Real Talk With Dallas Realtor Weston Pugh

The relationship between the architect and the Realtor is really the relationship between the alpha and the omega. Meet Larry & Weston.

The relationship between the architect and the Realtor is really the relationship between the alpha and the omega. An architect ultimately begins the project – before it is even a project, rather an idea. The architect is able to bring the ideas and thoughts of a developer to life, where a builder can then bring those ideas it to fruition.

The other end of that spectrum is where we find the Realtor. Once that beautiful is idea is conceived and created, there is hopes that it will get sold. And someone has got to sell that house.

Enter Weston Pugh of UpdikePugh Real Estate Group.

Weston’s experience in real estate is second to none. His warm personality and “can-do” attitude carry him a long way toward satisfying his clients’ needs.  Weston began his career in real estate working for a local real estate office entering MLS cards into the master file and delivering the MLS books to agents. After college, he moved to San Antonio and got into sales in a variety of businesses settling in new home sales for Medallion Homes.  

He moved to Dallas in 2007 and met his current business partner, Jeff Updike. They began working together and realized quickly that they make a great team. Weston enjoys spending time with his brothers and sisters and the variety of niece and nephews. He also enjoys making and viewing art and working out.

LISTEN as we discuss business, HGTV and staging your home.

Still can’t get enough? Check out the Vlog below where Larry Paschall of Spotted Dog Architecture joined the cast of Weston’s Vlog, SOLD.

 

All Things Gay – All Things Architecture

There is something to be said for new beginnings, and I am thrilled to launch this next chapter for myself, and for Spotted Dog Architecture.

There is something to be said for new beginnings, and I am thrilled to launch this next chapter for myself, and for Spotted Dog Architecture. Throughout my career, friends and family have asked me questions that while I may not find that interesting, they do. That taught me something: folks must really dig what I do. So having podcasted in the past, I revisited  the idea of creating a new, fresh approach to chatting about all things architecture, through the eyes of the gay architect.

When we were in the development stages of the podcast, I really had only one request: it isn’t dry. I, myself, have listened to a number of architecture podcasts, and have snoozed a few minutes in. I really wanted to create something that people both inside and outside of the industry would enjoy listening to, and find it both informative and interesting.

We have lined up a phenomenal guest list of folks that will join me every other week that are in some way related to architecture – both directly and indirectly. Realtors? Yup. Interior designers? For sure. We’ve got window folks and lighting gurus, contractors, photographers and students.

And so it begins.

For this first episode, I thought it would a good idea to lay the foundation for why I wanted to start the podcast. So I invited on Waylon Tate, my publicist, who continued to push me to launch.

Check out our chat below & provide some positive feedback. Be nice. 😃

The shameless promotion stuff discussed in this episode.

My publicist: Waylon Tate of J. Waylon & Associates

Waylon’s realtor: Hunter Dehn of Hunter Dehn Realty.

Travel through a different lens

As much as architects photograph buildings, I think we tend to live our lives in more detail than most.

I am not what you would call a world-weary traveler. James and I tend to visit the same locations again and again, and I can count the times I’ve been out of the country on two hands – possibly one. And some of those have been on ships, so I don’t know that they really count. Can you immerse yourself in another country in a few hours of walking around?

However, looking back at the traveling I have done, I often wonder if I’m seeing the places I’m visiting as other travelers would see it. Or only as an architect would see it.

As much as architects photograph buildings, I think we tend to live our lives in more detail than most. And if you go back and look through our photos, architects will have a lot of detail shots most people wouldn’t take or wouldn’t notice.

When James was in London for work, his apartment could not have been better just short of being inside Buckingham Palace. Just off Fleet Street, you could walk out the door and go left to St. Paul’s and the Tower. Or turn right and head to Trafalgar Square, The National Gallery, and Westminster Abbey.

Naturally I came in for a quick visit. And yes, I got all of the requisite shots. The Tower. St. Paul’s. Buckingham Palace. However, what really caught my eye wasn’t the bigger pictures.

Instead, it was the inside of an ATM lobby.

That’s right. An ATM lobby.

Double volume space. Ornate columns. Wood coffered ceiling. Oval windows with carved wood trim. And incredibly detailed hand-thrown tile everywhere. Everywhere. Walls. Naves. Ceilings. Even the columns had tile applied. Absolutely stunning. How could that not catch my eye?

I even did this while touring the Hemingway House in Key West. Not a single photo of the exterior of the house. What I kept snapping shots of were the details. Bathroom tile. Ceiling medallions. Fireplace surrounds.

Photos taken at the Hemingway House in Key West.

After 20 years of moments like this, James is completely unfazed. I think it started on our first trip to Vegas when I made him stand on a hot sidewalk while I snapped photos of the naked steel structure being erected for the new Aria hotel.

For everyone else – bank employees, other tourists, locals – I probably look pretty odd. Why is this guy so interested in the lobby? Or so close to the bathroom tile? Or in the case of one friend, laying in the middle of the sidewalk in NY?

