2021 Small Residential
1st Runner-Up
(People’s Choice Winner)

​Buyers of new homes in Dallas got some sophisticated options when this “modern farmhouse” home was completed last year. The home is an off-site prototype model for an eight-home ICF community that is being developed by 4Tree Development LLC and built by Hoffmann Homes for a new development, Abode @ White Rock. While the exterior feels unquestionably like a farmhouse, the overall design is current and contemporary.

“The challenge for this build was to create spaces that would appeal to a sophisticated buyer with features that an empty nester moving from a larger more expansive home would enjoy,” says Mike Kennaw of Fox Blocks. “This required the project to be an energy efficient home and creatively using space in an attractive, luxurious, and cost effective way.”

This modern farmhouse-style small residential home was completed in June 2020 using ICFs from Fox Blocks by Airlite Plastics Co. The total cost was $939,000, which included the $310,000 building site. At 2,556 square feet and with 95% of the exterior walls built using ICFs, the total ICF usage was 2,691 square feet. In addition, 143 square feet of interior ICF walls helped form a safe room and pantry.

Building this modern beauty took only 10 days out of a total construction time of 33 weeks. The great room features nearly 15-foot-tall ceilings, clerestory windows, and a large 16-inch by 5.5-inch exposed beam that carries the roof load in the spacious and open great room and capitalizes on the strength of ICF. “The beam was installed using a beam pocket and beam opening and was slid into place after the walls were poured,” explains Kennaw. 

Built By A Respected ICF Builder

This spec home was designed by Jay Peskuski of the Peskuski Design Firm with Alan Hoffmann LLC, who is well respected for sustainable projects in Dallas. Hoffmann builds exclusively with ICF and has done so for 25 years. His message to his clients is that his homes are “forever homes” that will withstand the test of time. With the structural integrity of their builds, his clients learn that the ownership costs of an ICF home is less when the net energy savings are taken into account.

The homes in the community are designed to be suitable for aging in place with a focus on low energy consumption, solar ready, affordable, and owner-maintained. The ceiling height was based on standard ICF block dimensions to reduce cost while still creating the sensation of being in a large clearing in the woods with natural light beaming into the space. In order to preserve indoor air quality, the garage airspace in the attic as well as the entrance to the patio isolate the garage air from the home.

Hoffmann Homes incorporated a covered area in the design from the garage to the house, but kept the garage entrance from opening directly into the living area. Rather than a backyard, this home features a long floorplan that overlooks a large covered porch along the side yard. The great room has views of the covered porch and side yard. The design takes into consideration the area’s vulnerability to hurricanes and the expansive soils. Hoffmann Homes exceeds standard framing design specs by incorporating hurricane tie down connections on every rafter that is connected to the top plate of the ICF walls of each one of their builds. The foundation features 45 piers that are drilled to the subterranean bedrock. The site also had a significant slope from the east side to the west side of the lot. 

Melds Modern Style With Farmhouse Appeal

“The design goal was to meld modern styling with the appeal of a traditional farmhouse,” says Kennaw. “The owner wanted beautiful, naturally lit spaces with minimal amounts of glass. Modern in its form and layout.”

A notable feature of the home is the glass backsplash in the kitchen. The glass is obscured for privacy as the wall faces a side street in the subdivision, yet the glass brings in natural light to the cooking and food preparation areas. Additionally, the ICF wall thickness gives the countertop that is integrated with the window sill significantly more space. The kitchen, dining, and living areas look out on the yard and the large covered patio that runs the length of the home from the garage to the front porch.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency and sustainability are key features of the home. The house is listed with the Residential Energy Services Network (ResNet) with a Home Energy Rating (HERS) score of 47, making it more than 50% more energy efficient than a standard new home and 80% more efficient than the average resale home. The builders had the forethought to include a 220-volt pre-wired location for an electric car charger in the garage. The breaker panels have space for the breakers needed for a solar electric inverter connection and the wire is in place for additional battery storage in conjunction with the solar array.

The First All-ICF Community

The Abode @ White Rock is the first all-ICF community in the North Texas region. Multiple home sales are already in the works. Plans for the community were slightly delayed due to COVID-19, but this project finished on-budget, even with the addition of a more extensive retaining wall. Alan Hoffmann has been asked to serve on the Advisory Board for the city of Dallas’ Climate Action Plan. He is also working with local utility providers to get the homes in the development to Net Zero Energy consumption. 

Because of Hoffmann Homes’s legacy of building green homes for 25 years, a utility provider partner is assisting with the goal of Net Zero Performance for the homes in the development. Hoffmann was the first builder to introduce ICFs to North Texas in 1995. He was also the first homebuilder in the area to use this proven system for the exterior walls of a single-family home.
He built the first ICF homes in Dallas, Plano, Fort Worth, Mansfield, Terrell, Gunner, Lake Whitney, Rockwall, Oak Point, Flower Mound, and Kerens, Texas. His company then went on
to design and build the first two homes that were certified by the US Green Building’s LEED for Homes program, and they were also the first two homes that were certified as LEED Platinum
in Dallas. 

Project Statistics 

Location: Dallas, Texas
Type: Family Home
Size: 2,556 sq. ft. 
ICF Use: 2,691 sq. ft. 
Cost: $939,000 including lot
Total Construction: 33 weeks
ICF Installation Time: 10 days

Construction Team 

Owner: Alan Hoffman, 4Tree Development
General Contractor: Alison Charley, Hoffman Homes
ICF Installer: Charles Charley, Hoffman Homes
Form Distributor: Alan Hoffman, DFW ICF
Architect: Jay Peskuski, Peskuski Design Firm
ICF System: Fox Blocks


Fast Facts 

  • One story modern farmhouse offsite model home
  • Hoffman Homes has been building sustainable homes for 25 years
  • Lennox sealed combustion high-performance HVAC
  • Safe room/pantry
  • Unique layout with tall ceilings in the public areas 
  • Clerestory windows that bring natural light with minimal exterior glass 


  1. John R Peskuski

    Congratulations to the Diceman Farmhouse Team.

  2. E. Sawin

    Do you have any builds with an open floor plan like a small cabin ?



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