TLK Custom Homes Makes Clients Happy With Energy-Efficient Homes
TLK Custom Homes builds high-end homes in Dallas/Fort Worth and nearby Rockwall County.
Though T.K. Kneedler worked for 25 years in a small community near Dallas as a combined police officer, firefighter and emergency medical technician, it seemed inevitable that he would become a builder of luxury homes. “When I retired, this had been a lifelong dream of my wife and I,” Kneedler says. “My dad was a builder. My grandfather was a builder.”
Now celebrating its fifth anniversary, TLK Custom Homes builds high-end homes in Dallas/Fort Worth and nearby Rockwall County. Those homes range in cost from $300,000 to $3 million.
There is “quite a bit” of competition, Kneedler notes, most of it from builders that have been around much longer than TLK, and many of whom don’t advertise because of repeat business. TLK differs from the competition in a few important ways.
How TLK Differs
TLK sets its self apart through an emphasis on communication, its energy-efficient homes and extensive pre-construction. The Kneedlers give their cellphone numbers to customers and are available at all times. They take cellphone photos of construction and send them to clients.
“My wife, Lisa, and I are on jobsites every day,” Kneedler says. “We put up a camera system, not just for theft but to make sure everyone is operating in a safe manner. It also allows the homeowner to see the home as it’s being built.”
For energy efficiency, TLK uses 2 x 6 exterior walls, “California corners” where the sill plates overlap and prevent air from penetrating, headers for doors and windows and spray foam insulation. “Everything is poly-sealed,” Kneedler says. “We use Energy Star or good-quality windows. It’s a lot of attention to detail you don’t see with a lot of construction in our area.”
Because the homes are airtight, TLK also installs humidifiers and ultraviolet lights to reduce allergens and bacteria from being circulated throughout the houses.
TLK takes from two to five months on pre-construction, creating a very detailed design. The company works with clients on a tighter budget to figure out alternatives that work financially while keeping quality high.
Kneedler says the company’s biggest challenge is other builders that are less than honest about their pricing. “Many low-bid a cost-plus contract and then [later] the customer realizes they don’t have the money to finish,” Kneedler says.
TLK takes a different approach. The firm charges people to design a custom home, figuring out every aspect from square footage to fixtures to flooring and, most importantly, the actual cost. “A lot of people have no idea what it costs,” Kneedler says. “We give them the numbers to actually build their home.”
Two Homes, One Roof
In July, TLK completed a multi-generational home in Heath, Texas, which the company had started in December 2018. The project is basically two homes under a single roof.
A grandmother occupies a 1,700-square-foot area of the house containing two bedrooms, two bathrooms, its own kitchen and living area and entrance. Her area of the home is ADA-compliant and has features such as a master shower that can be accessed by someone in a wheelchair.
Her daughter and husband use the other 3,000 square feet of the home, which includes three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and study. A large laundry area separates the two areas. There is a shared patio and a four-car garage.
“When [the mother] is unable to care for herself, they are all under one roof,” Kneedler says. “Multigenerational homes have become popular. With millennials staying or moving home and seniors living longer. There is an increasing need to contain costs.”