibe that reflected this.
An open concept living/dining room with large windows and doors that open up to the lake worked well for them. Simple touches like the “boat bar” helped keep it fun and not as stuffy. We even named it after their boat to make it more personal.
The actual boat is always just a few footsteps away so that they can go skiing with their daughter whenever she is home from college. We even helped to create a boat dock, with upper deck, that feels like it is an extension of the home. To Liz and Scott, this is their definition of luxury.
For some of us, it’s little details that define luxury. Maybe it’s two dishwashers or a beautiful bathtub. For some, it’s a hidden room or a private courtyard. Here are some of those details that may also define luxury for you.
Details that Define a Luxury Home
No matter what the definition of “luxury home” is, the best part of our day is helping people discover it. It is what makes a house a home and creates the lifestyle that is perfect for the owner, their family, and the people most important to them.
It is a new year and time, yet again, to choose the Paint Color of the Year. Each year we ask our designers to select their favorite paint color from among the major paint manufacturers. And this year, the winner is…….
2019 Paint Color of the Year
For the second year in a row, our designers have selected a Benjamin Moore color. This year’s paint color of the year is Metropolitan AF-690.
“Although not a vibrant color, this beautiful soft gray layers incredibly well with so many other grays and invites a hint of other beautiful colors to come alongside,” says Tracy Miller, ASID, Jenkins’ Lead Interior Designer. Neutrals are the building blocks for good design, as they provide the basis for our eyes to see and enjoy other colors and textures in the room. In the absence of other colors, neutrals become the color in the room. Metropolitan is that rare combination of neutral but with just enough color to be both.
Calming Effect of Gray
Our team loves this particular gray because of its calming effect, primarily due to the hints of blue and green that can be seen in certain lights. Unlike so many modern grays that can turn into a blueish-green color, though, this one stays true to its gray hues and heathered feel throughout the day and in different natural light.
Where our team really loves the 2019 Paint Color of the Year is with its pairings. Beautiful new metallics and soft pale colors pair incredibly well with it, along with the traditional bright whites. For an even bigger impact, a punch of bright red like last year’s color, caliente, also looks amazing. It can also help modernize a home with dark leather or even linen-color furnishings and draperies.
Our team loves to mix colors from other manufacturers and often find favorite combinations that way. One example is the Foyer in our building, Jenkins Park Plaza. That finish was a combination of several manufacturers and an overlay from yet another manufacturer. It created a soft metallic hue that is welcoming yet modern.
Trends in Paint Color
While on the subject of favorite paint colors, let’s review the color trends of the past several years. It’s fun to look back and see which colors remain timeless and which are now dated.
Caliente – 2018 Color of the Year
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.
When we began our trend away from the ivories and into the brighter whites, one criticism we often heard from our clients was consistent. “We don’t want it to feel too sterile.” So it makes sense that we’ve moved into some warmer tones to help balance the museum whites of the last few years. Don’t get us wrong. We still love the white whites, but it is nice to have some contrast and balance. Poised Taupe creates a coziness to the room and brings a sense of sanctuary into the home. Even when used in small areas like an accent wall, it can really change the entire look of a room.
The History of Taupe
The story of taupe is simple. “Earthen brown combines with conservative grey and the result is a weathered, woodsy and complex neutral that celebrates the imperfections and authenticity of a well-lived life.”* Taupe gives a nod to those who love the clean of grey and to those who love the warmth of brown. So we see this as the type of color that won’t go out of style anytime soon. It will be the type of color that looks great in candlelight, next to a glass of bubbly, and as a background for a bright white robe hanging on a hook.
“There is a particular beauty to be admired in homes that are allowed to age gracefully and show the wear and tear of everyday life.” Our homes are meant to be enjoyed, and some of its imperfections came through laughter and life. We’ve all had a scratch on the wall or a fingerprint on a window that reminded us of a happy time or a little visitor that we love to have over. At a time when perfection seems like the ideal, a home that celebrates a well-lived life can be a welcome respite.
Colors that Blend Well
In addition to the neutral of this taupe, we see the cornflower hues as complementary. For example, a greyish blue and a bright white along with Poised Taupe feel like a modern version of a French country kitchen. If you are a fan of even more color, a little yellow may also fit your fancy.
