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At Home The Official Publication of the Home Builders Association of Mississippi


2018 Best in Mississippi Grand Award



Every Year Thousands Save Millions


Put Your NAHB Membership to Work Now.

Money-saving discounts that benefit you, your business and your family









Home Builders Association of Mississippi








Feature Story


Business Trends

18 Lofty Living in Oxford

9 2019 Hall of Fame Induction 11 HBAM State Convention

8 New Construction vs.

Our 2018 Winner of the Best in Mississippi Grand Award, James Scott, shares details about his collaborative home project in Oxford, Mississippi.

Highlights from the Point Clear, Alabama event.

17 Golden Triangle HBA


Annual Golf Tournament

5 President’s Message

Bob Williams Classic Golf Tournament

3 Home Builders Association of

Pearl River County HBA

HBA of the Mississippi Coast

HBA of North Mississippi

Mississippi Executive Officers

7 HBAM Staff & About HBAM

Annual Fall Golf Tournament Bulldog Burton Volleyball Tournament

23 HBA of North Central Mississippi Casino Night Crawfish Boil/Drawdown

HB&RA of Northeast Mississippi New Charter Ceremony State Representatives Visit Mardi Gras Night

On the Cover A shot from our feature story “Lofty Living in Oxford” found on page 18.

HBA of Jackson Crawfish Boil/Drawdown

2019 Executive Officers




David Saulters

Tim Allred

Steven Smith

Existing Homes We weigh the benefits of both.

12 The Art & Science of Staging Shannon Laseter, owner of Harrell Designs + Staging, shares her pro tips.

Associate Vice President

Immediate Past President

Billy Ray

John Travis

16 The Benefits of Using Natural Gas in Your Home Natural gas offers reliability and abundancy for homeowners.

22 Pre-Wired Fiber Delivers

Speed + Value Pre-wired fiber helps builders, too.

24 Home Builder Style Trends

Director of Design & Style at Elliott Homes, Adrienne Elliott, shows the trends driving their business.

30 The Rise of Outdoor Living Outdoor design experts, Mike Marler and Rick Wallace, discuss the increasing popularity of outdoor living spaces.

Regional Officers Region I Vice President

Region III Vice President

Region V Vice President

Jon Pointer

Carl Sandberg

Joshua Workman

Local Territories: North Central HBA and North MS HBA

Local Territories: HBA of Jackson, HBA of Mid Mississippi and HBA of Vicksburg

Local Territories: Southeast MS HBA, Pearl River County HBA, and MS Gulf Coast HBA

Region II Vice President Dale Nelson

Region IV Vice President Kyle Hamlett

Local Territories: Golden Triangle HBA, Delta Chapter HBA, Greneda HBA and Meridian HBA

Local Territories: Natchez HBA, Southwest MS HBA, Greater Hattiesburg HBA and East Central MS HBA

Photo courtesy of Scott Construction Services




Home Builders Association of Mississippi



PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Welcome back! Well, it’s not that you’ve gone anywhere, and

The best homes deserve C Spire Fiber internet. At C Spire, we know how important it is to make your homes stand out and create unique experiences. That’s why we make it easy to get your properties pre-wired with C Spire Fiber.

the Home Builders Association of Mississippi certainly hasn’t either, but it has been a while since we have communicated with a print magazine.

in their demand for housing, but we’re faced with new challenges.

world is now electronic. It brings information to you via email,

Americans? How do we, the builders, not only find trained labor and

websites, and social media, all inextricably linked to one another.

stronger, more efficient supply chains to support this affordability

But, it’s just not the same. This is not to say that electronic

but also adequately manage our economic risks and provide a

media is bad. There is value in being able to communicate quickly,

living for our families? How do we, the builders, guard against the

to the masses and to more targeted audiences by just publishing

ever-present regulatory pressures from national, state, and local

out to the interwebs and having it land safely and quickly into a

governmental entities that have a very real effect on our business?

laptop, tablet, or smart phone for easy consumption.

The Home Builders Association of Mississippi provides the

But, it’s just not the same. What can’t be replaced is the tactile

answers to those questions, whether it’s on the national level

experience of feeling the pages between your fingers while sitting

through our affiliation with the National Association of Home

in a clinic’s waiting room, a bank, or real estate office, waiting

Builders, the state level through HBAM, or down to the local

on your appointed time with your doctor, banker, or realtor. A

level through our affiliated chapters.

magazine on the table or on the rack is just irresistible for killing

Every morning, HBAM wakes up and guards, protects, and

a few moments while you flip the pages, scan a few pictures, and

promotes home building and home ownership. Period. It’s that simple.

read a quick, relevant article. No, print media hasn’t gone any where. It is still here. It’s just had to change and evolve, but it is still relevant Just like media, the Home Builders Association of Mississippi,

To continue this, we need you. We need the builders, their affiliates, and the associate members to join us. We need numbers to be an effective voice. You’ll find more information about HBAM and how to join

HBAM as we affectionately call it, hasn’t gone anywhere, either.

in this magazine. You can also

But just like print media, we’ve had to change and evolve while

find information at hbam.com.

It’s been almost ten years since the beginning of the “Great

©2019 C Spire. All rights reserved.

Today, we find evidence of the resiliency of the American people How do we, the builders, supply affordable housing for these young

continuing to prove our worth in today’s world.

