HISTORY RICH

BY RICK VILLA | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

Bourgeois Antique Building Materials has been a leader in providing unique building materials for over 30 years.

Founded by Debbie and Tim Bourgeois, this family-owned company has grown from a local business to an international one. The highly sought after building materials the company offers are hand selected from sites all over the world and are reserved months in advance. Catering to a select clientele, the Bourgeoises meet by appointment only.

Centuries-old wooden beams, New Orleans soft red bricks, slate roofing, wide plank wood flooring and imported stone flooring are just a few of the items that the company can supply for residential construction and remodeling.

These scarce building materials are not readily available to most general contractors, but the Bourgeoises have a wellestablished network of contacts that keep them informed when a historical building is being brought down and materials become available. It is important to be involved with the demolition teams as early as possible. “Our sites are always over 100 years old,” says Tim Bourgeois. “Materials like this are rare, so we have to act quickly and with care to preserve as much of it as possible.”

These unique items have become synonymous with the distinct beauty of fine custom homes and a clientele known for wanting something beyond what a typical supplier can furnish. It is old-world charm that Bourgeois Antique Building Materials is supplying to its clients.

“When a client designs their dream home, we help source the perfect unique elements for that home or project. These items have become an important part of accenting luxury homes. They add warmth to a home and give the buyers a link to the past,” Debbie Bourgeois says. As a Gulf Coaster, she has seen the demolition of buildings and streets that were able to retain the ties to the past. “It is always inspiring to see these history-rich items continue to live on in families’ homes,” she explains.

The Bourgeoises were mentored by renowned architect A. Hays Town, who rose to prominence in the 1940s. His early projects included designing office buildings, churches and shopping centers. However, it was his later work that truly left its mark. In the early 1960s, Town shifted his talents to domestic architecture. As a lifelong Gulf Coast resident, Town was influenced by the Creole, Spanish and French architecture that surrounded the area. His homes incorporated wood beams, French doors, Spanish courtyards and other items that are now key parts of Gulf Coast architecture. Town’s designs married the past with the present. The Bourgeoises had the honor of serving Town by providing most of the materials used in his beautiful projects across the South. Today, there are an estimated 1,000 homes designed by Town still remaining. While he is no longer here to mentor them, the lessons Town taught continue to keep the Bourgeoises’ business moving forward. “He was an amazing teacher and friend to our family. He influenced our work then and continues to even today,” Tim Bourgeois says.

Like the materials they provide, the Bourgeoises continue to be linked to the past through a partnership with architect Al Jones, an A. Hays Town protégé. “We have really enjoyed working with Al throughout the years, our companies partner well together,” Debbie Bourgeois says.

The Bourgeoises are also expanding their family business. Their daughter, Hays, and son, Ben, are stepping into the company to see their parents’ business continue into the future. “We couldn’t be happier,” Tim Bourgeois says. “They have traveled the world with us as we looked for items, so it is a very natural fit to have them join the company. We are thankful that Bourgeois Antique Building Materials will be here for another generation.”

Rick Villa is a Dallas-based freelance writer. He can be reached at rvilla19@gmail.com.