After last year’s F3 tornado that ripped apart Preston Hollow and North Dallas, it’s surprising that tornado resistance hasn’t become a larger part of the conversation surrounding residential construction.
And as the October anniversary of the storm nears, it’s definitely taking up more space at the backs of our minds. Why is it so hard to get newer, more severe weather-resistant homes in North Texas?
“It is a challenge to change a process that is so engrained in what is a very large industry, which is also highly regulated with many players that may or may not want to change,” says Alan Hoffman, founder of Hoffmann Homes. “Before Tesla, the auto industry was experimenting with electrification. Tesla has given evidence to a business case for electric vehicles. That is what we are trying to accomplish with our new projects.”
Specifically, Hoffmann is referring to his method of building modern and transitional homes using ICF, or Insulated Concrete Form construction.
“The current paradigm that homes are made out of wood is prevalent only in the US,” Hoffmann elaborated. “Around the world, homes are primarily made out of concrete and other masonry products. We have many clients that have traveled extensively or even lived overseas and they seek us out for their builds.”
And you can definitely see why. Besides the ability to withstand otherwise devastating severe weather, including winds up to 200 mph, Hoffmann’s designs are exceedingly eco-friendly. Hoffmann likes to say that these builds are like enormous vacuum-insulated coolers.
“They perform with the same efficiency of a YETI cooler, and the homeowners realize dramatically lower energy costs,” said listing agent John Thompson with Compass Real Estate. “The energy savings pay for the stronger build, but the long-term ownership cost is less because of lower maintenance costs from the structural integrity of the build.”
When Hoffmann spent time in a 400-year-old family home on the island of Ibiza in Spain, he became inspired. While the home was four centuries old, it was just as strong as it was when it was first built. Not only that, but it didn’t need any climate control.
“The outer walls of the home were three feet thick and built from stone excavated from the site,” Hoffmann said. “The home did not have air conditioning and was comfortable in the heat of the summer. Kiva fireplaces heated the home in the winter. Ibiza is the on the same latitude as Austin, Texas, to give you a comparison of their summer.”
Uniquely Stunning Structure
But when most people think about concrete structures, modern or monolithic structures come to mind. Not so for this Little Forest Hills new build.
“The style of the home was created with sensitivity to the feel of the neighborhood, but due to the way the home sits on the lot a fresh perspective is obtained and fits in with the warmth and charm of the area,” Thompson said.
This home features a wonderfully warm and neutral palette, including luxurious wide-plank hardwood floors and smooth white walls. Natural light pours in through the clerestory windows, which face the street, inviting a more cordial relationship with the neighborhood.
“The street elevation gives the impression of a home that could have been built many years ago,” Thompson said. “The volumes and silhouette of the home do not dwarf the neighboring homes, and being a one-story home, windows don’t overlook the neighbor’s yard.”
This house is the perfect size for a family, with three bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, and 2,580 square feet. The backyard is a fabulous lawn complete with a huge covered porch.
Want to see how ICF construction differs from conventional methods? Thompson will host an open house on Sunday, Oct. 4, from 2 to 4 p.m.
John Thompson of Compass Real Estate has listed 8824 Diceman Dr. for $924,900.