Modular Homes Gaining Popularity In Parts Of Houston

Darren Kincaid - Tuesday, May 15, 2018

We are pleased to be featured in the Houston Chronicle and Houston Public Media for our work with Prefabricated Modular Homes, or Prefab Offsite construction.

Modular Homes Gaining Popularity In Parts Of Houston

The Houston Chronicle reported in about four months, these so-called modules will have been transformed into a 3,000-square-foot, architect-designed house clad in glass, siding and masonry blocks centered around a courtyard

| POSTED ONMAY 17, 2018, 12:26 PM (LAST UPDATED: MAY 20, 2018, 9:42 AM)

Some neighbors in Houston recently watched as a remote-controlled hydraulic mover called a platypus carried a structure the size of a mobile home onto a lot in the Heights where it joined two others like it. Three more were on their way.

The Houston Chronicle reports in about four months, these so-called prefab modules — framed concrete slabs made in a warehouse in Navasota — will have been transformed into a 3,000-square-foot, architect-designed house clad in glass, siding and masonry blocks centered around a courtyard.

“It’s going to look like a custom home,” said Wayne Braun, owner of the 6,250-square- foot lot near Fitzgerald’s night club.

The design, he said, is meant to blend in with the Heights, “particularly that part of the neighborhood where we have bungalows and little warehouses.”

The house is a project of Evolution Building Systems, a Houston company recently formed by husband and wife architects.

Rame and Russell Hruska started their architecture practice in Houston in 2001 and later expanded into residential construction. They launched Evolution last year. “We’ve always been interested in prefab and different ways to build,” said Rame Hruska. “We look at offsite construction and really see it as a better way to build and really the future of construction.”

Advantages can include shorter construction schedules, reduced waste and increased labor productivity, according to industry research cited in a report from the National Institute of Building Sciences. Disadvantages include transportation restrictions that limit module size and limited flexibility in future renovations.

The modules making up Braun’s home are fabricated in a warehouse in Navasota, about 80 miles northwest of Houston.

The warehouse is operated by GroundForce Building Systems, a company that builds modular homes and commercial buildings on wood and concrete slabs and then delivers them on special movers to sites across the state. Evolution has an agreement with GroundForce that allows it to use the company’s concrete foundation system technology.

The Hruskas say modular home building is more predictable and reliable.

It eliminates onsite construction variables that are hard to control, like weather and labor availability. Construction theft becomes less of an issue. Neighbors, too, experience fewer nuisances with less waste, noise and overall activity.

“Construction is disruptive,” said Steve Heiney, a Heights resident who was riding his bicycle when he stopped to watch the modules being moved onto Braun’s lot. When his neighbor’s house was under construction, there was often garbage and debris in his yard.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation inspects the modules before they leave the factory.

“There’s a lot more assurance that things will be built correctly,” Rame Hruska said.

“The walls, for example, get built on jigs that lay flat, so it’s a much more precision-built process than just building in the field.”

Construction costs can be $175 per square foot or more depending on size and finishes. That is on par with traditional custom home construction, she said, but it’s done in half the time.

Modular construction is more common in other markets where labor costs are higher, Russell Hruska said.

Large production builders don’t have the same incentives as small, custom builders to go modular.

“This won’t be something right now that replaces a tract home development on the west side of town,” he said. “They get similar economies as offsite construction because they’re building repetitively down a street.”

Designing for a Family Lifestyle

Darren Kincaid - Thursday, March 01, 2018

This garden Oaks home was designed for a family lifestyle with children in mind. In the planning of the layout children’s rooms are accessible from the master but also maintain privacy. An open play area on the second floor facilitates creative play with ample storage space. Children’s bedrooms include closets with organizational storage as well as toy storage in the rooms. Universal design which is often used for aging in place also helps with designing for a family and children through details such as single lever faucets or universal design lever style door hardware. Zero threshold finishes minimize tripping hazards and also facilitate universal design. Safety is also a concern with stairs and handrails. Ensuring young children cannot climb on railings and often going above code requirements for peace of mind are key considerations in design. The mudroom features places for shoes and backpacks so immediately upon entering after schools kids have places for their belongings. The pool includes easy access to a bathroom so wet feet don’t have to travel through the home. Designing for a family also includes thinking about how spaces need to adapt as children grow, including places for homework and flexibility as needs change. This garden oaks home is a great example of designing for a family lifestyle.


