Builder Spotlight: The Awesome Twosome

September 22, 2016 Interview

Just as important as the people who meet you at your home to build your covered patio, are the wonderful voices of the people who answer your calls and help guide you in the right direction! Today we are putting the spotlight on two young ladies that have worked hard for Texas Custom Patios each day for the last few years. They hear it all, now it’s time to hear from them!

Name: Brandi Howard

Texas Custom Patios - Brandi

How long with TCP? 4 Years

How long in this business? 4 years

What do you enjoy most about what you do? Getting to talk to different people and learning what outdoor projects they need help with.

Do you have a favorite project from the past? High end finishes in Royal Oaks and the contemporary outdoor living room in Montrose because they are totally different. I love the clean lines in the Montrose living space and all of the details that were done in the Royal Oaks space.

What’s the one thing that most clients say they HAVE to have? Covered patio!!

What do you think outdoor living space does for a home and person? Provides additional space for family.

 

 

Now meet, Kendall!  She prefers to stay behind the telephone lines and not be pictured.

Name: Kendall

How long with TCP: 2 years

How long in this business: 2 years

What do you enjoy most about what you do?  I really enjoy the people that I work with at TCP.  They are all such great people to be around!

Do you have a favorite project from the past? My favorite project is the Hill Country Charm with Scandinavian Accents with the outdoor fireplace and kitchen. It’s a beautiful outdoor living space!

What’s the one thing that most clients say they HAVE to have? Outdoor entertainment space

What do you hear most often from clients when everything is completed? They love the new addition to their home!

What do you think outdoor living space does for a home and person? Helps create their favorite place to go in their home.

Builder Spotlight

August 18, 2016 Interview

Each month we like to put a spotlight on someone or something that helps make Texas Custom Patios the best in the business.  This month we are taking spotlight to a whole new level by turning on the lights and  setting off some major sparks with our electrician extraordinaire!   Let’s flip the switch and meet Milan!

Milan
Full Name:  Milan Tadic

 

How long have you worked with TCP? Four great years!

 

How long in this business? Fifteen years.

 

What’s your “specialty?” Anything that has to do with electrical!

 

What do you enjoy most about what you do?  I’m always in a different place, meeting new people, and overcoming new electrical challenges, it’s so fun to do something different each day.

 

What’s inspiring in the construction/build world to you?  I love to see all of the new styles of projects being built and more than anything I love to see people happy.  When a homeowner sees the progress made and they light up because they are so thrilled, that’s worth it to me!

 

Do you have a favorite project from the past? I have so many that I love, but one that really shines brightly to me is this one …

 

Texas Custom Patios
I love it because it’s just so different !

 

What trends have you seen in outdoor design in the last few years? I’ve seen a lot of “cozy” projects … smaller, but very customized!

 

What do you see to be popular in the future? I imagine everything becoming more digital and lots of LED lighting!

 

What’s the one thing that most clients say they HAVE to have? Lighting, of course!  And fans … Texas needs fans!

 

What is your biggest obstacle you face during the design/build process?  Figuring out the perfect spacing between lights.  You have to be very careful or you will end up with a strobe effect … and that’s not what you want!

 

What do you hear most often from clients when everything is completed? They always say the completed project exceeded their expectations and they love it!

 

What do you think outdoor living space does for a home and person?  It builds value to the home and a place where memories can be made!

 

What do you hope to build/design in the future?   I just want to keep being creative!

 

Builder Spotlight: Where It All Begins

May 17, 2016 Interview

Texas Custom Patios is a family-owned and operated business located in Stafford, Texas and Irving, Texas, but our service area covers most of the greater Houston area and many parts of the Dallas – Fort Worth area. We have completed more than 1,300 outdoor living projects since we opened our doors in 2004.  Part of the reason we are so successful?  We have an amazing staff!  Please take the time to meet someone coming up on her one year anniversary and take a look at her current favorite project!

 

Jessica - Texas Custom Patios

 

Full name: Jessica Harper

 

Title:  Office Administrator

 

How long with TCP?  Almost one year!  

 

How long in this business?  I have 12+ years of property and restaurant management, accounting, marketing and customer service.  This is, however, my first time working with an outdoor living company.  I am loving it!

 

What do you enjoy most about what you do? I enjoy working with homeowners and being the first step in helping their dream patio become a reality.

 

What’s inspiring in the construction/build world to you?  The outdoor living world is still a fairly new market in DFW.  Some homeowners aren’t even aware of what is possible for their patio design!  It’s very inspiring to see an amazing design come to life and see an ecstatic homeowner that now has a space they can enjoy nearly year-round with their family.

