Josh Nimmo’s Incredible Architectural Conception for Crestfield Place

January 10, 2019

Dallas, TX


Crestfield Place debuts tomorrow evening, as we have told youbeginning at 4:30 p.m. over at 2204 Moser in the East Village. This is Cobalt Homes’ second foray into high end, dense living townhomes in urban infill. I caught up with the architect, Josh Nimmo, because I am giddy with delight over the project and the fact that you can now buy a beautiful, designer-label townhome in Dallas for under $600,000.

Let me put it to you this way: Josh Nimmo is the kind of architect who does multi-million dollars homes, like the one right next to me. While with famed architect Lionel Morrison FAIA, he worked on the W Dallas Residences, One Arts Plaza Residences, that famous Northaven Residence, and LEED Gold Certified International Business Park Phase 15.

That’s why I see Crestfield Place as so much more than another great East Village option: it is proof that developers can churn out a middle-cost project of great design without breaking the bank! 

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CD: Josh, what was the single most gutsy move attached to this project?

JN: It was very bold of Cobalt to put the living on the third floor, rather than the second (as you see in most townhomes). When living areas are on the second floor, you don’t feel connected to an outdoor space either above or below. We wanted to create some kind of terrace space off the living space with a clear connection to what was above. Psychologically, when you see the stairs on the balcony, you want to go up and check it out. Plus adding the dumbwaiters was brilliant on their part, to make living on various levels so much easier.

CD: You do! I did, anyhow. tell me how you achieved so dang much natural light in those homes, it’s out of control amazing.

JN: We wanted to create was some drama, something that leads you up the staircase inside. The light from the vertical skylight on the roof floods the entire stairwell with sunlight, and helps make the ascent a little more interesting. And when you are looking in that direction, there is a hint that something else is going on upstairs. The light is always a reminder to go up the stairs.

CD: Could be a metaphor for life. OK, how did you achieve that incredible open feeling in the kitchen-dining area?

JN: We eliminated upper cabinets over the kitchen sink, so the counter almost becomes part of the stair-rail coming up. Plus it seems there are almost two islands in the kitchen. Of course, we have plenty of cabinet storage in the back Butler’s pantry. We also provided an actual breakfast bar for dedicated dining space beside the dining area.

CD: You have made the entire space seem so much larger than the actual square footage, which is plenty, actually. Especially on the bedroom level.

JN: Yes, the hall and master have the floor-to-ceiling windows, with almost a faux balcony, and a privacy screen, all of which make the spaces seem much larger.

Source: Candy’s Dirt

Touchy Faucets, Dumbwaiters, and Central Vacs: Crestfield Place Owns East Village

January 8, 2019

Dallas, TX


If you have been east of Central on Knox-Henderson lately, you might just think you are in the wrong city.

I took a quick spin last week Friday shortly before five and oh. my. God: street after street of brand new, sleek-smooth two and three story condo/townhomes, young people out walking dogs on leashes, hopping onto bikes, scooters, motorcycles. It was like Generation Z suddenly moved out of mom and dad’s and exploded into Dallas.

Plus I had been at the hairdresser’s on Blackburn, at Salon Lure, and realized I was so close I could have walked.

Thus is born a new neighborhood in Dallas, East Village, the spillover of West Village across Central. (And some experts say highways irreparably divide.) Development not only hopped the concrete fence, but it also created an almost exclusive enclave of residential steps away from a 1.1-mile street with pockets of successful restaurants, bars, and shops. This is Henderson Avenue, where developer Mark Masinter, the man who talked Steve Jobs into retail Apple stores, is creating a Dallas version of Abbot Kinney in Venice, Calif., or Elizabeth Street in Manhattan’s Soho district; 23rd Avenue in Portland, Ore.  As Masinter told the Dallas Morning News: “I’m trying to do something tasteful and lasting — as it gets older, it looks better,” he said.

We now have to dig back in our brains to still see the old single family, 19th and 20th-century house memories of how this area once looked.

In the midst of a sea of new construction so fresh, you can still smell the hay in the concrete, is a five unit number that looks more like the Architectural Digest home of an art collector.

“We are building the nicest townhomes in East Dallas. It’s good for the neighborhood to have these higher quality products within it,” says Cobalt Home’s Managing Principal Greg McGowan. “There is a real renaissance happening in the area, as we build a symbiotic relationship with the expanding businesses.”

Crestfield Place is the second phase of CoastOak Group’s Cobalt Homes.

