House 610, in San Antonio’s Alamo Heights, was designed and built by Craig McMahon Architects. Craig’s brother Cavan McMahon, owner of Half Inch of Water Studios, did the detail work, including building the home’s steel and wood cabinetry, concrete countertops, and weathered steel fireplace (Photo: Dror Baldinger).

July 01, 2016
By Teresa Burney

Craig and Cavan McMahon’s mother didn’t want her sons to go into the construction business. She hoped to spare them the toll the family’s concrete business took on loved ones’ bodies and souls, so she steered both sons toward artistic endeavors.

April 14, 2016
By Mette Aamodt, AIA

Big egos. Incomplete documents. Design changes. These are some of the common complaints builders have about architects. 

April 08, 2016

Italian architect and engineer Renzo Piano once said, “If you have total freedom, then you are in trouble. It’s much better when you have some obligation, some discipline, some rules.” Piano’s quote nicely encapsulates why my favorite housing type is urban (and suburban) infill. 

January 11, 2016

If you’ve been building homes long enough, you probably recognize this scenario, or something close to it: A client phones you, perhaps at an inappropriate time, frantic that maybe the pantry your subs just drywalled is a bit on the small side.

November 12, 2015

The ability to step back and look at the big picture is a luxury, particularly for anybody running his or her own company. 

September 21, 2015

Being able to walk between two studs without bumping your toolbelt against the wall frame or having to turn your torso to fit through the space is a simple pleasure that could win over the trades to see the broader benefits of pushing the envelope.

July 01, 2015

Writing a couple of articles for this issue and for the previous one about recycling and salvage conjured memories of my Dumpster misadventures years ago. When my brothers and I were old enough to pull a hoe, my dad had us labor for his tuck-pointing jobs on Saturdays.

May 11, 2015

Efficiency is in the blood of a carpenter, and Florida builder Josh Wynne, profiled in “Custom Builders on the Move,” relies on a lot of common sense to build what he has learned along the way.

February 26, 2015

When I see surveys that show most Millennials aspire to buy a home, I think of Australia.

November 11, 2014

During a question and answer session at a recent industry conference, a home builder asked Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi for his thoughts about the labor situation in light of young people not being interested in entering the trades. 

Numbers can be funny things. When the population for a subset of consumers is large enough, then plausible projections follow about how that group will impact macro economics.

The idea of running my home from a smartphone sounds like the ultimate in convenience and control.

Politics are local; real estate obviously is local, and the rate of economic recovery varies by locale. Talk to builders in Orange County, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Florida, and they’ll tell you their businesses are furiously busy.

Great design starts at the high end of the market, and that is the rarified air in which custom and luxury home builders work. If a no-step shower with 12 body spray heads, slim sink for the kitchen, or wine bar is on their clients’ wish lists, these builders are going to embrace it.

Remember Body Smart chocolate bars and fruit chews? I bet you don’t.

At one point during my three days of walking the Las Vegas Convention Center and taking in the new products at the combined International Builders’ Show/Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, I was standing in the shuttle bus line with a few designers.

A trend I am seeing throughout the country is that builders are stepping up their game relating to elevations. Why? In past years the consumer has been influenced primarily by what they see in their neighborhoods, while traveling, or on television.

I have taken quite the respite from my blogging activities, despite statistics that showed a growing readership.  For whatever reasons, I felt the blogging juice just didn’t justify the squeeze.  I wrote of topics ranging from referral sales, to customer service, to ultra-marathon running in an a


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A scientist and an accountant combine their varied skills in a sustainable building company

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