Michael Turner 2013

Sure, when a builder or architect wants to show off their skills, you can sometimes end up with a structure that is beautiful but not very practical. For Michael Turner and his firm, Classic Urban Homes, they stay true to their motto: “Building for the way people really live.”

You can see that in his work, which has won numerous awards. Find out more about Turner and his firm, a CandysDirt.com Approved Builder, after the jump!

CandysDirt.com: Where are you from?
Michael Turner: I grew up in Arlington.

CD: How did you get into custom home construction?
Turner: Started working for a builder in high school and it just stuck.

CD: What project are you most proud of?
Turner: The “Serenity House” at 6720 Greenwich, a 4,238-square-foot modern home that won 8 ARC awards including best overall architecture and interior design. Designed in collaboration with WARE Architecture Studio, it was featured in the 2013 Dallas Modern Home Tour.

6720 Greenwich ext

CD: Where is home for you in Dallas?
Turner: I live near the Midway/Forest area.

CD: What’s your favorite neighborhood in Dallas to build in and why?
Turner: Bluffview, because it is an eclectic neighborhood and lends itself to more variety and not cookie-cutter homes.

CD: What materials or shapes evoke your signature style?
Turner: Clean lines, linear design, functional, uncluttered, liveable. Our tag line is: “Building for the way people really live.”™

CD: What was your most challenging/memorable project?
Turner: 6720 Greenwich, because of the amount of glass in the design and the steel substructure that was required.

6720 Greenwich DR

CD: From concept to completion, what is the fastest you have completed a project?
Turner: Six months (Editor’s Note: WOW!!!)

CD: How many projects reached completion last year?
Turner: Six.

CD: What have you learned about building that makes you so successful?
Turner: Always be responsive, respectful, and be there to answer any questions from clients to subcontractors. Having a good team in place to make things run smoothly.

CD: If you ever change careers for an encore you’ll…
Turner: Work in the medical field since it is recession proof.

6720 Greenwich extThere are too many wonderful homes on the market to dazzle us this week, so we shall just beat the heat with all of them!

First up, if this home is still available after I hit “publish”, well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. It is beautiful, it is a bargain. You have heard me wax on and on about Michael Turner’s “Serenity House” at 6720 Greenwich Lane in Dallas north of Forest. Michael is, of course, one of our highly selective Candy’s Approved Home Builders: we INVITE them to be on the blog after we have talked to homeowners who have worked with them. 6720 is an award winning property built for Steve and Terri Woodward, Steve being a marketing executive at Fossil. I believe the home has won 7 ARC awards, an industry award to recognize building excellence for Associates, Remodelers and Custom Builders. Both Steve and Terri had great input on the home from start to finish, the blueprints evolving from a single napkin drawing one cold night. The home-passionate couple personally selected Michael to build their 4050 square foot masterpiece of brick and glass, reinforced with steel. The floor plan is basically three sides of a rectangle: the first floor master and a jewelry studio create the east wing, the guest bedroom and a built-in bar create the west — what a nice treat for guests, eh? In front facing north are the formal living room, dining room and kitchen. There is even a modern-style front porch to invite neighborly chats. The home is one of the warmest examples of modern design I have seen in a long time.6720 Greenwich rear

 

6720 Greenwich FR 6720 Greenwich DR 6720 Greenwich TV 6720 Greenwich kit6720 Greenwich has three bedrooms, three and a half baths, and a lot of glass, eliminating the boundaries between indoors and exteriors. It’s as if there are no, or very few, walls in the house. The only thing that divides the formals is a brick column with see-through fire place. The brick theme is brought into the living room, creating a seamless line from the exterior front of house to courtyard — as if it is floating in.6720 Greenwich master 6720 Greenwich master bath 6720 Greenwich patio 6720 Greenwich deck

Most of the walls to the exterior are floor-to-ceiling glass, including more than 10 doors around the back perimeter that simply slide open. For a party, guests would almost not know where the house ended and the exteriors begin!

