Michael Turner 2013

Sure, when a builder or architect wants to show off their skills, you can sometimes end up with a structure that is beautiful but not very practical. For Michael Turner and his firm, Classic Urban Homes, they stay true to their motto: “Building for the way people really live.”

You can see that in his work, which has won numerous awards. Find out more about Turner and his firm, a CandysDirt.com Approved Builder, after the jump!

CandysDirt.com: Where are you from?
Michael Turner: I grew up in Arlington.

CD: How did you get into custom home construction?
Turner: Started working for a builder in high school and it just stuck.

CD: What project are you most proud of?
Turner: The “Serenity House” at 6720 Greenwich, a 4,238-square-foot modern home that won 8 ARC awards including best overall architecture and interior design. Designed in collaboration with WARE Architecture Studio, it was featured in the 2013 Dallas Modern Home Tour.

6720 Greenwich ext

CD: Where is home for you in Dallas?
Turner: I live near the Midway/Forest area.

CD: What’s your favorite neighborhood in Dallas to build in and why?
Turner: Bluffview, because it is an eclectic neighborhood and lends itself to more variety and not cookie-cutter homes.

CD: What materials or shapes evoke your signature style?
Turner: Clean lines, linear design, functional, uncluttered, liveable. Our tag line is: “Building for the way people really live.”™

CD: What was your most challenging/memorable project?
Turner: 6720 Greenwich, because of the amount of glass in the design and the steel substructure that was required.

6720 Greenwich DR

CD: From concept to completion, what is the fastest you have completed a project?
Turner: Six months (Editor’s Note: WOW!!!)

CD: How many projects reached completion last year?
Turner: Six.

CD: What have you learned about building that makes you so successful?
Turner: Always be responsive, respectful, and be there to answer any questions from clients to subcontractors. Having a good team in place to make things run smoothly.

CD: If you ever change careers for an encore you’ll…
Turner: Work in the medical field since it is recession proof.

Saving the Environment One Drop at a Time: Starting Today, I’m Going Tankless

Busy day here yesterday at the ranch, as we emptied and discarded these babies for an Eternal GU 195S on demand hybrid gas fired water heater. In effect, we are going tankless. Woo hoo! These two hot water heaters are 12 years old, about the age when they start to break down. One broke on Christmas Eve, but it was no big deal because our hot water heaters sit in pans that have drains attached — water bugs notified us of the leak while we were at church. We turned off the broken unit and used the other one — the joy of being empty nesters!  A few weeks ago, I heard rumblings in hot water heater II — it was loud and bouncy, as if pebbles were popping inside. Was someone having a party in there?

Sure enough, that popping noise is a sign of sediment in the heater tank, an indication it’s about to bite the dust. This happened, of course, when I was in San Francisco last week. But if a hot water heater is going to break, late July is probably the best time ever. Sonny over at Great Southwest Plumbing saved the day — Sonny does all the plumbing for Classic Urban Homes and JLD Custom Homes, among other fine Dallas home builders– as you know, I’m picky about my homebuilders.

When you replace those big momma heaters and go tankless, it may not always be so smooth. Check for a few things: one, we have 3/4 inch copper pipes, at least 3/4 inch is required. Secondly, the roof vents: we chose the Eternal because we could vent it into the same roof vent both heaters had used, using the same flashing. I have done enough home remodeling to know you are asking for trouble when you start cutting new holes into a roof. We also needed an electrical outlet in the attic, and God bless my home builder, we had one.

These are the pesky details, that make “going green” so hard to carry out in reality. Had our home been fitted with small pipes, would have been a whole lot more labor and retro-fitting!

Did we run into any problems? Only one: we have a fire sprinkler system installed by Urban Fire Protection. The plumbers were cautious and didn’t want to go about soldering in the attic with the risk of setting off the fire sprinklers — that would have been a disaster! The good folks at Urban Fire talked us through shutting down and draining the sprinkler system so they could solder away. Another reason why you need intelligent, cautious people on the job!

The Eternal is so compact I may create a storage closet in the space those old heaters hogged. Our water is very hot and seems to get hot faster: we are getting 14 gallons per minute, so two or three people can shower simultaneously and still have hot water, plenty of it.

As for those two big mamma tanks, one of the plumbers says he’s going to recycle them into a BBQ pit… and promises to send photos!

Clean Lines, New Construction, Close In, What Am I Smoking? Classic Urban Homes

This post is for our friend ML, who wrote asking why in the bezonkers you cannot find a decent, clean-lined home in Dallas around $500,000 that doesn’t send you to the vomitorium with a stomach full of turrets, medallions and hand-troweled Old Worldliness. Yeah, remember they also had syphilis is the Old World!

I present a home by Classic Urban Homes at 8427 Lakemont: clean lines, efficient design, multi-functional spaces, the latest in high performance. Four bedrooms, three full baths, 1 living area (who the hell needs more?) two car garage, 3187 square feet. Low water usage fixtures, extra insulation, 16 SEER HVAC units, radiant barrier decking, triple low E windows, registered with Green Built Texas and Energy Rated. It was listed for $565,000 and unfortunately, it sold but more are coming on the horizon including a profile of the amazing builders once I finish up with family obligations. Stay tuned, stay very tuned.