In 2011, La Buena Vida Youth Leadership Foundation (LBVF), a non-profit organization whose main mission is to improve the lives of North Texas students in need through programs that provide leadership development and higher education opportunities, made its first visit to City House. After observing the setup of the similar non-profit organization that has been housing and assisting at-risk youth in Collin County in Plano, TX, for almost 30 years, LBVF was so inspired that it began its own process to open what is now known as the La Buena Vida House. The new residential youth facility — located in Irving, TX — is designed to house up to 16 homeless high school students between the ages of 17 and 21, who have lost both parents through death, abandonment, abuse or mental illness.
Featuring eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms and three kitchens, the 3,000-square-foot house is the first to be built by LBVF. However, the organization has provided support to homeless youth in other ways for many years, with a purpose to produce young people who are ready to go out and be productive members of society.
To help bring the La Buena Vida House to fruition, city government, federal government, HUD housing and community developing groups came together to find a location for the home on a neglected street in a redeveloped urban neighborhood. Although known for its long history of problems, the street is now seen as a “solution” to the area’s problem, since it currently provides a space for students to benefit from various opportunities, including the ability to finish high school, while receiving training from mentors in topics such as business development, personal finance, practical housekeeping and more. Most importantly, the program at the house is designed to keep the residents on track to earn their degree and succeed in life.
Since La Buena Vida House is a non-profit facility, the budget for the project was relatively low. Initial specifications called for carpet flooring, however, when hearing about the LBVF and what it entailed, Interceramic volunteered to donate tile and subsequently contacted Laticrete to provide the setting materials so they could ensure a long-lasting environment for the new home’s residents.
Approximately 4,000 square feet of tile from the Bruselas collection in the color “Noce” was employed for all of the flooring, shower walls and kitchen backsplash — supplied directly from Interceramic in Dallas, TX. Bruselas, a high density (HD) ceramic floor and glazed ceramic wall tile collection, offers a cross-cut travertine stone look. The floors consist of 13- x 13- and 16- x 16-inch tiles, while smaller 6- x 6-inch tiles were used for the shower walls and kitchen backsplash.
Completing the installation
The installation, which was finished in roughly two weeks, required three installers onsite at any given time, according to Dwayne Childress, owner of Trendsetters Carpet & Flooring in Benbrook, TX. “We completed the installation with a modified mortar that Laticrete supplied us with,” he said. “There were no unusual challenges. It was a pretty smooth installation; it just involved a lot of tile.”
With at least one dozen residents and three full-time staff members, as well as visitors and friends who will be moving throughout the house daily, wear-and-tear was a major factor taken into consideration. Additionally, since the upkeep of the home lies solely in the hands of its residents, low-maintenance materials were necessary to keep things simple and to prolong the life of the home.
To address the property’s traffic and maintenance concerns, Laticrete’s 4-XLT® adhesive mortar and Permacolor® Select grout were used for the installation. The 4-XLT, a multi-use, polymer fortified adhesive mortar, which was used to install the large-format tiles on the floor, is ideal for preventing lippage commonly associated with the installation of large-format tiles. Permacolor
Select, an advanced high-performance cement grout, is designed for virtually all types of residential and commercial installations and is designed to be easy-to-mix, grout and clean, and is fast setting.
“This was a great opportunity to help these kids get through a difficult time in their lives by making sure they have a living environment that is safe, comfortable and low maintenance,” said Lori Cariello, distributor sales representative for Laticrete. “It’s a privilege to play a role in something this important.”
Altogether, the La Buena Vida House took about eight months to complete. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on January 29, 2015, with about 80 people from the neighborhood and community in attendance to lend support to the new program.
“Completed in time for the residents to return to school in the fall of 2015, the project is a testimony to the generosity of the community and the suppliers who were involved,” said Cariello. “These teens now have a place to call ‘home,’ people who will help them get back on track and a lot of hope for the future.”
Because of the success of the La Buena Vida House, LBVF is already working to identify a location for a similar house for homeless females, according to representatives. cstd
La Buena Vida House
Owner: La Buena Vida Youth Leadership Foundation (LBVF), Irving, TX
Architect: M.J. Wright & Associates, Inc., North Richland Hills, TX
General Contractor: Key Life Homes, Inc., Irving, TX
Tile Supplier: Interceramic, Dallas, TX
Tile Installer: Trendsetters Carpet & Flooring, Benbrook, TX
Installation Products: Laticrete, Bethany, CT