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Three bedrooms, three and a half bath luxe townhomes with two car garages, Brazilian Ipe wooden rooftop decks and so much more: 2000-ish square feet ringing up at $582,000. You may remember Cobalt from last year:  a Dallas-based urban builder headquartered at Harlan Crow’s Old Parkland, no less, disrupting the urban townhome concept with not just aesthetics and quality construction, but a genuine thoughtfulness to provide buyers with comfort and true home livability in a market sorely lacking for it.

In a competitive housing market, condo builders have been engaged in what is almost an arms race for new amenities. Cobalt Homes took it several steps further. Theirs is a real estate product made of a different mousetrap, and buyers are buying. Camdale Court, their first East Dallas venture, had more buyers than homes. The trio, Gregory McGowan, Joshua Nichols, and Don Carroll, came from private equity backgrounds on Wall Street that gave them a totally different perspective on development: instead of building it quick and cheap, let’s build it the best we can. Let’s give consumers true comfort and livability in smaller scale spaces in great, walkable neighborhoods.

And let’s do the opposite of most developers when it comes to architectural integrity: make the design Job One.

“We’re not simply investors who hire a contractor,” says Joshua, Principal and the Gen Xer in the group.

Which is, quite frankly, most real estate investors living at bottom line central. 

“We are the builder and developer,” he says. “We have thought the whole process through, custom designing each specific project for each specific site, utilizing only the best architects and then maintaining control of the entire process, from start to finish.”

The CoastOak Group’s real estate antennae figured out that East Dallas was a blank slate for an entirely new kind of product: luxury urban townhomes no Dallas developer had ever built. These would be half million dollar townhomes Cobalt would create literally from the dirt up with quality in every square foot, from the enhanced foundation up to the wood decks, with limitless views of Dallas. 

“We wanted to do much more than create in-town spaces for people to live,” says Don Carroll, Managing Principal. “We wanted to go that extra mile to actually build products that live better for our buyers.”

Their first venture was Camdale Court, a modern, 12-unit townhome community in the heart of East Village offering three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom units ranging from 2,096 to 2,380 air-conditioned square feet. Custom designed by TKTR Architects, materials and fixtures selected by interior designer Roz Murphy, living areas include the connect the third floor and rooftop decks. The proforma was to marry solid construction, sleek design, with extra, thoughtful touches that would be custom to each home (such as central vacuum systems), additions that buyers are not used to getting in Dallas.

Looming closer to all the retail action happening on Henderson Avenue, they next built Crestfield Place. Five stunning connected modern townhomes went vertical, located off Moser Avenue just south of Henderson, between Fuqua Street and Capitol Avenue. The three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom homes have 1,959 to 1,989 air-conditioned square feet in addition to 175-square-foot private grand balconies, 400-plus-square- foot private rooftop decks, and spacious first level two-car garages. The main attraction: all were designed by AIA award-winning architect Josh Nimmo, which is evident from the moment you turn onto Moser Avenue.

Amid a sea of clean white contemporary neatness are wood balconies and corrugated perforated metal screens (allowing incredible privacy but filtered light) looming above solid white-bricked construction that evokes a NorthPark brick sensibility.

“We love our relationship with Josh, he is incredibly progressive on design,” said Greg. “Every time we sit down with him on a new project he has an amazing new thought. His ethos is a balance between building something in an efficient manner yet features memorable architectural features. His goal, like our’s, is to completely improve the liveability of townhomes.”

Josh, says Greg, is dialed in on finding spaces within the home where you are going to spend meaningful time and then enhancing those. It’s like he knows the magic spots. And he can connect spaces efficiently within the house footprint.

“He uses outdoor more effectively than anyone I have ever seen,” says Greg. “The grand balcony off the living areas is a great example of that. It is visually and physically inviting to use these spaces, yet still affords privacy.”

Largely because of those concrete and southern pine balconies, the homes stand out from the crowd on the exterior. Go inside, you will be blown away. Walk into the first floor of polished concrete, on a suspended post tension concrete slab ten inches above the dirt. This floor houses the entryway, garage, one bedroom and full bath with an exterior door to the small green space. Locating the third bedroom here makes for a convenient and private guest suite, an office or exercise space. All walls are baby-butt smooth museum finish. The dumbwaiters, which were optional in Camdale Court, are installed on this first level right in the garage for convenient handling of groceries, Amazon deliveries, handbags or luggage. The central vacuum and tankless water heaters, also standard, are in the garage.