Learn more at cspire.com/homebuilders.

those young people had the desire for home ownership.

Print media isn’t the way of the world these days, it seems. The

and valuable.

With built-in fiber, you can enjoy an average 3% boost in home value while your buyers enjoy gigabit internet speeds the moment they move in.

and college and beginning to find jobs. But most importantly,

Recession”, which marked the worst time in the housing market

Print media and electronic media. How convenient. “WELCOME BACK” to you

since the Great Depression. The economic winds that swept

and to our print magazine.

through the world blew particularly hard on the housing industry.

We’re glad to have you, and we’ll

HBAM was there, weathering the storm for its members and

continue be here for you. We’re

the citizens of Mississippi.

not going anywhere any time soon.

That was a tough time to be a builder. Too many people found themselves upside down in their homes. Foreclosures were at record highs, and millennials weren’t forming households or


buying homes. Instead, they were renting, or even worse, still living with their parents. While it was a difficult time for the industry, there was a glimmer of hope because Americans were still having babies. Those babies were still growing up and graduating high school




Home Builders Association of Mississippi



We’re making sure natural gas is a part of your new home.

HBAM Staff

It’s how we invest in homes, lives and generations. Not only is Atmos Energy committed to being the safest provider of natural gas, we’re also committed to helping our builders and developers provide comfortable and energy-efficient homes. This is why we in 2019 we plan to invest $100 to $110 million in system upgrades in Mississippi. We’re proud to partner with you to install safe and reliable natural gas pipelines for new neighborhoods. This is one way we invest in Mississippi.

Jimmie B. Reynolds, III

Kim Jent

Diane Peters

Executive Vice President

Director, Mississippi Housing Institute

OFFICE Manager


Visit atmosenergy.com to learn how natural gas is an important part of your new home.


Founded in 1961, the Home Builders Association of Mississippi (HBAM) is a trade organization which assists in “Building a Better Mississippi” by promoting, advancing and protecting the housing industry. HBAM is the statewide association affiliated with the local home builder associations and the National Home Association of Home Builders. Through advocacy, savings, knowledge and expertise, these associations provide membership benefits and resources to further the housing industry throughout the state.



290 Commerce Park Dr, Ste B Ridgeland, MS 39157 Phone: 601.969.3446 Toll Free: 1.800.898.4226 info@hbam.com | www.hbam.com




Home Builders Association of Mississippi ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

Rich Winter ads@hbam.com WRITING & PHOTOGRAPHY


At Home Mississippi, the official magazine of the Home Builders Association of Mississippi, is distributed to all association members spanning 9 states and over 165 cities. Copyright © 2019 Home Builders Association of Mississippi. All rights reserved.


Home Builders Association of Mississippi



HBAM Sponsor Spotlight

New Construction vs. Existing Homes


Joe Robertson and Henry Watts are honored at annual convention The Home Builders Association of Mississippi Housing Hall of Fame was established in 1988 to honor men and women who have made significant and lasting contributions to housing in Mississippi, the building industry and Home Builders Association of Mississippi.

Joe Robertson

Henry Watts

HBA of Jackson

HBA of Natchez

Senior Vice President BancorpSouth

Joe was presented the Hall of Fame

Henry was also presented the Hall of

award at the HBAM Convention in

Fame award at the HBAM Convention

Point Clear, AL. Joe Robertson enjoyed

in Point Clear, AL this year. Henry

a long and successful career in banking and finance. He held

Watts started in the real estate business in 1978, as a real

One of the biggest distinctions between the types of

The location of a new home is often a key selling point,

leadership positions with Ford Motor Credit, Unifirst Bank

estate listing, selling and appraising agent. Four years later,

property available in the U.S. housing market is a simple

but it could also be a detractor for certain buyers. Since

for Savings, Security Savings, and Magnolia Federal Bank. He

he teamed up with long time friend Charley Myers and formed

one: new vs. existing homes. While buyers might not

space is lacking within densely populated urban areas,

retired from BancorpSouth in December of 2018 as senior vice

Myers and Watts Developers. Together, they built the first low

initially think much of it, the difference between buying

most new residences are built further out from the core

president over the real estate group for the Jackson region.

to moderate income housing FHA 235 subdivision in Natchez,

new construction and purchasing an existing home includes

of a city, meaning longer commutes and limited access to

Joe’s many professional recognitions included the Lifetime

many choices concerning price, practicality, resale value

certain amenities. New homes located closer to the city

Achievement Award presented by the Home Builders Association

and much more.

tend to be smaller and more expensive than those that

(HBA) of Jackson, HBA Associate of the Year, life director of

Over the course of his career, Henry has been a member of the

are further out.

the National Association of Home Builders Board of Directors,

Natchez, the State and the National Association of Homebuilders

Some of the most obvious advantages of new construction

under the requirements of Arch Winter and the Historic Natchez Preservation Commission.

homes involve quality and personalization. If the home is

Finally, the choice between a new home and an existing

and induction into the Mississippi Housing Hall of Fame

since 1985, and he has served in multiple leadership positions.

completely custom-built, the buyer has a say in everything

one could depend on seemingly minor details. Landscaping

(2019). He was a volunteer with many civic and professional

Since that time, Henry has served on the HBAM Board of

about its design and construction. Your budget and your

is one practical example: The older a home is, the more

organizations, including service as president of the Madison

Directors for 25 years and the Government Affairs Committee

imagination are the only true limits.

likely it will be surrounded by mature shade trees and

Ridgeland Rotary Club.

and Mortgage Finance committee over 20 years.

