Modern Home Builders Issue 119

Page 1



Issue 119A


The family formula for success Many factors combine to form the foundation of Jurek Builders’ success, but its dedication to family and its personal approach are undoubtedly two critical elements

Prier When it comes to US-made plumbing products, the name Prier stands out for quality, reliability and service

Marnie Custom Homes The projects delivered by Marnie Custom Homes truly reflect its dedication to personal, creative and unique design

EDITOR’S LETTER Chairman - Andrew Schofield Group COO - Joe Woolsgrove Editor - Libbie Hammond Staff Writers - Daniel Baksi, Alex Caesari, Danielle Champ, Jessica Olley Editorial Administrator - Amy Gilks Managing Art Editor - Fleur Daniels Art Editors - David Howard, Paul Gillings Artwork Administrator - Rochelle Broderick-White Sales Director - Alasdair Gamble Business Development Director - Philip Monument Head of Global Media Programs Mark Cawston - Operations Manager - Adam Blanch Research Managers - Michelle Fontaine, Natalie Griffiths, Jo-Ann Jeffery, Ben Richell, Basil Sharpe, Laura Thompson Editorial Researchers Victoria Burke, Mark Cowles, Jeff Goldenberg, Dan Harrison, Melanie Joyce, James Page, Wendy Russell, Richard Saunders, Kieran Shukri Advertising Sales Johanna Bailey, Mike Berger, Jessica Eglington, James Fuller, Will Gwyther, Alex Hartley, Michelle Hernandez, Reid Lingle, Sam Surrell, Markus Wellington Florida General Manager - Ryan Finn Boston General Manager - Joy Francesconi Custom Media Sales - Dan Bess Digital Sales - Mike Psimis

Hello and welcome to the July edition of Modern Home Builders. This month’s magazine certainly does cover a range of topics relevant to the sector, so I hope you find something that interests you and is relevant to your business. From human resources to hand tools – it’s certainly an eclectic mix! One of our lead features looks at affordable housing – an ongoing topic for homebuilders to contend with, especially as materials, labor and lot costs continue to increase. Author Jerry Konter, the 2022 Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Home Builders, says that housing affordability in the United States is at its lowest for a decade, and that this will remain a significant challenge for some time. “That’s why NAHB continues to advocate on behalf of our members and the consumers we serve to bring about increased lumber production, reduced or eliminated tariffs on Canadian lumber, sensible land-use regulations, and effective training for the next generation of skilled construction trades professionals,” he states. As home buyers and renters continue to be affected by this problem, it’s certainly one that needs to be taken seriously – NAHB is calling for ‘real change from policymakers, financial institutions, suppliers, and other stakeholders.’ We also feature so many fascinating homebuilders in this issue, it’s tough to know which to highlight; it’s like choosing a favorite child! I will start with directing your attention to

Subscriptions - Administration - Natalie Fletcher, Rory Gallacher

Jurek Builders – a real family business. Henry Jurek III, Vice President, Sales and Operations at the company, gives us an insight into its operations and the luxurious properties it constructs. The true family ethos behind the business really shines through. Another stand out feature in this issue is Marnie Custom Homes. We speak to company

© 2022 Schofield Publishing Ltd Schofield Publishing - Corporate Head Office Cringleford Business Centre, 10 Intwood Road,

founder Marnie Oursler, to find out the secrets behind her success. Building is not only in her blood but it’s her passion, and she prides herself on delivering on schedule, exceeding clients’ expectations, solving problems and ultimately creating dream homes. It’s a

Cringleford, Norwich, NR4 6AU, U.K.

fascinating journey that she continues to navigate, and as a woman in a male-dominated

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business, she really is a trailblazer!

Libbie Hammond Finelight Media LLC 2240 West Woolbright Road, Suite 402 Boynton Beach, FL 33426


T: (561) 778-2396 Please note: The opinions expressed by contributors and advertisers within this publication do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor and publisher. Every reasonable effort is made to ensure that the information published is accurate, and correct at time of writing, but no legal responsibility for loss occasioned by the use of such information can be accepted by the publisher. All rights reserved. The contents of the magazine are strictly copyright, the property of Schofield Publishing, and may not be copied, stored in a retrieval system, or reproduced without the prior written permission of the publisher.