 

Do you have a favorite project from the past?  My “favorite” is ever-changing!  My current favorite is a project with a drastic before and after.  

What trends have you seen in outdoor design in the last few years?  It seems most people in Dallas have only had pergolas and arbors as an options for a “covered patio.”   We are bringing the new trend from Houston.  Roof structures that look original to your home with fully finished out ceilings for a very high-end look.  People are blown away by our pictures.

 

What do you see to be popular in the future?  With TCP-DFW just starting 18 months ago, I see us being popular.  I don’t think this new trend is something that will be going away anytime soon.  I see our popularity continuing to grow and grow!

 

What’s the one thing that most clients say they HAVE to have?  Electrical wiring for an outdoor TV. 

 

What do you hear most often from clients when everything is completed?  “You have to come to our first BBQ!”

 

What do you think outdoor living space does for a home and person?  We live in Dallas.  We are not near the ocean, most of us are not near any lakes or other water, and there are no mountains.  I think outdoor living spaces give people a desire to entertain themselves and their family outdoors in a way they had never even considered.  When you have the correct tools, (i.e., lighting, fans, fire feature, TV) enjoying Texas weather is possible at virtually anytime of the year.  I believe it’s important to spend time outside.  Vitamin D is essential to your health, and taking time to relax under the moon and stars can do great things for your happiness!

 

Builder Spotlight

April 15, 2016 Interview, Patio Design
We take so much pride in not only what we build, but who builds it!  Often times homeowners fear who will be the one at their home while they are not there (or present), trust is a very important part of our process. We are a general contractor that have trusted Project Developers and subcontractors that we consider to be our partners in creating your outdoor living space.  Many times, our TCP family member becomes a member of your family … enjoying backyard bbqs in the dream space they built together!
Texas Custom Patios

 

We would like to spotlight someone who has been working with us for 12 years, he knows a lot about building your dream patio, outdoor kitchen, and adding style to your outdoor life!  Take a moment to get to know one of our most talented partners …
Mike - Texas Custom Patios
Full name: Michael Rodriguez,  Owner of Tile Services

 

How long with TCP? I’ve been with TCP since their beginning in 2004 . I started with them by handling their tile installations. I now handle building their outdoor kitchens by welding them on site to the stone or brick installations and installing their appliances.  I handle most of their stone and brick installations such as fire pits, fireplaces, columns , sitting benches, etc.  I continue doing tile and travertine installations for Texas Custom Patios .

 

How long have you been in this business?  I’ve been in business since 1998 doing tile installs for custom home builders .

 

What’s your “specialty?”  I would say I am a tile installation expert, but now after working with Texas Custom Patios I feel I have learned the ins and outs of outdoor kitchens.  I’ve built them every way you possibly can … out of wood, cinder block,  metal studs and now we weld them together out of galvanized tubing which I find to be a much cleaner look, stronger and safer .

 

What do you enjoy most about what you do?  Making customers happy and pleasing them by making their ideas become reality .

 

What’s inspiring in the construction/build world to you?  Making a simple idea written on scratch paper come true.

 

Do you have a favorite project from the past?  I really don’t have a one favorite project, I believe all the projects have their special unique feature since all of them are so different .

 

What trends have you seen in outdoor design in the last few years?  Transformation of a simple patio to an extraordinary outdoor living area.

 

What’s the one thing that most clients say they HAVE to have?  A flat screen TV to watch sports!

 

What is your biggest obstacle you face during the design/build process?  The rain.

 

What do you hear most often from clients when everything is completed?  How satisfied they are and can’t wait to throw a party.

 

What do you think outdoor living space does for a home and person?  A great added feature that gives the customer more area for guests and entertaining.

 

What do you hope to build/design in the future? Whatever a customer can dream up!

 

So you heard it here … get to dreaming and Texas Custom Patios can build it with the help of our very talented, Michael!

 

 

Texas Custom Patios Adds In-House Minister to Staff

April 22, 2013 Interview

When Jeremy Williams completed his degree in church ministry, he never dreamed that fourteen years later he’d be working at Texas Custom Patios.  Now, Jeremy watches over a congregation of carpenters, not churchgoers.  And he’s loving every minute of it.

Jeremy

So how does a minister turn manager?  Read on to find out.

What do you do at Texas Custom Patios?                               

Williams:  I am a project developer.  That means that I meet with clients, help them design their outdoor living spaces, and manage all the workers involved on the project from start to finish.

I understand you used to be a minister.  What got you interested in outdoor living projects?

