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Cultivating Your Summer Outdoor Space

Are you getting the most out of your backyard space? With the meticulous attention we give to the interior of the home, it can be easy to overlook the backsides of our properties. These spaces may not be enclosed by four walls and a roof, but that does not mean they do not have incredible potential to be a place of retreat for our families. We have been inspired by backyard makeovers we have been seeing around town lately, and we thought you would be intrigued in upgrading your space too. The home does not end at the back door. Let’s dive into a few ideas to help jumpstart your journey towards the wonderful backyard experience you’ve been craving this summer.

Creating your own fire pit to gather around gives you the luxury of time with loved ones. Whether you choose stone or wood, there is no shortage of ways to bring a spark to your backyard. This more permanent addition can be DIY’ed or built by an expert contractor to match the exterior of your home.

At Home Projects_ Social Distancing Approved

With a little design work and some expert craftsmanship, you can turn a small square footage area into an impactful relational space. Check out these backyard nooks we found on Pinterest which were artfully redesigned to maximize their relational impact for the homeowner. String lights have been the hottest trend for a while due to their soft, warm glow and fun visual appeal. There’s a million and a half ways to DIY your string light set. A covered porch to hang string lights or greenery from will create a space of peace and tenderness to relax under. We love the idea of being protected from the sun on those hot summer days too.


Plants, plants, and more plants. Greenery can make a formerly stagnant place come to life. Whether you hang them from the ceiling, post them to a wall, or let them crawl, bring greenery into your space for a refreshing addition. Larger bush varieties can also provide much needed shade and privacy to keep your yard space serene and shaded.


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A deceptively simple update for a porch is to frame your current posts with wood. For those craving the clean lines and simple statement, surrounding your current posts with painted or stained wood can create a phenomenal appeal. The color scheme can be tailored to fit your home style for a modern, rustic, or farmhouse feel.

DIY Craftsman Style Porch Columns - Shades of Blue Interiors

Another update that offers a big design appeal is horizontal privacy fences. Whether you are putting your first fence up or ready to replace yours, this design offers sleek, modern lines and a safe enclosure for kids and pets to run around outside.




The last trend we’ve appreciated is enlarged patios to cultivate the perfect entertaining space. Using jumbo concrete pavers allows you to enlarge your patio without actually having to pour mass amounts of concrete and permanently lose out on green space.


9 DIY Cool & Creative Patio Flooring Ideas | The Garden Glove


The best part about upgrading a backyard space is it will hardly cause an inconvenience to your daily life which is a major win for both you and the family. Get out there and make the most of that space this season!

Life Gets Sweeter with Local Honey

Holdman Honey

Holdman Honey

Local beekeeper, Gary Rankin of The Bee Place, teaches us that bees can do far more for us than make delicious honey. Gary’s primary focus is on supplying new beekeepers with the education and tools to help take care of the bees. Perhaps more importantly to homeowners or property owners, Gary can show you how bees can save you a substantial amount on property taxes. He offers a service for folks who want to lease honey bees from him for the purpose of qualifying for ag valuation on their property. To qualify, you must have 5 to 20 acres of land (minus a house). With a house, you must have 6 to 21 acres of property. Gary was able to save one of his customers in Lockhart over $10,000 in taxes a year. While there is a fee for Gary’s services, you can bet it’s worth it! Still, there’s no denying that there’s nothing sweeter than Texas honey. Although Gary’s mission isn’t to harvest and sell honey, he works with a guy who does! Introducing David Holdman of Holdman Honey. Located in Seguin, David and his family manage 800 hives around Texas. He sells several different kinds of honey, which are named after the counties the bees live and thrive in: Guadalupe, Bexar, Wilson, Medina, Gonzales and Atascosa. “Our honey is local, raw honey, which means it’s just pure honey God gives us through the bees,” said David, humbly. The flavor of the honey depends upon the types of blooming plants and trees in the area, and interestingly, there are seven different colors of honey. “Out in Medina, the honey is a lot lighter and has a smoother finish versus the Atascosa and Bexar county honey, which are a little stronger,” explained David. Perhaps one of the best things about eating local honey is the benefits it offers people who suffer from seasonal allergies. It’s no myth that eating honey on a regular basis that is harvested (not processed) from bees within approximately a 100-mile radius will help those who suffer from dreaded allergies, such as cedar fever. David’s own son, who had allergies when he was quite young, kicked those allergies by eating delicious peanut butter and honey sandwiches for lunch every day. Although you can find Holdman Honey in stores all over Texas (see their website for details), our favorite place to find them is at the Pearl Farmers Market on the weekends. You can meet the beekeeper himself and learn all sorts of sweet stuff! For more information on beekeeping classes and “bee leasing,” email Gary at beekeeper@thebeeplace.com. Of course, if you’re looking to build a gorgeous custom home to make your bees happy, call us a call at 210-494-5400.

Ideas for an Incredible Summer Dinner Party in San Antonio

Eiffel Tower

Summer’s the perfect time to relax with friends outside on your patio, or even inside, when it gets too muggy. If you live in and around San Antonio, here are some tips on how to enhance any dinner party this season:

Bring Paris into Your Home

How about a little bit of Paris in Texas? Delight your friends and family with a Parisian-style dinner. Decorate with some effortlessly thrown-together fresh flowers made up of all different varieties. This is truly how the French do it!

