Tag Archives: custom home

West Texas Summer Excursion

From the Lost Mine Trail at Big Bend

From the Lost Mine Trail at Big Bend

If you haven’t figured out yet where to go for a summer vacation, we’d like to recommend a trip to picturesque West Texas. It’s a region of our state that’s often overlooked for more flashy allures such as the beach, Dallas or Houston.

The Gage Hotel

From San Antonio, if you drive along scenic Interstate 90, it’ll take you a little under six hours to get to Marathon, Texas. For couples especially, a one or two night stay at the Gage Hotel is a must. This charming historic hotel, which was built in 1927, is quite literally a desert oasis.

If you’re a history buff, stay in the main hotel, but for access to the gorgeous courtyard, stay in one of the Portales. There’s nothing quite like sitting outside with a couple glasses of wine and enjoying the beautiful night sky. Dinner at their upscale yet casual 12 Gage Restaurant may just be the best thing you eat on your trip, and as if this place wasn’t great enough, just a few blocks from the property they have a private 27-acre manicured garden that you might mistake for Eden.

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend is truly the gem of West Texas. Home to the largest protected area of the Chihuahuan Desert in the United State, the park consists of about a million acres of pristine land that is as untouched as it has been for millions of years.

The park offers over 150 mountain, desert and river hikes and access to a variety of camping sites, canyons and a natural spring. We highly recommend camping, but if that’s just not your thing, the park is home to the Chisos Mountains Lodge, which also has a pretty decent restaurant. Just make sure to book as far in advance as possible. Hotels in this part of the state are hard to come by.

Marfa, Texas

For a day trip, Marfa is a fun little town that’s not far from Big Bend and has earned a reputation as a hub for art and film. Art aficionados or those who appreciate architecture will enjoy the Chinati Foundation, which houses one of the most unique art exhibits as well as pieces from dozens of visiting artists.

As for accommodations, the historic Hotel Paisano is a lovely option and your best bet for any luxury in these parts. They also have a great bar and dining area. It’s nice place to stop for an afternoon cocktail. However, f you’re up for something a little more exotic, check out El Cosmico, where you can slumber in a teepee or a yurt. Yes, a yurt!

If you’re only there for the day, make sure to check out the pop-up restaurant known as Capri Kitchen. This unassuming eatery isn’t easy to come by but it’s well worth it. They make THE most amazing fried chicken you’ll ever eat!

Kids and adults alike will want to check out the Marfa lights, although there’s still no proof they even exist or why!

The McDonald Observatory

You cannot or at least should not visit West Texas without checking out The McDonald Observatory, an astronomical observatory run by UT Austin. Up in the hills in the middle of nowhere in the town of Fort Davis, is an opportunity to have your mind blown. The weekly star parties and twilight programs the observatory hosts are a chance to see the universe from a whole new perspective, quite literally. Last time we were there we got to see Venus and Saturn up close.

You can be sure returning to San Antonio after a trip through this serene and utterly magnificent part of Texas will be a little jolting to your senses, but no doubt, you’ll be happy to be home! Please share pics on our Facebook if you do go.

 

 

Shed No More Tears for Your Abandoned Toolshed

Do you have an eyesore, otherwise known as an abandoned shed,  sitting in the back of your yard, full of old tools, a lifeless lawnmower from the 80’s, and an assorted collection of items you discarded years ago – all collecting dust? You probably hate opening it for fear of what creatures might be nesting there. If this sounds familiar, we’ve got good news for you! With a little TLC, you can turn that ugly shed into a haven of relaxation and enjoyment, what they’re now calling He-Sheds and She-Sheds.

She-Sheds

She-sheds having been growing in popularity in Europe, and are just starting to catch on in the U.S. Women who do everything for their families and their jobs, who can never seem to find a moment’s peace, will vastly appreciate this creative little retreat. There’s actually many different ways you can transform your shed into the ultimate she-shed. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Basic Retreat:  With a few coats of paint, a couple of windows, reclaimed furniture, rug, potted flowers, cozy throw and an electric teapot (just like the Brits), you can create a beautiful little space that’s ideal for unwinding with a good book or taking an afternoon nap.