FEATURES 6 TOOLS How the residential construction industry is evolving and the best ways for builders to modernize their jobsite to boost productivity

10 HUMAN RESOURCES With the homebuilding industry facing labor shortages, it is vital that companies utilise a number of approaches to attract workers



14 CASE STUDY A small garden doesn’t have to be dull – one UK homeowner have transformed their outside space into a cosy and welcoming environment

16 AFFORDABLE HOMES Jerry Konter, Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), discusses how the Association is working to address the issue of housing affordability


18 CASE STUDY How a lakeside 1970’s cabin has been restored to new heights of beauty thanks to the use of Kebony wood and a visionary renovation project



22 PARKING Automated parking systems can contribute to the health, safety and wellness of city residents, and deserve consideration when planning new projects

24 CELEBRITY HOMES A Long Island mansion that has appeared on the big and small screens and one of the US’ most expensive listings are revealed in this issue


















































of the trade How to fuel productivity through a modernized residential jobsite


he last two years have seen

productive equipment than ever before.

rapidly evolving. Contractors are seeking ways

unprecedented changes and

Allison Nicolaidis shares insights on how the

to improve productivity against ever-rising

growth in the US housing

residential construction industry is evolving

costs and global supply chain challenges. The

market during which new trends

and the best ways for builders to modernize

demand for housing has reached new heights

their jobsite to boost productivity.

exacerbated by existing labor shortages, rising

for home builders have emerged with higher demand for faster, safer and more



The residential construction industry is

material costs and the overwhelming need

TOOLS productivity is to modernize. Modernization means taking advantage of the latest innovations in construction equipment and technology. Being at the forefront of a leading global tools and storage manufacturer for nearly 25 years, I can attest that the pace of innovation that is bringing efficiency to the residential construction industry has been fasttracked in the past few years, with some of the most groundbreaking developments coming to market in just the last few months. Here are the key elements of a modernized jobsite that any builder prioritizing productivity should carefully consider.

Embrace a cordless jobsite Cordless power tools have transformed the jobsite over the last 30 years and have increasingly become most builders’ equipment of choice. Back then, times were simpler, builders only needed powerful cordless tools with great accessories and storage to get the job done. Now however, modern technologies are moving into the industry delivering game-changing solutions that completely replace hoses, gas tanks and cords in favor of a cordless platform. Consider that in 1992, DEWALT offered two cordless tools – a 9.6V and 12V drill. Today, there are more than 300 tools available and platformed across battery systems ranging from 12V to 20V and even flexible platforms enabling tools to deliver 60V performance. New technology is extending that capability and convenience in a wide range of applications such as framing, carpentry, concrete construction and finishing trades, giving residential construction builders the performance of a corded product, with the freedom and convenience of a cordless tool. Those that have made the transition to cordless incur several benefits that contribute to productivity.

Greater portability – In the early home building phases, builders spend hours just bringing in power and an array of equipment to perform a few tasks. From lugging in a generator and compressor, getting AC to make jobsites safer and more efficient.

indoor air quality (IAQ), builders are pressured

cords plugged into the generator, and then

On top of a construction industry vexed

to accelerate their own modernization of the

connecting hoses from the compressor to

with complex issues, the future is already

jobsite and bridge the gap between what a

heavy-duty corded nailers and large diameter

here. With emerging trends like software

residential jobsite looks like today versus what

12-In. sliding miter saws – a worker’s set up

solutions, remote worksites, mobile access,

it needs to be, and how it needs to operate.

and break down process is exhausting and

smart devices, drones, energy efficiency and

To put it simply, the solution to improving

time consuming. With a cordless platform, MODERNHB.COM


builders are now more efficient than ever.

pack. Cordless tools are also advancing with

Cordless technology has advanced to not

features that assist users in staying efficient; for

Unlock efficiency with high-power technology

only make even the largest construction

instance, indicators that inform users when it is

To help drive customer productivity,

tools portable, but capable of more run time,

time to reload, mechanisms that help reduce

manufacturers are not only prioritizing the

less downtime, faster application pace, and

downtime by quickly clearing jams, and

expansion of their cordless tool systems,

overall better performance than a corded

automatic depth adjustments for precise nail

they are also laser focused on improving the

tool. Without hoses, cords and tanks, workers

placement. Battery life and assistive product

battery technology that powers them. The

can freely move about the jobsite, and from

features give workers an advantage in staying

trend in the power tool industry has been

jobsite to jobsite, without relocating all

on task, for longer.