Williams: It’s true, most of my work history is in ministry.  I went to college for church ministry, and I’ve spent fourteen years between two churches in Houston:  First Colony Bible Chapel and First Colony Church of Christ.

But I’ve done construction and construction design for almost as long as I can remember.  My dad didn’t work in construction, but was very handy and we did a lot of projects around the house.  I started digging holes for his projects when I was about 5.

I designed my first building in 7th grade.  It was a garage for my dad, and the construction company used my design to build it.  I built my first deck with my dad when I was 13 or 14 and living in North Carolina.  I thought it was a blast—deck construction is really fun.

Still, that’s a big jump from ministry to construction.  How exactly did you get into full-time construction?

Williams: Well, I’ve never really been out of construction.  When I had a part time ministry job after college, I worked construction at the same time.  I did design for a big construction company in Houston.  We worked on Texas Children’s Hospital, Reliant Stadium, and downtown office buildings and apartments.

Later, when I got married and we bought a house, we built a deck.  It’s just something I’ve always done.

Williams: Why did you choose to work with Texas Custom Patios?

In 2010, my friend Ryan Guikema started working for Texas Custom Patios as a project developer. I thought it sounded like the coolest job ever.

Last January I started thinking about moving out of ministry and into a construction job.  Naturally, Texas Custom Patios was at the top of my list.

What jobs do you most look forward to?

I love that I get to do a variety of projects, and I like the big ones that kind of include everything ­ patio cover, kitchen, fireplace, etc.  I like to build an entire outdoor living room, not just a deck or patio.

I’m also looking forward to having my own outdoor kitchen.  But I think I’ll have to make my patio bigger first…

Enjoy Your Backyard Again with a Mosquito Control System

June 5, 2012 Interview

Tired of being bitten by mosquitoes while trying to enjoy your patio or backyard?  Then consider a mosquito control system.  An automatic misting system will safely remove annoying insects from your yard so that you can spend time outdoors without scratching.

We asked John Dailey, owner of Total Mosquito Control in Houston, Texas, a few questions about installing and using a mosquito control system.

What percentage of mosquitoes are killed by your system?

John Dailey:  Most systems can offer 85-95% in the controlled area.  This includes all cold-blooded insects, like mosquitoes.  Some people choose to go with a more eco-friendly chemical in their system, and these chemicals are a little less strong.

Chrysanthemum

The chemical we use is natural Pyrethrum, which is made from the chrysanthemum plant.  This flower has a natural ability to repel insects, and scientific breakthroughs in the last few decades have allowed us to use it as a strong insecticide.  Pyrethrum is extremely safe when used as directed.

How does a misting system work?

John Dailey:  A misting system consists of a reservoir and a delivery system, which consists of a pump, motor, timer, tubing, and nozzles.  This system is set up around all areas of your property that need to be sprayed.  We can also do a tankless system.

You can set the system to go off automatically at certain times of the day, or use manual valves.  You can also create “zones” in your property, which allows you to mist certain areas more often than others.  We recommend misting 3-4 times a day for 30-40 seconds.  It’s best to mist in the early morning and evening.

What do I do if I need extra spraying?

John Dailey:  In the event that you would like additional spray time – such as before an outdoor party – we have a remote control like a garage door opener to cause the system to go off.

What areas in my property are the most important to spray?

John Dailey:  Any outdoor spaces that you utilize.  Definitely spray around the patio and outdoor kitchen so that you can enjoy that space.  Mosquitoes tend to like the shade and sources of water, so it’s important to spray in those areas too.

How long does it take to set up a mosquito misting system?

John Dailey:  The average installation takes about 6-8 hours.  Once it’s set up, it’s done.  We install all of our own systems.

Other Mosquito Control Options

Screened porch

If you have a bug problem in your yard and don’t care for misting, consider a screened porch.  You’ll be able to enjoy the air flow from outside without shooing away mosquitoes.  Other less convenient, but economical, choices include insect repelling candles or bug spray.

Want Your Patio Design to Wow the Neighbors? Do the Tangerine Tango

May 2, 2012 Interview, Patio Design

You’ve worked hard to decorate the inside of your home – so don’t give up when you get to the patio.  With the right furniture and finishing touches, your patio can feel like another room in the house.  We interviewed an interior and exterior designer – Sophia of Sophia Designs in Houston, Texas – to get a few tips on making the most of your outdoor living area.

What tips do you have for making your patio an extension of your home?

Sophia: It’s important to use space in the best way possible.  Think about exterior space in the same way that you think about interior space.  Think about a focal point in the “room,” such as a sculptural piece, fire pit, flower or herb garden, or a water feature.  Then, match your designs around that one point.  I like to use native plants, stones, and colorful cushions in exterior design.

