Tag Archives: Austin

Treehouses Aren’t Just for Kids


You don’t have to be a kid to want your own treehouse, and actually living in a treehouse is more viable than you think! We were inspired by Cypress Valley Canopy Tours’ luxury treehouses, located outside of Austin. Practically floating among the trees is a multi-teared treehouse system complete with a kitchen unit, a bedroom/living room unit and a crow’s nest for ultimate sightseeing. All of this is surrounded by gorgeous decking where you can just relax and take in nature and all its beauty. Oh, and did we mention it even comes with air conditioning?

The owners actually built all of the treehouses on their property with their own hands. You can see the labor of love in every detail, from the wood they chose to the thoughtful design. Just because we adore this place so much, we’ll also mention that they offer zipline tours along the tree-lined creek, including nighttime adventures lit up by fireflies and paper lanterns. It’s a magical way to experience the Texas landscape.

So maybe you don’t have the time or interest in building something so elaborate, but having your own treehouse can be pretty easy. Still, you should give yourself a moment to dream. You could have a gingerbread Victorian, a rustic cabin, an open-sided yoga studio or something even more unique. Here are some tips to get you started.

  1. First things first – you can’t have a treehouse without a tree, so make sure to choose a sturdy one in a good location, because once this thing is built you won’t want to take it down.
  2. One of the first rules of treehouse building is make it light-weight. You should keep weight and stability in mind the entire time. Instead of having a foundation like a house, your treehouse will have a platform.
  3. Pick a wood that is strong yet rot-resistant.
  4. Ask yourself some questions to help you make better design decisions. Are you building a treehouse for the kids or is this an adult hideaway? What kinds of things would you like to have in your new treehouse? A little kitchenette perhaps? Or just a lot of pillows you can lay back and take a nap on?
  5. It’s very important that you properly level the floor to achieve stability. The load should be centered over the trunk and the weight spread out among several branches.
  6. Build in gaps around branches and trunks so as to not restrict the growth of the tree.
  7. Make your life easier by building sections of the house on the ground and then lifting them up into place.
  8. However, before doing anything, you might want to check your neighborhood HOA and municipality regulations to ensure you won’t be breaking any rules.

Did we say this would be easy? Well, maybe not easy, but pretty amazing once it’s done. Of course, you can always call us if you need some help! For a consultation on a more traditional-sized home, please call us at 210-494-5400. If you wish to be added to our private email list for our newsletter, please sign up here.

The Most Amazing Watering Holes in Texas

Bandera Park

We may have had a little respite from the heat recently, but we’ve still got a few more months before it really cools down, which means finding the coolest watering hole is the only way to stay sane. Here are some places to explore:

Krause Springs:  Located in Spicewood just west of Austin is one of the most incredible swimming holes in the state. With a lovely waterfall grotto and a rope swing for a fabulous cliff jump, it’s the perfect place for an afternoon picnic.

Blue Hole in Wimberley:  Located in Blue Hole Regional Park, this refreshing swimming hole is stunning and shaded by towering cypress trees. The ecosystem here is considered an historic site.

Tube Chute in New Braunfels: The City Tube Chute is a unique water slide carved into the side of the City’s dam on the Comal River. It diverts tubers around the dam as they float the river and is a fun way to keep cool in the summer!

Blue Hole in Georgetown: This picturesque lagoon is bordered by limestone bluffs along the South Fork of the San Gabriel River, just five blocks north of the downtown Square.

Twin Falls on Barton Creek: Barton Creek is a great place to explore a plethora of creeks, falls and trails. The falls fluctuate throughout the seasons and there is a bit of a hike involved, but it’s still a wonderful place to bring the whole family.

Bull Creek in Austin: You can find a bunch of superb swimming holes along this trail that eventually lets out at Lakewood and 360, just northwest of the dog park. This is a nice place for active couples and friends.

Sculpture Falls on Barton Creek: This secluded little swimming hole is clear with cool water, even during the summer. On top of that, it’s dog-friendly.

Devil’s Watering Hole at Inks Lake:  Head to Inks Lake State Park for a fantastic family weekend getaway on the Colorado River. Explore the stunning waterfalls upstream of the lake when Valley Spring Creek is running.

The Slab in Llano: Essentially an easily-accessible stretch of the Llano, this watering hole has a lot of rugged granite and chutes to laze around in, even during a drought.

Bandera City Park: This scenic park area along the tree-lined, aqua-colored Medina river is a family’s paradise. The cool water flows very slowly and is perfect for swimming, tubing or kayaking.

McKinney Falls: Not far from Austin, you’ll be surprised by the abundance of trees and wildlife at this watering hole. Don’t be surprised to see deer, armadillos and perhaps even a coyote. The falls aren’t big – only about 10 feet tall, but it’s still a beautiful place to go swimming. You’ll find an early Texas homestead here as well as an old rock shelter.

When you’re finally cooled off, call us at 210-494-5400 for a consultation. If you wish to be added to our private email list for our newsletter, please sign up here.


Mid-Year Market Update

STD 24

Nationwide, the housing market is still very strong, with new home and existing home sales being consistently steady all year. Now that we’re hitting the mid-way point, we thought we’d check in and see just where we’re at, both nationwide and in San Antonio. Here are some highlights:

-          U.S. existing home sales just hit a 9-year high, according to CNBC. Chief economist, Mark Fleming, says the property market is close to its full potential.

-          Unfortunately, new home sales dropped 6% in May, but we’re thankfully not seeing those same numbers in San Antonio.