about increasing battery capacity – as high

their auxiliary equipment, contributing to


as15Ah – enabling widespread conversion

enhanced productivity and ultimately, overall

Safety enhancements – Perhaps one of

to cordless in categories traditionally

project cost savings.

the most important benefits of cordless tools

thought to never reach end-to-end cordless

is the safety that comes with eliminating

solutions like rotary hammers, miter saws

Improved runtime & worktime - The

hoses, tanks, and cords, which increase the

and table saws, to name a few. Today, the

extended runtime and consistency of

likelihood of tangling and tripping hazards.

majority of the industry relies on cylindrical

battery-operated tools provides prolonged

When cutting applications are involved, users

cell technology. This means more power

uninterrupted work time. A new DEWALT

don’t need to worry about keeping cords

capability typically comes with increasing

23Ga. nailer that hit shelves last month [at

out of their blade line or busy walking paths

the size of the cell or increasing the number

time of writing] drives, on average, 2,000 nails

on the site. Cordless tools have also made

of cells in the pack. As a user then, whenever

per charge maximizing continuous work and

significant strides as it relates to user safety,

you need more power and runtime, you’re

even providing days if not weeks of firing nails

particularly those performing heavy-duty

making a trade-off between performance

without swapping or charging a new battery


and size/weight.



This past fall, DEWALT was the world’s first

benefits of more recently available items like

example in several valuable use cases.

major power tool brand to offer power tool

connected products and software solutions, as

batteries using pouch cells, a new technology

well as take stock of advances in accessories,

to every tool and technology category a

versus the cylindrical cells used over the last

storage and lifestyle products, which can

worker might have in their toolbox. Power tool

several decades in cordless tools. These pouch

greatly improve worksite operations.

accessories like bits, blades and screwdriving

cell packs, known as DEWALT POWERSTACK™

Just one residential jobsite may operate

Innovation for the modern jobsite extends

attachments, have shown vast improvement

20V MAX* Compact Batteries, are designed

with hundreds of tools and pieces of

in performance with benefits provided by

and optimized for the construction

equipment, all worth tens of thousands

innovation across materials, coatings and

environment and its applications, marking a

of dollars. Keeping track of these tools is a

manufacturing processes. Storage, another

new era of cordless power tool performance.

common challenge. Asset management

emerging and dynamic space offering

Pouch cell batteries are dramatically smaller

technology connects tools providing location

organization to users like never before, is also

and lighter, and in my experience have

and inventory management data on a

imperative and plays a role in productivity,

delivered approximately 50 percent more

software platform where users can seamlessly

tool protection, and maneuverability in

power with less weight, smashing the industry

monitor, assign and manage jobsite inventory.

workspaces of all types. Finally, the jobsite is

notion that more power or run time had to

Many tools have QR codes and can be

not complete without lifestyle products like

mean larger size packs toted on tools. Think

connected through a quick, economical, and

radios – the first of which was launched by

about how mobile phones have gotten

easy addition of a Bluetooth beacon on the

DEWALT for the construction environment

smaller over the decades but their storage

tool. This allows equipment data to be read

more than two decades ago – coolers, and

capacity has expanded significantly while

by mobile devices or gateways for larger sites.

fans that work to create a better workspace for

operating experience is faster and faster.

Often times, data is collected, transmitted

everyone on the job and round out the family

We’re making similar strides in power tools by

and easily stored via an app making it simple

of battery-operated products used every day

changing the industry-standard cylindrical cell

to locate each item on your jobsite, as one

in construction. F

construction to flat, rectangular pouch cells. Flat, stacked pouch cells neatly align like sticks of chewing gum in a pack, maximizing the limited space within compact battery housing.

Simplify with end-to-end, connected solutions While power tools and battery systems have seen astounding innovation in recent years, builders should also evaluate their full

Allison Nicolaidis is President of the Power Tools Group at DEWALT. DEWALT, a Stanley Black & Decker brand, is obsessed with how users work in the real world and is relentlessly pursuing total jobsite solutions. By incorporating its latest technology and industry innovations, DEWALT is leading the charge for the jobsite of the future. DEWALT products. GUARANTEED TOUGH®.