Homes built today must adhere to the latest standards

vegetation tested by erosion and time. And, stronger trees

It is with great sadness that we share the news of Joe’s passing

In 1995, Henry was appointed by Governor Kirk Fordice to

for safety and efficiency that many existing homes are

can also protect the house from damaging wind and sun.

on October 13, 2019 following a brief but hard-fought battle

serve on the Governor’s Affordable Housing Committee, and

exempt from. Most new construction homes will include

Whether you are building the home of your dreams or

with melanoma. The world lost a caring, fun-loving, witty, and

in 1996, he was selected to serve on Mississippi Home’s Corp’s

the latest-and-greatest in technology, including floor plans

purchasing the perfect fixer-upper, Trustmark can provide

adventurous spirit, but Joe’s contributions to his family, his

Affordable Housing Advisory Committee. In 1995-1996 Henry

designed for maximum energy efficiency and building

home financing solutions for every situation and stage in life.

community, and the Home Builders Association of Mississippi

was the Home Builders Association of Mississippi’s National Rep

materials that can withstand the weather. New homes

Contact a Trustmark mortgage lender today to learn more.

will not soon be forgotten. He leaves behind a loving family and

serving on NAHB’s National Representative Council. Henry is

a wide circle of friends who will carry on his legacy.

also a HBAM and a NAHB Life Director.

also require less maintenance.


President Henry Watts Co. Inc.



Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

Home Builders Association of Mississippi





State Convention & Educational ConferENCE


Three bedrooms. Two baths. Dreams Fulfilled. A residential construction loan is much more than a loan, because a home is more than a house. It’s where individuals and families leave their mark and create memories that last for generations. That’s why Trustmark works with you to help determine the lending options best suited for your project.

To learn more, visit trustmark.com. 10



The 2019 “Run for the Roses” Summer Convention at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, AL was a huge success. From the Derby Hat Contest; Family Movie Night; Bourbon Tasting; Volleyball Tournament; Golf Tournament; Casino Night to the Hall of Fame Banquet and Best Dressed Contest, fun was had by all. Don’t forget to mark your calendar for next year’s Summer Convention at the Grand Hotel July 15-17, 2020.

Home Builders Association of Mississippi






the National Association of Realtors profile of buyers. Over 95% of home shoppers are searching for homes online first



before deciding to visit the property. “Today, curb appeal alone isn’t enough to inspire a


showing appointment: the interior photos must also be

Cleaning and painting gives you the biggest bang for your

impressive,” Laseter states. Buyers are studying every posted

buck. Buyers associate cleanliness with quality so the exterior

taging can be identified as the art and science

helps them envision themselves in the home. The goal is

picture on their iPads and cell phones before they decide

and interior should be spotless. Paint your front door and

of improving the marketability of a property.

always to reduce the days on market while increasing the

whether or not they want to physically visit the property.

wash/pressure wash your front porch. The doorbell should

Professional stagers often work with clients at

profits. According to bankrate.com, the ROI on staging is

The “curb” appeal once reserved for the slow drive by is

the most sensitive and stressful time during the

an unbelievable 586%.

now presented online. “Every single image has got to be

home selling process. The pressure of prepping a property

The key to staging is neutralizing the palate of the

strategically staged to entice the buyer into taking the next

for sale can be overwhelming for some, so it’s very important

home to appeal to the widest range of buyers possible.

step and scheduling a showing. Those pictures absolutely

for pros to make the process as honest and pain free as

“The irony to this is a profile of the potential buyer must

must connect on an emotional level and cause the buyer

possible for the seller.

be determined so design elements may be used to target

to pick up the phone and request a showing.”

function properly and the front door handle should look new. Paint it black if its weathered to create a new feel.


Remove clutter and excess furniture to help make the home feel larger and clean.


that specific buyer profile,” says Laseter. “What is the age,

According to Zillow, 50% of US homeowners are millennials

interest, what’s their lifestyle like, what are they looking for

who aren’t interested in “fixer-upper” type properties. They

Certified Professional Stager and Owner of Harrell

in a home, and what will connect with them? This requires

prefer their new home to be turnkey.

Designs + Staging, Shannon Laseter, has built a business

research. We must become familiar with the local market

Buyers are looking for a dream home that provides an

around presenting homes to maximize their financial

and that requires a bit of a balancing act. The goal is to

opportunity for them to move up in home size, status, and

potential. “Realtors juggle a million different things. We

make a connection with the heart of the buyer so they will

style. In order for a buyer to see your property as their dream


try to take some of the burden off of them,” says Laseter.

have an emotional connection with the house.”

home, all the property’s perceived negatives must be reduced


“We identify perceived negatives of the property and identify perceived positives of the property. We meet with the realtor/client and give them a step-by-step plan to help provide solutions for the homeowner.” As a pro stager, Laseter uses a variety of techniques to draw attention to the positive features while reducing



In order to raise the perceived value, the furnishings should reflect the style and value of the home. Make sure the home looks current. If the style is more than 10 years old, it’s outdated.

