The Blog

Johnson Ranch

Categories: News | Posted: August 18, 2020

Our model in well under-Construction. We also have two inventory homes under-construction, Additionally, we already have 4 sold homes and we literally just opened for sales!


Debunk the Myths of Home Building to Get What You Want

Categories: Building a Custom Home, Custom Home Design Ideas, San Antonio New Homes, WhiteStone | Posted: August 18, 2020

There are a lot of myths out there about building your first home:

  • That it will quickly become a money pit and swallow your savings whole
  • That contractors only exist to rob you blind
  • That it will take forever
  • That you never end up getting what you really want…


I’m here to debunk many of those myths so that you can make clear-headed choices and decide on your own terms how to proceed. It’s true enough that some may have gone broke building a new home, but was it the contractor’s fault? A misunderstanding about the process? Or both?

For instance, it’s a common assumption that, to build a home from scratch, you first need to consult with an architect. But which architect? I’ve seen many a client bring in blueprints for “dream homes” that, quite frankly, were so unrealistic they looked more like something out of a science fiction novel.

I’ve heard from other clients that they’d previously tried to build a home, but after pricing the architect’s specs, never pursued it because the house in question was simply too expensive to actually build.

Other clients tell horror stories of small custom home builders who quoted them one price–and one due date–only to add more and more cost and completion days onto the original bid as time marches on.

What can happen in that case is a $500,000 home, which isn’t cheap to begin with but worth it if it’s your “dream” home, can quickly become an $800,000 home, with no visible improvements over the original blueprints, due to hidden costs or unforeseen obstacles.

At WhiteStone Custom Homes we lay it all on the line before the first shovel goes into the ground. That is a part of the process I’m talking about. The more you know, the more details you get into, the clearer your goals and the deeper you get involved in the process, the less fear you will experience and the less vulnerable you’ll be to some of the myths—real or imagined—that are associated with home building.

To Build or Buy: You’re Ready for a Change

Categories: Available New Homes, Building a Custom Home, Custom Home Design Ideas, WhiteStone | Posted: July 13, 2020

1516 Aubrey Court. A current Home for sale in Highland Estates

I love what I do because I help people make their dreams come true. Everyone who comes into one of my Model Homes at WhiteStone Custom Homes is ready for something new; ready for a change. Most of them have lived in “off the rack,” non-custom designed homes all their lives and are ready to build the house of their dreams from the ground up. Others loved their last home, but after the children grew up and moved out, they were ready for something new; ready for something “more their size.”

It might be a bigger house, or just a “better” house. It might be sleeker, or in a better neighborhood, or have the pool they always wanted, or the mother-in-law’s apartment or a three car garage.

Buying or building a home can be an emotional decision for some, and having a process–as well as knowing that process–helps take some of the emotions, including fear and misunderstanding, out of the equation. Knowing how to start, knowing what comes next, knowing what pitfalls to avoid and which paths to follow can all help you avoid mistakes, and do so with confidence.

This should be an exciting time for you and I hope this book only adds to that excitement. The fact that you have questions, and that you’re beginning to look for answers, is exciting in itself.

We all love the thrill of starting something new, and there is nothing more rewarding for me than to watch a couple come into our Model Homes with that extra “pep in their step” as they prepare for the adventure of building or buying a new home.

Introduction to 90 minute guide to Custom Home Building.

Categories: Building a Custom Home, Custom Home Design Ideas, San Antonio New Homes, WhiteStone | Posted: June 12, 2020

Every Home Should Be a Custom Home

So, you’re in the market for a new home.

At least, I assume you, are if you’re picking up a book called 90-Minute Guide to Custom Home Building . My name is Tim Rice, and as founder and CEO of WhiteStone Custom Homes, I’ll be your guide through the process of choosing, and even building, your new home.

And, it is a process. So one of my goals in writing this book is to help you understand the process of taking the idea of a new home through all the various stages of design, style and livability. Ultimately, this will give you the confidence you need to realize your dream and enhance your life.

