The global pandemic which started in 2019 certainly changed things. The pandemic has transformed the way people live, work, and shop in such a sudden, dramatic way that many are wondering what the long-lasting effects of this might be.
There’s been a lot of buzz about technology companies leaving California for Texas and other states. Elon Musk reported to the Wall Street Journal that he’s moved to Texas and there seems to be a general perception by high-profile executives that California has mistreated tech innovators. As of November 2020, the Austin Chamber of Commerce reports that 39 companies in tech plus other industries have relocated to Austin, Texas. Tesla plans to build a 4 million square foot facility outside the Austin area and could generate 5,000 jobs.
A culture change has certainly encouraged many celebrities and millionaires to shift to the Texas lifestyle because of its luxury homes, natural environment, and better quality of life. The move to Texas could be political but most are largely economic and philosophical.
Table of Contents
- Moving for Texas Lifestyle: Is Politics to Blame?
- Moving for Texas Lifestyle: Is the Cost of Living to Blame?
- Texas Lifestyle: Celebrities Have Different Reasons
- Americans Search for Popular Luxury Home Styles in Texas
- Popular Luxury Home Styles in Texas
- Grid: Texas Cowboys
Moving for Texas Lifestyle: Is Politics to Blame?
In a previous chat, Musk told reporter Kara Swisher that he views himself as “socially very liberal and then economically right of center, maybe, or center?” He claims he’s not a communist. (grin).
Oracle’s co-founder and Chairman Larry Ellison have openly supported President Donald Trump. Co-founder for the secretive Palantir Technologies, Joe Lonsdale, moved the company from Palo Alto to Denver and told the WSJ in no uncertain terms that the company became tired of intolerance and the far left in California. It’s clear that the strong political divisions across the electorate have spilled into the mindset of Corporate America because many have felt demonized in open conversations about serious subjects.
These could be clues of why companies have left but it still remains anecdotal. Yes, California (at the time of this writing) is currently led by Democrats while Texas and Florida are led by Republicans. Yes, some companies are moving to Florida too. A TechCrunch article suggests the party divide has led to alienation by centrists. Regardless, companies like Oracle, Charles Schwab, HP Enterprise have decided to move to Texas, and Apple and Google have decided to expand their presence in Texas.
Moving for Texas Lifestyle: Is the Cost of Living to Blame?
We personally think economics played a great role. How? Companies saw that workplace productivity experienced limited impacts as a result of the widespread, global pandemic. One well-known Canadian company, OpenText, reported that its remote work was incredibly effective, which allowed them to shed 50% of its global office footprint in this interview.
Oracle, speaking to its move, said that flexible policy for employee work location has changed the game, allowing employees to choose office location and to either continue to work from home part-time or full-time.
It’s important to also mention that Texas and Florida do not have state taxes. By having companies allow for flexible work policies, employees are making decisions to find the more affordable cost of living options which could include the ability to work for Oracle in Texas as a part-time or full-time remote worker or a full-time remote worker for Oracle on the California team while living in Texas. This is the new normal in real estate and lifestyle with big technology companies.
For companies, no state taxes and a lower cost to do business are clear incentives but they are also moving for another hidden cost. Talent and salaries. In California, companies must pay enormous salaries against the intense competition but also because employees need salaries that can help them live in an expensive state. There have been dramatic examples of working tech couples commuting long distances or in some cases, living in their cars because they couldn’t afford a place to rent, lease or own!
The Austin Chamber of Commerce says that human capital has been a driving force, given the diverse and highly educated population with 47% having a bachelor’s degree within the proximity of 25 colleges and universities in the area.
Texas Lifestyle: Celebrities Have Different Reasons
In September, Joe Rogan purchased a Lake Austin estate at a price of $14.4 million in September 2020 which comes with an amazing footprint of 10,980 square feet and well-compensated spacious living quarters with 8 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms.
Prior to this, he lived in Boulder, Colorado, and Bell Canyon, California. Some asked why did Joe move to Texas? Some thought it might be political.