Identify problem areas and eliminate or distract from them.

and the perceived positives must be enhanced in order to THE MARKET HAS CHANGED

give you the best chance of a quick and profitable sale.

With the popularity of real estate channels like HGTV, more

A homes first two weeks on the market are the most

buyers are aware of the effectiveness of home staging and

crucial time. Excitement and momentum tend to decrease

expect to be impressed. Pro stagers offer a wealth of experience

after that period.

and design props to ensure the client is not disappointed.


What the buyer sees on the surface dictates their impression of what they can’t see. Be sure to clean or replace dingy vents, window units, etc. An HVAC system not properly maintained or strange odors could kill your chances to sell.

A NAR survey found that 96% of buyer’s agents say that

or eliminating any negative perceptions. Good staging

The days of buyers cruising the streets to see potential

staging has an affect on some buyer’s view of the home and


creates an emotional connection to a potential buyer that

properties is done. Today’s drive by is done online according

there are 6 basic ways in which staging affects perception.



Identify problem areas and eliminate or distract from them.

Home Builders Association of Mississippi



Successful stagers focus on two things  SHORTEN MARKET TIME FRAME Reducing the days the home is on the market and sell the house quickly.

 MAXIMIZE PROFIT Provide the highest possible financial gain for the homeowner.

Harrell Designs + Staging

Savvy production builders learned the value of home staging a long time ago when they offered “model homes” for potential buyers to view. They knew many potential buyers had difficulty visualizing a house with furnishings and decor, and that fact

Shannon Laseter - Certified SDP™ staging design professional

would often hurt their chances of closing the sale. They soon


then, the art of staging has made the model home advantage







realized that if they could show how beautiful a space could be using props and furniture, it would entice people to buy. Since available to everyone, not just the production builders with large

6 01-94 2 - 4169

marketing budgets.


According to a 2015 National Association of Realtors survey,

H a r r e l l s tagi n g.c om

almost a third of buyers (28%), were willing to “overlook” property faults when the home was staged. In a NAR profile of buyers, 84% reported home photos to be the most useful information. Those images carry more weight than facts like square footage or number of bathrooms. Furthermore, a staged home sells 67% faster than





price, according to NAR.

Cr aven n a o

to stay awhile,” according to Laseter. Buyers will stay in a vacant


home an average of five minutes but linger in a furnished home

s 1985


st ruc t i


14283A Dedeaux Road Gulfport, MS 39503 cell 228.297.333 office 228.832.3536 joan@joancravens.com


“Furnishings draw a buyer into the room and give them a reason





a vacant home AND commands 6% more on the average asking

an average of 40 minutes. Studies show that the longer a buyer stays in the home, the more likely they are to make an offer. If you provide a buyer a place to sit and enjoy the house, the more likely they are to make an emotional connection to the home. Staging defines the space, shows how it could be used, and ultimately makes an empty home feel warm and inviting.

Opposite top: This house was on the market for eight months. Harrell Designs + Staging were hired at the end of month eight and the homebuilders got a contract within the first few weeks of being on the market. The large brick wall/fireplace was the first thing potential buyers saw as they entered this property. Visually speaking, the brick was very harsh, so HD+S softened the room by bringing in soft, neutral upholstered furniture, rugs, and organic material to draw the eye to other elements in the room. Staging the additional design elements took the focus off of the wall, and the room became inviting and more pleasing to the eye.

Above center and bottom: Nothing is colder than an unaccessorized kitchen or bathroom. Those rooms usually feature lightly-colored, steril surfaces in hard materials like marble, granite, and stainless steel. Those rooms need to be “warmed up” with wood and clay vessels, decorative canisters, small potted succulents, soap dispensers, tea towels and antique cutting boards to bring these spaces to life. Home Builders Association of Mississippi



HBAM Sponsor Spotlight

Why choose natural gas?



1. First Place, Triangle Insulation and Acoustical - Kenny Pollard, Keith Pollard, Dalton Pollard and Greg Conner.





4. The Raffle & Longest Drive - Kevin Conn pictured with Debbie Hodges Taylor. Closest to the Hole - Jeremy Lumsden (not pictured).


Even though summer has faded into fall, there’s still plenty of time for backyard barbeques and outdoor fun. Gather your family and friends for a festive evening of alfresco dining that’s made possible by clean and efficient natural gas. From grilling your favorite meat and vegetables, to lighting up your patio, and gathering around a fire place – it’s all possible with reliable and abundant natural gas. Whether you are cooking indoors or out, cooking with natural gas is the preferred fuel for professional and everyday chefs. That’s because the flame is visible and it’s quick and easy to control the temperature. There is no leftover heat after you turn the burner off to overcook your food. Another benefit of a natural gas range and oven is that when the power is out, you can still make a hot meal for your family. Natural gas is also as American as apple pie and is an important

facilitate our growing economy and it’s an important solution to help reduce carbon emissions and achieve energy independence. Safe. American. Abundant. Reliable. Comfortable. Efficient. Clean. The benefits of natural gas are as endless as the supply. Make natural gas a part of your home for today and the future.

Try this delicious recipe that’s well-loved in the Magnolia State and see why natural gas is the preferred fuel for baking and cooking.





6. At the Aug. 22 meeting, President & CEO of the DeSoto EDC, Jim Flanagan, updated members on new industrial developments throughout DeSoto County.