Marigolds

As far as furniture goes, the options are endless.  I tend to use classic or modern furniture with neutral color bases.  I add stonework and rocks for an organic feel and a water feature for a calming affect.  Also, outdoor rugs are a great accessory to define a space.

What colors work well outdoors?

Sophia: Every year, the Pantone Institute forecasts a color of the year.  This year it’s “Tangerine Tango.”  They say it has “it has the adrenalin rush of red with a friendliness and warmth of yellow.”  It’s a great color for the outdoors.  You’ll see it on umbrellas and cushions, and flowers like marigolds and lantana.  Tangerine Tango is a positive, hopeful color.  Blue is a great complementary color.

Tangerine Tango Umbrella

See Tangerine Tango decoration ideas from HGTV.

How can someone choose colors for their patio that match their home?

Sophia:  Work with the colors of the exterior of your home.  Consider the existing outdoor structure – wall, brick, siding, whatever.  You can even hang artwork outside if it’s water resistant, like a sculptural, iron piece of art.

Also, it’s important to incorporate the home’s interior design by taking the same style and colors into the outdoor space.  For example, if your home has a traditional style, use a traditional style on the patio.  If you live in a contemporary home with a lot of angles and pops of color, use the same ideas outdoors.  Mixing styles can result in a patio looking “added on,” instead of like an extension of your home.

What are some current outdoor design trends?

Checks

Sophia:  Stripes are classic and work with everything.  Personally, I love huge checks also.  People tend to forget about lighting—the lights on fans are too harsh, so get a lamp with batteries.  Candles, firepits, outdoor fireplaces, solar and garden outdoor lights bring ambiance to the space.  I suggest spotlighting interesting areas in your outdoor space, like your artwork or garden.  Lighting helps make your patio look richer but without much of an investment.

Do you have any favorite products?

Sophia:  I like metal and synthetic furniture that looks like wicker and wood. All are easy to clean and look wonderful.  I like to decorate with all kinds of planters, rocks are important, and cushions, pillows, and umbrellas for color.  Sunbrella is one weather resistant fabric that’s great for panels and awnings.

My team installs a lot of netting and drapery panels; our workroom purchases, constructs and installs these special fabrics.  Netting comes in all kinds of colors – beiges, whites, greens.  It helps keep bugs out and you can roll it up like a shade.  You can drop it down at night to keep things more private.

Panel draping can be hung from columns and closed for added privacy

I also love patio panels.  They look like indoor draperies and you can hang them from your patio cover at each of the four corners and strap them back.  They come in an endless variety of weather treated fabrics.  Stripes are good for a cabana feel.

Contact Sophia Vassiliou at Sophia@sophiadesigns.com or 281-685-1429.

Favorite Products and Personal Style: Q&A with the Outdoor Living Bloggers

March 27, 2012 Interview, Patio Design

Do you ever wonder what outdoor decoration experts buy for their own homes?  So do we!  We asked the bloggers at Outdoor Living Blog to answer a few questions about their favorite products and personal style so that we could share their tips with you.  Read their answers below to learn about their recommendations for cleaning patio furniture, eco-friendly products, and DIY patio decorations.

Texas Custom Patios (TCP): What are your favorite new patio products this year?

Outdoor Living Blog (OLB): I love the growing availability of outdoor kitchen products. The number of grilling options alone has increased a lot over the past few years.  There are charcoal, electric, and gas grills to fit almost any budget now –  and lots of appliances.  Another fantastic new patio trend is the patio day bed. They are so comfy, and a great, relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors.

TCP: Your blog has a lot of tips for being more eco-friendly.  If someone wants to start making their yard more eco-friendly, what’s the first thing they should do?

OLB: Go solar! I think this is by far the easiest step to becoming more eco-friendly. There are so many great solar products now; there are solar fountains, solar lighting and even solar wind chimes. The best part is that these eco-friendly products will save you money on your electricity bills!

Solar fountain from Outdoor Living

TCP: It’s spring cleaning time.  Do you have any tips for keeping patio furniture clean?

OLB: The great thing about patio furniture is that most of it can be easily cleaned with a wet rag and a little soap. To keep your furniture protected from the harshest elements, patio furniture covers are a great option. To keep your cushions and pillows looking like new, be sure to put them away when they are not in use. Outdoor storage benches or chests are a great place to hide and protect them.

TCP: What’s the most useful item you’ve ever bought for your patio/backyard?

