Big Country Home Builders Association's Parade of Homes

Skytop Homes

In Abilene, the duo who share Skytop Homes are more widely known for another business venture they’re partnered in: The Mill Wine Bar and Event Center.

But they’re not just grape enthusiasts.  As a 3 year old company, they’re a relatively new force to be reckoned with.  Not just in home building but also development.

It all starts with McDowell’s experience.  He’s been building homes outside of Abilene for more than 20 years.  He’s responsible for a wide array of places like Lake Brownwood, where he’s built some multimillion-dollar houses right up against the water.

Hunting cabins are also in his wheelhouse though, with those projects also coming in as among his favorites.  One, he said, built in Eastland, was a real favorite of his with its dimple design that has its own charm not found in the bigger lake houses.

McDowell is moving into the Abilene market and going where less attention, at least recently, is being pad.  Together the two are tackling the north side of Abilene, where potential is starting to turn into reality with recent additions.

“Everything is south,” McDowell said.  “So, our project, Griffith Lake Estates, we’re so excited about finally some excitement and push on the north side.  It’s near ACU, near Hendrick, near Texas Tech, near the new movie theater.  So, there have been very limited housing opportunities on the north side until now.”

While McDowell has a lot of experience, building is a relatively new part of Howard’s life.  Formerly a practicing engineer, Howard found himself at a crossroads when getting into business with McDowell, his father in lay, became a possibility.

He said the opportunity to trade in days sitting behind a computer for the ability to get out and see things being built on the lot was too much to pass up.

“What’s cool for me is previously, when I was practicing engineering, we would design these subdivisions,” Howard said. “And it’s always cool to drive through them to see the street drains how you designed it and all that.  But it’s fun now to get to really be a part of both sides of it.  We get to go through the whole process of building the subdivision and seeing that happen.  It’s really like a turnkey thing.  You think you have this open field, then you put all of the infrastructure in and build all of the houses.  It’s pretty cool.”

Still, Howard’s engineering skill-set comes in handy for the pair when they’re on the job, McDowell said.

It can certainly help alleviate any fears that might come up from mechanical failure, McDowell said.

“Having Blake on board as an engineer gives us a level of confidence and security that we’re going to tdo things right,” McDowell said. “We’re going to make sure everything looks pretty and nice, but from a structural point of view, it is correct.  And that has to always be.  You can always pick and choose paint and tile, lighting and this and that, but the nuts and bolts of a house are the lab and the framing and the electrical and all that.”