114 S. Timber Top in Grogan's Mill, the oldest of the villages in The Woodlands, makes a quick impression.
Seating and dining areas are open and share a view of the golf course at This Woodlands home.
The primary bedroom, complete with fireplace, overlooks the golf course at 114 S. Timber Top in Grogan's Mill. (Photo by Engage Realty Media)
This Woodlands home has a number of distinct touches that set it apart.
The closet at 114 S. Timber Top is wide open with lots of built-in functionality.
The pantry has a prep sink and plenty of storage space at 114 S. Timber Top in Grogan's Mill.
The bathroom in this Woodlands house is next level.
The garages at this Woodlands home have extended height in the ceilings and an epoxy floor.
A multi-level island in the kitchen with modern surfaces helps set 114 S. Timber Top in Grogan's Mill apart. (Photo by Engage Realty Media)
The Woodlands is approaching its 50th birthday (in 2024), and real estate is one area where this region of its own keeps getting a face lift. One of the local companies that is doing more than cosmetic work is The Woodlands Custom Homes.
In 2021, local Woodlands resident Gary Giles started The Woodlands Custom Homes to continue building new homes. Giles and his previous building partner have joined forces with Gary’s brother David Giles, who brings 45 years of home construction experience. It’s a family team effort at The Woodlands Custom Homes. Cara Giles is the designer and Gary Giles’ son Chase Giles assists with marketing and selling the homes.
“Our first three homes were spec homes that had no initial contracted buyer,” Gary Giles tells PaperCity The Woodlands. “The fourth home was contracted by a buyer who liked the design of our first home at 116 S. Timber Top, but wanted to put a personal touch on the design.
“The current listing at 114 S. Timber Top is also a spec home and is on the market for $2.5 million and is a step above the others and a must-see. We were fortunate to acquire four lots that were side by side for redevelopment.”
New construction homes are certainly designed differently than 50 years ago.
“We’re definitely living differently than before and we get to see that in the contrast between the old homes we demolished and the new home designs we have built,” Giles says. “Most commonly, we are eliminating spaces we don’t use frequently like the formal dining and formal living rooms.
“Our plans then reallocate that square footage to have a larger open concept living and kitchen areas, where the majority of home living takes place.”
Multi-generational family living has become more popular and in some cases necessary with an aging population, and homes are being designed with that in mind, along with other features that improve energy efficiency or provide space for home gyms.
“We are providing larger secondary rooms with an en-suite bathroom on the first floor,” Giles notes. “Additionally we incorporate home features and upgrades that are becoming more popular like electric vehicle chargers, whole home generators, spray foam insulation for superior energy efficiency and simplistic aesthetic with high ceiling allowing for more natural light.
“In the newest project, we raised the garage ceiling three additional feet up to 13 feet, which will allow a future homeowner to install up to two car lifts if they had a car collection. Or a large art studio or exercise workout area.”
Woodlands Real Estate Truths
According to Giles, materials and design make all the difference in the luxury market in The Woodlands. Several stand out.
“Large format porcelain tiles with minimal grout lines, rift cut white oak long grain cabinetry, book matched countertops with waterfall edges and kitchen backsplashes are more frequently becoming a continuation of the countertop going vertically for added design,” Giles says. “In our houses you’ll fine matte finishes and brushed hardware, which is becoming a staple in the luxury market. Additional upgrades we have included in our newest home: two dishwashers, working pantries, complete smart home wiring, two private toilets in the primary bathroom, fresh air ventilation systems, two by six exterior construction with spray foam insulation, modern square LED lighting and pre-wiring for Smart Technology.”
While building materials shortages aren’t a thing of the past, in this post-COVID world, planning makes all the difference.
“A lot of emphasis is put on making sure the materials and supplies we need are ordered and available ahead of time,” Giles says. “During COVID, appliances were among the items with the longest lead times and scheduling subcontractors.”
Sometimes delays crop up in unexpected ways, though.
“Currently, one of the biggest problems builders are experiencing is getting ahold of electric meter boxes which can take up to eight months,” Giles says. “The time frame to build a home can drastically change depending on the size, price point and specifications.”
While these homes may look more modern, a new era is coming in The Woodlands.
These news houses have some important people on their side. The Woodlands Residential Design Review and Development Standards Committee and neighbors have embraced the projects. In fact, the standards put out in 2022 by the committee acknowledge that change is coming. The standards state that “as The Woodlands continues to grow and age, residents must be prepared for suburban residential development.
“Redevelopment must be viewed as a process of reinvestment that will improve property values, allow existing owners and purchasers of an existing home to rebuild and redevelop in existing residential areas. This redevelopment must allow for newer construction techniques, including larger homes.”
The Woodlands is almost 50 — and some of its houses are changing.