Texas Casual Cottages Built on a Quality Foundation
Texas Casual Cottages, a country original based just north of Round Top, is built on the 30-year-old foundation laid by its parent company, Partners in Building.
“The customized quality, service and efficiency customers across the state expect from a Partners in Building custom home are the cornerstones of a Texas Casual Cottage,” said Paul Womack, vice president of marketing. “Thanks to our experienced teams and track record of success, dreams of country living come true without the nightmare of uncertainty.”
As a fixed-price builder, Texas Casual Cottages removes the uncertainty of cost overruns.
“Before our clients sign a contract with us, they know exactly how much they are going to pay for their finished house,” said Chris Lemming, area manager for Texas Casual Cottages. “No surprises.”
Texas Casual Cottages brings exacting city standards to the rolling hills of the Brazos River Valley service area, which stretches roughly from Waller County on the east to Bastrop County on the west and Brazos County on the north to Austin and Colorado counties on the south.
Because Partners in Building constructs 250 homes per year, Texas Casual Cottages’ customers benefit from the team’s high-production capacity without sacrificing personal service. High-volume, custom construction translates into no waiting lists and homes built from start to finish in a year or less.
“Our business is designed for volume, so we’ve got the capacity to meet customers’ needs when they are ready to build,” Lemming said. “When it comes to our sub-contractors, we have a deep bench of local and Houston-based talent, so we are able to build on a schedule dictated by the calendar not by the availability of craftsmen.”
The pre-build phase, which includes site visits, plan design and interior design selections, takes about two months, and the construction phase lasts eight – 10 months with weather being the biggest variable.
“Our goal is to take all of the headaches and hassles out of the custom homebuilding process,” Womack said.
“Our clientele expects top-of-the-line, turn-key service—and that’s what we deliver.”
For instance, the Texas Casual Cottages’ team will help clients select the optimum building site on their land. The team also arranges for the installation of utilities and infrastructure such as septic systems and roads, which is a step homeowners who have never built in rural areas may not anticipate.
The pre-build process also includes ongoing help from an interior design professional. Texas Casual Cottages’ clients are assigned one from the company’s group of interior designers who work from the company’s 6,000-square-foot design center conveniently located off the Sam Houston Parkway in Houston.
“The designer will be accessible throughout the entire project but in the early stages will meet with the clients to help them select the color scheme, fixtures, flooring, cabinetry and countertops to ensure that the clients have a personal expression of their style that is aesthetically pleasing and livable,” Lemming said.
Features standard to Texas Casual Cottages are upgrades at many other builders. Some, such as the superior framing techniques and customized air-conditioning designs, are “invisible,” while others, such as the granite in all of the wet areas and higher-grade flooring and metal roofing, are easy to see. Partners in Building is an Environments for Living Platinum building partner, so the energy efficiency built into each home is exceptional. Plus, each Texas Casual Cottage comes with a 10-year limited warranty.
Client choices are frontloaded into the process, so all materials can be ordered and available when the workmen are ready. Not only does this allow the company to maintain its progressive schedule, but it gives clients freedom during the build.
“Once we’ve had our initial site meetings, our clients don’t have to come back to the build site unless they want to,” Womack said. “They’re busy people with full lives. They trust us to do what we know how to do.”
Lemming cited two recent examples when clients went on six- and nine-month trips abroad during the construction phase and came back to completely finished homes.
“They made their selections, and we agreed on a plan,” Lemming said. “When necessary, we communicated by Skype and shared photos along the way. Our plans, processes and experience provide peace of mind.”
Peace of mind is the ultimate goal of country living.
“Our clients aren’t building a home in the country on a whim,” Womack said. “For years, many of them have pondered the question: ‘What would I do in the country?’ The home we build for them is the first part of the answer.”
He continued, “Texas Casual Cottages is successful because we take time to understand individual dreams—and deliver them.”
The Texas Casual Cottages’ team not only builds country homes but a sense of community.
“We think the Brazos River Valley is a wonderful place to live, chock-full of interesting things and interesting people,” Lemming said. “We want to help our clients ‘get planted’ in this area.”
While every client is different, the team noticed some distinct commonalities. Many are Baby Boomers who have either retired or are working toward retirement and have a primary home in one of Houston’s established neighborhoods such as Tanglewood, Memorial, West U or River Oaks. Most have grandchildren and a desire to give their families a place to connect to nature and one another.
“Our clients’ country places are more than houses; they are places to build family memories,” Womack said. “They are where family traditions are born and bred.”
The Texas Casual Cottages team recognized the fertile common ground and created opportunities for connection. Each month the team hosts an event at the company’s model home park, two miles north of Round Top, as part of its on-going Back Porch series.
While every event features live music, food from local restaurants, adult libations and a chance to meet the neighbors, each is built around a different experience. Sometimes it’s a chance to learn from a beekeeper or a sommelier or view all of the equipment that might be necessary to keep a country place in top shape. Other times it’s a chance to play games or even visit with Santa Claus.
In May the team launched a second series of social events under the umbrella of the Women’s Club. In talking with their female clients, it became apparent to the team that many of the women weren’t nearly as excited about spending their free time driving tractors or working on the property as their husbands were.
Each month the team organizes a women’s-only outing to a local restaurant, shopping trip or destination such as Round Top’s Festival Hill or the area’s Painted Churches. At the inaugural event, 26 women accepted the invitation to lunch at Feed & Firewater in Round Top. Many clients brought a neighbor or family member to enjoy the fun.
“Our female clients want to build their own network in the country,” Lemming said. “We provide the vehicle—and then stay out of the way so the networks can grow naturally.”
by Lorie A. Woodward
photos courtesy of Texas Casual Cottages