Dabney Homes incorporates old and new features into its projects.
By Alan Dorich
For Jack Dabney, building homes is not just work, but a source of joy. “I love doing what I do and I work really hard at it,” he says. “It’s kind of frustrating at times and other times it’s exhilarating.”
Dabney is owner of Dabney Homes, a firm that specializes in building and renovating homes in San Antonio. He established the company in 1991, after gaining extensive construction experience. “I’ve always been interested in building, even as a child putting models together,” he recalls. “Even as a young kid, a friend’s mom told me I should be a homebuilder.”
He took that advice and ultimately pursued a career in homebuilding after earning a degree in construction engineering at Texas Tech University. After working in Texas, “I went to California because I had family out there and the market was just taking off,” he recalls.
He joined a development company as an assistant superintendent and worked his way up the ranks. “After about seven years, I decided I wanted to come back to Texas and started my own company,” Dabney says.
Today, Dabney Homes builds two to three homes a year with an attention to detail. “Every single home is analyzed daily and picked apart in a good way,” says Dy Lynne Dabney, Jack Dabney’s wife. “Jack is there all day long, checking on things.
“He builds a home that rarely needs a punch list, because of his attention to detail,” she continues. “It makes him one of the best builders and that is why people want him so much.”
“I’ve got my hands on everything,” Jack Dabney says, noting that he will find properties, create the plans and build the homes. “I’ll either sell them or I’ll involve a realtor in the sale.”
One of a Kind
Dabney Homes repurposes parts of older structures into its homes. “We find old doors and windows and will work them [in],” Dy Lynne Dabney says, noting that the company has even used old beams from the 1800s. “It’s a nice combination of today’s needs with yesterday’s beautiful things.”
One example, Jack Dabney notes, is 222 Rosemary, a 1930s federal-style home in Alamo Heights, Texas, that the company renovated. “It had eight barn doors on it,” he recalls, noting that two were used again in the home.
Another door was used in the 10,000-square-foot barn that is home for Dabney Homes; Dy Lynne Dabney’s design company, Dy Lynne Decor; and Joyeux Home Decor, a store that sells home furnishings that the Dabneys co-own. “If there’s something that’s really cool about the house we’re working on, we try to pull it out, save it, rebuild it and give it a new function,” he says.
The company is currently building 333 Rosemary in Alamo Heights, which also incorporates old and new elements. “All of our homes do,” Dy Lynne Dabney says. “That’s why people seek us out. They have that one-of-a-kind feel.”
The Dabneys are fond of the homes in Alamo Heights, which were largely built in the 1920s and 1930s, Jack Dabney says. “You can walk the same street over and over and see something new that you didn’t notice before,” he says. “It gives me a lot of inspiration seeing the old homes and the craftsmanship that went into them.”
A Good Pace
Dy Lynne Dabney sees a strong future for the company, which will stay at its current rate of two to three homes a year. “We want to stay within our neighborhood and keep up that same pace,” she says.
The couple also wants to dedicate more time to the Joyeux Home Decor store and have their sons take leadership of Dabney Homes. That way, “My wife Dy Lynne and I can spend more time together and maybe take a vacation once a year,” Jack Dabney says.