Fear Can be Either Debilitating–or Motivating

One of the reasons you’ve probably picked up this book is that you have some fear. Not “run for your life” fear, but the kind of fear that you might make a $500,000 to $1 million mistake and be forced to live with it–live in it–for the next 20 to 30 years.

Well, you wouldn’t be alone. In my experience, the two biggest obstacles that keep new home owners/builders from “taking the plunge” are fear and misunderstanding. Why? Because, first of all, they don’t know that there is a process, and even if they do, they don’t quite know what that process is.

But building a home is like anything else in life: the first step is the hardest, and a crucial part of the process. If you were going to do any other major endeavor for the first time, such as plant an oak tree in your yard or build your own pizza oven, the first thing you’d do is research it, right? You might buy a book or two, Google the topic and watch a few videos, that kind of thing.

Well, buying or building a new home is no different. Don’t let fear or misunderstanding keep you on the bench for another day. Allow me to walk you through the process, instead.

Fear can be a good instinct. Some people simply shouldn’t build a new home but should, instead, purchase a new home from an existing inventory of homes. Which type are you? We’ll decipher that in the following pages so that you are fully armed with information and caution before making a costly plunge that could end up in disappointment, if you make the wrong choice.

Is your dream home one you build from scratch or one you run across in an existing inventory of new homes? We’ll find the answer together in the coming pages.

Our Newest Community Coming Soon!

Categories: News | Posted: December 3, 2019

We are so happy to be in partnership with the one of the best developers in the entire area. This brand new community is off Blanco Road just south of Highway 46. One of the best located estate communities ever. Blanco Road provides easy access to 1604 and 46.

There are 1-2 acre beautiful home-sites and a fabulous community center and pool coming soon.


Visit their website and pick a lot before all the good one’s are gone!

Home of the Week!

Categories: Available New Homes, Building a Custom Home, Custom Home Design Ideas, Featured Home, News, San Antonio New Homes, WhiteStone | Posted: October 18, 2019

It is going to be a beautiful weekend for some cool home shopping. Let me direct you to a one of a kind, amazing property. The Addison home we built at 27220 Highland Crest is perhaps the most unique home we have ever built for sale. The 12′ ceilings down stairs are highlighted by a Great Room with wood tile that is so popular these days. All the fixtures and colors are current and beautiful. The deco finishes were selected by a Professional Decorators and our top management staff. This home is more art than home.

One of  most unique features of the home is the sky bridge and deck to the upper portion of the huge lot that backs to a permanent green-belt. Come see our home this weekend. Open 10-6 Saturday and 12-6 Sunday. The home is in Bexar County but there are no city taxes.

How Your House Gets So Expensive: Foot by Foot

Categories: Building a Custom Home, Custom Home Design Ideas, WhiteStone | Posted: September 10, 2019

If you’re wondering how a few thousand square feet turns into a few hundred thousand dollars, well, you’re in luck! In this section of advanced home design, I’ll walk you through a few of the ways in which your crude “working drawing” can reveal how expensive each room might be:

Square feet

In as much as a butcher charges by the pound and a boutique salon sells perfume by the ounce, the construction industry runs on square footage. In short, every foot costs something, and many/most of the vendors and trade craftsmen bid by the square foot.

Most people only consider the square footage that is “under air.” That is, with a roof over it and living space treated by air conditioning. The construction industry has a variety of ways of measuring a square foot that includes under air and then some.

For instance, a “framer” charges by what is called “covered” square footage. That includes all living areas, the garage, the overhangs and the porches. As one might imagine, when charging by the foot, this can add up quickly. Additionally, you must consider the square footage of big porches and other outdoor living area. In fact, many homebuilders calculate the square footage of those areas when they tell you how big the home is. The same is true for garages. That is part of the calculation that must be included. Some Builders even calculate the interior cubic air footage. All that open space comes at some cost.


Another expense that can add up quickly is plumbing, which may seem like it only exists in the bathroom and under sinks, but in fact can snake through the entire house when you consider how water gets to your upstairs bathroom.