In April 2020, Joe Rogan said he wouldn’t vote for Biden but wasn’t a fan of Donald Trump. Politically, he considers himself very liberal on a range of issues from gay marriage, universal healthcare, and basic income but also supports the Second Amendment. He endorsed Ron Paul in 2012 and endorsed libertarian candidates in 2016 and 2020. For a Republican-led state, politics does not seem the reason he moved.
Joe Rogan moved to Texas because he felt stifled in California. CheatSheet reports that he wanted to be in the central USA, where it is easy to travel to both places and where he would have more freedom. Although some questioned his move, the Austin Chamber of Commerce has promoted its quality of life with a community that has great local flavor, music scene and is an outdoors city.
James Van Der Beek, known to his fans for Dawson’s Creek and Varsity Blues, packed up and left Beverly Hills with his family to live in Spicewood, Texas which is northwest of Austin, about 36 miles away translating into a smooth traffic-free 47-minute drive.
Spicewood has a small airport and is home to Willie Nelson. In fact, James is moving into a 36-acre, 5,149 square foot property near the Pedernales River and is six miles southwest of Willie Nelson’s Luck Ranch. The actor is leasing the ranch which has 5 bedrooms (he has five children), 3 baths, and besides the main house, has a barn, cabins, swimming pool, and travel to the Pedernales River. According to CultureMap Austin, the location used to be advertised for weddings, reunions, and for corporate retreats.
This celebrity family seems to have settled into the rustic country home and while they haven’t decided on a permanent location, the actor wants to give Texas a try and appears to have shared his reasons for the move. Several family incidents, a bad work situation, and the pandemic helped them evaluate their lifestyle circumstances. They traveled through the Southwest and decided on Hill Country because it was expansive and had a lot of space for a large family. More space, just like Joe Rogan. Hmm. This one Instagram Post by James Van Der Beek says it all. He shares an interesting New York Times Opinion article on Personalism which seems to reflect on his recent experiences and move to Texas.
Americans Search for Popular Luxury Home Styles in Texas
After some of our research, we were extremely surprised about some home styles that are popular in Texas. Thanks to search data, Google’s June 2019 report did confirm that home / architectural styles seem to favor ranch-style homes. What’s good for Texas may be good for all but then again, Texas really loves their Mediterranean as you’ll see.
Search ranked popular home styles in the following order: (1) Ranch (2) Tudor (3) Craftsman (4) Mediterranean (5) Modern
Of course, we wanted to dig a little deeper with Google. Well, the case is closed. In the five-year period in the selected image below, ranch-style home architecture was a clear favorite by a wide margin in U.S.-based searches.
The TOP 5 STATES that ranked favorably for Ranch Style Home Architecture: (1) Arizona (2) Washington (3) Florida (4) Texas (5) California
We opted to analyze the Google data further to show the percentage search variation by state across the different home styles. Clearly, ranch-style architecture has been the clear winner with Google searches for the past five years.
Popular Luxury Home Styles in Texas
Mediterranean Style Luxury Home
This home-style appears to be very popular with Texans which makes me wonder how many of them have traveled to Greece, Malta, or the coastlines of France, Italy, or Spain? For interiors, the style is simple and romantic with light, warm color tones. You’d like to find natural elements from wood, ceramics, and iron. If you’ve ever been to the Greek islands, you’ll easily see the design as simple, convenient, and bold (color white or blue) for the particular climate. You may find wood doors, colored tiles, tiled roofs, and some stucco influences on exteriors.
There’s a coastal home feel and may have a look that feels like Rome with a central courtyard and columns as a method to connect indoor and outdoor environments. Sounds very similar to what Palm Springs Mid-Century modern architecture aims to do and thus why it’s called Modern Mediterranean or Contemporary Mediterranean as it focuses on indoor-outdoor living and opens floor plans that have more influence from Italian or Spanish styles.
Ranch Style Luxury Home
As noted earlier, this is America’s most popular architectural style for, at least, 34 states over the past five years. It’s interesting to note that ranch-style homes grew in popularity around the 1950s and 1960s which is around the same time Mid-Century modern was at its peak in Palm Springs and other desert California locations.
