New Braunfels Lifestyle Magazine—Sept/Oct 2019
Written by Gail G. Collins
With nearly half a century of experience logged between them, Jim Williams and Greg Hirsch allied in 2001 to begin building custom homes in Hill Country. “At first, we built what customers asked for—big, rambling, Mediterranean-style homes.
“At the time, these type of homes were in style,” said Jim Williams. “Then seven or eight years ago, we got the opportunity to build specs houses, so we studied and began building nicely-appointed Craftsman style homes. We were immediately drawn to this style of home.” It would appear, a vast number of residents were drawn to them, too, as the popular Craftsman style has become synonymous with the area.
The partners also had done a lot of remodeling around San Antonio, particularly Alamo Heights and Terrell Hills. They adored the bungalows in those mature neighborhoods, but even with updating, the old homes often lacked efficient plumbing, insulation and didn’t meet other current standards. So, Williams-Hirsch (W/H) designed a better version. “We build homes with all modern features, which fit into established, traditional neighborhoods,” said Greg Hirsch. Their custom Craftsman homes possess every contemporary function, yet project a timeless, irresistible curb appeal.
Though the W/H constructs other styles, such as ranch, Mediterranean, farmhouse or contemporary in various communities, people come to them for their appealing Craftsman models. “If it is up to us, we choose to build a Craftsman cottage,” said Hirsch.
So what defines a W/H Craftsman style? The simpler, less pretentious home is characterized by a low-pitched, gabled roof with broad eaves and stands one-and-a-half stories with dormers. Craftsman plans could include a large, covered porch with battered columns draws guests to the door and invites them to stay awhile. Pillars line the entry. A prominent fireplace, flanked by fitted cabinetry, defines the living area. Windows are double-hung. Wood abounds in exposed rafters, built-in cupboards, nooks and window seats. Hammered metalwork in copper or bronze adds fine detailing.
The modest bungalows exude comfort and a productive lifestyle. They are both beautiful and functional—rife in textural, local materials with a high degree of craftsmanship. It is their fine details, which sets a Craftsman house apart, for though all Craftsman houses are bungalows, not all bungalows are Craftsman style.
It is just such aspects that have sold home buyers on Williams-Hirsch designs. The company offers eight Craftsman Cottage models. Buyers delight in the “custom designs within a budget,” “the functionality of a new home with the charm of an older home,” and “capturing unique architectural elements.” Utilizing Pam Williams for her interior design skills, the family team goes the extra mile with quality materials and workmanship.
Both Williams and Hirsch are Texas A & M grads. As a former Vietnam helicopter pilot, president Jim Williams then tacked on 25 years of experience building custom homes. He is married with three children and six grandchildren.
Vice president and co-partner Greg Hirsch is a knowledgeable site superintendent with 25 years invested in project management plus quality assessment and customer service. Hirsch works on architectural design alongside W/H designers.
“We collaborate on the design process,” said Hirsch. “It’s a team effort, and we stay with the plans until everyone is satisfied with the result.”
According to their Website, their customers share one thing—the desire for something more than the existing choices in custom homes. The company works closely with clients, taking into account their lifestyle, tastes and needs every step of the way from design to completion.
The builder hires third-parties to assure inspection standards, including energy testing, framing and more. “From a construction standpoint, we engineer everything we do,” said Hirsch. Williams-Hirsch is certified in many areas to incorporate science, efficiency and air quality into the overall construction.
The company also has erected commercial buildings, such as the Candlewood Suites Hotel, dentist offices, churches and a bar, as well as mixed-use projects. With an aim of blending the building into community spaces, Williams said, “Our products are designed to fit in well.”
Their awards reflect this goal as Herald-Zeitung readers voted Williams-Hirsch Best Homebuilder and among the Best General Contractors for 2019. Equally conscious as regards efficiency, they rank as a Certified Green Builder, Smart Energy Builder, Energy Star Builder, a Premier Partner with CPS Energy, San Antonio Sustainability winner for 2015 and 2016, as well as winning the Build San Antonio Green Award for Single Family Development in 2017. Additionally, the builder holds designations as Certified Graduate Builder, Master Builder and with the Certified Professional Building Performance Institute. Perhaps, most cherished is the recognition for Infill Development Focused on Community and Historic Character.
“Importantly, our homes look great and function well,” said Hirsch. They guide clients in green decisions, where practical innovation and technology provide a return on the long-term investment. “After moving into their new homes, clients call, excited with their lower utility bills.”
Word of mouth advertising and repeat business mean the most to any business. “We say what we mean and back it up,” said W/H. The builders simply treat their clients the way they desire to be treated. As a result, they have built more than one home for the same family.
The attraction to the Craftsman style is enduring, and Williams-Hirsch builds them for longstanding value. “When a family builds with us, we want their grandchildren to enjoy the benefits of that home one day as well,” said Williams. NBLM
To learn more about Williams-Hirsch Custom Builders, log into their Website: wwwlwilliamshirsch.com