The Importance of Good Design
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 our days thinking about what our clients like most. Then we convert those preferences into their home’s spaces. We do our best to listen well so that we can reflect our clients in every detail. 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.
2016 Color of the Year
Sherwin-Williams has announced Alabaster as their 2016 paint color of the year. Alabaster (SW 7008) is a paint color which symbolizes new beginnings and clean slates. In a time of interconnected commotion and over stimulation, Alabaster offers a feeling of solace and peaceful revival to weary minds.
“Alabaster represents a straightforward and necessary shift to mindfulness. It provides an oasis of calmness, spirituality and ‘less is more’ visual relief. Alabaster is neither stark nor overly warm, but rather an understated and alluring white.”
Jackie Jordan, Sherwin-Williams director of color marketing.
Sherwin-Williams had some interesting design ideas for Alabaster:
Use it to set the tone for healing, rest and meditation in residential or commercial spaces.
Let the color stand by itself as a chic hue in an entry way or lobby
Pair with light blushes or grays and bridge transitional and traditional styles.
2016 Color of the Year: Alabaster - Sherwin-Williams - YouTube
Alabaster is a paint color that will pair nicely with other neutrals as well as a wide range of bright hues. It’s versatile and should resist dating. Visit Sherwin-Williams to see their recommended pairing guide.
2015 Color of the Year & Trends
Paint and stain manufacturer Benjamin Moore recently chose Guilford Green as their 2015 Color of the Year.
Ellen O’Neill, Creative director at Benjamin Moore described Guilford Green as:
“A neutral that’s natural. A silvery green that works with, well, everything. No worries. No second thoughts. Just a brush, dipped in a can, whooshed on a wall, and a whole lot of happily ever after. We chose Guilford Green as our 2015 Color of the Year because it can be the hero or the highlight in any room, enhancing the architectural identity of a space. Guilford Green is the perfect thread to connect nature, spaces and interiors with color schemes that signify fresh energy and growth.”
Taking cues from trends in fashion, textiles and the arts, the Benjamin Moore Color Studio team spotted the common thread of balanced palettes and a design sentiment that continued to reflect a sense of optimism. Guilford Green harmoniously complements the Benjamin Moore Color Trends 2015 palette, which also celebrates the concept of monochromatic colors – using warm, cool, dark and light layers of the same hue – in the home. With a monochromatic color scheme throughout a floor plan, each room can have a very distinctive look making it almost imperceptible that there is a single hue at work. Exploring monochromatic colors allows for a fresh approach in designing a room as a single hue, color combinations are endless. Employing various sheens creates another layer of texture in a space.
Guilford Green is soft with a hint of brown and gray in it. The result is a calming neutral look. This neutral paint will work with many different design styles and feels at home in contemporary, transitional or traditional homes.
In this naturally lit room, the Guilford Green paint gathers green from the plants outside, the artwork on the wall and the flowers on the bedside table. If you’re not a huge fan of tan and gray neutrals, you might give Guilford Green a try.
Top designers agree, these chic combinations may be the next big thing.
Room Color Ideas using Marsala, the2015 Pantone Color of the Year
This month’s room color idea comes from the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year, Marsala. Marsala is defined as an earthly wine and naturally robust red color that soothes and enriches the soul, mind, and the body. According to Leatrice Elseman, author of Pantone’s Guide To Communicating With Color, Marsala is a subtly-seductive shade which attracts people who embrace its warmth.
When it comes to a tasteful hue, Marsala embodies the contented richness of a fulfilling meal and its red-brown roots conjure up a natural and sophisticated earthiness. Where Marsala really excels is in its elegance. It accents and enhances the beauty of accessories, furniture and paint. It features a quality that, when it is applied to textured surfaces like the rugs and the upholstered furniture in the living room can really complement a more neutral wall color. The reverse is also true. As shown below, the flat surface of the wall really complements the texture of the furniture and artwork.
Reasons Marsala makes a great Pantone Color of the Year:
Marsala derives its name from a fortified wine which is globally appealing and can easily be translated into interiors,..
