First prize in the ‘Sitting Pretty Porta Potty Screen Contest’ goes to All photos: Sardone Construction

First prize in the ‘Sitting Pretty Porta Potty Screen Contest’ goes to Brian Paletz, AIA. All photos: Sardone Construction

Last month, we told you about the “2015 Sitting Pretty Porta Potty Screen Contest,” created in response to Highland Park’s new rule that portable toilets be screened from the public’s view at residential construction sites.

The contest, sponsored by Sardone Construction and HPD Architecture, closed June 29 and the winners have been announced. Close to 30 people registered and 17 submitted designs.

To refresh your memory, the challenge was to create screens that were more attractive than the standard plywood construction, “to design a porta potty screen of your own. Something with a bit of flare! Maybe a little splash! A screen that says, “When ya gotta go, you might as well do it in style!”

Four winning entries showcase originality, splash, and practicality. The first-place design will be built by HPD and Sardone in the coming weeks.

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Highland Park constcution

An example of an acceptable portable toilet screen sent by Highland Park to contractors working in the town. All photos: Highland Park Building Inspection Department

Highland Park is implementing a new requirement that portable toilets be screened from the public’s view at residential construction sites. No one wants to pooh-pooh* the new rule, so instead, two Dallas companies are encouraging creativity and responding with humor.

Sardone Construction and HPD Architecture launched the “2015 Sitting Pretty Porta Potty Screen Contest” Monday. Here’s the challenge:

We are challenging you – our readers, friends, and colleagues – to design a porta potty screen of your own. Something with a bit of flare! Maybe a little splash! A screen that says, “When ya gotta go, you might as well do it in style!”

“When I got the email from Highland Park, they included a couple of pictures, examples [of screened portable toilets], and all I could think was, ‘We can do better than that!,” said Larry Paschall, architect and founding member of HPD Architecture. “Those plywood boxes aren’t necessarily going to look any better than the portable toilets. Why not see what people can come up with?”

In the email sent from the Highland Park Building Inspection Department to contractors, they wrote,”Our department is requesting the very best quality of screening that you can provide.” No one wants wasteful spending, but this contest might elicit some spectacular design options.

The town’s No. 1 and No. 2 concerns were that portable toilets are unsightly to the public and bothersome for neighbors.

“A typical construction area looks like a missile testing site and in the middle is a bright blue or bright orange porta potty that looks bad,” said Stephan Sardone, owner of Sardone Construction. “I was thinking how funny it would be if we had really ornately designed screens for these porta potties that fit their new rules.”

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Stephan SardoneParting is such sweet sorrow. At least it is for us at CandysDirt when one of our favorite homebuilders puts his sensational reno on the market.

Stephan Sardone, owner of Sardone Construction, took the L-Streets house at 10229 Linkwood Dr. in Lake Highlands to the studs and reimagined the space entirely. What emerged is extraordinary—we’ve written about it twice, here and here.

“We essentially demolished its entire insides and redesigned it into an open concept that maximized every inch of the home,” he said. “We were able to fit three full bedrooms and two full bathrooms—and the master bath is really large—as well as an incredible open living space and nice-sized kitchen.”

Stephan SardoneTo make this house happen, Sardone partnered with Larry Paschall of HPD Architecture in Oak Lawn. Together, they totally overhauled the 1,320-square-foot interior. They moved all interior walls, changed the layout of the space, and created a vaulted ceiling with wood beams by pushing out a gable on the roof.

Sardone’s abode served both as a home for him and his wife, and as a contractor showcase to show potential clients just how to create a smart, efficient design. It was a no-brainer to choose it as today’s Thursday Three Hundred. It was listed Friday by Michael Cassell at Gilchrist & Company Real Estate for $379,900.

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A photo of Larry Pachall's own home, which was recently renovated. Photo: Larry Paschall

Larry Pachall’s own home, which was recently renovated to make the kitchen larger, among other things. Photo: Larry Paschall

In our ongoing series, Interview with an Architect, we speak with leading voices in the North Texas architecture community and learn about their work, development issues in our community, and good design practices and principals (you can read the first one here).