ecosystem of equipment to consider the MODERNHB.COM



competition How home building companies are adapting in the face of labor shortages. By Pamela Rader







s it has done across many fields

which spells out certain goals and tasks that

We listen to our employees and value their

of work, the Covid-19 pandemic

should be accomplished within a timeline. This

feedback. Surveying your team through an

has caused labor shortages within

allows the employee to see the expectations

annual engagement survey and other short

the home building industry. This,

for their role and empowers them to achieve

surveys throughout the year helps leadership

coupled with a high amount of people retiring

them. Having this structure and proper

keep a pulse on overall morale within the

from trade work, has created an immense need

training in place not only helps with overall


for workers within the industry. Now more

job satisfaction, it ensures our employees feel

than ever, it is vital that companies emphasize

comfortable and supported as they settle into

culture helps employees feel tied to the

recruiting and training, investing in their staff

their new roles.

organization’s mission and purpose. When the

and adapting to the needs of today’s workforce.

company’s culture is inclusive, inviting and

Investment in staff

puts the employees’ needs first, the chances

Recruitment and training

Investing in our staff is crucial; it allows us

of creating a bond of loyalty increases.

Organizations are moving away from

to foster a positive company culture, retain

Employees want to feel valued and a part

recruiting talent based solely on experience.

our current talent and fill open positions by

of the greater picture. Additionally, work-life

Rather than waiting to find the person with

promoting internal candidates. With current

balance and flexibility are top priorities in

the ‘right’ skills and experience, companies

labor shortages, companies are focusing on

today’s workforce. Companies have to ensure

are recruiting people who are capable of

investing in the talent they have in an effort to

their culture embraces these aspects and

being trained to do the job. Additionally, it is

hopefully retain their staff.

promotes these benefits to their employees.

imperative that recruiters and hiring managers


Promoting a positive, strong company

At Drees Homes, we invest in our people

Investing in developing your employees is

are transparent about all aspects of the job

by showing them we care, which earned

critical. Management development programs,

so that employees fully understand what to

us a spot on the 2022 U.S. Best Managed

career path discussions and other training

expect in that role.

Companies list. We extend simple gestures of

opportunities are important to today’s worker.

Once an employee is hired, their first 90

appreciation, publicly express recognition and

It is key for companies to help employees see

days are crucial for their success. At Drees

gratitude and provide employees with regular

a path for success and future growth within

Homes, we implement a 90-day action plan,

bonuses based on company performance.

the organization. Tuition reimbursement



programs and student loan assistance are

has been simplified and streamlined, which in

Gone are the days when people believed that

also ways for an organization to show they

turn helps attract new talent.

construction is a job exclusively for men.

are invested in their employees. Offering non-

Building relationships with trade schools

The need for more labor in home building

and conducting outreach with students

training might open doors employees never thought were possible and show them you

The demand for more workers in the home

Associations such as the Building Institute

care about their future within the company.

building industry is unprecedented. In

Association (BIA) and the National Association

traditional career path opportunities and cross

early on is more important than ever before.

order to increase workforces, it is vital that

of Home Builders (NAHB) are focused on

How to make the sector more appealing

companies emphasize recruiting and training

investing in efforts to draw students to

minorities and women. Organizations must

trade schools. There is a vital call to action

Offering flexibility, promoting the use of

actively work to shatter the antiquated ideas

happening now, given the workforce

technology and building connections with the

of what a construction worker looks like.

shortages. F

new generations entering the workforce helps make home building a desired industry to work in. Moving away from pre-pandemic work environments and offering flexible schedules, remote work opportunities and work-life balance will help attract talent to the industry. It’s imperative to show Millennials and Gen Z that they can make a difference in their community through home building. Making those connections for them to feel they are contributing to something great will help attract this new generation to the construction field. Promoting advanced technology used in construction today will help minimize the stereotypical ideas of the industry. The use of advanced scheduling tools, collaboration tools between trades and builders and bringing

Pamela Rader is Drees Homes Vice President of Human Resources. Pamela has worked in the Human Resources field for more than two decades and has served in various positions from strategic planning, to talent acquisition, to her current role of vice president at Drees Homes. Family-owned and operated for nearly 95 years, Drees Homes has earned the title of ‘America’s Best Builder’ (twice) from Builder Magazine, ‘National Builder of the Year’ from Professional Builder Magazine, as well as the ‘National Housing Quality Award’ from the National Association of Home Builders. This is known as the prestigious ‘Triple Crown’ of national home building awards. Headquartered in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky, Drees operates in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Nashville, Raleigh, Washington D.C., Austin, Dallas and Houston. The company operates as Drees Custom Homes in Texas.

