Timbered Ranch Rules

David Weekley reels in buyers with a down-home front porch.

By Bill Lurz, Senior Editor | December 30, 2000
Big cedar beams on wide front porch create a rustic ranch look. Optional upstairs theater wows buyers.


Design leadership does not come easy. Just ask David Weekley Homes vp Bob Rohde, who heads a Houston-based, in-house design department trying to stay on the cutting edge of the market in five states. We think heÆs hit a homerun with this "timbered ranch look" move-up, four-bedroom model in the North Dallas suburb or Carrollton.

The Abbington is a 3118 square-foot, single story plan with a detached garage at the rear of the lot thatÆs reached via a front-loaded driveway down the side. The house is base priced at $303,990, with an optional 360 square-foot, second floor bonus room. In the model at the golf course community of Coyote Ridge, that space is merchandised as a home theater by Houston-based interior designer Kathy Andrews. However, we believe itÆs the elevation, more than the floor plan, that makes this house such a winner.

When we first saw it, our editors detected elements of a Craftsman Cottage, but Rohde says thatÆs not right. "We call it eclectic. ItÆs not really one style. ItÆs a mixture of several, most notably Texas Hill Country Ranch. But thereÆs a hint of Old World heavy massing in there as well," he says. "And front porches have been real important to us for several years."

Whatever you call it, it works. The model opened June 19, and Weekley had 34 sales on the books by early November. Dallas division president John Mann says ten of those sales are Abbingtons just like the model. "ItÆs been accepted really well. The mixture of stone and brick with the big cedar beams and a wide front porch give it a very homey feel," he says.

Coyote Ridge is a 156-acre, master-planned community that almost qualifies as infill. "Carrollton is pretty much built out," says Mann. "The Hunt family owned this piece of ground, and they just sat on it. Now itÆs an infill site. Demand is high because driving distances to major employment centers are so much less than for comparable product out in the boondocks."

Wealthy move-ups and corporate relocation families are the bulk of the target market. "TheyÆre high-powered execs," says Mann. "Always on the go. Most of our buyers are heads of families, 35 to 45 years old, but buying their third or fourth home."

Why did Mann choose to model such an avant-garde elevation? "We wanted to be different," he says.

The Abbington certainly is. First, itÆs a ranch. And then the mix of Texas Hill Country limestone with brick makes it even more different. But the crowning touch is the use of massive, stained cedar timbers. "ItÆs a comfortable, rustic ranch style," says Rohde. "If this house were in San Antonio, it might have a metal roof."

Off the success of this model, look for Weekley to move this stone/timber/brick combination into elevations all over Texas, and we wouldnÆt be surprised to see it pop up in Colorado, North Carolina, and even Atlanta.

In Coyote Ridge, Weekley builds the Abbington for $46.73 a square foot in hard costs (materials and labor only), on finished lots (measuring 65 2 120 feet) that cost the builder $48,000.


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