Designing for Multigenerational lifestyle

Darren Kincaid - Thursday, February 01, 2018

The growing trend of Multigenerational housing offers many benefits. Families share initial housing and land costs as well as the monthly recurring costs. It can offer flexibility in childcare for younger generations while older generations spend more time with grandchildren. The key in designing multigenerational housing is to offer spaces for family togetherness as well as privacy. In this Flint River home in Memorial, the younger family and older couple each have private wings or suites while the main spaces act as gathering areas. Both generations share a love of books and the library became the great room and central core of the home. Universal design and aging in place were also important factors designing spaces that can be used with future needs in mind. Details such as a zero threshold shower, and single lever faucets support Universal design and aging in place. Door widths and flooring transitions were also designed for future needs of Universal design and aging in place. At the same time, safety and the needs of young children were also considered. The lot in Memorial offered a large backyard and areas for children to play. In fact this new Memorial home now occupies the site where the older couple once raised their young children and now has come full circle with the evolving history of the family imprinting their lives in the home.


Welcome to Intexure

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Intexure stands apart by providing outstanding service and a personalized experience for our clients. Founded in 2001 we have expertise creating modern environments for over 15 years. Our team is dedicated to helping our clients find their own creative expression, transforming the built environment and enhancing people’s lives through our work.

International Builder’s Show 2018: Technology and Design Trends

Darren Kincaid - Tuesday, January 09, 2018

This year we took the Intexure team to the International Builder’s Show to look at Technology and Design trends. Intexure has long been ahead of the curve when it comes to Building information technology, BIM. We wanted to see what is new in integrating BIM data into construction though software and digital fabrication technologies. We are also interested in advancing rendering and 3D visualization techniques such as virtual reality, VR walkthroughs and how we can use this in our modular prefab approach to off-site construction. Technology can improve the prefab client experience through better visualization as well as the off-site construction approach in having relevant BIM data at the point of fabrication in the factory.

As far as design trends, the modern farmhouse style was clearly growing. Intexure’s modern farmhouse through context homes captures this trend for our clients. This includes farmhouse modern sinks, tile, and other finishes.


Neocon 2017: Residential trends in Corporate Design

Darren Kincaid - Sunday, June 11, 2017

Intexure visited Neocon this year with a project minded purpose as well as watching industry trends. One of the biggest is residential trends merging into corporate design to add softness and a more casual approach to the workplace. These residential trends manifest in material choices, with trendier colors and warmer woods also with residential trends in form especially mid-century modern inspired style. Mid-century modern inspired dining tables are showing up as conference configurations, as well as mid-century modern sideboards for storage. Residential trends and mid-century modern inspired soft seating are showing up in informal collaboration zones similar to living room configurations. We embrace this trend, if fact this is something Intexure has been doing for years. Our own live work studio now ten years old is just as fresh in this regard, with an Eames table and chairs serving the conference room and Saarinen chairs as soft seating. It’s a timeless approach and a great example of how blending work and living through architecture and interior design can lead to a happy and productive workplace – a place you actually want to spend time in. We’re all for that!

International Builder’s Show 2017: Construction Industry Trends

Darren Kincaid - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Our design build approach has taken us to the International Builder’s Show to look for new ways to integrate design and construction as well as better ways to build. We have our eye on prefabricated modular systems and components that we can integrate into our modular and prefab projects as well as products that can help the factory in the off-site construction process. The show’s prefabricated outdoor village featured modular, prefab, and off site construction and we enjoyed visiting with other industry professionals. We are looking forward to helping bring off-site construction technologies to our work.