A masterpiece home is not your ordinary home. It is found in the finest neighborhoods and tucked away on acreage sites. A masterpiece home makes an impact on those who see it and informs the finest living environment for the family who lives there. It stands to reason that creating a masterpiece home involves multiple steps and many details. Most masterpiece homes involve site amenities such as gates, boat docks, water features, golf cart storage, etc. The interiors also tend to involve elements like feature walls, intricate tile details, draperies/shades, and specialty doors. Those particulars must come together to form a cohesive, balanced whole. Because of their size and level of detail, getting everything just right in a masterpiece home takes time and effort. Different professionals with unique skills come together to work on it, and that can also add another level of complexity to the project. However, the result of all of the effort is something so beautiful and timeless that it transcends all the hard work.
Most people only build one masterpiece home in their lifetime. So it is important to get it right. After all, everything about a home is a reflection of its owner. So what does it look like to go through this process and finish with a true masterpiece? We asked some of our clients who have been through it to weigh in and share their experience.
Developing the Master Floor Plan
Step one in the process is developing the floor plan and site plan from the Lifestyle Analysis interview, our system for understanding what is important and how it should perform for the home owners’ everyday lives. A well-designed floor plan will maximize views, capitalize on breezes, minimize sun exposure and will function for the way the family lives in the home. As one client explained, “We’ve lived in homes before where we had to just make things work the way they were, but when we designed our home with Jenkins, we got to choose exactly how it should function for the way we truly live.” She went on to explain that initially they thought their previous home’s layout might work well for the new home site. They even brought their floor plan in and showed it to the team. However, the design team surprised them by proposing some unique twists to the old favorite. “After the Lifestyle Analysis interview, they all knew my taste and preferences so well that they were able to keep the things that were important to me but change the things that could and should be better, especially for the property that we were building on”. So often there are things about our lives that could be improved with a few subtle changes, maybe even new technology or features that we didn’t know exist. Having a team of professionals who not only have knowledge about features that are available and how they perform but who also understand the specific family and their lifestyle can really add value to the project.
Developing Exterior and Interior Materials
Once the floor plan is established, the details for the exterior and interior begin to develop. This is where colors, textures, materials, size, and balance begin to evolve. It is also where the lines between Architect and Interior Designer begin to blur. Certain items, such as window placement and exterior colors, for example, affect both interiors and architecture. In fact, it is safe to say that the overlap between these two disciplines can cause confusion at times, especially when the different disciplines work for independent firms.
This is why at Jenkins, our Architecture and Interiors are both in-house. It allows the design team to designate a Team Lead and clearly define roles and responsibilities for both Interiors and Architecture. In this way, the professionals from these disciplines can easily collaborate together to achieve the overarching goal or theme of the project. As one client told us, “I never really knew who came up with an idea. I just knew that at different times, different people would show me ideas, and that the whole team worked together behind the scenes to make it all come together.”
Recently, the design team presented the interiors of a masterpiece home. This particular home is a waterfront Mediterranean style home with elegant, timeless interiors. In this early phase, the interiors are conceptual rather than fully developed. So the team presented each room in conceptual form, explaining their vision for the spaces to get client feedback. After hearing the client’s thoughts on each room, the spaces get developed into 3D visualizations, or renderings. These will be photo-realistic “pictures” of what the room will look like with all the right materials and colors. As one of our clients recently told us, “If I had known the level of detail and understanding I was going to get about the spaces in my home while we were designing it, wow! I just didn’t realize the incredible visuals that we were going to get during the design process, but it made all the difference.” Of course, that step comes only after this concept phase is complete.
This is one of the Dining Rooms in the early concept phase, below. The design team clarified that not everything in this first image represents the space. For example, they explained that the paneling style height and scale but without all the applied overlay pieces represented the style they wanted to use on a feature wall. They talked about the height of the space and how this style would work in their dining room. They also discussed the flooring and how it would look with the accompanying floors in the next room and how they would tie it in so that it would flow. They reviewed how they would balance the space, being careful not to go quite so heavy as the inspiration photo but how they did like the overall tone of the room.
They also discussed lighting. This client prefers not to use chandeliers. So the team found a solution for a great look with the ceiling detail they are planning. they also talked about these paneled arches that will be strategically-placed throughout the home and how they will be treated in the various areas.