But for the other architects around me, they’ll know exactly what I’m doing because they’ve been there themselves. Yes, I’m enjoying touring the city. Yes, it is fun being in a new place. And yes, the buildings are really cool.

But at the end of the day, it’s all about the details. Even if the regular traveler doesn’t see it.

Really Unreal

Wouldn’t it be nice though to open a copy of Architectural Record and see a home photographed the way the owners really use it?

Turn on HGTV’s Property Brothers with an architect in the room, and you’ll hear: “Seven weeks my ass.” (Just ask my husband.) Because we know full well that renovation isn’t taking seven weeks. Seventeen maybe, but not seven.

But that’s the fun for architects – rolling our eyes at these programs (while still watching) and complaining about how difficult they make our jobs. And then sharing stories about how unreality TV has really screwed up our clients’ expectations.

But have you picked up a copy of Architectural Record, Architect, or Architectural Digest? Because HGTV isn’t the only one painting pretty pictures or setting unrealistic expectations.

I love picking up an architecture magazine, looking at the photos, and being wowed at the imagery. And there isn’t a building that’s not beautifully shot. Whether a high rise or a house, architects make sure their work is presented in the best possible light.

My favorites, however, are the celebrity spreads in places like Architectural Digest. Take Ricky Martin’s house in the February 2018 issue for example. Nice spread on his family’s home. Everything is perfect. Pillows in their places. Coffee table books expertly arranged. Bouquets of flowers.

Incredibly beautiful.

Incredibly unreal.

Because you can’t help noticing his two sons included in the family photos. And if you can’t remember how you were at 6 or 7, ask mom or dad. I don’t know if I can recall a time when our house was that put together. Or if it was, not for long. I can’t count the times my mother cussed because she had stepped on an errant Lego. By all accounts, Ricky’s house should have had toys scattered across the living room. Maybe an odd pair of underwear on the floor. Even the boys’ room in this shoot was flawless.

But as architects, we set that expectation and that unrealistic image. I can recall looking at proofs for a high-rise apartment project and being amazed at the awesome sunset outside the client’s 6th floor living room. Especially given that there’s really a multi-rise office building next door – close enough to wave at whoever’s working that day.

Wouldn’t it be nice though to open a copy of Architectural Record and see a home photographed the way the owners really use it? Dishes in the sink from the night before. Shoes taken off and left in the front hall. Maybe a muddy dog sprawled across the couch pillows.

Or better yet, open Architectural Digest and see a real celebrity spread? Maybe Mariah Carey’s bedroom with an unmade bed, pillows scattered, a TV remote next to a half-empty cocktail glass on the side table, and the remnants of some late-night Cheetos?

We had a client whose home would have been a perfect fit for Architectural Record. And the first time I walked through was just jaw-dropping. Incredible design. Uber-contemporary. The multi-floor plan that took complete advantage of the sloping site.

And not a thing out of place. As if someone came in to shoot the house for a magazine and just left the rooms that way. Absolutely unreal.

Until we went up to the wife’s private office. Then you realized just where all the clutter was in the house. But no one was ever going to see that room.

Perhaps that’s the reality at the Martins’. Beautifully shot, except you’ll never see the day before when everything was shoved into closets and under beds.

Except that’s what clients need to see – the reality behind the glam.

The really unreal.

Keep in touch on Facebook and Instagram to see all of the Spotted Dog Architecture action behind the scenes. 

Anyone want a cookie?

I would like to say we wanted more space just because we like to cook. However, based on how the island looks when we get ready to box up everything, I really think we both had Christmas in mind.

December for most people means time for the holidays. Parties. Shopping. Decorating. Seeing family if you’re into that sort of thing.

But if you’re a member of our family, or a close friend, December means something different.

Cookies. Lots and lots of cookies.

I’m not sure when or how the tradition was started, but this time every year James and I are diving off into cookie-making. Last year we started mid-November (thank you Mr. Freezer!) but usually right after Thanksgiving we’re pulling together the list for the year.

And by list, I mean LIST. Most years we have around 30-odd recipes, most being made in double batches. Old favorites. New recipes. Repeats from the previous year and requests from individuals. There’s always sugar cookies for my sister. Fudge for my step-mom. And cake balls for my niece.

This year of course is no different. And like every year, I’m amazed when James comes home from the grocery store toting in supplies. I’m secretly terrified about the amount of butter and sugar we go through.

What’s more amazing, though, is that we used to do this in an 8-foot-long galley kitchen. I’m not sure how we fit everything into the space. Or how we did the measuring, pouring, mixing, and baking without killing one another. But somehow, we managed to turn out a ton of cookies.

Which made a larger kitchen and a large island all that more important when we did the renovation. I would like to say we wanted more space just because we like to cook. However, based on how the island looks when we get ready to box up everything, I really think we both had Christmas in mind.

And what better way to use an island?