Start the evening out right with a French cocktail such as a French 75 or Kir Royal. If you’re wanting to keep the spirits local, grab a bottle of Kinsman from Dorćol Distilling Company, which makes an apricot brandy that goes nicely in just about anything.

Next, serve some premium cheese and a few other nibbles to wet everyone’s whistle. Dinners at home in France can be very casual affairs so don’t feel like you have to go over-the-top. In France, they focus on what they can find locally. It’s a chance to be inspired by the freshest, most flavorful ingredients. Add a beautiful sauce to whatever it is, be it fish or beef, and voila! Dessert can be something as simple as berries and Chantilly cream or a few delicate truffles.

Madhatter’s Tea Party

Don’t get bogged down by the stress of having to cook yourself, if that’s not something you like to do. We recently discovered a unique local caterer called Honeysuckle Tea Time that doesn’t just serve great food, but creates fantastical themed parties.

They’re even known for their Madhatter’s tea parties, which might be fun for a ladies’ night. Another interesting aspect about Honeysuckle is that they incorporate teas into their menus. You might enjoy delicacies such as chocolate chai cupcakes, orange blossom donuts or matcha petit fours. Yum!

Just Desserts

If the previous ideas seem like too much effort, why not just have an old-fashioned ice cream party?! Sure, you can make your own or can simply buy an array of different ice creams, gelatos and toppings and invite everyone to come over and pig out like you did when you were teenagers! We recommend getting some caramel sauce from a new local company, Eat*Me Food Company that makes a variety of high quality caramel sauces, such as their original coconut caramel called Almighty CoCo as well as their pistachio and sesame caramels. You can find them at farmers markets around town, but check their Facebook for details. Add a few classic comedies to the mix, and you’ve got yourself a night to remember!

If you provide dessert, we’ll provide the luxury custom home! Call us at 210-494-5400 to set up a consultation. If you wish to be added to our private email list for our newsletter, please sign up here.


Upstairs/Downstairs: Should You Go With a One or Two-Story Home?

STD 24

We know that having a new custom house built is a huge decision. This is your dream home – the one you and your family may plan to live in for the next 20 years, the one you intend to happily grow old in. Many of our customers already know whether they want a house with one or two stories, but some don’t. For those still debating, here are some pros and cons worth considering:

-  Two-story houses can give you more space for the money, particularly if you’re on a small plot of land. With a two-story, you won’t spend as much on the foundation and roof.

-  With a two-story you can enjoy a bigger backyard. This is a plus for people who wish to build a spacious patio or garden.

-  Although the stairs in a two-story house can give you a built-in exercise regimen, it’s a fail if you see yourself getting lazy and avoiding them. If you have some sort of health impediment, then a one-story is definitely the way to go.

-  One-story homes may allow for more privacy. You can put the kids’ bedrooms on one end of the house and the master bedroom on the opposite end. Open floor plans for two-story homes can also be noisy. Still if you like the look of a two-story, you can have the master bedroom built on the first floor with the remaining rooms upstairs. This has been a popular trend for a while now.

-  Heating and cooling a two-story used to be a problem, but modern homes are much more efficient. However, you might think about putting in a second-floor laundry room close to the bedrooms.

When it comes down to it, no matter what concerns or wishes you may have, we can turn a con into a pro! Call us at 210-494-5400 to get started. If you’d like to be added to our private email list to receive the newsletter, please sign up here.

Lucha, a New Art Gallery Opens in SA

Jorge with guest at Lucha

Jorge with guest at Lucha

San Antonian, Jorge Rubalcava, left for several years to live in New York City to participate in one of the leading fashion and art cities in the world. He worked and traveled for Nordstrom, and lived a metropolitan lifestyle that those of us in Texas typically only experience through TV and movies.

When Jorge returned last year to San Antonio in order to be closer to his family, he knew he wanted to play a role in the art and fashion scene here, but had been out of touch for so many years. He decided to open up a new art gallery called Lucha, which put on its first show last month.

“My thought was ‘how cool would it be to use the space as an art gallery that was a platform for emerging local artists,’” explained Jorge.

He plans to use the space to support artists of all kinds, from young to established, as well as a wide variety of artwork, including small sculpture, paintings, drawings and photography. Knowing Jorge, you can expect the artwork to be a bit avant garde, but perfect for those looking for unique artwork to adorn their homes.

Jorge also plans on featuring performance artists, jewelry-makers and more. In the long run he’d like to showcase fashion presentations and designers that inspire him. “There are a lot of designers that have beautiful work but no outlet. I’d like to show San Antonio fashion they’ve never seen before,” said Jorge.

According to Jorge, the name of the gallery is an homage to his great grandmother, whose front doors from her home in Mexico are now part of the gallery’s décor. “She lived until she was 99 years old and had 11 kids. Only two survived until adulthood and one was my grandmother. Lucha is the effort you put in to getting out of a situation, a struggle,” he shared.

Lucha is located downtown at 316 N. Flores, close to the Robert E. Lee Hotel. You can find them on Facebook or call 347-348-5394 for details. They will be hosting monthly art shows. Plus the artwork will available for viewing and purchasing during receptions or by appointment.

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