Project Features

April 9, 2018

Architecture Week 2018

National Architecture Week
April 8, 2018 to April 14, 2018

As we reflect on National Architecture Week, we look to one of our partners to express the value of architecture to the world.

Architect Michael Imber, founder of eponymous firm Michael G. Imber Architects, PLLC, appeared on recently, having penned an essay for AD PRO’s Design Takeover, examining art’s changing role in the architecture process.

“In the past, architects were always seen as the ultimate artists, visualizing imaginary buildings and places deep within the recesses of their imagination and teasing them out in paint or pencil.”

[Above: Sebastian Construction Group president, John Sebastian and architect Michael Imber on site at their project, Rancho Sabino Grande.]

Like Imber, we believe that the best architects are the ultimate artists; individuals who weave art and science to create structures that inspire us to our highest selves.

Our passion for architecture drives us to execute the architect’s design intent on every residence we build.

John Sebastian’s background and passion for architecture (he has a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Texas Tech University) carries through our entire staff who share the same commitment to faithfully execute the design intent on every project.

At Sebastian, we view our role as collaborator with the architect. We work together to bring the artistic vision into form.


Project Features

March 26, 2018

Featured: Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects

“Synonymous with modern wine-country style” is how Architectural Digest describes the work of Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects.

Looking at these images of our Westlake project’s dining trellis and aerial view, you can definitely spot the AD 100 firm’s signature style: earthy materials, sunbaked palettes, free-flowing floor plans that maximize light and exposure to natural surroundings.

Westlake Residence, built by Sebastian, recovered materials

The dining trellis at the Westlake Residence.

Westlake, the tiny town of 1000 residents, was named the most affluent neighborhood in the country by Forbes. It’s no surprise: Westlake pairs lush country living with proximity to Dallas and Fort Worth amenities. Residents report seeing longhorns, bison, hawks and coyotes regularly. In short, it’s the perfect canvas for Backen, Gillam & Kroeger.

(One of the many interesting features of the Westlake Residence – built by Sebastian – is its use of recovered and salvaged materials: a barn made with wood from a dismantled Idaho lumber mill and horse troughs cut from one thousand year old logs. See more here.)

Backen, Gillam & Kroeger’s experience in specialty building types covers a broad spectrum, including private residences, resorts, restaurants and wineries. In the 20 years since its opening, the firm has designed over 50 upscale homes, 40 wineries, seven major resorts, 20 restaurants, a new line of retail stores for RH (Restoration Hardware) and Williams Sonoma Home, an equestrian center, The Napa Valley Reserve, and the Performing Arts Center for St. Helena, Calif. Many of Backen, Gillam & Kroeger’s projects are complex, multi-use properties, and all are built to the firm’s carefully designed master plans.

Headquartered in Sausalito, CA, just outside San Francisco, the firm has been featured as one of the top 100 Architects in Architectural Digest (2007-2016) and one of the top 30 in the Robb Report. (See Robb Report’s feature on “Napa’s legendary LOKOYA WINERY, where the visionary team at Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects renovated a half-century-old European-style castle with an eye toward expressing the original stone and concrete structure through a contemporary design approach.”)

In 1992, firm founder and principal, Howard J. Backen was awarded a Fellowship in the American Institute of Architects, the highest honor in the profession and served as a juror for the California AIA awards in 2001.

Project Features

February 26, 2018

Featured: Michael G. Imber Architects

Michael Imber, founder of eponymous firm Michael G. Imber Architects, PLLC, describes it as a “modern classical design firm.” That polarity of design styles is summed up in a description of the firm as “known for historic sentiment, modern execution.

Imber is known for his ranch and country houses throughout Texas, but also for designing buildings from the Bahamas to California, Colorado and Costa Rica.

Utopia Texas Ranch built by Sebastian Construction Group[Above, Rancho Sabino Grande, a Michael Imber-designed project, built by Sebastian Construction Group. In progress.]

It was Imber’s deep love of the history of architecture, first in Texas and then the wider US, which led the native Texas to travel east to launch his early career in the Washington DC firm of classicist Allan Greenberg, honing his drawing and drafting skills.

He returned to Texas and founded his eponymous firm in San Antonio in 1992.

Imber is both a scholar and a practitioner (he’s an instructor for Harvard University Graduate School of Design’s Executive Education program.) His love of classical architecture led to his role as founding president of the Texas chapter of ICAA (Institute of Classical Architecture and Art.)

He’s known for matching traditional styles to local conditions, from a German Sunday House in Texas Hill Country to a Carpenter Gothic home in Galveston that withstood the landing of Hurricane Ike, shortly after completion.

A 2013 article on the website commemorates the publication of his coffee table book titled “Michael G. Imber: Ranches, Villas and Houses.” In the article, Imber outlines his three goals when designing a home:

  • Meet the client’s needs (which involves a lot of conversation).
  • Marry the building with the landscape (which requires a lot of contemplation and sketching skill).
  • Create an architecture that is meaningful to the client and the culture (which means research of the region where the project is located).

Another profile in San Antonio Express-News highlights the deep thought that goes into Imber’s process: “He begins his designs by considering the land through watercolors and then develops his ideas in relation to climate and local historical references,” writes Elizabeth Dowling, professor emerita of architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology and author of “Ranches, Villas and Houses.”

Imber’s work has been featured in many local and national publications such as Coastal Living, New Old House, Texas Architect, Western Interiors, Southern Accents and Period Homes. He’s also racked up dozens of prestigious local and national design awards, starting with a Texas American Institute of Architects award in 1997. He later earned the 2007 Arthur Ross Award for commitment to the Classical tradition in residential architecture, the highest honor of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art, along with three Palladio awards and the Texas Society of Architect’s William W. Caudill, FAIA Award.

Collaborating on Rancho Sabino Grande

The project known as Rancho Sabino Grande is Sebastian’s collaboration with Michael Imber. It’s underway in the Hill Country, west of San Antonio. Imber’s website features drawings of the project, along with  photos of the architect sketching the landscape.

Above: Sebastian Construction Group President John Sebastian and Michael Imber, FAIA, outside the Rancho Sabino Grande project

Project Features

February 5, 2018

Philip Johnson-designed home in Dallas

Always wanted to own an architecturally significant home? Here’s your chance: Strait Lane, the home commissioned by Dallas construction titan Henry C. Beck, Jr. is on the market.

Featured in a New York Times article, The Beck House, as it was known, is the only Philip Johnson-designed house in Dallas. Johnson is one of the best-known modernists, having designed such iconic structures as the Seagram Building in New York with Mies van der Rohe, the Pennzoil Palace in Houston and the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, “a soaring glass neo-Gothic megachurch for the Reverend Robert H. Schuller.”

Johnson’s Glass House (his own residence) has been described as “one of the 20th century’s greatest residential structures.”

Strait Lane was commissioned in 1964. After falling into disrepair, the home’s meticulous 2002-2008 restoration was the subject of a New York Times feature. Dallas architects Bodron+Fruit and landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand of Cambridge MA completely renewed the dilapidated structure and grounds, retaining the clean lines but recreating the space as a family-friendly home. Sebastian performed the construction.

The facade of tall slender arches of Strait Lane echoes the Lake Pavilion on the grounds of Johnson’s Glass House:

“…the arches are impressive from without and frame romantic views of the house’s six-and-a-half-acre site from within. A two-story atrium with a curved double staircase and a dining room that mimics the umbrella-vaulted interior of the Glass House’s guest quarters only add to its allure.” (New York Times, April 2010.)