You Might Know Homebuilder Gary Starr By Another Name: The Tattoo Builder

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Starr Constuction’s 14,000-square-foot manse on Walnut Hill and Douglas.

Gary Starr was destined to be a homebuilder. Since age 16, the owner and founder of Starr Construction has been passionate about houses.

“When I first got my car, I’d drive around Colleyville looking at homes, examining their design and construction,” he says. “I was obsessed—in a good way.”

Jennifer and Gary share a passion for homebuilding.

He learned from the best. Renowned luxury homebuilder Scott Simmons (who passed away last fall) was a mentor and friend.

Gary recalls their first project together. “I came in towards the end and worked my way backwards. Scott wanted me to understand the business from every direction.”

He perfected his craft with some of Dallas’ most accomplished builders.

Tatum Brown, Simmie Cooper, and Cy Barcus were among the elite builders Gary Starr learned from. Twelve years later, he was ready to go solo. He landed his first job, a Vaquero spec home on King Fisher Drive in Westlake.

Soon after, Gary and his fiancé Jennifer Buckles (who manages the financial and interior design sides of the business) moved to Highland Park.

The Del Norte project in Preston Hollow.

“We hit the ground running, meeting people and networking,” he says. Not long after, he was awarded an in-town custom job: a transitional modern home in Preston Hollow.

The size and scope of builds has continued to grow. Starr Construction’s current project is a stunner. A modern mega-manse on the corner of Walnut Hill and Douglas.

By the numbers: 7 bedrooms, 7 full baths, 3 half-baths plus an 8-car garage.

Slated for completion next year, the 14,000-square-foot property oozes luxury. Think laminated strand lumber studs, Poggenpohl cabinetry, and a climate-controlled wine room. Other amenities include a 20-seat media room, two master suites, a turf-topped roof, and eight-car garage.

Gary credits much of his success to being a bonafide people person. His charm and charisma are contagious. He also makes himself available 24/7.

“Ours is like a concierge service.”

“Clients can text me at midnight and I’ll respond,” he says.

He’s also been called “the tattoo builder.” For good reason. His plethora of body art is impressive.

Is that Greta Garbo? Boris Karloff? Lucille Ball? His kids? That would be a yes, on all counts.

“It’s everything and everyone I like,” he says. “Each is literally its own piece of artwork.”

His go-to parlor? Denton’s Dark Age Tattoo. “People come for tattoos from all over the country. There can be up to a two-year wait.”

Tattoo artist or architect, interior photographer or construction, it’s a matter of hiring the best of the best.

“Ours is a company built on quality,” says Jennifer. As a transparent builder, clients know exactly how dollars are being spent.

“We want our houses to have equity built into them.”

In addition to custom jobs, Starr Construction also specializes in luxury re-models and additions.

Interest in renovations has increased.

“People have spent the last three months at home staring at everything. They have their list,” says Jennifer.

“You never know what the market is doing to do,” adds Gary. “We made it part of our business plan a long time ago to always stay in the renovation game.”

Fun Facts About Gary

If you weren’t a builder, you’d be: A cardiovascular surgeon.

Expensive hobby: Collecting American muscle cars.

Dream project: Building a skyscraper.

Bucket list: Sky dive, helicopter ski. (“I’m an adrenaline junkie.”)

Signature style: New York Yankee cap.

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Elaine Raffel

Having left the corporate world to launch her own freelance creative business, Elaine Raffel is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the mega-talented Dallas homebuilding community. She credits her work with top fashion and design brands for teaching her one inarguably valuable lesson: that truly great work is always a collaboration.

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