This home style can be smaller and in some cases is the choice of first-time homebuyers with a single-story to accommodate couples, seniors, and those with disability challenges. You will see this style in a lot of traditional neighborhoods across North America built in the 1950s or 1960s. In theory, this style may cost less but depending on real estate demand in specific areas, this may not be entirely true.
Ranch-style homes are easy to clean, maintain and have open floor plans and dedicated patio space options. The designs feature longer, lower-level roofs and larger windows at the home’s front exterior.
Farmhouse Style Luxury Home
Farmhouse style is recognized for its home-sweet-home, cozy, warm look and feel. Everything is relaxed, comfortable, and laid back like little old Grandma. You will feel it and feel like living in it. If you’re seen many photos, this style is about neutral wall color, a mix of old and new, no bright paint colors, classic wire baskets like Grandma, old wood, farmhouse-style light fixtures, and old repainted furniture. The upcycling movement is likely to repaint old furniture to give it that new but aged look.
There is a reason for this practical style. Its simplicity was by design so farmers could work and shelter those that lived on the homestead. Even today, you’ll see farmhouse features like large open verandas/porches, large floors, barn doors, and other rustic elements.
The farmhouse style has been around for close to 180 years when Germans migrated to Texas. In fact, the largest immigration of Germans came in the 1840s when the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas (Adelsverein) organized at Biebrick on the Rhine near Mainz, according to the Texas Almanac. The society helped thousands settle in central Texas in Braunfels and Fredericksburg.
Craftsman Style Luxury Home
Between the 1700-1860s period, there was a growing resistance against manufactured homes that led to an increasing desire for handmade homes. It’s really funny to see this as many complain about the mass-produced boxes that are popping up everywhere. The movement started in Britain with a desire to develop products with integrity and in a less dehumanizing way. Sounds like Apple and its industrial product design methodology.
The Craftsman Style Luxury Home has a low roof, exposed beams on the porch and inside the home, and covered porches with large round or square columns, somewhat tapered to support the roof while being wider or sturdier at the bottom. Many of these homes will use natural materials from stone to wood and have exposed overhanging eaves, built-in furniture, paned doors, and double-hung windows which are the most popular style of window for homeowners because they can operate from the bottom or top for air circulation.
Contemporary Style Luxury Home
The contemporary style involves a range of styles that became popular in the latter part of the 20th century. Due to changing perceptions, contemporary homes today will be clean, open floor plans, and may have different shapes and geometry to support outdoor space and capitalize on natural light with clerestory windows, and sustainable elements around energy efficiency or recycled materials.
Contemporary is sometimes confused with modern which really was between the late 1930s-1970 whereas contemporary has shifted due to changing attitudes and other influences in the latter 20th and early 21st century. Contemporary interiors focus on line, shape, and form like L, T, U, or H designs and have bold colors and natural elements like lighting.
Contemporary style encompasses a range of styles developed in the latter half of the 20th century. Pieces feature softened and rounded lines as opposed to the stark lines seen in modern design. Interiors contain neutral elements and bold color, and they focus on the basics of line, shape, and form.
Mid-Century Modern Luxury Homes
Mid-Century Modern describes the architecture, style, furniture, and graphic design for the middle of the 20th century or between 1938-1970. This was an era of music, hope, opportunity, celebrity, Hollywood, parties, the moon landings, 2001: A Space Odyssey and incorporating technologies from the 1960s, in addition to shape geometry, minimalism, futurism, and clean lines. Architects, like many based in Palm Springs, would make steel buildings, with flat roofs, open floor plans, large glass windows, and sliding glass doors to merge the indoor and outdoor experiences.
Not speaking for Texas (haha), we absolutely love Mid-Century Modern or Modern Contemporary homes.
Victorian Style Luxury Home
Victorian architecture has filled the storybooks and is based on revival styles from 1850-1900 and mirrors the reign of Queen Victoria in England where she ruled from 1837-1901.
I have seen quite a few Victorian-era homes in my own neighborhood that were clearly built in the 1800s and some are near old Presbyterian churches.
