By: Malcolm Mayhew
By: Amber Bell
Over the course of seven years, Brett and Kara Phillips have moved nine times. While all of us share the basic needs to eat, breathe and sleep, the Phillips can only be sustained if they are able to create. “A project for us is never about the location or the size or the budget. We aren’t confined by those things. We just want to always be creating. I believe that’s why we’ve moved so many times.
Originally from California, Brett met Kara at a wedding in Fort Worth in 2009. Quickly thereafter, the couple themselves married, and Kara moved to California to be with Brett. It was an opening at TCU that brought them back to Texas in 2010. Brett ran the Neeley Leadership Program at the university, and Kara was working as cash manager at Walsh Holdings when they decided to build their first home in 2011.
Kara is no stranger to the business of building houses. Her family has built homes in Aledo her entire life. But it wasn’t until after she and her husband played a vital role in their own home build that they were bitten by the building bug.
The couple’s first job was a spec build. “We discovered how long the days feel when you’re living in your parents’ house and how important it is to work with those who are not only good at what they do but also willing to follow your vision,” Kara says. “Mostly though, we learned that we make a great team …” Kara says.
After that, High Street Homes was born. Within their boutique real estate and home design/building business, Brett and Kara wear many hats. The couple builds homes no matter how big or small, no matter the location, no matter the budget
Since launching High Street Homes in May of 2012, Brett and Kara have designed many homes across the Metroplex and some out of state, started a real estate brokerage, renovated a 104-year-old foursquare, shot a TV pilot, launched Phillips House Co and had three sons along the way – Walker, 4; Grant, 3; and Hayes, 1.
The Phillips’ design style has been quickly embraced by Fort Worthians. They call it “California Southern” with a common tag of “Vintage Finds and Clean Lines.” Brett says that Kara contributes her Southern traditional charm, vintage rugs and meaningful heirloom pieces, and being from Santa Barbara, he brings airy wood elements and a casual vibe to a project.
“We are always thinking of new things we want to include and incorporate into our home. We essentially have no clutter,” Brett says. “We ask ourselves what we really need and invest in pieces that can be utilized in multiple ways.”
That’s immediately evident when looking at their living room. A cozy slipcovered couch sits atop a vintage rug across from a cognac leather sofa, separated by a striped upholstered ottoman (that’s available in their online store, phillipshouseco.com). Vintage-inspired art sits above a modern black fireplace between traditional and streamlined sconces. Large windows allow light to flow in.
“We always incorporate a lot of natural sunlight and other impactful lighting throughout the home,” Kara says.
Of all the projects the couple has collaborated on, they both agree that renovating a 1914 foursquare in Fairmount was their most challenging and rewarding endeavor to date. “It was a broken home. We felt honored to restore it back to its former glory,” Kara says. After completing the Fairmount project, the couple showed up on the radar of multiple production companies. Brett says, “All in one week, we had three production companies reach out to us. It was completely out of the blue. We couldn’t believe it.”
The couple says shooting the HGTV pilot for their show, set to air this month, was fun but nerve-wracking. “It’s strange and wonderful to see your significant other on television,” Brett says. “The process was unscripted and real with playful banter and creative ideas on how to transform a space.”
“Home to Last” focuses on helping people turn the house they own into a home they can love forever. Kara says that the project was like every other project they do. “The only difference is that this one was filmed, and everything was expedited. It was really authentic and ended up feeling very natural,” she says.
But it’s the Phillips’ personal home that has quickly made them a local Instagram favorite. Currently the family lives on a large lot in Aledo with their 7-year-old bichon frise, Lily, just 900 feet away from Kara’s parents. “Our 2 acres back up to a creek. We designed the house around how the sun sets and rises. The windows in our home are almost like artwork,” Brett says. Painted in Sherwin-Williams Shoji White, the modern farmhouse is filled with a lot of items from family and finds from estate sales, which they visit almost weekly. “When you move into a new home, it’s nice to layer in old things. Gives the home character,” says Kara. To the Phillips, the more dings the better when it comes to vintage furniture since they have three boys.
It’s all a part of the work/home balance, which the Phillips juggle seemingly effortlessly. “So much of a successful marriage is communication. Really good communication. In our work lives, it’s fun to go into a meeting and see how Kara interacts with clients. But when you work together all day, it’s easy to not turn off that headspace. You have to make room for date nights and work at ways to keep your partner curious and interested,” Brett says.
Kara says she appreciates having a front-row seat to watching Brett in his natural element. “Currently we have one car, three kids ages 4 and under, and we work together … We are constantly getting to become better business partners and marriage partners. Spouses that have separate jobs don’t get to experience this,” she says.
Keep up with Brett and Kara on Facebook, Instagram @highstreethomes, Pinterest or on their websites, highstreethomes.com and phillipshouseco.com. Tune into their new show on HGTV, “Home to Last,” set to air in July.
Nine moves in seven years? Here are some of the places the Phillips have called home.
1. Brett and Kara’s first project together was this speculative build in Aledo that they began in March 2012. They sold it by January 2013.
2. The Phillips built another home on the same private road where Kara’s parents lived. They moved in September 2013, one month after their first son was born. They sold the home in October of 2015.
3. After Brett and Kara expertly renovated a foursquare home in Fairmount, the production companies came calling. “We sold the home in an off-market deal to a sweet family,” Brett says.
4. November 2017. Home sweet home. The Phillips move into their newly built country house in Aledo. It’s the place they currently call home.
Get the look.
The Phillips coined the term “California Southern” to define their mutual style. They say the pillars of the style are clean lines, timeless selections, natural light, neutral colors and personal “layers.” They sell many items that help build those layers on their retail website, phillipshouseco.com.
By: Malcolm Mayhew
By: Amber Bell