PEARL RIVER COUNTY HBA 7. The Pearl River County HBA held their Annual Fall Golf Tournament to benefit their scholarship fund on October 18th. Guests were treated to lunch and dinner, and winners were drawn for door prizes and raffle items. The Coast Electric team won first place but gave the proceeds back to the HBA for the scholarship.


Cream the first three (3) ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt; lightly mix. Stir into liquid mixture. Fold in chocolates and nuts. Place golf-ball size cookies 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees in a natural gas oven for 12-15 minutes. Yield: 4 dozen cookies



HBA of North Mississippi 5. The HBA of North Mississippi and the Northwest Mississippi Association of Realtors held their annual Bob Williams Classic golf tournament at Wedgewood Golf Club on April 12th. Guests competed for cash prizes.

backbone of the U.S. economy. Natural gas provides more than one fourth of the energy that we use in the United States. It helps to stimulate and


Million Dollar Cookie Recipe

Ingredients: 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter 1 cup sugar 1 cup packed light brown sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 ½ cups oatmeal 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips 4 ounces milk chocolate bar, grated or chopped 1 ½ cups chopped nuts

2. Second Place, Triangle Insulation and Acoustical - Jay Cook, Kevin Conn, Jeremy Lumsden and Jason Bryant. 3. Third Place, Clardy Home Development Dean Robertson, Ken Lowery, Jerry Fowler and Jason Vasser.


Natural Gas Makes Life Better

The Golden Triangle HBA hosted its annual Golf Tournament at Lion Hills Golf Course on October 11th. Guests competed for cash awards and a raffle prize of power tools donated by the New Home Building Store. Corporate and hole sponsorships were sold to raise money in addition to a 50/50 drawing to help fund scholarships and an area charity to be determined at a later date.

Local HBA Events


8. The HBAMC A**kickers team won the HBAM Bulldog Burton Volleyball Tournament for the second consecutive year on June 14th. Team members are: Wally Ladner, John Herron, Ronnie Daniels, Matt Swank, Brandon Elliott, Joshua Workman, Mike Butler, Matt Compton, Chase Denmark, Jason White, Mike Fearn, Tres Ladner, Jaycee White and Anna Grace Deakle.

Home Builders Association of Mississippi





photography courtesy of SCOTT CONSTRUCTION SERVICES


ast November, James Scott was ready to claim a

The interior of the home was decorated by the homeowner,

crystal trophy in three categories for HBAM’s Best

Judy Meek, in light and airy paint tones set off by eggshell

in Mississippi Building & Remodeling Awards. As

and stained trim which compliments the stained heart pine

he heard one name after another called to claim

flooring. Rooms throughout the house are adorned with a

category awards, the list of remaining categories continued

carefully curated collection of antique furniture pieces and

to shrink, and James began to think he had made the trip

lightly-colored upholstered furniture. Each sitting area is

for nothing. Little did he know he was about to be called

accented with rich blue pillows and matching blue rugs along

to receive the Best in Mississippi Grand Award, which is

with blue willow patterned china, pottery, and glass vessels.

awarded to the project that demonstrates the best overall style,

The large kitchen features stainless steel appliances and

craftsmanship, and creativity.

a dark-stained center island

He had never won the award

topped with beige marble

before, and he was shocked

and surrounded by bone-

to hear the announcement.

finished cabinets. The house

“When they got down to the last category and I hadn’t won anything, it just didn’t click. I didn’t think Grand Award... My goodness–the best of the best!” “Owning a building supply compa ny, I work

w it h

Owning a building supply company, I work with contractors on a daily basis. It’s James attention to detail that made me choose him to build my house once I saw projects he had completed here in Oxford. – Barry Meek

contractors on a daily basis. It’s James’s attention to detail that





also features a brightly tiled floor in the sitting room and gold accented light fixtures and drawer pulls throughout. To see the elegant home now, you’d never know how difficult the project was to undertake. The home site was very unusual and actually began as a hole that needed

made me choose him to build my house once I saw projects he

to be filled before any thought of building a home could

had completed here in Oxford,” said homeowner, Barry Meek.

occur. “Once Barry and Judy bought the lot, there was a lot

The Meek home, which garnered Scott the top award, is

of forethought given to where we should set the house on

a stunner inside and out with panoramic views of the golf

the lot in order to maximize the views of the golf course,”

course from the back and vaulted ceilings throughout. The

says By Design architect, Bruce Crane. “With a project like

limestone facade is a timeless compliment to the gray arched

this, there really needs to be a collaborative effort between

window frames and matching arched, double entry door. A

the landscape architect and the structural engineer so, once

custom slate roof offers the additional sense of timelessness

the architect has made a decision, the engineer can tell

you might find atop old European cottages.

everyone how to build it. We worked with OZER Engineering

Home Builders Association of Mississippi




in Memphis, and those guys did an incredible job. It really

knows how to hire the people that can decorate the fine

ended up being quite an engineering feat.”

details of a home. That really helped me out,” said Scott.

