President’s Post: Inspired by a Boutique Hotel in Austin, TX

Whenever I travel, I am always fascinated by how other communities live.  All aspects of it interest me, but I am most inspired by how they design the spaces they inhabit, be it public or private space.

On a recent trip to Austin  I attended my sisters graduation as she became a vegan chef. Being a red blooded Albertan I cant see myself giving up a slice of prime rib au jus, but if you are into the vegan thing, you might as well jump in with both feet I would think.

Regardless of that, I happened to stay in the SoCo neighbourhood at the super hip Hotel San Jose.  The owners label it an ‘urban, bungalow-style hotel.’ I label it an oasis of cool. Its not that the place was overly fancy. Far from it, and perfectly so.  I would say rustic, or eclectic would be a better descriptor. Its amazing how a series of cottages surrounding an interior courtyard can change your whole outlook about staying in a stuffy hotel room when you travel.

For my brief stay, I became a privileged  member of an exclusive urban village.  Essentially I had a home with a private entrance at grade, a front porch, a  lively central park space and a swimming pool at my service. That really appealed to me.  Gravel pathways and stucco/brick walls, fully overgrown with Ivy, gave the place a private garden feel I have experienced only on places like Salt Spring Island. Not to say the San Jose was that lush, just that the conscious effort at creating a unique space within an unexpected location was clearly evident. The whole experience  reminded me of the types of spaces we aim to create  in our developments. Livable spaces, both inside and out, where our homeowners experience the vibrancy of their community and the good feeling of belonging to an exclusive group of like minded individuals that appreciate well designed spaces.

Check out the Hotel San Jose  at, and here for more pictures.

– Charron Ungar

President, Avi Urban