Recent Stories

May 7, 2018

Sebastian Construction Group’s 70th Anniversary

At the end of April, hundreds of employees, friends and colleagues gathered to commemorate Sebastian Construction Group’s 70th year in business. It’s rare that a company makes it to the five year mark, let alone celebrates its platinum anniversary. We think Sebastian’s longevity is a credit to the strong foundation and values instilled by its founder, George Sebastian.

John and Patti Sebastian’s Walnut Creek Farm made a warm and relaxing venue for guests to celebrate Sebastian Construction Group’s 70th anniversary.

George Sebastian, self-trained architect, client advocate and quality fanatic

George Sebastian, a graduate of Southern Methodist University, returned from fighting in World War II’s Pacific theater and began building homes to support the expanding Dallas population. In the next decade, this self-trained architect shifted his focus to renovating the grand homes of the Highland Park area.

In the 1980s, George and his John Sebastian, fresh from Texas Tech and armed with his architecture degree, worked together, growing Sebastian’s reputation for quality in the Dallas area.

In 1991, the company’s name was changed to Sebastian & Associates to reflect the increasing role John played in their growth and development. George Sebastian passed away in 1992, leaving a legacy of commitment to the highest level of quality.

Sebastian Construction Group today

John began to integrate commercial contracting systems for cost, schedule and quality control to better deliver the large complex new residential projects that form the company’s core business.

Today, with more than 50 talented associates in Dallas and Houston, specializing in estimating, field supervision, project management and construction accounting, Sebastian Construction Group builds even the most challenging projects with warmth, collaboration, expertise and a passion for excellence.

 

Recent Stories

April 2, 2018

Texas Modern Style Featured in AD


Never content to “follow the herd” Texas architects invented a unique architectural style dubbed Texas Modernism. A recent issue of Architectural Digest highlights the origins of the style: “In the 1920s and ’30s, architects like David Williams and O’Neil Ford pioneered Texas modernism, a movement defined by steel, big windows, limestone, and a straightforward boxiness.”

Sebastian Construction Group built modern architecture, Watuaga, stone
[Photos: Watuaga Residence. Architect: Lake|Flato. Built by Sebastian Construction Group.]

Design aficionado Helen Thompson, Editor at Large for Luxury Interiors Texas, penned the intro for the new book, Texas Modern: Redefining Houses in the Lone Star State ($60, Images)

Tracing the roots of Texas Modern from its founding nearly a century ago to today’s finest examples of the style, this coffee table delight highlights modern Texas homes by some of our favorite architectural firms.

Here are three firms whose work is featured in the book:

SmithArc

Early experience working with Texas architecture icons Dick Clark, FAIA and Emily Summers Design Associates shaped the principals’ interpretation of Texas Modern, but the result is uniquely their own. This husband and wife team designed three residences featured in Texas Modern: Brookview Residence, Caruth Residence and Southwestern Residence. All three homes exude Smitharc’s signature style: light-filled, inviting and functional.

Miro Rivera

The Texas Society of Architects named Miro Rivera Architects of Austin, the 2016 Texas Firm of the Year, saying “The firm has advanced the quality of the built environment and truly raised the bar for AIA and professional practice.” The Architectural Digest article featured Miro Rivera’s Vertical House, a 5-story Dallas residence.

Here’s a description of the Vertical House from ArchDaily.com:

“Located on one of the few lots in Dallas elevated enough to enjoy a view of the downtown skyline, the five-story Vertical House rises dramatically above the treetops to capture views of the surrounding gardens and the skyline beyond. Characterized by clean lines, sheer glass walls, and sculptural sun shades, this sharply-detailed house offers an intriguing counterpoint to the tropical ambiance of its forest-like setting.”

Lake | Flato

Modern Luxury Interiors of Texas named Lake | Flato Best Architecture Firm 2017. The San Antonio-based firm is known for “designing houses that resonate with the inherent nature of each site, respond to the region’s climate and connect its inhabitants to the natural environment.”

Sebastian Construction Group teamed with Lake|Flato on the Watuaga Residence, a home that is rooted in its surroundings and demonstrates the high quality construction and craftsmanship that both firms are known for.

Recent Stories

March 5, 2018

What High End Builders Do (and Don’t) Put in Their Homes

In a Wall Street Journal article, What Luxury Home Builders Consider Worth the Splurge, the subheadline reads, “In their own homes, construction-company bosses will spend money on the best materials and perks like seven ovens and a dog-grooming room. But some eschew complex home-automation systems.”

The Journal article goes on to say “What builders consider worthy of including—or excluding—from their personal homes can be revealing.”

Let’s take a closer look at what high end home builders put into their own homes and what they view as an unnecessary expense.

YES: High quality design, materials, finishes.