The 10 month project began with extensive dirt work

To Scott, what really stands out about the house is just

and engineering that included trucking in 300 loads of dirt

how challenging it was from the start and how different

which were compacted every 8 inches to properly prep

it is from the other houses in the neighborhood. “Not only

the site before bringing the ground floor up to street level

was the topography difficult, but we challenged ourselves

in the front. In fact, the visible facade of the home sits

to create a house that was different from anything else in

16 feet above the basement floor elevation that is visible

the neighborhood.” The stone exterior and arched trusses

from the back. Extensive structural piers were designed

are truly unique, and the view of the tree canopy from the

and constructed to carry the load of the house which

back of the home is amazing. Scott said the labor of love

includes interior brick walls and 4 fireplaces.

in the house was building the custom trusses because

The homeowners, Barry and Judy Meek, had not only

they ended up really setting off the interior. “The interior

worked with James through the design and construction

trusses were especially time consuming because you

process on several previous home projects, but they brought

have to figure out the angles as you go, and you end up

the added experience of being the owners of Scarborough

climbing up and down scaffolding several times to make

Building Supply in Kosciusko. The Meeks offer interior

adjustments. That isn’t something an architect can just

design services through their store and that resource

figure out on paper because every angle is unique.”

proved invaluable in selecting finishes for their new

“We avoided a lot of the common home building stresses

Oxford home. Their extensive background in the business

with this house because of the comfort the Meeks, James,

and working relationships with interior finish specialists

and I have with each other and our respect for one another.

made them welcome partners in the final creative vision

We have collaborated on homes many times in the past,

of the house, according to Scott. “Judy has lived in some

and I think that’s what made this house such a success,”

seriously nice houses, she knows what she likes, and she

said Crane.



Home Builders Association of Mississippi



HBAM Sponsor Spotlight

1. In July, HBA of North Central hosted Casino Night. Guests enjoyed gambling with play money. First place winner for accumulating the most money, Sarah Freeman of Amfed Insurance Companies, received $1,000 cash. Second place winner, Cory Franks of B&B Concrete, received a wine fridge donated by Cenwood Appliance. It was a great night of fun, food and entertainment!    

P R E - WIR E D F I B E R D E L IV E R S S P E E D + V A L U E C Spire Fiber works closely with home builders to make their properties stand out in the market with our lightning-

smart home environment, with smart door locks, security

2. In April, HBA of North Central hosted a Crawfish Boil/Drawdown. There was a large group in attendance to enjoy all the crawfish! Proceeds from the event were donated to the Oxford Pantry and the Interfaith Compassion Ministry of Oxford.

systems, cameras and much more.

fast gigabit fiber. A pre-wired fiber connection from C Spire

Pre-wired fiber means immediate benefits for home

means home buyers can enjoy the fastest internet from the

builders, as well, including a bonus at closing time: Homes

moment they move in. Home internet speeds up to 1,000

that have fiber enjoy an average 3% boost in value. Fiber is

Mbps enable unlimited streaming with no data caps, letting

a feature that buyers won’t find in most homes – and won’t

homeowners enjoy benefits like low-latency gaming and

mind paying more to get. We also help home builders keep

incredibly fast download speeds.

their costs down on the front end by running future-proof

Did you know that the average household today has more

fiber wiring before the walls go up. We’ll run ethernet

than 10 connected devices? Buyers expect their homes to

cables to each room in new-construction homes to ensure

handle their current and future needs. Fiber carries bandwidth

each room is fiber ready. Plus, by getting fiber in early, we

to power every connected device in the household—laptops,

reduce landscaping disruptions later.

tablets, smart phones and more—with plenty of room to

We make it easy to get your properties pre-wired with C

spare. It also provides the perfect pathway for creating a safe

Spire Fiber. Because the best homes deserve the best internet.


3. From left: Counterpoint Energy’s Chris Durham and Gary Messer were the grand prize winners of the drawdown at the crawfish boil.

HB&RA of Northeast Mississippi



4. HB&RA of Northeast Mississippi was awarded their Certificate as a PWB Charter by the NAHB. From left: Jo-Ann Kostik, Norma Jean Estes, Darylene Dennon, and Kenneth Estes.



Local HBA Events

HBA of North Central Mississippi

5. HB&RA of Northeast Mississippi hosted several candidates for the State Legislature at their July meeting in Tupelo. Candidates we are supporting and endorsing include Representative Randy Boyd, Sam Creekmore, Senator Rita Parks, Representative Mac Huddleston, Senator Neil Whaley, Tommy Futral, Representative Tracy Arnold and Senator Hob Bryan. 6. HB&RA/PWB Mardi Gras Night.

HBA OF JACKSON 7. HBAJ’s Annual Crawfish Boil Drawdown remains one of HBAJ’s biggest events of the year. Pictured from left: 2019 President, DeFord Walker, and Past President, Shane McLendon.