Next they discussed the concept for one of the bedrooms and presented the image below. The design team wants to do a feature wall with paneling with a muted tone-on-tone stencil in this space. They again clarified that it would be more subtle than the photo. Then, the hand-carved fireplace would mimic some of the detail in the walls. They stressed the fact that this specific fireplace is a bit too heavy and that they would be drawing something much simpler for their space. They also felt an entry door with similar characteristics would add a nice touch to the space. The owners decided they prefer a stained door, which was great feedback for the team.
The rest of the home followed a similar procedure, and the team left with pages of notes and a much better understanding of where they are taking the design next. As the design evolves, all the small details will become a part of the imagery, including tile layouts and paneling designs. After working through this process, the team will be ready to move the project into the field for construction. At that point changes should be minimized, since the owners have visualized the finished look and understand how it will come together.
Designing a Masterpiece Home
While creating a masterpiece home takes a little more time and effort, it is not that different from the way we handle the design process for all our homes. After all, every home is a masterpiece to its owners. Treating every home like a masterpiece home has one major ancillary advantage: careful planning reduces changes and mistakes. Reducing changes and mistakes in turn creates a better experience for the home owners and better overall product. After building luxury homes for almost three decades, that lesson has been reinforced time and time again.
There are some exciting new trends in countertops, giving us many ways to achieve different looks and accomplish the design goals of the project. In all countertops, functionality and beauty are both important. Here we look specifically at the function, performance, and look of some of the hottest new trends.
Dekton is a revolutionary new product that is stronger with a thinner profile than any other countertop in the marketplace. It comes in a number of exciting new colors and looks to create unique spaces. Due to its strength, it is one of the few man-made countertop materials that will withstand the outdoor elements of an outdoor kitchen. Plus, the colors and options vary from extremely rustic to very elegant.
Granite is still being widely used for its strength, durability, low maintenance, and natural beauty. As a natural product, nothing can compare. No two products are alike, and it comes in a variety of colors and movement. The waterfall edge, shown below, displays the unique characteristics of the granite while maintaining the clean mitered edges of the modern look.
Sunflower granite counters, above, are wrapped around the island with Sovereign Copper granite on the cooktop counter and custom granite table.
Lighter-colored granite is available and, unlike marble, it is denser, stronger, and doesn’t stain as easily. The difference between granite and marble is in its veining. Marble countertops will typically be seen with more veining and fewer variations in texture and color. The granite shown above is an imported granite called Bianco Cochoreio.
These are Absolute Black granite counters in a matte leather finish. They turned out beautiful and everyone who saw this house during the Parade of Homes could not believe it was granite. It is lightly textured and falls in between a matte and polished finish.
Glass counters for the island keep this kitchen sleek and clean. Glass can also be back-painted for a pop of color on a counter or backsplash. A new thought in design is to use glass and insert a computer or other media device under the glass.
Kelly Hoppen Interiors, London, England
Silestone is by far the best-looking man-made quartz option that looks like Carrara or Calcutta marble without all the cons of using marble in the kitchen. It is so convincing that it can be placed next to a natural Carrara backsplash and blend beautifully. Other quartz composite options include Caesarstone and HanStone.
3452 Red Shimmer from the Classico Collection by Caesarstone. Picture from 3rings feature on media.designerpages.com.
A bright pop of color on an island counter gives this kitchen an infusion of red. In choosing solid colors, look for ones with a little bit of shimmer or texture to help hide dust and watermarks.
This dark walnut wood island counter gives a wonderful contrast to the all-white kitchen. Select application carefully as wood counters may require more maintenance.
Wood can also be used in smaller sections as a butcher block for cutting and prepping food or even as a table extension off of the kitchen island. A round wood table extension provides a more traditional breakfast table appeal for those who prefer to sit around a table and at the traditional table height.
Concrete counters come in a variety of colors and can be formed into different shapes or made with integral sinks. You can even embed things such as glass or fossils in it to make it your own.
PaperStone is a sustainable composite material made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper, phenolic resins and natural pigments. It develops its own patina as it ages. We have not used this product but would be interested to know if you have used it and how it has performed.
How about agate or semi-precious stones? Backlit Natural Agate on the bar portion of this island create a focal point in this unique yet contemporary kitchen. In bathrooms, we have also used a backlit Onyx. While it’s a softer material, it is appropriate for bathrooms and is beautiful when backlit or underlit.
