Stonehenge Classic Homes
Building Excellence and Adapting to Change in the Houston Texas Market
Business View Magazine interviews David Crow, Founder & President of Stonehenge Classic Homes, for our focus on the U.S. Home Building Industry
In the world of home construction and renovation, Stonehenge Classic Homes stands as a testament to innovation, adaptability, and an unwavering commitment to quality. Since its establishment in 1995, the company has been dedicated to building exceptional homes with distinct character and timeless quality, drawing inspiration from the iconic Stonehenge in England.
A Visionary Approach to Homebuilding
For Davide Crow, Founder and President of Stonehenge Classic Homes, an innovative and client-centric approach is a priority. “Creativity is number one,” he asserts. “I do more than just build what the architect’s plans show or what decorators tell me to do. I use all of my experience. I help people with preliminary design, and I can help them determine what architect or home designer to use on their home.” Crow remains dedicated to guiding clients through the design process, offering budgetary insights, and ensuring projects align with their vision. He notes that the company also builds bid houses, pointing out, “What sets us apart is that there are a lot of builders that do that, meaning they can bid and build whatever the plan shows them. Where I add value is a lot of people get stuck in that process. They are misguided on what it’s going to cost, or the architect or designer wasn’t 100% sure of the guidelines in the neighborhood where they’re wanting to build. If they had come to me first I could have helped them avoid going backwards and having to redesign aspects to get closer to their budget or to accommodate whatever that city requires.”
Building Through Adversity: Adapting to Changing Markets
In today’s constantly changing economic landscape, Stonehenge Classic Homes has adapted to evolving market conditions, as the rise in interest rates has made the climate for new construction more challenging. “I don’t have the exposure of doing speculative homes. For me, and other builders I know, the high interest rates are deterring us from aggressively pursuing that,” he reports “I always have to think out a year from now. And it’s been scary with situations over the last couple of years, on what a year from now is going to look like. So, at this point, I’ve chosen not to take that risk, and I’m concentrating on custom work.”
While Stonehenge Classic Homes has traditionally undertaken new builds, Crow says he has pivoted to meet the evolving needs of his clients. “I’m fortunate that I have a pretty good following, so I haven’t really noticed a reduction of customers. What I’ve noticed is a reduction of new home customers, and an increase in renovation customers,” he relays. “Many have realized that if they sell their house, and they buy a new house and have to go with the new interest rates, that the math isn’t working. So, a lot of people are deciding to stay put and renovate their house. That’s a big part of what’s driving my business right now.”
Navigating Material Costs and Supply Challenges
The construction industry has also faced significant challenges related to material costs and supply chain disruptions. Crow maintains that although there have been fluctuations in individual materials like lumber, the overall construction costs have remained high. “In my business, it was mainly lumber driven, and price points have come down, not back to the pre COVID levels, just down from the big peak, to at least put that back into being able to deal with,” he conveys.
One significant improvement for the company has been the reduction in lead times for materials, although Stonehenge has also adjusted operations to keep things running smoothly. Crow recounts, “Scheduling used to be much easier because we knew we could order windows day one and have them by the time we were ready for them. Now a lot of pre thought has to go in, there are certain things that need to be ordered before we even start the house, that we still have to wait for.” Adjusting the sequencing of tasks has ensured that projects continue to move forward, even with material delays. “Now we’re a little more used to it, and although we are not necessarily able to build things in the same order, we can still keep the timeline from getting out of whack.”
Building Strong Relationships
The success of any construction project relies heavily on the relationships between the builder and subcontractors. Crow values loyalty, efficiency, and open communication, and understands the importance of keeping these partnerships strong. “Part of the reason I’ve had to adapt from being mainly a homebuilder to mainly a remodeler as of today is because of my loyalty to my subs. I have to make sure they constantly have work or they’re not going to be around when I need them,” he admits.
When it comes to client relationships, Crow highlights transparency, organization, communication, and preparation. “We’re constantly trying to make sure that we provide the client with as many details up front in our contracts and we spell out how we’re going to be organized throughout the process,” he says. The commitment to customer satisfaction goes beyond the construction, and thorough record-keeping is maintained throughout the project. Detailed binders are kept, containing information on products used in the home, which are presented to the client when they move in. The result of these efforts is trusted and lasting client relationships and repeat business. “A lot goes into the prebuild, the build, and then the post build. That’s what we pride ourselves on. We want to have customers for life,” Crow asserts.
A Unique Design Aesthetic
Stonehenge Classic Homes is not confined to a single design style, and the primary focus lies in client satisfaction. Crow ensures that each project is tailored to the homeowners needs, whether they desire traditional, contemporary, or a completely unique combination. This flexibility is a defining characteristic of the company, setting it apart from builders who specialize in specific designs. “I don’t want to be locked into one style,” he portrays. “I guess my stamp would be functionality and efficiency.” He defines efficiency as “usefulness of space, energy efficiency, and not wasting money on things that aren’t necessary.” Through his approach to functionality Crow strives to create spaces that maximize utility for his clients and their requests, whether that involves hidden features like jewelry drawers, secret rooms, safes, or convenient electronic charging stations. “There are builders that are just contemporary, or just green builders, or just traditional builders, but I try to just build quality homes that are efficient and make sense,” he emphasizes.
Detailing a recently completed a custom residential project designed by renowned architect Reagan Andre, Crow depicts a one-of-a-kind home that perfectly showcased the homeowners’ aspirations. “They designed it, and it has kind of a Louisiana flair,” he describes. “It’s got a slate roof. It’s a painted brick house with Southern charm. The clients were from New Orleans, so, we did a lot of New Orleans inspired interior finishes and woodwork and things.” This project also shows the company’s skill in working harmoniously with architects and design professionals, delivering top-tier, tailor-made residences that authentically bring to life their clients’ visions.
The Future: Expanding Horizons
As Stonehenge Classic Homes moves into the future, Crow is considering new avenues for growth. While custom homebuilding and renovations remain at the core of the business, he is exploring development projects that encompass residential and commercial elements. This diversification addresses the changing demographics of his clientele, who he believes seek innovative living spaces that combine residential and retail components.
As for what continues to drive him personally he remarks, “I like challenges, and I like problem solving and trying to figure things out. All of that is a big part of the building business. I’m very good at reacting to problems and coming up with solutions quickly, so projects don’t get delayed, and customers are happy.”
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AT A GLANCE
Stonehenge Classic Homes
What: Custom homebuilder and renovations specialist
Where: Houston, Texas