Home Builders Association of Mississippi




ertain trends stick around for what seems

the Mississippi Gulf Coast from Diamondhead to Ocean

like forever, while others only last for a

Springs. In both 2015 and 2016, the Mississippi Home

year or two, or sometimes even less. It can

Builders Association awarded Elliott Homes the Best in

be daunting trying to determine which

Mississippi Grand Award. In addition to other numerous

trends a new homeowner should incorporate into their

awards, the company has also been awarded six previous

home. Director of Design and Style for Gulfport-based

“Best of Mississippi” awards along with a silver award

Elliot Homes, Adrienne Elliot, suggests selecting design

from The Nationals in 2017, the highest award in the

elements that don’t veer too far from tried-and-true

country for home building.

traditional styles. “We offer lots of options that allow a client to make a home uniquely reflect their style and


tastes, but we carefully select products and finishes for

In an effort to streamline the home design process,

our Design Studio that are on trend while still traditional

Elliott provides clients with in-house design services

enough to avoid being dated in just a couple of years.

through the Elliott Design Studio. The studio houses

We’re always looking at new products when we go to

a large selection of material choices for every finish,

market and the national homebuilder shows to see what

fixture, and floor covering offered in their homes and

new trends are emerging. We also review the product

provides home buyers a single, convenient location where

choices in our Design Studio Catalog about every year

they may get advice and review all material options in

to see if we need to include any new options.”

person. Not only does the studio save the home buyer

Elliott Homes, Co-owned by Brandon and Adrienne

a lot of time normally spent driving to vendors all over

Elliott, is a large-scale builder that provides homes for

town, but the on-site staff makes a concerted effort to

the 150K-500K price market in 15+ communities along

ensure the visit is enjoyable and the selection process

Opposite: Co-Owner and Director of Design and Style, Adrienne Elliot, provides interior design services through the Elliott Design Studio where her clients may review materials and make selections from a huge variety of surface finishes, fixtures, floor coverings and more with the help of the design team.




Home Builders Association of Mississippi



What Home Buyers & Remodelers Want

is anxiety free. For those who are comfortable with making preliminary selections online, Elliott Homes provides their complete design catalog (E-catalog) online

Design Trend { 1 }

so homeowners can casually shop for home finishes

86% of home buyers prefer their kitchen and dining room to be completely or partially open. Top finishes include stainless steel appliances (67%), granite or natural stone kitchen countertops (57%) and white kitchen cabinetry (32%). Matte black appliances and farmhouse sinks in stainless or other modern materials are also popular. A statement color on the kitchen island like a dark stain or paint is very popular. Floating cabinets and open, Scandinavian-inspired shelving are also a common request.

and options from the comfort of their bed. In addition to extensive home galleries, the website even offers an interactive floor plan library that allows users to modify base floor plans in real time with a huge variety of modification options. “We don’t offer pre-packaged selections. We really like to personalize the experience for our homeowners. Once a homeowner has finalized a floor plan and signed a contract with a sales agent, our

Design Trend { 2 }

design consultant sends them a survey to learn more meeting is scheduled. In the meantime, the homeowner can begin making a list of curated selections from the E-catalog that they bring to the meeting where all the selections are finalized in about two hours. We start with the exterior selections and then finish with the interior,” said Elliott.

Design Trend { 3 }

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Design Trend { 4 }

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Plenty of storage in the master bath that includes a linen closet continues to be one of the most requested items. Double granite or marble vanities, a shower stall + free-standing modern tub, and ceramic tile or shiplap on wall surfaces are very hot right now. Barrier-free walk-in showers for the master bath continue to grow in popularity.

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Red hot new fireplace designs feature sleek, electric LED “fire” enclosures that offer heat and multiple lighting color options in an elongated contemporary shape. Built-in storage on either side is still the most requested option. Cooler toned wood and wood-look engineered, vinyl plank and tile flooring in tones of washed gray has overtaken the traditional warm wood tones typically associated with wood floors. Continued interest in statement ceilings with natural wood beams or a more refined coffered look bring design overhead.

about their lifestyle preferences and an in-person design

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10’ ceilings on the main level of the house complimented by taller 8’ interior doors continues to trend. In Mississippi, the timelessness of Craftsman and Cottage style architecture continues to influence home design details. Other architectural details like column elements, gas lamp exterior lighting, shaker cabinets and wainscotting, and decorative iron doors are always among the most requested home features. Windows with black or gray mullions are also growing in popularity.

Design Trend { 5 }


Fiber-ready homes are in demand where that option is available, and the home office or a flexible work space continues to grow in popularity as homeowners do more work from home. Home automation hubs continue to grow in the areas of home security, climate control, lighting, and entertainment with products such as the Google Nest Home.

Home Builders Association of Mississippi



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s outdoor design continues to focus on functional

on your spa with your phone so it’s already hot when you

spaces that bring the indoors out, homeowners

arrive home,” Wallace stated. “That feature used to cost up

are turning to their backyards as an extension

to $4,000, but now you can upgrade to it for about $1,200.”

of the home to truly enjoy using their space.

Mike Marler, landscape architect and owner of Outdoor

Over the last 20 years, homeowners and design innovation

Solutions in Brandon, said he noticed a shift from just

have transformed the backyard from a simple patio into a

landscaping with plants and retaining walls to more

functional outdoor oasis. Rick Wallace, owner of Aquatech

elaborate projects a few years ago. “About twelve years ago,

Pools and Spas in Pearl, has seen the industry change

we began to realize there was an under-served market niche

dramatically in the 18 years since he began in the pool

for homeowners who needed help in designing and building

business. “Years ago, the

outdoor kitchens and

outdoor kitchen wasn’t

living spaces in our area.

really a necessity, so

As a result, we began

a project wou ld just

to do marketing that

include pouring some

ref lected that a nd it

concrete and putting

spawned new business.”