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The Road to Renovation Redux

Ho, Ho, Oh No!

One of our biggest achievements in the time spent working on our renovation is utilizing the space we have to meet our needs.  That meant we were able to get both the kitchen and the bathroom that we had been wanting for a long time without going overboard and adding a lot of square footage.  We simply had to look at how we could turn existing space into usable space.

Turning existing space into usable space

A great example of that is the front room of the house.  From the time we moved in, the front room always had minimal furniture.  A couple of chairs.  A small electric piano.  A rug.  However, following the renovation, that room now functions as our dining room.  And as we unpacked and rearranged furniture, we were able to make the space still fit what we had and adapt that room for dining.

Except we forgot one thing:

But where does the Christmas tree go?

Where does the Christmas tree go?

For 12 years, the front room of the house was the designated spot for the Christmas tree.  And since the ceiling was sloped, and we didn’t have a lot of furniture to shift around, we had the option of getting any size tree we wanted.  Consequently, three years ago we allowed my 5 foot tall sister to talk us into getting a 9 foot tree to match hers.  (We have to get a step ladder to get to the top.  I’m picturing my brother-in-law having to hoist my sister to the top of theirs with a crane!)

As we started talking as we pulled out the boxes and bins this year, though, we realized we hadn’t thought through where exactly this monstrosity was to go.  We felt we had prepared pretty well overall.  Moving back in we knew where the office furniture was going.  Who got which side of the master closet?  Which wall the guest bed was going on?  But we hadn’t given much thought about how to handle holidays and the extras that invariably go along with them.

So we stood there over the weekend, looking at the combined living and dining rooms – looking at the sofa, loveseat, chair, ottoman, dining room table, side table, leather bench, side chair, and an electric piano – and wondering where exactly Christmas was going to happen.

Working it out

Do we forego the big tree for the little tree purchased last year?  Do we move the dining table and just eat dinner at the kitchen island for the month of December?  Do we skip decorating altogether this year and continue to let ourselves settle into the space?

IMG_1989Surprisingly, we were able to move only two pieces and find a location for the tree.  Of course, we may change that next year.  After all, we really are adapting to new spaces.  We may find ourselves bumping into the tree as we walk past and decide we need a place more out of the way.  Or discover that the dogs really love curling up under it at night.

All’s well that ends well

But for now, and for not having planned, our first Christmas and our tree in the “new” home are working out well, as and where they are!

The Road to Renovation Redux

And We’re Done…Sort Of

We’ve reached the end of the road.

No, we haven’t lost our minds.  Or run out of money.  Or decided we want to spend the rest of our days drunk in a bar in New Orleans.  (Although that’s a thought!)

I mean we’ve finished construction.

Sort of.

Final punch list made

James and I were able to move back into the house on November 10th.  (And 11th.  And 12th.)  However, before we got too settled, we (me) walked through with our contractor, Stephan Sardone, and made our final punch list – the final little tweaks to six months of construction that will mean construction is officially done.

Anyone who has done a renovation knows that moving back in doesn’t necessarily mean you’re done.  You just happen to be living in your house again.  As you find yourself using each space, you invariably come across minor items that need to be repaired or replaced.  A faulty plug.  A missing caulk joint.  A loose baseboard. All common items that are easy to manage.

So you’re done.  You’re just not – done.  Because you also have to deal with unpacking.

There is always something more!

I always equate moving to having a U-Haul truck explode inside the house.  Of course, one would think after having moved three times in the last year, I’d be used to the chaos.  What I’ve discovered, though, each time there is still the same…..IMG_1938

James has done a much better job of handling this end of the experience.  By the time we went to bed Monday night, the kitchen had been unpacked, dishes had been washed and almost everything put away.  The scary part – there’s something in every cabinet, and I can’t figure out where each item came from.  I know it was in the old kitchen.  But where?

What is in the POD?

And even scarier (at least for me), – we still have a POD container to unpack.  Couldn’t we just leave that in storage somewhere?  I mean, we’ve done without those things all this time.  Do we really need them? I’m not even sure what is in that POD container anymore!

IMG_1939
Can you believe this was full? Where did it all go?

(Cue eye roll from James.)

Of course, everything will eventually get unpacked (and by eventually, I mean before James’ parents arrive for Thanksgiving).  All of the little tweaks on the punch list will be completed and we can then sit back on the sofa with a glass of wine to enjoy our new space.

At least, until the fence is torn down and the landscaping gets started.

Oh crap! We’re not done, are we?!

Thanks to everyone!

And now, a note: – To everyone who has been following along with my neuroses a very special thanks!  I hope you have derived a “take-away” from our experience.  I know I’ve learned a lot – both as a homeowner/client and as an architect.

A very heartfelt thanks to Stephan Sardone and the crew at Sardone Construction for coming along for the ride and being willing to try some new things.

And finally to my husband James, a huge kiss and hug for not knocking me over the head and stuffing me under the house somewhere!

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