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The staircase introduces the next floor treatment: wide-planked white oak floors. The second level holds two bedrooms: the master and a secondary. In the hall is a large closet for a full-sized washer and dryer and hanging space. The master is large and designed to pull in the morning sun at the perfect angle. Thoughtful features include placing the master closet, a large walk-in with generous storage space, in-between the master bedroom and the bath, providing a buffer zone for noise if one person rises early while the other sleeps in. The master bath features a huge shower with both wall and waterfall spout, seating, and storage. There is a huge glass window in the shower, frosted for privacy, that will guarantee fresh sunlight with every cleansing.

“What people really want in a master bath is the shower, a great shower,” says Greg. “We made this one over-sized, and included a tub in the secondary second-floor bedroom.”

Oh and this floor is visually enlarged by massive floor-to-ceiling glass windows across the hall and master, opening up at least another five feet of visual space.

The third floor is where you find the action spaces, connecting to the rooftop deck that is unlike any other residential in Dallas. Here is a totally unique elevated indoor-outdoor living environment with a seamless connection to a rooftop deck — spectacular views, arguably the best townhome entertaining space in Dallas. 

Get this: you are on the third floor, where the sleek, white kitchen loaded with quartz waterfall counters, a freaking touch-sensitive kitchen faucet, Bosch appliances, laminated cabinets, and wine fridge, is open to the dining room. A back Butler’s pantry connects the kitchen to the living room and also provides a hidden spot for serious food prep (since the kitchen is so open). The half-bath is located on this floor. Though the light fixtures are high-end modern, natural light is incredible because, flanking the entire eastern side is a glass-walled balcony large enough for table, chairs, lounges. The sturdy metal staircase leading up to the rooftop deck is located here, outside, marrying the spaces together: you will want to enjoy the deep patio, and once outside, you will not be able to resist going upstairs to the deck.

The entire three-story stairwell area is also bathed in more natural light from a vertical skylight over the staircase.

“We told Josh we couldn’t see anyone changing light bulbs up that high,” says Don Carroll, “so find a solution.”

He did, and since it’s a vertical panel, it’s far less likely to get hail or rain damage.

The rooftop deck is covered in Brazilian Ipe wood and features a storage closet for HVAC that could also easily house cushions or a couple of chairs. There are electrical outlets for phone charging and laptops. The views are amazing, can never be obscured, and provide the perfect getaway within your home for relaxing.

“With the Nest doorbells and August door locks, if someone comes to the door you can remain upstairs on the deck and even open the door, watch them deliver, and lock it again,” says Don.” In fact, you can be in France and still accept Amazon deliveries at your door, open up and lock her up, all from your phone.”

A true lock and leave. And that is what the Real Estate arms race is all about: using your head and creativity, tapping into professionals who know their stuff, to give consumers a better quality product for their hard earned dollars. After all, he wins who has the most toys.

Take a look at Dallas from the rooftop of Crestfield Place on Thursday, Jan., 10, from 4:40 to 7:30 p.m. at 2204 Moser Street.

Source: Candy’s Dirt


February 9, 2018

Dallas, TX

Remember this name: Cobalt Homes. A Dallas-based urban builder disrupting the urban town home concept with not just aesthetics and quality construction, but an unheard of thoughtfulness — like a sixth sense — to provide buyers comfort and true home livability.

We all love stories about guys who started famous companies at home. In 1939, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded HP in Packard’s Palo Alto garage, now the birthplace of Silicon Valley. In 1976 when Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple Computers, they hand built 50 computers in 30 days from a garage in Cupertino, California. 

Larry Page and Sergey Brin were graduate students and started what’s now known as Google from Susan Wojcicki’s garage in September 1998. Jeff Bezos founded in 1994 as an online bookstore, completely run out of his garage in Bellevue, Washington.

In North Texas, Canadian-born Larry Lacerte started Lacerte Software Corp. in his home in 1978, the first desktop application for general ledger and tax preparation. He sold the business to Intuit Inc. in 1998 for $400 million in cash, with a $200 million takeaway. 

And there’s the CoastOak Group: Gregory McGowan, Joshua Nichols, and Don Carroll. An unusual union of developers, the trio came from private equity backgrounds, Wall Street ones at that: Josh and Don worked for Goldman Sachs. Greg worked for Rockpoint Group and Westbrook Partners.

And like the entrepreneurs mentioned above, when they started their company in 2008, they worked on tables and computers out of an empty home next door to Greg’s residence for three months. They didn’t even have heat for three days.

But these are private equity guys who know how to rough it. They had all worked together at Trammell Crow in the mid 1990s — all except for Joshua, who was still doing championship wrestling in high school, and on his way to Princeton. Even their current office — it has heat — is nestled among the top-tier real estate guys and gals nesting at Harlan Crow’s Old Parkland.

Real estate is their product, but it’s a way different mousetrap.


