Huffines Communities, located outside of Dallas, TX, is always searching for unique properties on which to build their developments. Located less than 30 miles northeast of Dallas, in the town of Wylie, Huffines is building a new community spanning 593 acres and has features that are not normally seen in Dallas. “The land itself was naturally beautiful and unique,” said Elvio Bruni, president of Huffines Communities. “It’s not another flat piece of land you normally see around Dallas. It has gorgeous rolling hills that provide for a unique design.”
One of the biggest challenges when designing the community was constructing the gateway in such a way to block the view of the powerlines, as well as figuring out how to incorporate it into the 30 to 35 acres of open space. “How do you make something dramatic, to scale, that will stand out?,” said Bruni. “There is so much land, so much space, that something small would get swallowed up. Bigger is not always better, but bigger was better on this larger-scoped community.”
In order to mask the view of the powerlines, which could sour potential buyer’s first impression of the community, the idea of an art deco-styled entry was designed and the community named, “Inspiration.” The entry leads visitors beneath an 86-foot span of distinctive metal arches and stone pillars. “When you drive up to the entry way, it really is a ‘wow’ piece for people because we utilized the topography in a way which highlights the key elements,” said Bruni. “We also moved a lot of dirt, so when you drive up you see the entry water feature veneered with large aggregate granite, which is engineered in a way so the water falling over it would look ‘white capped,’ and the framing columns are made from Oklahoma Natural Stone.” The neoclassical design — mixed with “art deco” — has details such as throwback lanterns with tortoise shell patterns.
To design the entry way, Huffines Communities relied on the expertise of Mesa Design, out of Dallas, TX. The design firm has worked on a number of communities with Huffines, and the developer hired them because, like Huffines, Mesa has a unique approach to design. Huffines met with Mesa and went through the aesthetic and feel they wanted for the community. From that conversation spurred the birth of a sketch which eventually turned into the design that is today “Inspiration.”
Hazelnut Oklahoma stone squares, rectangles and slabs — supplied by Quality Stone Quarries, based in Stigler, OK — was selected for the landscape design. “It was a huge project for us,” said Sarah Ratliff, director of marketing for Quality Stone Quarries. “I have no idea how many tons were used. No one does because we shipped so much of it. One reason they used us was because we have the capability to ship large quantities of stone quickly.”
The hardscape work was installed by Ratliff Hardscape. Huffines and Mesa brought on Ratliff Hardscape early on in the process of designing the plans, since they knew about the logistics and implementation of the design. This ensured the Ideas they had could actually work when constructed. This also gave Ratliff a chance to add input on the design — things that they needed to adjust or creative ideas to tweak the design, and assist in problem solving through logistics issues.
For Huffines Communities, they brought in samples during the stone selection process. It was important that they had a stone that would not only blend in well, but one that would pull out the colors in other features that they wanted, creating a harmonious blend. “It was a good looking stone that was cost effective,” said Bruni. “They really complimented the look of natural stone, and the Oklahoma blends well with the other features like the ‘tortoise shell’ and the bronze arches.”
The stone entry for Huffines Communities was completed in about a year. Since then the community has won multiple awards, including “Community of the Year – Under 600 acres,” by the Dallas Builders Association.
Designer: Mesa Design, Dallas, TX
Stone Supplier: Quality Stone Quarries, Stigler, OK
Hardscape: Ratliff Hardscape, Lewisville, TX