iPads to the field illustrates how the process MODERNHB.COM


New life

New build gardens can be lifeless, but one UK homeowner has transformed what was a dull space into a stunning outdoor lounge



CASE STUDY Photo credit: Insidesixtythree


utdoor living is a key trend for

work, enjoy cocktails with friends at the

selected lighting, comfortable furniture and

2022 and research has shown

weekend, and spend quality time with our

perfectly placed composite decking, which

that the inside-outside trend

loved ones during the holidays.

is durable and will ensure any spillages or

has featured in 11 percent of

“Investing in the decking space has meant

stains are easily removed; allowing the space

the top images under the #gardeninspiration

that we don’t need to spend so much money

to remain looking like new for many years to

hashtag in the last 12 months, according to

on going out at the weekend as we can enjoy


Luxury Rattan.

most social activities from the comfort of our

Ash, a product designer from Derbyshire and his partner, Tom transformed their

own home!” Carefully laid in the corner of the garden to

“I work for a design consultancy specializing in sustainable packaging design and innovation so being environmentally

patchy, lifeless new-build garden into a cozy

attract the most sunlight, Composite Prime’s

conscious is something that is really important

outdoor lounge space. The pair have created

HD Deck® 150 in silver is positioned under an

to me. It struck me that Composite Prime®

an extension of the home, with interior and

aluminum Nova Outdoor Living pergola and

products are produced using sustainable

exterior decor working together in harmony,

complemented by a chic sofa set. The area

materials, with each square meter of

to allow them to entertain outside, all year

also features a minimalist charcoal floor lamp

composite decking containing the equivalent


and stunning fire pit, which brings the ‘lounge

of more than 3,000 plastic bottle caps or 280

vibe’ to life.

plastic bottles. It’s also the most authentic

Chronicled on Ashley’s Instagram account, @Insidesixtythree, the garden ‘glow-up’ is complete with a projector screen set, a luxury,

Ashley continued: “We achieved our outdoor living room look through carefully

timber alternative we spotted during our research.” F

weather resistant pergola and sustainable, slipresistant Composite Prime® decking. Commenting on the garden renovation, Ashley said: “We loved the property, but as is the case with many new builds, we found the garden to be really uninspiring and wanted it to really reflect our personality. One thing that was so important to us was to create the feeling of outdoor living in the evenings,

Composite Prime® is the UK’s leading brand of sustainable composite decking and flooring products. The Yorkshire-based brand manufactures its unique products from FSC 100 percent certified quality oak wood fiber and recycled plastics. In the seven years of operation the brand has saved the equivalent of 176 million plastic milk bottles from landfill and over 1.8 billion bottle top caps.

where we could relax and watch a film after MODERNHB.COM


The need for


Jerry Konter discusses why housing affordability remains a major challenge


ousing affordability in the United

moderate-income families will remain a

building materials, as well as products like

States is at its lowest level in a

significant challenge for some time. In

appliances, windows, and cabinets. These high

decade. Supply chain disruptions

response, the National Association of Home

costs are pushing up the price of new homes

are driving up the price of lumber

Builders (NAHB) is working to address these

and apartment rents.

and other key building materials. A shortage

issues and to protect our industry.

of skilled labor is affecting production

construction are up more than 20 percent year over year, according to the US Bureau of

regulations are increasing the time – and cost

High lumber costs are driving up prices

– of developing buildable lots. And now, rising

Supply chain challenges during the Covid-19

are up more than 30 percent in just the past

inflation threatens to affect more home buyers

pandemic have been the biggest contributor

three months and nearly 80 percent since

and renters.

to rising home prices. Many builders and

their most recent trough in September 2021.

remodelers have reported higher prices and

At one point this last year, high lumber costs

months-long delays on lumber and other

were adding $30,000 to the price of a new

schedules and costs. Burdensome land-use

These factors suggest that production of housing that is affordable to low- and


Prices for goods used in residential


Labor Statistics. Softwood lumber prices alone

AFFORDABLE HOMES that the seasonally adjusted rate of sawmill

reported the overall supply of developed lots

output in September 2021 was 1.2 percent

in their area was low to very low, a record

higher than in September 2020. However,

since NAHB began collecting the information

output in Q3 2021 was 1.3 percent lower than

in the 1990s. The previous record was 65

it was in Q3 2020.

percent recorded in 2018. Land use policies

On a recent virtual meeting with White

that enable existing residents to slow or

House officials, I urged President Biden and

block new housing development, and zoning

his administration to increase domestic

that discourages higher-density housing,

production of timber from federal lands and

contribute to the problem.

to work with Canada on a new softwood

And finally, the construction labor market

lumber agreement that will eliminate tariffs.

remains tight, with the number of open jobs

I explained that housing can only create

in the field up about 80,000 from a year ago.

jobs and help lead the economy forward if

Without a strong skilled labor force, the cost

policymakers address chronic production

of home building will continue to increase,

bottlenecks that are causing record-high

making it more and more difficult for families

prices in lumber and other building materials.

to afford a new home.