“We’re not simply investors who hire a contractor,” says Joshua, Principal and the Gen Xer. “We are the builder and developer. We have thought the whole process through, custom designing each specific project for each specific site, utilizing only the best architects and then maintaining control of the entire process, from start to finish.”

In 2007, the real estate world was in turmoil. By 2008, the sharks were out bottom feeding from a veritable smorgasboard of real estate. Don, Greg, and Joshua ditched the Wall Street herd and started picking up distressed properties, originally targeting master planned communities. What could be safer: acres of single family lots sold to hungry homebuilders, spread across the prairie, itching for buyers?

But when you buy massive quantities of dirt, like in Chicago, Denver, D.C., and Long Island, you sometimes find you have to build a home or two, yourself. Which is how the company’s home building operations division was created. The division would soon create a new level of activity and inspiration to impact their buyers.

The trio formed The CoastOak Group, taking over the first portfolio of master-planned communities in 2009. CoastOak is still actively engaged in developing high end and beautiful communities today.

Then they looked in their own backyard: Dallas. Kessler Park, at first, but ultimately a part of town that was greatly influenced by post-recession building as the Uptown phenomenon spilled east of Central: East Dallas.

I recall, back in 2009, hearing that some of my daughter’s classmates from Hockaday were living in East Dallas off Knox-Henderson. That was the turning point: the area was no longer in transition, it was launched. Agents tell me today that the building frenzy in East Dallas has kept a lid on home values in Uptown.

CoastOak developed a consumer brand to build urban homes in East Dallas called Cobalt Homes, a far cry from the suburban world of the master-planned communities CoastOak had so successfully built. The partners had built up some experience chops, too, and soon figured out that East Dallas was a blank slate for an entirely new kind of development: luxury urban town homes no developer had ever built. Affordable town homes that Cobalt would create literally from the dirt up with quality every step of the way, plus unheard of amenities. 

“We wanted to do much more than create spaces for people to live,” says Don Carroll, Managing Principal. “We wanted to go that extra mile to build products that live better for our buyers.”

The proforma was to marry solid construction, sleek design, with extra, thoughtful touches that would be custom to each home, additions that buyers are not used to getting in Dallas. But once they get, they cannot live without.

Like Dumb Waiters.


What is, asks Joshua Nichols, the hardest aspect about living in a three story townhome with a rooftop deck? Most residents, Millennials or X’ers, can walk up and down three stories just fine. But what about the stuff they need to haul up and down?

Solution: Dumb Waiters. They are optional for a cost of $8,000.  Early buyers are getting one included as an incentive.

“And almost all of our buyers want one,” says Greg McGowan, Managing Principal.

Let’s go back to that rooftop deck. You’re having a party, ten people are upstairs while you mix drinks, the doorbell rings. Do you have to run down three flight to answer?

Not at all. Your Nest camera is connected to a smart lock, so you can unlock the front door, let your friend in, and lock up again while still mixing the margaritas.

“We have hard-wired our brains to constantly see how to make life more live-able in our homes,” says Greg McGowan, Managing Principal. “We are the builder, we are the developer, we have thought it all through.”

Central vacuum systems are standard at Camdale Court, with those toe-access crumb catchers that whoosh up crumbs.

The outdoor living areas are visually connected to the interiors, whether yard or rooftop. And every unit literally celebrates natural light.

Camdale Court is a modern, 12-unit townhome community in the heart of Uptown East offering three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom units ranging from 2,096 to 2,380 air-conditioned square feet. All homes have full-sized two-car garages and rooftop decks. Custom designed by TKTR Architects, materials and fixtures selected by interior designer Roz Murphy, living areas will include the third floor and rooftop decks connected through an outdoor staircase.

And when Cobalt builds outdoor staircases, like at Crestfield Place, don’t think those 1980s spiral deals — these are solid, high-quality staircases uniting the spaces visually.

Crestfield Place is a modern, five-unit town home development located off Moser Avenue south of Henderson between Fuqua Street and Capitol Avenue. The three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom homes have 1,959 to 1,989 air-conditioned square feet in addition to 175-square-foot private grand balconies, 400-plus-squar- foot private rooftop decks, and two-car garages. Designed by AIA award-winning architect Josh Nimmo, interiors and exteriors are knit together so well, you may well ask, are we really inside?