Michael says the designer, architect Billy Ware of Ware Architecture, designed with a concept of two solid bars connected by a floating plane. The floating plane comprises the public spaces, the bar encompasses private. Yet, even when they shut the windows and doors completely, one still has a feeling of being outdoors. The Woodwords choose a large, leafy lot north of Forest lane in an area where older homes are being scraped to make way for new, reasonably-sized home. It has what every empty nester needs and not a minute more: three bedrooms, three and a half baths, a custom jewelry-making studio for Terry (one of the bedrooms), upstairs patio deck for the visiting son, huge walk-in closets each for Terry and Steve, eco conscious materials such as Eco Stone countertops of crushed granite, marble and mirror. There are three fireplaces, hot tub, fancy pants custom bar and a flat TOP roof with a 13-foot overhang to shade from the sun.

Here’s the best part, which I really shouldn’t tell you. Oh well: Michael Turner pulled this off for $200 a square foot. In fact, this property did not break the one million mark (excluding land costs), and finished on time, a hallmark of Classic Urban home projects. Of course, it was built in 2011 when prices were way down on everything. Now it’s listed for $1,695,000 with our favorite Alex Perry. PEANUTS!

I think Steve and Terri just had such a wonderful time building with Michael, they are wanting to do it all over again. And I can hardly wait to chronicle the whole project!

6720 Greenwich Lane mod home tourNow let me brag about one of my Candy’s best home builders, Michael Turner, owner of Classic Urban homes who built “Serenity House” at 6720 Greenwich Lane in North Dallas near Forest and Hillcrest. It’s an award winning property built for Steve and Terri Woodward, Steve being a marketing executive at Fossil. Both had great input on the home from start to finish, the blueprints evolving from a single napkin drawing one cold night. The home-passionate couple, and Michael, built their 4050 square foot masterpiece of brick and glass, reinforced with steel. The floor plan is basically three sides of a rectangle: the master and a jewelry studio create the east wing, the guest bedroom and a built-in bar create the west — what a nice treat for guests, eh? In front facing north are the formal living room, dining room and kitchen. There is even a modern-style front porch to invite neighborly chats. The home is one of the warmest examples of modern design I have seen in a long time.6720 Greenwich master bath 6720 Greenwich LR 6720 Greenwich front porch 2 6720 Greenwich front porch 6720 Greenwich dining room 6720 Greenwich kitchen

Serenity House sure has a lot of glass, eliminating the boundaries between indoors and exteriors. It’s as if there are no, or very few, walls in the house. The only thing that divides the formals is a brick column with see-through fire place. The brick theme is brought into the living room creating a seamless line from the exterior front of house to courtyard — as if it is floating in.

Most of the walls to the exterior are floor-to-ceiling glass, including more than 10 doors around the back perimeter that simply slide open. For a party, guests would almost not know where the house ended and the exteriors begin!

Michael says the designer, architect Billy Ware of Ware Architecture, designed with a concept of two solid bars connected by a floating plane. The floating plane comprises the public spaces, the bar encompasses private. Yet, even when they shut the windows and doors completely, one still has a feeling of being outdoors. The Woodwords choose a large, leafy lot north of Forest lane in an area where older homes are being scraped to make way for new, reasonably-sized home: this one is just over 4000 square feet. It has what every empty nester needs and not a minute more: two bedrooms, three and a half baths, a custom jewelry-making studio for Terry, upstairs patio for the visiting son, huge walk-in closets each for Terry and Steve, eco conscious materials such as Eco Stone countertops of crushed granite, marble and mirror. There are three fireplaces, hot tub, fancy pants custom bar and a flat TOP roof with a 13-foot overhang to shade from the sun.

Here’s the best part: Michael Turner pulled this off for under $200 a square foot. In fact, this property did not break the one million mark (excluding land costs), and finished on time, a hallmark of Classic Urban home projects.

Turner says the Woodwards were the perfect couple to work with, easygoing folks who have built no less than 15 homes from the ground up, and gutted one pre-owned home. When you tour the property with them, it’s obvious that both care for the home — terry cleans and obsesses over hangers in the huge closet. There’s no bragging about the price of the art or the imported carpets. It’s the house, the creation itself, that stands alone as a work of art in no immediate dire need of fluffy furnishings or name-dropping design to make it pop.

