With Design in MindMay 01, 2022 ● By Lisa Sciortino
A Frisco subdivision under construction off Independence Parkway, between West Main Street and Rolater Road, features homes that are unlike any others in North Texas – or the entire nation, for that matter.
The upscale community, called Tapestry, is being developed by Total Environment, an India-based company that is also behind Windmills, a restaurant/brewery located at Grandscape in The Colony.
Its luxury homes boast unique design and operational features including geothermal heating and cooling systems, solar panels, outdoor grassy areas accessible from any room in the house (including upstairs) and even gardens on the roof, among others.
As uncommon as these features may be in most newly constructed homes in this area, they are the norm in India where Total Environment Founder Kamal Sagar established the company more than two decades ago and has been building similarly outfitted residences ever since. (The company also develops hotels and apartment complexes there.)
Early in his career as an architect, he says his firm “took on the idea of embracing nature and creating high-quality homes that were warm and individually customized around each family’s needs. …
I realized the only way I could do this was to take up the responsibility for not just designing but also developing and constructing these communities.”
Tapestry is the company’s first foray into homebuilding in the United States. Its three styles of two-story homes (the model home onsite is referred to as an “experience home”) that are being constructed in Frisco range from 3,300 to 5,300 square feet. Prices start at $1.3 million and the homes take an estimated 18 months to complete.
“We have brought our design philosophy and core values (to the project) that have helped build this brand over 25 years,” Sagar says. “Two of our core values are authenticity and consciousness. We don’t chase trends. Everything we do is with a single-minded focus on our vision.”
Other cities, including San Francisco, were considered for the development. However, Total Environment ended up securing a 56-acre Frisco property that boasts three ponds, a trio of creeks and hundreds of trees. Ground was broken on the project in 2020. “The natural beauty of the landscape was something in which we were in awe of from day one,” Sagar says. “To be able to preserve this and build around it is an exciting prospect for us.”
It also complements well the company’s “nature-driven” values, according to Kaci Wiens, development coordinator at Tapestry. “The whole idea is to bring the outdoors inside,” she explains.
Sagar adds, “We have always believed that you cannot call a home a home if it doesn’t have a garden.” That is why every home constructed by Total Environment is designed around one or more garden spaces complete with irrigation systems.
On Tapestry’s V40 model, such a space exists in an unexpected place: outside the second-floor primary bedroom, which looks out onto a serene terrace filled by a lush lawn that grows atop what is the backyard patio cover.
Meanwhile, the home’s “green roof” – which Wiens says helps reduce outside noise and regulate indoor temperatures – is filled with plants that will be maintained by Tapestry’s homeowner’s association. The roof also features leak-detection and drainage systems.
When built out, Tapestry’s two phases are expected to have 121 homes. Residents will also have access to a park (currently under development) and a 7,500-square-foot amenity center that is planned to include a gym, pool and a café as well as a concierge service similar to those often found in luxury apartment buildings.
The floor plans for Tapestry’s highly customizable homes can be altered (to varying degrees) to suit the lifestyle needs of those who reside in them.
Buyers meet early in the purchase process with Total Environment’s designer to discuss “all about how they live their life,” Wiens explained. The designer “is really great at looking at somebody’s lifestyle and knowing, `Hey, they need an office downstairs,’ or `They need lots of hosting space because they like to throw parties.’ … Everybody will have different layouts.”
“Every family is different and has unique needs,” explains Sagar who, with his business-partner wife, Total Environment Co-Founder Shibanee Sagar, personally approves the design of each home the company builds. “We cannot expect them to adjust to a standard home design.”
Behind the Design
On its website, Total Environment promotes its vision “to make homes worth living in.”
“The home is the most significant space in our lives,” Sagar says. “It is where we spend our most valuable time with family and where we are most comfortable and intimate and where we are able to forget our troubles and be ourselves. … I’ve always believed that your home has to be a space that inspires you to dream and get the best out of you. To create a space that inspires you, it has to understand you and be able to grow around you.”
He says his company takes a “problem-solving approach” to home design. “It’s simply based on a good understanding of the site, the families who are going to live and use our projects and with our own principles of authenticity, simplicity, harmony, connection and attention to detail.”
For example, the stairs on the staircase in the V40 experience home are 6 inches tall, whereas the industry standard size is 7.5 inches, Wiens says. The decreased height allows for assents and descents that are noticeably easier on the joints.
At the top of the stairs is what Wiens calls the “family room,” a long space that is bathed in natural light courtesy of a wall of angled windows that not only are an interesting design feature, but also alter the view so residents don’t have to stare directly at adjacent homes. “You’re getting to see nature but you’re not seeing your neighbor living their life across the street,” she says.
Sunlight streams into most rooms of the home due to large French windows and glass doors installed throughout that “help bring nature into the homes … blurring the boundaries between the indoors and the outdoors,” Sagar says.
Tapestry’s homes may be purchased furnished as Total Environment also has a furniture manufacturing unit. After all, Sagar says, “When you design a home, you have to be able to make everything work in harmony, including the furniture and the cabinetry.”
Wiens, who offices inside the experience home onsite and leads potential buyers on tours of Tapestry, says she is pleased when people take note of the home's myriad design features. “There are so many little details in here that I know about, and I love it when people point them out.”
Most who have toured the experience home or who have purchased an abode in the development “are really looking for something different,” she says. “We’re seeing a pretty wide range of interest. We don’t really have a specific (buyer) that we’re marketing to – just people who like a minimalistic lifestyle who enjoy nature. That’s kind of our crowd.”
Lisa Sciortino is managing editor of Frisco STYLE Magazine.