OLB: The best investment I made for my yard was the grill. There is nothing worse then having to heat up the oven on a warm summer day. It’s great to just fire up the grill and enjoy the outdoors. Some people find the menu options for a grill limiting, but the possibilities really are endless. You can grill vegetables, fruit, pizza, and even desserts!  (Read about their favorites here.)

TCP: You have a lot of DIY projects on your blog.  What’s the best beginner project for someone who wants to make patio decorations?

OLB: I think the easiest, most fabulous DIY project I have found is from In My Own Style.  Using a tuna can, old paint stick and a glass vase, you can create an amazing (and cheap) outdoor torch.

TCP: How have you decorated your own backyard/patio?  What’s your personal style like?

OLB: My backyard is still a work in progress. But my ultimate goal is to create a tranquil sanctuary.

I absolutely love the outdoors. That being said, I’m not what you call an “outdoorsy” person. I want my backyard to feel like an extension of my home, not like a campground. I want casual, relaxing furniture like patio sofas and chaise lounges. I would also love to have overstuffed cushions, toss pillows and a large, colorful outdoor rug. My dream yard would also have a large, wood pergola with soft, flowing outdoor curtains on all sides.

Outdoor Furniture Trends and Tips: An Interview with Mike Voyles from Home Infatuation

March 19, 2012 Interview, Patio Design

The Home Infatuation blog is full of great patio decor photos and inspiring design tips, and the Home Infatuation online store sells luxury patio furniture and outdoor living products.  We recently had the pleasure of talking to the owner of Home Infatuation, Mike Voyles, and asked him to share his knowledge about outdoor furniture and accessories.

Texas Custom Patios (TCP): What are some new outdoor furniture trends for 2012?

Mike Voyles (MV):  We tend to specialize in contemporary furnishings, whether it’s outdoor lamps or furniture.  Throughout the industry as a whole, you tend to see a lot of wicker, metal, and contemporary things.  Outdoor daybeds have become popular in the last few years too.

The trends aren’t changing that dramatically, but they’re shifting towards certain niches.  A lot of people are doing balconies and rooftop gardens.  There are more products aimed at urban living and smaller patios.

Also, there’s been a trend towards better quality.  Outdoor furniture keeps getting better—almost looks like something you can put in your house.  For example, there’s furniture that looks like leather, but can be used outdoors.

Another trend is lighting.  Outdoor lighting has gotten much better – more stylish.  You see furniture and accessories with LED lights.  Something that’s popular on our website is the furniture with lighted planters.

TCP: What’s the best way to protect patio furniture from wind, rain, and other weather?

MV: Everything we sell is durable and weather-resistant, but if you can afford to put a patio cover over your furniture, then definitely do it.  A patio cover will keep you from needing to clean your furniture all the time, and protects it from birds.  A lot of manufacturers make covers that are suited for their own pieces.

TCP: What’s the best way to clean your outdoor furniture?

MV:  Mild household cleaners are fine for the frames.  Most of the fabrics can be spot-cleaned with household cleaners.  Nowadays, there are plenty of cleaners out there, so it’s pretty easy to do.  The hardest material for people to take care of is stainless steel – mostly because they think they don’t need to clean it at all.  You need to wipe it down, especially if you’re in a coastal area where you might get salt spray.

TCP: We loved your recent blog posts on outdoor curtains.  They’re beautiful, but do they tend to get dirty?  How do you keep them clean?

MV: They’re machine washable.  Not only our brand, but all of them out there are made of machine washable fabric.

TCP: Can you hang them from most patio covers?

MV: Most people put up something to hang them, like a wire clothesline.  If they have a loop at the top, you can just put up a rod.  You can buy support poles and rods.

TCP: What are your favorite accessories for the patio?

MV: Pillows and rugs.  They have really come a long way in terms of their quality.  The pillows we sell can be used indoors and outdoors and look very nice.  They’re extremely durable and UV resistant.

Lighting is another favorite accessory.  There are lots of choices now and you can get electric or rechargeable.

TCP: How have you decorated your own backyard?  What’s your style like?

MV: Definitely contemporary, with a monochromatic, black and white scheme.  Not just contemporary furniture, but rugs, pillows, and lighting.  Also, you’ve gotta have an outdoor tv.  We sell them up to 55 inches now.  They’re weather-resistant and work well in the outdoor light.  They even work down to temperatures of zero degrees…if you want to be outdoors in that weather.

Have a project in mind? We work throughout the Houston and Dallas - Fort Worth areas.

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Top notch company. This firm stands behind its work. We had a small issue with some cracks in our slab related to settling, and Ryan had someone out the day after my phone call. Upon inspection, we were presented with several options and the work was completed in a week. I cannot say enough good things about Texas Custom Patios and the quality of their work.

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