It is nice to have so many options and choices in countertops. They’ve become a way to add to the decor and enhance the look of any space.
It is awards season in Texas and, once again, the Jenkins Team has been nominated for a number of awards for Best in Texas by the Texas Association of Builders. It is always humbling and yet fulfilling for the team to receive awards for their hard work. While it isn’t the primary reason for their efforts, it is certainly meaningful.
The Texas Association of Builders celebrates the top builders in the state by selecting the best homes in categories like Best Master Bathroom, Best Outdoor Living, and Best Custom Home, overall. Custom builders compete only against other custom builders and production builders only compete against other similar volume builders. The “Star Awards” ceremony will take place at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas in August.
This will mark a 14-year span over which Jenkins has been nominated for the statewide awards and even won the top honor of Custom Builder of the Year on three separate occasions, in 2015, 2009, and 2006.
For a full list of awards, see them on the awards page.
This year’s nominations include:
Best Master Bathroom
Best Master Bedroom
Best Outdoor Living Space
Best Overall Interior Design
Best Specialty Room
Best Custom Home
Update: This year, our team won Best Master Bathroom and Best Master Bedroom for our Vineyard Farmhouse design. This home recently made its debut in the Greater Austin Parade of Homes and was chosen as the People’s Choice overall for the Parade. Now that the home has won both local and statewide awards, its owners and the neighborhood can celebrate!
When you talk about doors in your new home, you’re usually not talking about secret rooms. You’re usually talking about colors, materials, designs, and hardware. Doors typically complement the rest of the interior or make a statement, but they’re always clear as day, inviting people to enter.
Except when they’re not.
In those cases, we’re talking about doors that blend in, doors that go undetected except by those in the know. These are hidden doors leading to secret rooms, and they’re a lot of fun. Take a look at some of our favorite secret rooms and think about adding one to your new house.
The Secret Wine Room
A wine cellar is a popular choice in luxury homes, and not only does it give you a special place to keep your favorite vintage, it can add resale value to your house. The doors are key: they need to be vapor-tight and provide easy access.
If you want to tuck that wine room away to surprise your guests, disguise the door as a bookshelf and you have a secret wine retreat.
The Secret Laundry Room
A laundry room is necessary in every home, and it needs to be in a convenient location. Of course, it’s not the most beautiful room in your house, and putting it in a convenient location can make it an eyesore. That problem is solved by making your laundry room a secret.
Entertaining and giving people the grand tour is part of the fun of a custom home, but you might like to keep a room to yourself. Keeping a tidy office is tedious for the best of us, so let your paperwork run a little wild and tuck that office away behind a secret door. It’s there when you need it–but not for just anyone to see.
The Secret Master Suite
Particularly if you entertain a lot, you might prefer to keep your master suite private and off-limits. An easy way to do that is with hidden access to the room.
As an alternative, you might like one typical entrance and a second hidden entrance that would take you into another part of the house, onto a patio, or into a private wine cellar or library.
The Secret Kitchen Pantry or Catering Pantry
Pantry doors can match your cabinets, making it seem like they’re hiding a typical shelf when in fact another room lies beyond the doors. Or, use sliding panels that seem like a wall. Both of these choices create a smooth, integrated look for your kitchen.
If you keep valuables in your home, it’s essential to have them carefully protected. A safe is great as long as a thief can’t break it open, carry it off, or crack your code. Hiding your safe behind a secret door is a second layer of protection that will, at very least, delay the thief’s discovery of the safe; at best, he or she will never find it at all.
The Secret Safe Room
Think like James Bond! First, take your average, unsuspecting room, like a small study, library, or family room. Then, add an automated door, which can look like a regular cabinet, but when you push the button, it turns to reveal whatever it is you’d like to hide. Maybe that’s your safe full of valuables; maybe it’s an expensive bottle of whiskey you’re saving for a special occasion or some documents you don’t want the kids rifling through. No one will ever think there’s more to it than a bookshelf or an entertainment stand. Click here to see it in action.
The beauty of a custom-built home is that every detail is exactly as you dreamed. No matter what you’d like to hide or disguise in your home, your vision and our designers can make it happen, whether it’s for fun or practical purposes.