a roof over it, and the

Demand for outdoor

homeowner would add

s p a c e s h a s b e c ome

a portable grill. Now,

such a large part of the

clients want an outdoor

homesite, builders are

kitchen with marble or

now budgeting upwards

granite countertops. Not just a picnic table and a barbecue

of 20%-40% of the entire homebuilding project to the landscape

grill,” said Wallace. Demand for features like landscape

and outdoor living spaces. Although the typical outdoor living

lighting, audio systems, televisions and other items has not

project might only include entry level features like a fireplace

only expanded the market to include lots of product options

and nice patio at a cost of around $20,000, some homeowners

with smart features, but their affordability has given rise

in the Mississippi area are spending as much as $750,000 to

to the explosion of outdoor living spaces. “The technology

build their outdoor oasis. From hardscaping, plants, pools,

available to us is changing daily. Now you can affordably

spas, fireplaces, and kitchens to lighting, sitting areas, and

control your swimming pool on your cell phone. When you’re

entertainment, preparing for the outdoor space has become

getting ready to leave your office for the day, you can switch

much more complicated.

Opposite and above: These elaborate outdoor living spaces created by Outdoor Solutions include large feature lists. Mike Marler says inclusion of natural stone and water feature elements have become a mainstay in their pools/spas. The aerial photos exemplify how pool and outdoor living spaces are seamlessly designed around the architecture of the home to create focal points for group interaction around fire elements and entertainment.




Home Builders Association of Mississippi




According to Marler, planning for the addition of outdoor


living spaces at the time the home is built is crucial in


saving the homeowner money and headaches later on. He says homeowners could expect to save a minimum of 25% of the total project cost if outdoor plumbing and utilities needs are planned at the same time the home is built. “For example, an electrician might only charge an additional

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$300 for a 50 amp pool service line that is stubbed out of the garage while he’s wiring the rest of the house. Due to the difficulty, that same item could cost as much as $3,000 when it’s added after the home’s already been built.” Planning for the eventual addition of outdoor living not only saves money, it can also lessen the project’s difficulty.

and so on,” Marler said. “If there were a more integrated approach, the homeowner would end up with a much better product in the end.” Using the right materials in outdoor projects is also

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pools that include waterfalls and natural stone bubblers.  Extensive hardscaping elements and

landscaping to compliment group sitting, cooking, and entertainment areas.  Luxury outdoor kitchens that include built-in

stainless steel grills, refrigerators, and sinks with granite food prep areas and bar. interior kitchen or stainless steel drawers set in brick/stone bases.

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 Addition of water features to spas and

 Use of weatherproof PVC cabinets that match

and building materials into the site difficult because the

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and fireplaces.

years after a home is built can be a logistical nightmare,” access to the backyard and that makes getting equipment

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 Installation of low-maintenance gas fire pits

“Adding a large scale outdoor living space a couple of stated Marler. “Sometimes there may be only one point of

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critical. “I often see expensive houses where the contractor

 Increasing use of roofed and lighted gazebos

vs. pergolas.  Incorporation of smart, bluetooth-enabled

sound systems in addition to larger LCD tv screens.  Programmable lighting elements under roof

and in the landscape.

built some really nice outdoor kitchen spaces on the porch,

of homeowners. “People are constantly searching images,”

but they did exactly what was inside the house. After only

remarked Marler. “Probably 80% of the clients that come to

three years, the weather wreaked havoc on the materials.

us today say, ‘I have a Pinterest board I want to share with

The polyurethane has peeled off the cabinets, and the joints

you,’ so the internet and inspiration from other projects is

aren’t holding together.” It’s important to select cabinets

definitely driving projects.” Marler advises homeowners and

and other products that have been specifically engineered

builders to develop a masterplan that includes the outside

to withstand harsh environmental conditions. Marler says

elements. It’s important to think beyond the footprint of the

there are a variety of PVC cabinet styles to choose from in

house and have a phased approach to adding guest parking,

addition to stainless steel drawers and doors that may be

a patio, and even that outdoor kitchen or pool—it’s money

imbedded in weatherproof brick or stone surrounds.

well spent.

So where is the outdoor design trend headed next? The

With regard to effective residential design, Marler stated,

internet has definitely impacted the choices clients make

“Good design responds to clients needs and desires while

for their outdoor spaces. Sites like Houzz, Pinterest and

also respecting the architecture of the house and the client’s

other websites have fueled the constantly evolving tastes

budget. It will be timeless if you do those things.”

Opposite from bottom left: Outdoor living areas like the Lusby project created by Aquatech Pools and Spas evolved from a simpler pool/spa concept into a complete outdoor living space that includes multi-level hardscaping features, a fire pit, and outdoor kitchen. Nearly all new pool clients are now requesting a shallow tanning ledge element to be included in their pool.

Home Builders Association of Mississippi



Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid Jackson, MS Permit No. 134

Home Builders Association of Mississippi 290 Commerce Park Dr, Suite B Ridgeland, MS 39157

GET STARTED TODAY Toll-Free: 866.849.8400

The Member Rebate Program is a free member benefit that is available to all active Builder & Remodeler Members. The Manufacturers offer the same rebates that the “TOP-5 BUILDERS” receive regardless of your volume.

There are currently over 50 of the country’s leading Manufacturer Brands participating in the Member Rebate Program.

Over 70% of Participants Received more than their annual dues to their association last year!

The average rebate per Builder/Remodeler company who participated in 2018 was


Visit us online to Register & Claim!


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