Standard features in both contemporary developments include touch-sensitive faucets in the kitchen, built-in central vacuum systems, tankless waterheaters, and Nest thermostats, as well as high-end lighting fixtures, hardwood floors, waterfall quartz countertops, energy-efficient construction, solid-core doors, and Bosch appliance packages. Living areas are located on the third floor, allowing a more natural flow from the indoor living areas to the rooftop deck. Bedrooms are on the first and second floors. And yes, the dumbwaiter “elevator” can move groceries, luggage and other items between the garage and the kitchen or the bedrooms up and down.

Coming soon is Caxton Court, located off Prairie, just one block south of Fitzhugh. These are 3 detached homes with 2,200 of air conditioned space, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, a separate study, entry studio that opens up into a gated yard, two balconies and a two car garage. Caxton Court Townhomes offer 1,900 air-conditioned square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, a balcony, a two car garage, and optional dumbwaiters and roof top decks. Foundations are being poured as we speak.

Dumb waiters, central vacs, no rinky-dink back stairs, how can these homes be affordable and how can the Wall Street dudes turn a profit?

“The townhomes are fee-simple, so there are individual owners, hence no HOA’s or condo fees,” says Greg McGowan. “We crunched numbers and found our buyers can basically afford $30 to $50K more house because they will never have to pay HOA or condo dues.”

Prices hover around $500,000 in both communities, $479,900 up to the mid $500’s. The homes are being marketed by Modern Living Real Estate with Katie Aspen and Jeff Mitchell, who were chosen from an impressive field of modern-focusing Dallas Realtors an brokers.

“Jeff and Katie were just starting their Modern Living platform, and we loved their personalities and passion for beautiful modern architecture, which is a foundation of Cobalt Homes,” says Greg.

Modern Living’s fresh energy and out-of-the-box approach to marketing sealed the partnership. They meld with the buyer profile: young professionals, some newly married, couples with kiddos.

“The thought we’ve put into the design and the features we provide will be valued by our customers, and we needed agents to teach that, ” says Greg McGowan, Managing Principal of Cobalt. “We love creating homes where people can really enjoy life inside and out. These town homes are designed for living and entertaining at home in an urban environment where the fruits of the city are outside their door, whenever they want to go there.”

Stay tuned to for news about the Cobalt launch party on February 22, 2018.

Source: Candy's Dirt



July 20, 2017

Dallas, TX

Cobalt Homes announced the introduction of Camdale Court and Crestfield Place, two unique townhome communities in Dallas’ Uptown East neighborhood. 

“We are excited to introduce our first new townhomes in East Dallas,” said Greg McGowan, Managing Principal of Cobalt. “We love creating places where people can really enjoy life. These townhomes are designed for living and entertaining at home while also providing countless options for dining and activities within a short walk or drive.”

Camdale Court is located off Fitzhugh Avenue and is a modern 12-unit townhome community. Camdale Court offers 3 bedroom / 3.1 bathroom units ranging from 2,096 to 2,380 air-conditioned square feet, all with full-sized two-car garages and large rooftop decks. Camdale Court is a custom design by TKTR Architects.

Crestfield Place is located off Moser Avenue just one block south of Henderson Avenue. Crestfield Place is a unique, modern, five-unit townhome development. These 3 bedroom / 3.1 bathroom homes have 1,959 to 1,989 air-conditioned square feet in addition to 175 square foot private grand balconies, 400+ square foot private rooftop decks and two-car garages. Crestfield place is a one-of-a-kind custom design by AIA award winning architect Josh Nimmo.

Both projects feature high-end finish selections made in concert with interior designer Roz Murphy. They include inspired features designed to make living comfortable and enjoyable, such as touch-sensitive faucets in the kitchen, built-in central vacuum systems, tankless water heaters, and Nest thermostats and cameras in addition to high-end lighting fixtures, hardwood floors, quartz countertops, solid-core doors and Bosch appliances. All of the units offer an optional dumbwaiter elevator which can effortlessly move groceries, luggage and other items between the garage and the living areas.

“In designing our projects, we pay special attention to details that make living easier and enjoyable,” said Don Carroll, Managing Principal. “All of these units have connected indoor and outdoor living areas with amazing views on the rooftop decks. And, we include extra features like the central vacuum system and the optional dumbwaiter to really simplify the process of enjoying these spaces.”

Camdale Court is anticipated to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2017 and Crestfield Place will be completed in early 2018.

About Cobalt Homes
Cobalt Homes is a Dallas-based builder that custom designs its projects in prime and desired locations for buyers seeking an urban lifestyle. Each townhome is specifically designed for its individual location and is custom created by premier local architects. Our developments are unique and conceived with aesthetics and livability in mind. Cobalt Homes is an affiliate of CoastOak Group, a premier national developer that creates distinctive residential, multifamily and mixed-use communities across the United States.