Higher interest rates affect mortgage costs

arm, the Home Builders Institute (HBI), projects

To curb inflation, which sits near a 40-year

need 2.2 million new hires over the next

high, the US Federal Reserve Board of

three years to keep pace with growth and

Governors in mid-March announced the first

attrition. The skilled labor shortage is adding

of many expected increases in the short-

to construction delays and further crippling

term federal funds rate. This move will lead

housing affordability.

A recent report from NAHB’s educational the residential construction industry will

to higher mortgage interest rates, which will exclude even more American families from

Building safe, desirable homes

the market for a new home.

NAHB members are committed to building

Analysis by NAHB economists shows that

safe, desirable homes at reasonable prices.

87.5 million households, or roughly 69 percent

Supply-side constraints are making that

of all US households, are already unable to


afford the median-priced ($412,505) new

We believe it is time to see real change

home. For every $1,000 price increase, 117,932

from policymakers, financial institutions,

additional households will be priced out of

suppliers, and other stakeholders. That’s why

the market.

NAHB continues to advocate on behalf of our members and the consumers we serve

Costs of lots and labor on the rise

to bring about increased lumber production,

Supply of building lots is also on the decline,

reduced or eliminated tariffs on Canadian

and that diminished supply is pushing up

lumber, sensible land-use regulations, and

prices. A survey of NAHB members late

effective training for the next generation of

last year found that 76 percent of builders

skilled construction trades professionals. F

home. With lumber prices on the rise, home builders and remodelers are having trouble locking in prices for their customers. Home builders recognize that several unforeseeable factors have affected lumber prices, including an unusually strong wildfire season last summer in the western United States and British Columbia. Central to the rising prices, however, is the failure of US sawmills to boost output at a pace sufficient to meet strong and consistent consumer demand for newly built homes. Data from the

Jerry Konter is 2022 Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). NAHB is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 140,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. NAHB is affiliated with 700 state and local home builders associations around the country. NAHB’s builder members will construct about 80 percent of the new housing units projected for this year.

Bureau of Economic Analysis demonstrates MODERNHB.COM


Renovation by the lake




Once an early 70s kit home, the Minne Stuga House is now a weekend retreat and vacation rental bathed in natural light and clad in sustainable Kebony wood




idden away in one of Minnesota’s

Grand Marais-based Taiga Design+Build, who

futureproofing the retreat for the next

many lakeside forests, the Minne

helped maintain the cabin’s timeless feel,


Stuga House is surrounded

retaining 90 per cent of the original structure.

by local pine and cedar trees


Within the house, the interior is lined

Where the original cedar siding was

with the original, 50-year old western red

with secluded waterfront access. Clad in

rotting, Taiga replaced it with Kebony, a

cedar panelling, bringing the character of

sustainably sourced Kebony wood, the

global leader in the production of sustainable

the forest into the home, which it marries

cabin’s sharp lines, tight peaks, and sweeping

wood. The Norwegian company uses a

with a radiant, welcoming warmth. Roof

roof are a dramatic addition to the forest

patented technique to turn sustainably

& Board was tapped for interior furniture,

landscape, with the wooden features and

sourced softwoods into environmentally-

and the original roof was replaced by Taiga,

earthy tones providing a natural appearance.

friendly Kebony wood, with hardwood-

adding structural insulated panels for heat

Originally built in the 1970s, the A-frame

like qualities such as high durability and

and energy efficiency. Awaken Skylights

cabin was renovated by Minneapolis-based

dimensional stability. Kebony takes on a rich

were integrated to provide extra natural

designer and lifestyle blogger Melissa

brown colour that has helped preserve the

light, completing the cabin’s 21st century

Coleman – The Faux Martha – alongside

original aesthetic, keeping the cabin in close

transformation. With its rustic Kebony-clad

her husband Kevin, a child psychologist.

harmony with the surrounding landscape.

exterior and homely interior, the cabin is

Renovation of the cabin was undertaken by

Kebony also requires very little upkeep,

a cosy sanctuary during Minnesota’s cold



winters, where it averages 12 inches of snowfall in January.

