30 Years Designing Homes

30 Years Designing Homes

by Steve Gamel

Mike Love was already living the American dream. He had a great job working for an established architecture firm in Las Colinas, he was young and newly married to his sweetheart, Jenni, and they had a brand new house with a beautiful lawn. In many ways, it was the perfectly designed life. But then he got the calling to quit that job and start his own firm.

“When you’re newly married, your wife is like, ‘What are you doing? It’s not just you anymore?’” Mike said with a smile. “I was young, vulnerable and didn’t know anything about running a business. We hadn’t been in that house for a year yet, and I remember cutting the grass thinking, ‘This is probably the last time I do this.’” He added, “It’s a big risk to go out and do your own thing. You will have times where you’ll worry if you’ve made the right decision.”

To say his decision panned out is an understatement. Mike Love is the proud owner of The ML Group, Inc. in Flower Mound, long known as one of the premier residential design firms in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He built a successful company using his passion for architecture along with a client-first mindset and always surrounding himself with the right people – all of whom he credits for helping lay the foundation for everything the firm has accomplished.

On August 8, The ML Group celebrated their 30th anniversary. “It takes a lot of hard work, and a lot of all-nighters in this profession,” he said.

When Mike sat down with Argyle Living to reflect on the last 30 years, his mind and words were filled with a riot of heartfelt emotions and candid memories that he has carried with him for a very long time. First and foremost are the countless people – big names whose influence spreads far and wide in both the architectural and home building world – who unselfishly guided him in the right direction when they didn’t have to.

Mike said there isn’t room to mention them all (“they know who they are,” he added), but there was the one gentleman who believed in Mike so much that he told him he should go into business for himself. That same man gave him his first office space as he started to get his feet wet. Then there were the region and division presidents for some of the largest volume builders in America who became his first clients and permanently set the wheels of success in motion.

The ML Group has worked closely with all the big names while uniquely positioning themselves to handle the entire home design process. Their reputation for creativity, experience, and attention to detail has landed them both custom and volume projects as close as Flower Mound and nearby Argyle to as far away as scenic Lake Placid, New York and Destin, Florida.

“I’d be nothing without them,” Mike said. “Over the years, I’ve continued to build on those personal relationships – because we all mean so much to each other. Even recently, I reached out to a former business partner, Mark Wainscott. We got into this thing 30 years ago and then parted ways. Now we’re circling back to do more work together.”

The ML Group’s longevity is quite an accomplishment. So much has changed since 1988, whether that be advances in architecture, family size, the economy, or the natural rise in living standards that have played such a pivotal role in the evolution of home design. But the company continues to adapt. “People say all the time, ‘What are you known for?’ Well, I like to think we can do anything,” Mike said.

Beyond pouring down praise on his business colleagues, Mike has always said one of the reasons for The ML Group’s agility is his team. They have one of the more talented groups of architects, designers, office professionals, and project managers you can find. All of them have pledged themselves to bring every client’s vision to life.

Mike, of course, is the ringleader – and his passion for the industry knows no limits. He once created a version of his resume written with architectural lettering to impress a prospective boss. There isn’t a vacation he’s taken that hasn’t included a drawing board strapped to the top of his Tahoe, and that new house we mentioned earlier – that was five homes ago, and he’s thinking about another.

Clearly, everything worked out. And he can’t wait for the next 30 years to play out. “I have great people around me, and that’s the secret,” he said. “I know my name is on the front door, and I know I sign the checks. But I want them to understand that when I ride off into the sunset, I want this place to go on and for them to make it theirs. Because it is.”

 

972.355.8700 | MLGroupTexas.com | 600 Parker Sq., Ste. 205 | Flower Mound, TX 75028


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