You wouldn’t imagine that cabinet space could drive up the cost of a home, but you’d be surprised. Depending on the type of cabinets you select, how many of them, upper and lower and what kind of finish, you’d be amazed by how much that affects the cost of your kitchen.

Every foot of cabinet goes up in cost depending on the finish, the model, the make or the quality of material involved. It seems like such a minor thing when you’re talking about floor tiles and an outdoor living room, but look to how many square feet of cabinets you’re planning on having and how that affects the bottom line kitchen cost.

This is why both the concierge form and the working drawing are so important when it comes to making compromises. Room by room, we can point to the hidden costs that drive up the final estimate and, in this way, they can be addressed instance by instance.

Obviously, this isn’t my first time at the rodeo, nor is it my sales team’s. So, as we discuss the concierge form with clients, we might point out that a certain finish of cabinet can get exorbitant, hard to find, etc. This can help avoid surprises later, but even then, it often takes the working drawing estimates to make those prices clear for home builders.


The more complex your home design, the more bells and whistles you include on your concierge form—Tuscan elevation, a lot of closet space, gourmet serving island, two dishwashers, built in cabinets, double stair cases, epoxy floor covering in the garage, etc.—the more expensive it is.

When we’re talking about walk in closets, man caves, arboretums and speakers in the garage, this probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it often does, and so I want to address that here momentarily.

The term most related to complexity in the construction industry is Aspect Ratio. Simply put, a low aspect ratio home is a less expensive home, while a high aspect ratio home costs more. For instance, your typical suburban square or rectangular home, which from the air might look like a gift box or shoebox shaped home, has a low aspect ratio. Why? Because it’s simply less complex than other styles of home.

Now, compare that box-shaped, low-aspect ratio home with one that is wrapped around a swimming pool in a central courtyard, with cupolas coming out of the roof and multiple exits and levels, and the aspect ratio goes higher and higher with each design flourish.

So, while the more complex home is beautiful, it should come as no surprise that, with such complexity, comes a higher price tag.


It’s great to sit on your covered, screened-in porch at the end of a long day and kick back with a refreshing drink and the joy of custom home ownership. And while covered porches aren’t as expensive as, say, an air-conditioned and interior room, they’re more expensive than most home buyers realize.

Fancy Interior finishing

The fancy flourishes that clients love to decorate their interiors with, such as trim, crown molding, tiled ceilings or inlaid tile walls and faux panting, those interior finishes add up. Room by room, square foot by square foot, we provide a variety of options if this is where home builders want to eventually compromise.

Parting Words: Nothing Is Ever Perfect

It’s a fact of life that no matter how fully you participated in this advanced home design, no matter how long it took or active you were or how fully you envisioned the final product, one day you’ll look up at your finished home and think how you might have changed something.

It could be your first week in the home, a year or two later or ten years down the road, but at some point you’ll reconsider a design flourish, an angle, a room or a feature and experience, if not buyer’s remorse, then the slight sting of “could have been.”

This is the reason I don’t recommend that perfectionists build custom homes; they experience this tenfold and twice as rapidly! But, if you know going in that, as Frank Lloyd Wright so tactfully put it, “All good architectural design is a compromise,” then you can experience those moments of “would have done, should have done, could have done” with less regret.

The reason we at WhiteStone Custom Homes spend so much time in the planning, development and design/advance design phase is because we want you to be fully prepared for the entire process; before, during and after construction. The more you know going in, we like to say, the less regret you’ll have moving in!



Don’t Compromise your New Custom Home!

Categories: Building a Custom Home, Custom Home Design Ideas, Uncategorized, WhiteStone | Posted: June 21, 2019

So, you are going to build your first or maybe last custom home, right? Great! Fantastic. This may be the last home you ever. There is absolutely no reason to compromise right? Cousin Emily said you shouldn’t and well meaning brother Bob said you shouldn’t either. Are they correct? No! They are only correct if you DO NOT want to build a home. We have seen so many well meaning serious custom home buyers lose their vision and energy designing their own custom home because they suffered under the false narrative that you shouldn’t have to compromise when you are building a custom home. The fact is, you have to compromise less, but you still have to compromise.

