Rustic Warmth, Attention to Detail...

“ The word that is best loved in the

language of every nation is home..."

Paddle Creek Design...


About Us

Paddle Creek Design specializes in architecturally designed projects - projects with an attention to detail and rustic warmth that captures the spirit of your design concept.  Architect Thomas H. Oppelt has been involved in design, construction and project management since 1983.  Along with his experience, Thom brings a passion for design and a willingness to listen to his clients and at the same time, offer creative design approaches.  The result is an efficient process that incorporates the amenities and features sought after by today's home buyer.  You'll see and feel the difference when you walk through a project designed by Thom Oppelt...a project you'll be proud to call your own .


A Collaborative Approach

Thom strongly believes in a collaborative approach to design. He believes in assembling the best team of professionals to fit your project and letting them express their strengths along with the client.

You'll feel the difference that quality design makes.  From large projects to small - near or far, Paddle Creek Design can handle all aspects...from Conceptual Ideas through the Construction Phase. 


In Brief

Paddle Creek Design is a full service architectural firm with over twenty five years of experience and expertise to make your vision into a reality!

You'll feel the difference that quality design makes.  From large projects to small, Paddle Creek Design can handle all aspects...from Conceptual Ideas through the Construction Phase.

Areas of expertise include retail design, new construction, remodels, second home, historical, and ranch properties. 

Who is Thom Oppelt anyway?

The early years...

Thom's Texas experience...

Thom's Texas experience...


Architect Thomas Oppelt is passionate about architecture. He combines a natural vision for design with a history of diverse architectural work experiences. His work is becoming recognized on a national level as he currently manages projects in several states and internationally.

Thom graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1989 with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. His architectural studies included a semester abroad in Europe. He has is a well traveled individual for both work and pleasure. One of his first jobs out of college was as a Junior Designer for an internationally recognized architecture firm, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, in Chicago, Illinois. One of the projects Thom worked on there included a five-city block project for the City of Barcelona, Spain, in preparation for the 1992 Summer Olympics. Bruce Graham, FAIA was the managing partner Thom got to know while in Chicago. Mr. Graham was one of America's leading Architects of high-rise buildings such as the Sears/Willis Tower, and The Hancock Building. Thom worked for Mr. Graham in both Chicago and Florida for several years and Mr. Graham was a mentor and a great inspiration to Thom in his career and their relationship continued many more years until Mr. Graham’s death in 2010. 

Before returning to Texas, Thom spent about six years practicing in the Vail Valley of Colorado. His firm specialized in residential and resort commercial design. Among some of the projects that Thom worked on there were over twenty residences in Colorado and Yong Pyong Resort in South Korea the site of the 1998 Asian Winter Olympics and home for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, The Summit Club and General Store - Cordillera in Edwards, Colorado; as well as projects in Pentwater, Michigan and at Peek and Peak Resort in New York State.

Thom's Texas experience...

Thom's Texas experience...

Thom's Texas experience...


In 2001, Thom crossed paths with an old friend from primary school, Maggy Swyers who was then living and working in Kerrville as a Realtor. In 2002, Thom moved back to Texas and he and Maggy were married in 2003. Together they raised Maggy’s son, who is a Tivy graduate and went on to play college baseball for the University of the Incarnate Word. Maggy is now a practicing Attorney and Thom & 'Mags' live on their ranch in South Texas.

Thom has been decribed as a "True Texan". When he’s not working on client's projects, Thom loves to be a rancher or spend time with his family being outdoors. Thom’s architecture business, Paddle Creek Design, has been based out of Texas since 2003 but Thom travels several days a month to see different clients. He has been an Architect for the James Avery jewelry stores for many years as they expand their presence in Texas and other states, and designed over 70 stores for them to date. He also designs high-end residential homes here in the Hill Country and works on South Texas Ranch & Hunting projects as well as a number of other states. International projects occasionally present themselves. Thom is a NCARB license holder with current architect licenses throughout the United States. 

Thom has been blessed to do a variety of great work all over the country and  while publicity is not something Thom seeks his work has been featured in numerous coffee table books published by Images Publishing Group selling at Barnes & Noble and Some projects have been featured on the HGTV extreme homes TV programs and their website and he has been requested to submit press release packages for publication in both Architectural Digest and Cowboys & Indians magazine. You can find his work on Pinterest and Houzz.

Site Content


Design Services

Since every project is unique we try an tailor the product we deliver and the fee associated with those services to each project. When beginning a project we start with reviewing our 4 basic categories for Design Services: Builder's Choice, Craftsman Collection, Architectural Elegance, and the finally Architectural Estates with the client to decide with best fits the clients needs. 

In general, design fees run from approximately 5 to 20% of construction cost depending on several variables. Prior to any design work commencing an agreement must be signed between parties and retainer delivered.

Up coming events

Projects scheduled to open this year are:

- Coming in late 2020 will be the Grand Opening of RCFCU-Babcock in San Antonio, Texas.

- James Avery stores in Pflugerville - Stone Hill, Waxahaxchie, TX, Gulf Gate Center in Houston, Lake Jackson, Magnolia and Del Rio, Texas.

Testimonials - Powerful Expressions of our Experience...


Building a home for the first time was a scary proposition for Walt and me. We were newly empty nesters and we rationalized that we should down size our life style. But part of us yearned for space, privacy and functionality. After 30 years of marriage and residing in 11 different homes from condos to single family, we were excited at the prospect of creating our dream home. A builder friend introduced us to Thom Oppelt and we immediately "bonded". Thom listened to every detail on our "wish list" and his creative suggestions were invaluable for those "blank stares" we gave him when we just didn't know what we wanted. Putting our past living experiences into one home was a challenge that Thom embraced and executed to our delight.   