Coverings Chicago shows trends in the tile industry

Darren Kincaid - Monday, April 18, 2016

We were pleased to attend Coverings in Chicago to see the latest trends in tile and stone. Porcelain tile is our go to material for durable flooring especially in wet areas such as bathrooms. We see are happy to see the industry trending toward neutrals and branching out beyond imitative stone looks. Large format porcelain tiles which we like are gaining in popularity which help create more cohesive looks especially when used in the primary living spaces in the home. Beyond porcelain and stone, we saw fun textured and 3d tile for accent areas. Other trends that continue to remain strong or wood inspired designs and distressed materials such as metals. Looking forward to serving our clients with a timeless approach to the latest design trends.


Intexure wins Coverings Residential Sustainable Design Award in Chicago

Darren Kincaid - Sunday, April 17, 2016

Intexure wins Coverings CID Award Winner for Sustainable Design: The Heijnen-Kavelaars Garden Residence by Intexture Architects. Being recognized at Coverings by industry professionals at a national scale is meaningful validation of our work.

Heijnen-Kavelaars Garden Residence is designed to unite elements of landscape and architecture in everyday living. Set on a corner lot, the home wraps around a central pool and garden, opening up views to the garden throughout the house and connecting to terraces on the second floor. The garden and pool act as an oasis in the urban environment, a place of reflection and refuge from the occupant’s busy lives. The colors of water, plants and sky give life to the home and create a personal emotional connection in yellow-green, and blue accent colors throughout. The challenge in doing this was to keep the palette, cohesive and serene – giving individual areas character while maintaining a holistic design.

Beginning in the garden, shades of green porcelain tile form the pool deck and backdrop for outdoor living. The faux wood grain pattern brings a pop art quality and sense of humor for the decking, creating a focal point linking interior and exterior space. Glass tile selected for the powder bath is aptly named cloud, turned vertically it echo’s the lines of the mirror and window in the room. The two guest baths feature handmade American tile from Clayhaus, pairing the same colors of wheatgrass, brine, splash and milk – in different textures. The Master bath features a wall of 1”x1” blended mosaic glass combined with walls of 3”x6” glass tile which enhance the effect of a sunny light filled space.

The challenge with the tile design and installation for this home centered around the planning and precession required for everything to line up but appear effortlessly simple as part of the modern design. The tile and grout patterns were drawn to scale in Revit / BIM software along with accurate models of all the vanities and plumbing components. Accent bands needed to line up perfectly with the top edge of the vanity countertop. In the Master, wall mounted double faucets each needed to align perfectly with the intersections in the 3”x6” glass tile. Actuator plates for wall-mounted toilets were integrated to align with accent bands in the bathrooms. Other elements such as tile niches, even window and mirror placements were designed to avoid cut tiles and planned in advance, and coordinated in the field through the design-build process. The use of tile contributed greatly to the design of the home – creating a modern home that feels like home.

Sustainability was a key factor in the design of the home. Undergoing LEED certification, sustainable features include thermally broken Low E insulated windows, a high efficiency AC system, high performance insulation, low flow plumbing fixtures, energy star appliances, and drought tolerant landscaping. The home also features a solar array which provides over 30% of the energy for the home. As a two-story house it emphasizes horizontality keeping the home to a livable human scale. This configuration also maximizes the use of natural light through the space particularly from the northern façade, an advantage in the Houston climate. Long-term durability, ease of maintenance, and appropriate use of materials is a key factor in sustainability, leading to the selection of the tile materials. The tile also helped achieve the low VOC and indoor air quality goals.

Coverings has helped us connect with industry professionals and give us additional perspective. Our recommendation to those attending the show in Chicago is to save time to walk the show floor and attend some conference sessions.

Intexure receives Duravit’s Dream Bath Design Award

Darren Kincaid - Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Intexure was thrilled to receive Duravit’s Dream Bath Design Award for built projects. The award was for Tripartite house which featured Duravit products used in creative ways. For example in order to keep cohesive finishes through the bedroom and closet which open to the bath, duravit furniture products extended to those areas. The spa-like bath design also embraces the exterior through carefully controlled views. Another feature used in the house are Duravit’s sensowash toilets which have the bidet function integrated in a sleek design. It’s a great way for adding functionally to the bath without compromising space or design. We are also fans of the duravit vanities with integrated sinks and used those in the secondary baths. The sink acts as countertop for a design that is easy to maintain. We are thrilled to be chosen for this distinctive award.