Yoga Studio: Sure, it’s not a lot of space, but just for you or you and your BFF, it’s all you need. Consider removing the front door(s) and creating a trellis you can cover with ivy. Cover the inside with long flowing wall hangings in colorful prints, then put down laminate wood flooring, and roll out your yoga mat. Don’t forget to hang some sweet sounding wind chimes to help complete your OM space.

The Greenhouse:  If you’re feeling extremely motivated, you can turn an old wood shed into an exceptional spot to grow ornamental or edible plants. This is no easy feat and so we encourage you do your research before launching into this home project. Still with the right plan that includes details like temperature controls and a transparent roof, you will be the envy of your neighborhood.

He-Sheds

He-Sheds are more traditional then their female counterpart. The toolshed’s always been a place where the man of the house can escape for a few beers and to catch the game, but the question is, is your shed living up to its fullest potential?

Ultimate Man Cave: Instead of watching the game on the old throwaway TV, invest in a nice flat-screen that you can mount on the wall. With a few comfy lounge chairs, framed retro posters and a chic fridge stocked with your favorite refreshment, you can relax in style.

Pub-Sheds:  Like the She-Sheds, Pub-Sheds are becoming all the rage overseas. Your shed will be the hot new hang-out spot for all of your friends once they realize they can chill at the bar without paying the exorbitant prices. For the interior, build shelves to store liquor bottles and necessary accouterments and decorate to your liking – English pub-style, speakeasy-esque, whatever you like. You can even up your game by putting in a few taps. Next, build double-doors and a small counter into the front-facing wall that can easily open up to reveal your “pub.” Pull up a few stools outside and, voila, drinks are served!

The Age-Old Debate of Electric Vs. Gas

Although there are many perks to building a custom home, one of the best things about building a home that’s centered around your specific lifestyle is that you get to choose whether you want to use either gas or electric energy for cooking, air-conditioning and the water heater. Of course, sometimes, depending upon where you’re building, you may not have that option, but if you do, here are some things to consider when deciding whether you want to use electric or gas.

Cooking

When it comes to electric ranges versus gas ranges, there may not be one perfect choice, as what will work best for you really depends upon who you are and how you live your life.

Electric Ranges

1.  Electric ranges are typically less expensive.

2.  Electric ranges are a better choice if you have young children, as open flames aren’t kid-friendly.

3.  Can be easier to clean.

4. Considered to offer more even heat distribution when baking.

Gas Ranges

1.  Gas ranges are typically preferred by professional cooks due to the versatility of flame heat that can be quickly and accurately adjusted. If you love to cook, regardless of any cons, you should probably stick with gas.

2.  Cools and heats so much faster than electric.

3.  Natural gas is inexpensive, green energy that’s abundantly available.

4.  Are not subject to power outages and are ideal for making s’mores!

Air Conditioning

When it comes to air conditioning, it usually boils down to cost, but here are some other factors to consider.

Electric Systems

1.  The cost of an electric system is typically less expensive than gas.

2.  Because gas furnaces emit a low-level amount of carbon monoxide, electric units pose less risk of danger to the family and home.

3.  Electric systems are usually quieter, more durable and will last for up to 30 years.

Gas-Powered Systems

1.  Because gas is cheaper than electricity, a gas heating system is less expensive to operate overall.

2.  Natural gas is considered more convenient and consistent. It’s also known to heat the home faster, but since we’re in Texas this is not usually a primary concern.

If the electricity goes out, you’re still good to go!

The Water Heater

Electric Water Heaters

1.  Electric water heaters are considered safer than gas water heaters, but not by much as gas water heaters are safer than ever before.

2.  They’re much cheaper to install than their gas counterparts.

3.  They last longer.

Gas Water Heaters

1.  Similarly to using gas for ranges and A/C, gas water heaters are less expensive to operate in the long run.

2.  They’re well-insulated and maintain water temp with less energy.

3.  Gas can heat more quickly than electric.

We can help you with these and all other big and little decisions when you’re ready to build your next custom home. Please call us at 210-494-5400.