When asked why Kebony was selected for the project, Taiga

The Minne Stuga House now opens out

Design+Build Principal Anton Moody

on to a gorgeous decking area, which was

explained: “I turned the Colemans on

built with Kebony wood and furnished with

to Kebony, which performs better

Loll Designs. From the decking it is a short

over time than cedar. It’s ageing and

path through the trees to the shore of Devil

weathering nicely.”

Track Lake, where guests can fish, kayak or

Melissa Coleman, Owner of the Minne

have a quick dip. As spring turns to summer,

Stuga House added: “We’re still pinching

the cabin bathes in natural light and the

ourselves to believe we found this place.

lakeshores become the perfect warm retreat.

It’s our hope that our kids still have this

The Colemans use the Minne Stuga as a

cabin 70 years from now.” F

periodic weekend getaway for themselves and rent it out the rest of the time as a fully

For a list of the sources used in this article,

appointed vacation property through

please contact the editor. MODERNHB.COM



made safe Drew Johnson explains the value of automated parking systems and how they positively impact urban communities


he United States contains an

from its drivers, to building owners, to

both the drop-off and retrieval of vehicles

estimated two billion parking

investors. Investing in an automated parking

with a secure central transfer location. Thanks

spaces. With a population of

system (APS), with either a retrofit or new

to technology like mobile apps, drivers can

329.5 million, this seems like an

build, ultimately adds value in promoting

remotely schedule pick up and track their

overzealous approach to parking. Coupled

the overall safety and quality of life for

vehicles in real-time throughout the retrieval

with that statistic, some estimates claim that

communities in four impactful ways:

process. Automated parking ultimately

Western Europe hosts about 300 million

1) A contactless experience

and the need for attendants to manage the

global trend of dedicating a tremendous

As a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic,


amount of land to parking alone.

minimizing face-to-face interaction and the number of touchpoints in day-to-day

2) Positive environmental impacts

controlled traffic and waste management)

activities has become the new standard. With

Not only are automated parking systems

spending is expected to reach $327 billion by

pay kiosks, stairwells, elevators, and valets,

safe for users, they are also the most

2025, so many cities, municipalities, multi-

reducing human interaction and the spread

environmentally sustainable parking option

family unit owners, and business owners

of germs is nearly impossible in a traditional

available, significantly contributing to net-

should consider investing in automated

parking facility.

zero carbon goals. After all, transportation is

With smart city technology (like AI-

parking technology. These systems offer a plethora of benefits for entire communities–


reduces the time spent in parking garages

parking spaces, demonstrating a worrying


Automated parking systems, on the other hand, ensure a contact-free experience in

responsible for a fifth of all global emissions. Automated parking systems address this

PARKING to live in cities by 2050, land use will continue to play a key role in the quality of life and sustainability of future cities.

3) Improved driver safety Twenty percent of all car accidents happen in parking lots and garages each year. And many of these accidents are due to distracted driving while navigating parking facilities. With an APS, there is no need for drivers to park their own cars. They simply park their vehicle in the transfer area, then ensure their car is ready to be parked by using the Kiosk or mobile app. Once this process is done, the vehicle is parked in its designated storage position with no human intervention.

4) Crime prevention Something that seems as benign as parking infrastructure actually has direct impacts on the economic vitality and crime rates of entire communities, too. Traditional parking garages are the third most likely setting for violent crime compared to all other commercial facilities including bars and nightclubs, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Oftentimes, parking garages are open to the public, meaning little to no control over potential vandalism, robberies or assaults. Automated parking systems eliminate the need to physically navigate garages and do not allow open access entry, essentially eradicating the possibility of parking crime. Overall, automated parking systems should be a major consideration when it by eliminating the need to cruise through

communities, and automated parking systems

comes to the health, safety, and wellness of

several levels of a parking garage – reducing

contribute to prolonged sustainability and

city residents. The future is health-conscious

emissions by 80 percent compared to

less use of natural resources. Considering that

and sustainable, and the way we park should

conventional parking garages. Well-designed

nearly 70 percent of all people are expected

be, too. F

automated parking systems also utilize electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, a must-have as many countries and manufacturers begin mandating the use of EVs. Automated parking garages are spaceefficient, as well. Compared to a traditional parking facility, they can fit twice as many cars in the same footprint. This space consolidation opens up valuable land for green space and solves issues like traffic and urban sprawl in highly populated areas. Consequently, preserving urban green space is linked to improved health and wellness (like