How do I know this? Number one, I have been building customers homes for the last 34 years. Day in and day out. Those that are not able to compromise never build a home. Ever. You know what they do? Either they stay in the home they don’t like now, or they go buy a used home that doesn’t even begin to satisfy their desires. Trust me, I have seen it way too many times.   Number two, I learned it from the #1 home architect of all time, Frank Lloyd Wright.( ) It was his now famous quote ” All great design is a compromise”.  Why did he say that? Because it is true. It is always true. It is like a natural law that can not be changed. Think about it. If you want a home by the lake, it cannot be by the ocean. If you want a home in the mountains, it cannot be on flat farm land. If you want a two story home, it can not be a single story home.

You might argue, that if you have an endless budget, you shouldn’t have to compromise, right? Yes you do. Bill Gates built his $127 million home on a lake near his office on a lot that had limited space. It is a two story, so he has to climb stairs. How many buyers want to climb stairs? Most say they don’t, and almost all buyers today want a single story home,  but to accommodate all he wanted in the home, he had to go vertical. See what I mean? Frank Lloyd right was correct. All great design is a compromise.

The problem usually stems from the fact that custom home buyers get lost in the design phase and forget the main reason the wanted a new custom home anyway. They start thinking they can’t live with out the ________ and just will not build if they cannot have that when that was not the main reason they started this process in the first place. We can help. Come visit with us. Let us help you with our trademarked Concierge Form. It is a perfect guide to keeping on track and getting you into your perfect compromise of a new custom home! Build a WhiteStone Homes. Every new custom home should be a WhiteStone Home!

New Section of Sundance Ranch!

Categories: News | Posted: June 13, 2019

Come reserve your home-site now! First come, first served. 1/2 acre home-sites in the prestigious I-10 west area on beautiful Scenic Loop. Once part of an old German home and ranch, Sundance Ranch offers close in country like living with lots that are large enough so you don’t feel cramped in by your neighbors. Beautiful Hill Country setting in this small large lot community. This is the first time in over 5 years Sundance has added new home-sites to this already exclusive community.

Value Engineering: The Science of Dreams

Categories: Building a Custom Home, Custom Home Design Ideas, WhiteStone | Posted: May 21, 2019

How do we help customers turn their dream home into a reality? At WhiteStone Custom Homes, we start with something we call Value Engineering.

Value Engineering is our way of living up to our tag line of “Practical Luxury®.” We want to provide you with the best house possible within your budget. Whatever the budget, we don’t want to waste your money. We’d rather put your money to good use in ways that add value to the home, but don’t add excessive costs. So we examine the plan for your home with a critical eye, playing devil’s advocate with every inch of the blueprint and floor plan to ensure that there are no hidden costs, surprises, wasted money or efforts.

Something as simple as the flooring in your living room can take on great meaning when you match the kind of tiles or hardwood flooring you are using with the actual size or dimensions of the room. Will you end up cutting a fourth of your tiles, or lopping off two feet of every eighth floorboard, because of the dimensions?

Building a home from scratch allows us to closely examine every foot of every room, match it to the variables in your fixtures, wall coverings, etc., and “Value Engineer” the home for maximum value and minimal cost from the front door to the attic insulation.

People come to us for very specific reasons, and oftentimes those reasons involve significant life changes that are occurring within the family unit. The reason our homes are not only custom built but custom designed is because there is no cookie cutter formula or template that works for every home buyer.

Maybe your children are leaving the home and you’re looking for a smaller, sleeker, and more streamlined and open floor plan to fit your new lifestyle. Maybe you have two children in college who still come home from time to time and need room, but not as much room; or just one room. Maybe you’re adding children and need more room.

Maybe you’ve just gotten divorced or remarried. Maybe you’re newly single and are looking for that ultimate “Sex & the City” bachelorette pad or man cave, or maybe you’ve just married into a blended family a la “The Brady Bunch!”

Whatever the personal issues in the home, you’re ready for a change and we want to take charge of the process for you; Value Engineering helps us do just that.