-          The National Association of Realtors just released that the median national home price across America just hit $239,700 for homes sold in May, which is the highest since they began tracking it in 1968. The state of the housing market indicates that while the market is recovering nicely, the biggest hurdle is housing affordability. Those in the Midwest are seeing more affordable housing markets due to supply, but not surprisingly, housing costs in areas like Orange County are rising faster than a runaway bull. We are also seeing markets across Texas exceeding peaks from 2006. Can you guess which ones? As suspected, it’s Dallas and Austin, and that’s because in Texas we didn’t see home prices fall as far during the crash.

-          According to the San Antonio Board of Realtors, we are still one of the nation’s most affordable large metropolitan area home sales markets. Chairman Bob Jacobs recently said, “Our average and median sales prices continue to see some growth each month, but at a manageable pace that keeps our city affordable and stable.  We expect this trend to continue throughout the summer.”

-          Good news for home buyers! The average sales price data indicates a slight slowing down in the dramatic price increases chalked up in 2015 (10%) and 2014 (4%).  If the trend continues until July, end of the home sales high season, it might be an indicator that San Antonio’s long seller’s market may be ebbing.

We’re incredibly grateful to live and work in the San Antonio area! If you don’t and would like to, consider a custom home designed specifically for you and your family. Our focus is on providing impeccable customer service and quality. We care about bringing your dreams to life! Call us at 210-494-5400 for a consultation. If you wish to be added to our private email list for our newsletter, please sign up here.


San Antonio-Austin Passenger Rail Service

Many people are excited about what the new Lone Star passenger rail, that is set to run from San Antonio to Austin and beyond, will mean for the future of the Alamo city. This project, which has been a dream for so many for so long, can only mean opportunity, especially for people who prefer to live in the more family-friendly and affordable town of San Antonio, even if they work in Austin. So what’s the hold up?

If you haven’t heard anything for a while, it’s because the process seems to be a bit stalled, which might be attributed to political red tape. Although the Bexar County budget that included $500,000 for the Lone Star Rail District was approved, it seems that the SA City Council is still exploring the viability of the Lone Star Rail Service.

The commuter rail is intended to run from the south side of the city all the way to Georgetown with many stops in between and an express route that will run between San Antonio and Austin. Although some people believe the express-route equates to a high-speed rail, the fact of the matter is that the express-route will still take approximately an hour and 15 minutes. The goal, of course, is to reduce the traffic along I35. High-speed or not, it will still be quicker than you can travel by car on most days.

Although every other city (where the rail is set to stop) along the way has jumped on board the project, San Antonio has dug in its heels from the beginning. Approved or not, the 500k is only for planning. The proof in the pudding will be when the district releases the necessary construction funds. Hopefully, it’s not just a pipe dream. Some, like County Judge Nelson Wolff, feel we’re not any closer to getting on that rail than we were 10 years ago. However, others believe it’s simply a matter of time.

Lone Star posts public meetings and other current news on their site, so if this is something you’re passionate about, there’s no better time to get involved. Our opinion is, there’s no better time to build a new house. San Antonio is undoubtedly a city on the rise, and we like where it’s headed! (www.lonestarrail.com.)

Ready to build a new custom home for your family? Give us a call at 210-494-5400. To be added to our private email list to receive newsletters, please sign up here.

Custom-Made Furniture for Your Custom Home


If you’re going to spend the time and money to have a custom home built, why not fill that beloved home with some extraordinary custom furniture as well? If you plan ahead you can create a symbiotic environment and have furniture designed to fit the exact space it’s going to live in.

If this is something you’ve never considered, you may not know that San Antonio, and certainly Texas, is home to some brilliant and highly-skilled custom furniture designers, who can make furniture that’s either traditional or avant garde. Here are just a few local furniture designers/builders you might want to consider.

George Schroeder of Schroeder Design

George Schroeder has earned a reputation as one of the leading large scale metal artists in the United States, and we’re lucky that he’s located right here in San Antonio. Schroeder somehow manages to translate fluidity and energy into his pieces, so that they’re all incredibly creative and unique. Although the scope of his work really runs the gamut, from modern sculpture to paintings, his ability to construct magnificent custom furniture that are iconic pieces in any home is a rare gift.

Peter Zubiate of Zubiate Projects

Peter is known for his beautiful wood furniture and often works with local architects and builders to create specifically-designed furniture, including tables, chairs, beds, built-ins and unique pieces. Whatever you can think up, Zubiate can bring that vision to life.

WOOD by Alberto

Another talented, but perhaps lesser known woodworker in San Antonio is Alberto of WOOD by Alberto, who makes handmade, original Texas wood products, including furniture. He recently completed a commissioned project for a local home of stunning large custom barn doors that are connected via heavy duty metal wheels that allow the doors to slide open.

Cortese Brothers

Cortese Brothers is a family owned and operated furniture company in San Antonio. They work closely with customers to create furniture that’s beautiful yet affordable. They incorporate your initial design research into the finished piece.

Deep Fried Design

Although Andrew McGuire hails from Austin, we won’t hold it against him because his furniture is absolutely stunning. He makes stylish modern furniture like beds and tables using reclaimed wood. He has a photo on his website of a funky coffee table he made from a reclaimed gym floor. It’s clear this custom furniture maker not only thinks outside the box, but lives there.

If you already have the furniture and just need the perfect home to put it in, call us at 210-494-5400. To be added to our private email list to receive the Stone Creek Custom Homes newsletter, please sign up here.