What’s Hot in Bespoke House Construction


DMagazine surveyed the best builders in Dallas to find out what’s happening in the world of custom home construction. I consider the Dallas market very influential due to the healthy economy and the population growth of the area.  Trends I found especially interesting: home sizes (4,000-7,000 sq. ft), marble counters, huge pantry spaces, and the growing demand for safe rooms as protection against tornadoes.

Read on below for more details.


Builders told us most people building homes today are either working professionals with kids or empty nesters. And despite the influx of folks from out of state, most business is coming from locals wanting bigger, better digs.


In casual conversation, people talk about living smarter—and that suggests more efficient usage of space. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that houses are getting smaller. Most builders say their average square footage ranges from 4,000 to 7,000—although we had a few that said their average homes were in the 14,000 (!) range.


“Clean” and “modern” are the most common words bandied about by prospective clients, but this is Dallas. Most homeowners aren’t ready to live in a Richard Meier-inspired manse. What they really mean is they want something “transitional,” which basically means cleaner lines and lots of windows.


We asked what materials our experts are seeing for tile, hardware and flooring. Subway tile and hardwoods are still happening. Natural stone flooring and countertops are also more common. Brass is making a comeback, and homeowners seem less averse to color.


Homeowners may be willing to spend $7 million on a house, but they don’t want to spend a lot on utility bills. “Energy efficiency” has become de rigueur in custom homes, but we wondered what that meant on the most basic level. As in, what are builders using for insulation? Pretty much everyone we spoke to said they use foam.


Dallas folks love marble. They don’t want to hear about how easily they stain. But there are other options. Manufactured materials like Silestone and Caesarstone are sleek and require no maintenance. Other builders mentioned Dekton, Neolith, recycled glass, stainless steel, and even butcher wood.


Engineered cabinetry from companies such as Poggenpohl, Bulthaup, Ornare, and Bentwood of Dallas are gaining popularity for a variety of reasons: They are gorgeous, well-made, and offer cool organizational wizardry. When we asked about finishes on custom cabinets, the answers varied wildly from stain-grade wood to paint grade.


With all this talk of using less space in smarter ways, what does that mean for the pantry? The consensus: This space is more important than ever. That could mean integrating space within the kitchen or a bigger, better room off the kitchen that provides storage but also pulls double duty as a prep area, silver storage, and even home to an additional refrigerator or ice machine.


High-end coffee makers seem to be urgently needed by Dallas families at the moment, but we also heard about steam ovens, warming drawers, ice machines, and more. And while we don’t expect the reign of stainless to end anytime soon, it is nice to know that people are opting for other finishes.


Fans of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills are very familiar with Yolanda Foster’s amazing kitchen—and more specifically, her gorgeous glass refrigerator. We are obsessed.


Security is a chief concern for homeowners, so we wondered how often people are putting in safe rooms. More often than they used to, as it turns out. Many of the builders could not speak to specifics for confidentiality reasons, but the spaces are often more of a protection against Mother Nature than jewel thieves.


You can run the world with your iPhone, so it’s not super surprising that you can run a house with it, too. You can arm and disarm a security system just as easily as you can set the DVR to record Mad Men. You can also control temperature, cameras, sound systems, and lights from anywhere. 

Link to full article with builder quotes here.

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