“My rule of thumb is that is you don’t just absolutely love a piece, don’t put it in your home, ” says the former interior designer.

The home building process for these two and the star building team was a passionate output of energy and talent they both enjoyed. Like many things in life, it’s the process that stimulates and becomes almost more important and enjoyable than the outcome. Well, except that this outcome is a total stunner and can always be marketed to create someone else s dream… hint hint.

 

 

6720 Greenwich Lane mod home tourNow let me brag about one of my Candy’s best home builders, Michael Turner, owner of Classic Urban homes who built “Serenity House” at 6720 Greenwich Lane in North Dallas near Forest and Hillcrest. It’s an award winning property built for Steve and Terri Woodward, Steve being a marketing executive at Fossil. Both had great input on the home from start to finish, the blueprints evolving from a single napkin drawing one cold night. The home-passionate couple, and Michael, built their 4050 square foot masterpiece of brick and glass, reinforced with steel. The floor plan is basically three sides of a rectangle: the master and a jewelry studio create the east wing, the guest bedroom and a built-in bar create the west — what a nice treat for guests, eh? In front facing north are the formal living room, dining room and kitchen. There is even a modern-style front porch to invite neighborly chats. The home is one of the warmest examples of modern design I have seen in a long time.6720 Greenwich master bath 6720 Greenwich LR 6720 Greenwich front porch 2 6720 Greenwich front porch 6720 Greenwich dining room 6720 Greenwich kitchen

Serenity House sure has a lot of glass, eliminating the boundaries between indoors and exteriors. It’s as if there are no, or very few, walls in the house. The only thing that divides the formals is a brick column with see-through fire place. The brick theme is brought into the living room creating a seamless line from the exterior front of house to courtyard — as if it is floating in.

Most of the walls to the exterior are floor-to-ceiling glass, including more than 10 doors around the back perimeter that simply slide open. For a party, guests would almost not know where the house ended and the exteriors begin!

Michael says the designer, architect Billy Ware of Ware Architecture, designed with a concept of two solid bars connected by a floating plane. The floating plane comprises the public spaces, the bar encompasses private. Yet, even when they shut the windows and doors completely, one still has a feeling of being outdoors. The Woodwords choose a large, leafy lot north of Forest lane in an area where older homes are being scraped to make way for new, reasonably-sized home: this one is just over 4000 square feet. It has what every empty nester needs and not a minute more: two bedrooms, three and a half baths, a custom jewelry-making studio for Terry, upstairs patio for the visiting son, huge walk-in closets each for Terry and Steve, eco conscious materials such as Eco Stone countertops of crushed granite, marble and mirror. There are three fireplaces, hot tub, fancy pants custom bar and a flat TOP roof with a 13-foot overhang to shade from the sun.

Here’s the best part: Michael Turner pulled this off for under $200 a square foot. In fact, this property did not break the one million mark (excluding land costs), and finished on time, a hallmark of Classic Urban home projects.

Turner says the Woodwards were the perfect couple to work with, easygoing folks who have built no less than 15 homes from the ground up, and gutted one pre-owned home. When you tour the property with them, it’s obvious that both care for the home — terry cleans and obsesses over hangers in the huge closet. There’s no bragging about the price of the art or the imported carpets. It’s the house, the creation itself, that stands alone as a work of art in no immediate dire need of fluffy furnishings or name-dropping design to make it pop.

“My rule of thumb is that is you don’t just absolutely love a piece, don’t put it in your home, ” says the former interior designer.

The home building process for these two and the star building team was a passionate output of energy and talent they both enjoyed. Like many things in life, it’s the process that stimulates and becomes almost more important and enjoyable than the outcome. Well, except that this outcome is a total stunner and can always be marketed to create someone else s dream… hint hint.