Luxury home builders profiled in the Wall Street Journal article invest in the best materials and craftsmanship for their homes. Sebastian Construction Group President John Sebastian agrees with those priorities, believing that quality trumps size or trendy amenities that don’t fit your lifestyle.

As he told DHome magazine in the January/February 2017 issue, “If budget is a concern, build smaller to maintain a high level of quality. You will never miss the space, but you will enjoy the craftsmanship for decades.”

NO: Additional square footage, especially bedrooms you’ll never use.

Rather than square footage, John Sebastian advises clients to invest in design. “Great construction quality and great architecture are smart investments. These qualities will increase the value of the house – not the square footage.”

There’s one more benefit to trading footage for higher quality – when it comes time to sell the house, it often commands a higher price.

A February 2017 article in the Wall Street Journal’s Mansion section noted that some luxury homeowners are following John’s edict to choose quality over footage by reducing the number of bedrooms in their luxury homes. (“Some Luxury Homeowners Scale Back on Extra Bedrooms.“)

Another area where builders of high end homes buck the conventional wisdom? “Green” features and the latest “smart” home systems.

YES: Features that reduce the overall maintenance and operating burden.

John Sebastian notes that while his clients value home features that reduce maintenance and save operating expenses over the years of ownership, most do not prioritize being “green” for the sake of achieving a certification or award.

NO: The latest all-in-one technology.

Sometimes a client’s negative experience serves as a deterrent for the builder who’s crafting his own high end home: “They are also able to use clients’ experiences to inform their choices. Mr. Karp knew to stay away from a complicated, multi-device, iPad-controlled “smart home” technology system because he has fielded so many complaints about them from customers.”

Jerry Nogalski, Sebastian Construction Group’s Client Care Manager echoes Karp’s experience. Nogalski’s department handles Sebastian’s clients’ post-move-in needs. His loyal following of clients rely on his department to schedule all of their warranty work, minor projects after move-in, maintenance work, or any other needs that may arise.

“People need to remember technology changes every day and their system can be out of date within a year of it being installed.”

Nogalski relates a few of the most common problems of all-in-one smart home systems:

“The biggest issue is when the home loses power.  A generator or battery backup may turn on, but some of these systems are so sensitive that it may cause other parts of the system to go down…which causes client frustrations.  The other is modules failing. These are the brains of the lighting system.”

Recent Stories

February 12, 2018

3 home features to plan BEFORE you start building

Building a new residence is an exciting project, filled with decisions about rooms, exterior elevations, and amenities. But while there are some features that may be less thrilling than the pool, porte cochere or show garage, these elements have a big impact on the enjoyment of your home.

Lighting is something we take for granted and underestimate its potential to transform a space. Without good lighting, the impact of all the other well-thought out details – flooring, sumptuous furnishings, beautiful wallcoverings – is lost.

The solution? Plan your lighting as part of the architectural design.

“The more detail you can confirm before embarking on a lighting scheme, the better the lighting will be, ” says an article on Freshome.com.

Why not wait until construction is complete? One big reason – you must have the compatible wiring available for your lighting fixtures. Tearing up a ceiling to add wiring later is an expensive and disruptive proposition. You also want to be sure that the builders include the right support and boxing for heavy fixtures, like chandeliers.

By integrating the lighting plan into the architectural design, the contractor can build the necessary infrastructure to make it a reality.

Interior designer Elle Cole, Founder and Creative Director of Elle Cole Interiors, explains the best approach, “Speaking for window treatments, it’s best to walk the project during framing/electrical phase with the General Contractor in the event you’re using hard-wired motorized shades or need additional blocking to support treatments.”

Acoustical issues are rarely a top of mind issue for those in the planning stages of a new residence, but they should be. In Sebastian Construction Group’s survey, 2018 State of High End Residential Architecture, acoustical consultants were part of the typical project team less than 13% of the time.

Noise in a home is an issue that is commonly overlooked, until post-construction conditions are so unpleasant that the owner is driven to find a solution – often at a cost ten to a hundred times what it would have been to address it in the design phase.

A New York Times article on soundproofing New York apartments agains city noise notes, “The solution is seldom as simple as adding insulation. Noise is insidious. No two room hums are exactly alike, and what silences one might make another worse.”

The article goes on to say, “Part of the difficulty in damping sound is that it moves in two ways. Both high- and low-pitched noises can be airborne, like a child’s incessant piano practice that comes through a wall. Low-pitched noise, like the grating sound of a chair scraping the floor above, tends to move as vibration through a structure’s framing. Sometimes it’s a combination of the two, like from a TV mounted on a common wall.”

Bottom line: calling in an acoustical expert to consult on the design of your residence before it’s built may add a few thousand dollars to the price tag, but it can potentially save tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in fixing noise issues post-construction (not to mention the loss of sleep, recreation and enjoyment of your home!)