I think custom-built homes can act as laboratories, where the kinks get worked out of newer technologies before those features are rolled out to more modest mainstream homes. It’s easy to recall that at one time, multi-pane windows, solar panels and even walk-in closets were reserved for risk-taking custom builds.
This 5,056-square-foot home at 4428 Greenbrier, marketed for $1.798-million by Ebby Realtor Victoria Barr de Quinones, offers impressive LEED qualifications. It’s been designed to minimize energy usage, featuring an open cell 5-and-a-half-inch foam exterior building envelope (think Igloo cooler), Pella windows that reduce solar heat gain to .2, a commercially sealed post tension and piered slab foundation, 17+ SEER variable speed HVAC, batting insulation in interior walls and ceilings. Should the homeowner want official LEED certification, the builder is happy to apply for that, too.
But what are the cost savings?
All this energy efficiency has resulted in electric bills of $198 to $257 per month from June through September to keep this home at a constant 72 degrees throughout the fiery Texas summer. Of course, this home’s first owners will have to factor in televisions, lighting, hot water, mobile device charging and electric toothbrushes that aren’t being used regularly in this new-build home.
Another thing I like about this is that it is a spec home. Unlike a “used” home, the builder is right there to make any changes a buyer might want. After all, what Realtor hasn’t said, “everything’s negotiable, we can put it in the contract” when trying to sell a home? This time, with the original builder there’s not only expertise to get the work done, but there’s understanding of how to best achieve the goal. Win-win.
The builder here is Nest Homes, who, for those with good memories, had one of their homes listed by D Magazine in 2010 as one of Dallas’ “10 Most Beautiful Homes.” Another Nest home in University Park is an IIDA Design Award Winner, AIA Tour of Homes, and LEED Gold Homes Certification. Tom and Matt are the two guys behind Nest. Tom’s the designer/architect and Matt’s the builder. Both believe building is not only an expression of the owner’s visual taste, but also of their energy and environmental concerns. A soft spot for me, they’re also occasionally treehouse builders (not for Greenbriar – shucks!).
What struck me first about this home is what’s being called the “cloud ceiling” that appears to float over the kitchen island and connects with a cabinet wall bringing some visual separation from the dining area. It at once creates a contained but thoroughly open kitchen. It’s a great way to be open concept-ish in a way that works. The recessed LED rope lighting brightens and focuses the eye to the space. And it’s LED, so you won’t be changing bulbs for at least 10 years.
The kitchen features a wealth of gadgetry and even has a microwave oven perfectly placed for tall folks like me and those of lesser stature. If it’s one thing I can’t stand is an under counter microwave regardless of whether it’s a traditional or drawer model, they’re annoying for everyone to use.
Off the kitchen is the less formal family room (not to be confused with the bonus/play room in the rear of the home on the second floor). Realtors tend to use the word “cozy” as a synonym for “I hope buyers won’t notice this room is too damn small.” Here I use cozy because it’s a well-proportioned space perfect for family gatherings whether to chat or watch a movie … within striking distance of the fridge during commercials!
It’s also got a bank of French doors leading out to the covered patio. Just ask the builder to continue the travertine flooring and whip up an outdoor entertaining/barbeque space and … voila … you’re the envy of summer evening entertaining.
Of course the other thing that sells homes are bathrooms, and the master is grand with wood floors, backlit mirrors and very, very nice use of stone tile. I’m a particular fan of the chevron pattern in the shower and behind the bathtub. Two very separate vanities ensure that what’s mine is mine during morning ablutions.
Keep track in the pictures of all the natural materials used to enrich the home including travertine tile on the ground floor, Birch flooring upstairs, Brazilian Chestnut walls in the study and great room and yards of maple in the cabinetry.
But modern technology hasn’t been ignored. To match hectic lives that often feel as if they’re on remote control, the home’s main systems … including HVAC, lights and alarms can be programmed remotely.
One of the best things to do in this home is to leave. But just before you close the door, turn around to soak in this sleek piece of architecture you call home … and smile a little.
Remember: Do you have an HOA story to tell? A little high-rise history? Realtors, want to feature a listing in need of renovation or one that’s complete with flying colors? How about hosting a Candy’s Dirt Staff Meeting? Shoot Jon an email. Marriage proposals accepted (they’re legal)! email@example.com