Home sales start this month in a new 56-acre residential community in Frisco where the houses will have grass rooftops and be priced at $1.1 million and up.
The 121-home project, called Tapestry, is the first residential community in the U.S. for India-based Total Environment Homes. Kamal Sagar, founder and chairman of the company, characterizes Tapestry as a more ecologically-friendly approach to homebuilding on the Texas prairie.
The homes are designed to embrace nature, blurring the boundaries between the indoors and outdoors, Sagar said in an exclusive interview with the Dallas Business Journal.
To check out photos of the home concept, click here.
It’s taken a little longer than originally planned to get the point where home sales and construction could begin, but that’s because of the level of detail and care Total Environment is putting into the project, Sagar said.
“We wanted everything to go as we envisioned it, from getting the right brick to the green roof,” Sagar said. “Every little detail has taken us some time to resolve and make it right and make it work here, but we’re finally ready to open for sales middle of November.”
Total Environment controls the entire design, development and construction process, from putting in the streets to developing the community and the lots to building the homes, landscaping and even furnishing the homes, Sagar said.
“We like to be able to provide a holistic experience,” he said.
Sagar said Total Environment approaches design by focusing on how the home will be used and poring over details such as how the stairs can be better designed to be easier to climb or how furniture should be positioned.
The homes are designed to embrace nature and bring the outdoors into the homes. The homes have gardens integrated into their design with large French doors opening to courtyards and unblocked views from the interior rooms of the homes.
“A lot of it has to do with bringing the gardens into the bedrooms and into the living rooms,” Sagar said.
In addition to the grass roofs, the grounds are heavily landscaped, and the homes are consciously designed to look low and inviting from the outside but feel spacious inside.
Homes will start at $1.1 million and go to $1.8 million or more, Shashi Ketu, CEO of Texas operations for Total Environment Homes, said in an interview with the Business Journal.
Homes will be 3,400, 4,400 and 5,400 square feet, and several different floorplans will be offered within each of the three footprints, Ketu said. A model home, which the company calls an “experience home” is under construction and will be ready to show by the end of the month.
Tapestry’s first two phases are being developed now and will have 62 homesites combined. The homes take about a year to construct. Development on a third and fourth phase of Tapestry will begin based on how fast the first two phases sell.
The homes’ roofs will be seeded with a blackland prairie mix that has 60 species of plants and grasses native to the Frisco area, Ketu said. The mix was designed with help from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
“The model home is already seeded,” he said. “By spring we should have flowers. Bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush — all the beautiful stuff that people drive to the Hill Country to see. That should be on our roof.”
Working with the city of Frisco through the permitting process has gone slowly at times because most city officials had never seen a project of this type before, Ketu said. It took months of explaining the concept to city leaders and members of the community.
Then, issues from land development to building materials, how the house sits on the lot, setbacks and drainage issues were different than a more conventional development, he said. The land the community will be built on has four creeks and three ponds, further complicating the project while adding beauty and character to it, Ketu said.
“Initially, the concepts were so new to them (the city) that it was a shocker,” Ketu said. “But once they got it, we have had a lot of support.”
The homes are different, but they’re not different for the sole purpose of being different, Sagar said. They’re different because they’re more sustainable, with features such as solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, hot water recirculation lines and energy efficient glass, in addition to the native grass rooftops, he said.
“It’s not about expensive materials and glitter and bling,” he said. “It’s about creating spaces that work and creating value for the customers through how everything is detailed and how it’s worked out.”
The homes come completely furnished, Sagar said.
“It all ties in together,” he said. “You can’t expect a buyer to buy a home from you and then go to five different places to pick up furniture and kitchen (appliances) and then try to make it all work. To us, selling a home without furniture is like selling a car without the seats.”
The rolling terrain, creeks, trees and vegetation on the site north of Rolater Road and east of Independence Parkway in Frisco make the project work, and the market is there for such a project, Ketu said.
The product is positioned between production homebuilder prices and pure custom homes, trying to bridge the gap between $200 per square foot and $400 per square foot pricing levels, said Kandice Jinright, director of Sales and Marketing at Total Environment USA.
“We’ve had a really good response so far from people wanting information and wanting to see and wanting to know when we’ll have finished product,” Jinright said. “Based on the feedback we’ve gotten so far, we’re very optimistic.”
Total Environment Homes, which was founded by architects Sagar and his wife, Shibanee Sagar, has more than two decades of experience building curated homes with green roofs and attached gardens in India before bringing its vision to the United States.