Larry Paschall

Larry Paschall

Larry Paschall, AIA, is Vice President and founding member at HPD Architecture, an architecture and interior design firm located in Dallas focusing on residential architecture. Since their inception in December 2007, HPD has focused on new construction, renovations, and additions for private residences primarily in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

He’s also the unofficial ambassador for the Dallas architecture community as a co-founder of The Architecture Happy Hour, a monthly networking event that brings together hundreds of professionals from a wide array of businesses, including architecture, design, and real estate, as well as design enthusiasts and a host of other people.

The event followed the launch of The Architecture Happy Hour podcast. He and HPD colleague Laura Davis, AIA, started the podcast in November 2009, which has 48 entertaining, educational episodes on topics ranging from “Can I Be My Own General Contractor?” to the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and Dallas’ need for brand-name architecture.

Paschall earned his Bachelor of Environmental Design degree from Texas A&M University and lives in the White Rock Lake area of Dallas with his husband and two basset hounds. In his spare time, he serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, and as a board member for their charitable organization, the Leadership Education & Advocacy Program.

CandysDirt.com: You are the co-organizer of the highly acclaimed The Architecture Happy Hour, which just celebrated its fifth anniversary. What made you decide to start it?

Larry Paschall: We needed one because in 2010, we were a firm that nobody knew and we needed a way to help build a network of people that we could reach out to in the community.

At the same time, it was an opportunity to tell everyone “come to this event because it’s a very smart thing to do.” We noticed that the only people architects wanted to network with are other architects. The happy hour is a chance to meet other people who would be excellent referral sources and contacts down the line. I know three Realtors who can tell me what’s happening in the market, for example. This is information that might be vital to what we do as an architect. And because we know all these people, we can better serve our clients because we are better plugged into the community.

People are seeing the value of building connections. There’s a metalworker from Waco who comes, and an interior designer from Oklahoma City who schedules her time in the Design District to coincide with the happy hour. There’s a stylist, and for him, it’s become a social gathering. 

The next one is April 15 at Fashion Glass & Mirror in the Design District’s Trinity Lofts Building. People should register and RSVP on our Meetup site so we have a head count for beer, wine, and nibbles.

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All photos: Sardone Construction

All photos: Sardone Construction

Stephan Sardone did not arrive at his career in home renovation by direct route.

The Flower Mound native headed to graduate school with the intention of earning his masters, then traveling to Papua, New Guinea, to work with indigenous tribes and translate their native languages, as well as aid with microfinance projects and community development.

Now, with two masters degrees in hand, he performs a different kind of community work: helping Dallas homeowners translate their vision for a home remodel into reality.

The transition started with a side business during his undergrad days. Sardone was an eager student with an entrepreneurial spirit and a knack for laying tile. It lasted into his graduate school days, and he drove around in a minivan, filled to the brim with tiles, and took on clients under the name Tile Fast.

“Tile Fast was never supposed to go anywhere, it was just supposed to teach me business and such, but then it turned into kitchen remodeling, then into full-scale remodeling,” he said. “It took about six months after I graduated to realize I was going to stay in the business because I really liked it.”

Stephan Sardone portrait

He changed the name of his company to Sardone Construction in 2010 and has earned accolades as his reputation has grown for creating smart and efficient designs that maximize space in a truly beautiful way.

The most important thing is to do really high quality work, have high standards, and give our clients a good experience,” he said.

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Stanwood Before Exterior

Sardone Construction has many projects in the pipeline, most of which include homes that are being renovated to be more livable for modern households. (Photo: Sardone Construction)

With more than two thirds of homeowners planning home renovations in the next 6 months, it’s no wonder that contractors and builders are busier than a Realtor’s phone come springtime.

But why are more homeowners planning to renovate? According to a survey from Realtor.com and Move Inc., besides improving a home’s function and aesthetic (32 percent) and preparing a home for the market (22 percent), homeowners also planned to take a sledgehammer to a recently purchased home that needs some work (19 percent) as well as make key renovations to increase a home’s value and build equity (11 percent).

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