His unassuming manner, easy going personality and his professional talent blended into making our first home building experience a joy. He took the time to understand our lifestyle, listened to our ideas and never made us feel uncertain in our requests. He is a sensitive, caring "artist"….sensitive to his clients needs not to his own ego.  

We love our home and feel that we truly had a collaborative project with Thom. His talent is amazing and is evident by the unsolicited compliments we continue to receive and requests for his name from my own customers. As a real estate broker in a new community, I have had the pleasure of referring my customers to Thom. We would do another home with him "in a heart beat" and someday we will. His work is most evident throughout our community and I look forward to his continued success here and beyond.  

Sincerely, Jenni Marquez 

How do I know if I need an Architect?

The question always come up ....Do I need an architect?  Websites like Home Advisor and the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners offer explanations and flowcharts for building in the state of Texas that shows what does and doesn’t require an architect.  Attached is my favorite quote... 

"Some people may know exactly what they want and how to make it fit. Others may know that they need an extra bedroom but aren’t sure how to make it fit into existing construction. Or they may have a piece of land and know where they want the picture window and not much else. The architect plans will fit what you want even if you didn’t know you wanted it until you saw it! " 

What is the Paddle Creek Design Process?

Preliminary   Planning

The first step in any design project is defining your needs. First, analyze   your needs and list requirements such as room sizes, style, number of   stories, lot size and any other applicable conditions. Our free design   questionnaire will offer you the opportunity to list this information in a   question and answer format. After listing your requirements a priority list   must be made. Some clients develop collages of images of what they hope to   achieve in their project. This is particularly useful for us as we get our   first glimpse of what type of vision that you have for your project. In   addition on a case by case basis we may even tour similar projects and gather   information regarding scale, function, and even cost. A realistic budget must   be known before proceeding in the design process. A preliminary assessment   must be done to see if your design ideas are feasible. If they are not, your   priority list can help you decide on what to modify or eliminate.

Arrangement   of spaces
When your requirements fall within your budget, you can move to the   arrangement of spaces. Preliminary layouts should consider the property that   the project is to be built. Environmental conditions such as climate,   orientation, and terrain may affect the positioning of the rooms. Circulation   must be considered in your arrangement. How will your guests move within the   space? Use scenarios that represent the everyday living to ensure that the   spaces flow freely. We provide our clients with what is called a bubble diagram. This   graphic helps us brainstorm the arrangement very quickly with the client.   Early consideration of the arrangement of spaces will help eliminate future   design problems and ultimately make the project more functional.

Creation  of floor plan & elevations
After successfully arranging your requirements, we will begin to develop the   floor plan and elevations. In the beginning, the plan and elevations will   have little detail. The drawings will show the arrangement of walls, location   of doors and windows and roof shape. In addition we will develop a 3D massing   model to communicate the vision of the design.

Development of construction   documents
When everyone is in agreement on the floor plan and elevations, we will proceed   forward with construction documents. This process involves us finishing the   plan package with most of the designing done. There are some areas that we   will need to contact the client for consultation.

Review  of final drawings
A final review is done to clear up any last minute details before the plan  package is duplicated.


3D Visualization
Many clients have a hard time visualizing what the project will look like   when it is built. When this happens, we can do a number of things. We can   create simple cardboard models that can help a client through their   visualization. If that does not work, we can create 3D computer images of   your project. We can walk you through your project before it is built! This   process can be very effective in the design process and will increase your   understanding of the project.

Long distance design
The vast majority of our projects are designed and completed with long distance clients. We use the Internet, email, fax, and phone to communicate. We have become very good at communicating design ideas over a long distance. We have designed projects for clients from all over the United States and the world.

What Paddle Creek Design offers a client ...

And finally, anyone can draw a plan, but architects are specifically trained to understand the process of design and the technical aspects of construction. 

In addition, the design experience that you have during the process of creating your dream makes a difference; it should be enjoyable. Selecting an architect should be done with care because they are not all the same. Hopefully you’re going to be working with this person for a long time. This should be someone that you should feel like that you can talk to about your dreams and how you live openly and freely. This should be someone willing to listen to you and if necessary offer suggestions to you on how to achieve a successful project. 

Here is a brief list of items and qualities that we believe that a client should look for in an architect:

  • Genuine enthusiasm for your project. Everyone wants their project to have the top priority, so you should look for an architect who can place your project at the top of the list; sometimes the timing is just not right and both parties have to be open and honest about the schedule. 
  • Ability to work together. Meet the people you will actually be working with. You need to be sure you both communicate well with each other and get along. It seems simple enough but chemistry is important.
  • Ability to handle the size and scope of your project. Make sure that the project you are doing is within an architect's wheelhouse - not too big or too small. 
  • How long does it take to design a project? There is no set of rules that are out there can predetermine how long a projects takes. This is a creative process and sometimes the project just snaps together and others we have to work harder to make dreams reality. We have some general rules of thumbs that present to potential clients  to help with initial expectations. In addition, we try hard to manage our project schedule on our end to only take on only as much work as we can carefully manage.

Contact Us

Questions & Estimates

Selected projects by appointment only...Thank you.

Paddle Creek Design

1204 16th Street Hondo, Texas 78861

(830) 377-1197


Monday -Thursday: 9am - 4pm

Friday: Appointment Only

Saturday - Sunday: Closed