 

 

Jeff Dworkin DMN jan 2013

Photo courtesy of Kye R. Lee/Staff Photographer, Dallas Morning News

I think we’ve been saying this in so many words for a few weeks: our market is doing better, much better, and now even Steve Brown my “Debbie Downer” NAREE colleague at the Dallas Morning News is paying attention: He’s even saying our homes (all of them?) may soon cost more:

“North Texas homebuyers are going to have to dig deeper to pay for a new house. And even if they can swing the bigger price tag, finding an available property won’t be easy. A growing shortage of undeveloped land and lots in many new home neighborhoods and rising construction costs will mean significantly higher prices in the Dallas-Fort Worth area this year and in 2014.”

Then I just got off the phone with Steve’s photo star, builder Jeff Dworkin, a CandysDirt approved builder (all hand selected because I know the quality of their work: Jeff, Michael Turner of Urban Classic Homes, Mickey and Michael over at Shariff-Munir, Mark Danuser at Tatum Brown, Tom Greico, Marc Kleinman, Dennis Mullinix, Matthew Thomas, these are the good guys) who confirmed the home in the photo, 7231 Coronado, will be completed later today but sold weeks ago prior to completion at $530k. Unreal price. But that’s the story everywhere. And he thinks the home would have sold for $20 to $30K more had he put it in MLS.  (He has another one going up two blocks from Coronado, so holler at Jeff if you are interested.)

Jeff is in Vegas today at the National Home Builder’s show but has to come back before it ends because he’s closing on two more homes Friday morning. The home builder’s problems, if we can call them problems, are what Steve outlined and I’ve been telling ya –

-Home inventory (pre-owned) in Dallas is down to a four month supply of pre-existing. Six months is normal. It’s even less in Austin — 3.3 months!

-Builders stopped building specs after 2009, and banks stopped lending money for specs so, as we predicted, specs became a hot commodity.

-The supply of vacant lots is down by 40% in Dallas/Fort Worth.

-Building materials are costing more: wood, concrete, roofing materials (because almost everyone in North Dallas got a new roof courtesy of last springs’ hail storm), plumbing, concrete.

-Skilled labor is at a premium. As Jeff and my other builders told me months ago, the number of home builders in Dallas has been chopped by almost half of what it was before the recession. The work went away, so many subs turned to other careers. Today’s home builder needs loyal subs.

Michael TurnerI had lunch with Michael Turner of Classic Urban Homes last week, and I was lucky to get the man to sit down for 30 minutes, that’s how busy he is: six customs under construction, three in the design stage.

“It’s like someone flipped on a light switch 6 months ago, ” he said. Whereas Jeff might be selling to younger families in East Dallas wanting a new home for around half a million, Michael’s Classic Urban gets 80% of their calls from people in Park Cities, Preston Hollow and Bluffview who want to downsize to about 3000 square feet, or what one of my dear friends calls a “lock and leave”. But they still want those homes loaded.  Michael says three things are driving all this new construction: low interest rates, pent-up demand from the last four years, and the herd mentality.

That’s not to say he is not also selling to younger what we once called DINKS, double income, no kids.

“People in their mid thirties, young professional couples, both working” says Michael. “they are wanting new, a modern, contemporary home they plan to stay in longer. We are trying to keep up with the demand.”

A few consumer trends Michael sees: engineered wood flooring is hot, stainless steel still rules in the kitchen, greener countertops like Silestone and Cesaerstone are running neck to neck with granite, a “flex room” which can be a study/office/craft room combo, and the end of the living room as we know it.

“The formal living room is dead,” says Michael. “And people are also giving up media rooms.”

Contemporary design, however, is here to stay, he says.

Builder Leo Savino of Significant Buildings and Construction agrees that contemporary is not just hot, it’s here to stay. He, too, is finding building lots as scarce as a needle in a  haystack. In fact, now he has several commissioned remodeling projects for some clients who choose to stay in their current home lot and make, well, Significant improvements to it.

“I have a client in the Park Cities who loves, loves, loves her street and never wants to leave,” says Leo. “So we are doing a major interior remodel, going contemporary and larger in a 1920′s house.”

If you are thinking of building, one thing you DON’T want is a builder who beats on his subs too much for pricing. Such a builder may find himself without subs in this heating up market.Significant