They have a gothic appearance with pointed arch door frames, rich dark colors such as ruby red or forest green, and spires, buttresses, and medieval influences such as the very quatrefoil which is a decorative element that forms the outline of four partially overlapping circles of the same diameter and is common to Christian symbolism, art, and architecture. Victorian style has significant exterior and interior ornamentation and you may find large front porches, large gables, roof towers, bay Windsor and steep Mansard roofs which was a style popularized by French architect Francois Mansart (1598-1666) who did not invent the style but used it extensively.
The classic Victorian styles include Gothic Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, Stick Style, Exotic, Romanesque Revival, Shingle Style, Folk Victorian, and Colonial Revival. For a deeper read into these styles, have a look at this Northwestern University article.
Southwestern Style Luxury Home
The Southwestern style is generally familiar to many of us. You’ve seen it in numerous films or magazines. You’ll find lots of arts and craft style objects, colors that are more earthy, and woven fabrics that are bright. Of course, we can’t forget the terracotta and clay tile roofs. Please, don’t say Taco Bell. If you insist, check out this cool website on the Taco Bell in-house agency focused on design.
You’ve probably seen it in old/new Western films but it will conjure up images of America’s Southwestern states – New Mexico and Arizona so it’s not a surprise that it is also popular in Texas. Personally, we’re fans of the stucco exteriors and arched corridors. You may see other styles like traditional Adobe homes or the more common modern Santa Fe home luxury styles.
Influences will clearly play into Spanish and or Native American themes but the design and style of these homes are done for climate reasons — since it’s dry and warm weather.
You will recall in a previous article on Palm Springs design and architecture that the architectural style with steel buildings, beams, and large roof-floor glass windows was specifically incorporated into the design to withstand the negative effects of the climate. Palm Springs has wind farms so steel-framed homes are a must from all the wind!
A lot of this style is asymmetrical but more and more people are trying to create balance to ensure any part isn’t larger or heavier than the other part.
Luxury Log Home Style
You have probably seen this in a typical Christmas movie or even Christmas card. It’s typically a warm or cozy photo with families around a fireplace or Santa Claus frolicking around with presents!
A log home is an upgrade to the typical log cabin and uses milled logs. The logs can be seen from the inside but also the outside exterior. But wood is the name of the game like hand-hewn timbers which is really the shaping of logs and beams with a broad ax (adze or hand adzed). That was the only method long ago but now can be done with companies for that historical, rustic feel. You will also see dovetail notch logs in luxury log homes, long porches, simplified roofing, and dovetailed corners.
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If you’ve seen a pattern, Texans love historical influences whether it is Ranch, Victorian, Farmhouse, Southwestern, or even Log house styles.
Tudor Style Luxury Home
Tudor architecture was predominant during the Tudor period between 1485 to 1603 is a mix of elements starting with medieval architecture in England and incorporates Renaissance and Gothic Perpendicular style and includes Elizabethan architecture in the last forty years of the 16th century.
Tudor Design considers window groupings, decorative timber, mason chimneys, steep pitched gable roofing, decorated doorways and was designed to protect against cold, winter, and wet climates.
As kids, some of us thought Tudor home architecture was about Switzerland or maybe about gingerbread stories. 😉
Grid: Texas Cowboys
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We had to throw in some music from The Grid, an English electronic dance group. They’re still around and churned out some classics. The above song, Texas Cowboys, was a hot one in the dance clubs at the time.
In our next article, we’re going to going to dive deep to discuss the Richest Cities and Communities in Texas. This is where all the luxury bedroom communities exist and where you’ll find a surprising number of celebrities, athletes, politicians, and others.
It’s high noon and we think it was time we started Messin’ with Texas. 😀
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John Thompson, Writer and Commentator
Soldier, writer, researcher, consultant, and bon vivant, John Thompson is the author of numerous columns, op-eds, reports, briefs, short stories and books as the “Felicity Files” and “Spirit Over Steel: A Chronology of the Second World War” (version III). Often found hunched over his computer, or in his garden, and now often found doing both. His diverse talent has led him to work in industries and projects such as energy, security and home construction and renovation. To see the entire team at Evolutdesign.com, visit Our Team page.