Drew Johnson is Business Development Associate for Westfalia’s Automated Parking Systems. Leveraging the expertise and experience of Westfalia Technologies, Inc. and Westfalia Logistics Solutions Europe GmbH Co. KG, Westfalia’s new parking solution is paving the way for innovation in the automated parking industry. By capitalizing on existing core competencies in warehouse automation and materials handling, Westfalia’s parking solutions specialize in cutting-edge, time-tested fully-automated parking systems for businesses, cities and municipalities, hotels, and residential properties for the Americas, Europe and Middle East.

reducing stress and encouraging exercise) in MODERNHB.COM


Photo credit: Courtesy of Douglas Elliman

Picture perfect This month’s luxury properties highlight a famous location and one of the USA’s most expensive listings


ometimes it’s not the owner of

player in the thoroughbred race horse business

entertainment complex with an outdoor

the property that’s a celebrity –

and the listing includes a 15,000-square-foot

kitchen, heated-saltwater pool, waterfall

sometimes it’s the house itself! A Long

home and ten-stall horse stable.

and koi pond, several patios, and year-round

Island mansion and equestrian estate

Located about 30 minutes from New York’s Belmont Park near Manhattan and the

television programs, including Wolf of Wall

Hamptons, the Mill Neck property includes the

century saw mill business, is one of the

Street with Leonardo DiCaprio, is for sale at $10

six-bedroom home on five acres of pasture,

most expensive zip codes in the United

million. The property has been a prominent

lawn and trees, an apartment and tack room,

States consisting mostly of large homes on picturesque lots. It is often compared to the

About 100 race-winning

Hamptons and is just a few minutes from

horses have trained at the

President Teddy Roosevelt’s home in Oyster



home with its impressive turret and steep-pitched roof


Mill Neck, named after a seventeenth-

paddocks and a riding ring.

The French-chateau style



that has been a film site for several movies and

The estate is listed with Regina Rogers of Douglas Elliman.

is set at the end of a long

Luxury location

driveway past a courtyard

One of the country’s most expensive listings

and lush landscaping. Home

was recently released on the Los Angeles

features include wood-and-

market. Priced at $150 million, the brand new

marble floors, six fireplaces,

Bel Air contemporary includes almost 21,000

extensive woodwork, wine

square feet and 360-degree views from the

cellar, mahogany bar, fitness

city and ocean to the mountains. The seller is

center, hot tub room, poker

George Raun, who co-founded the internet

room, and a theater room. In

coupon-clipping company, Honey, which sold

the backyard is a resort-style

to PayPal in 2020 for $4 billion. Raun purchased

CELEBRITY HOMES Photo credit: Courtesy of Aaron Kirman Group at Compass

the nine-bedroom, 14-bath home unfinished in 2020 and completed the home with LAbased architectural firm Woods + Dangaran. With some of Southern California’s most dramatic views and prestigious location, the open-concept floor plan highlights the homes contemporary flair and top-quality finishes, including walls of glass, modern museum-like entrance, Miele and Gaggenau appliances, canvas-ready walls and beautiful flooring. Additional home features include closets with marble accents, professional gym, infinity pool that adjoins a sunken fire pit, outdoor kitchen, cabanas and big terraces. There is also a one-bedroom guest house with its own pool and three separate staff quarters with laundry and kitchen. Secluded in Bel Air’s hilly area, the home is a quick drive or bike ride to world-class dining and Rodeo Drive for shopping. The neighborhood has long been a popular place for celebrities, including Jennifer Lopez, Tony Curtis, and Sonny and Cher. More recently, Jennifer Lawrence, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus have made their homes in Bel Air. F

For details of these houses and other celebrity homes, please visit:

The home is listed with Aaron Kirman of the Aaron Kirman Group at Compass. MODERNHB.COM



Streets ahead Approaching its 50th anniversary, Jurek Builders remains proud of its continued status as a true family business







perating out of Clarence, New

mom and dad founded the business in 1972,

York, Jurek Builders is on a

and it began almost by chance. At the time,

business,” he continues. “Fast forward 50

mission to deliver high-end,

my dad was an interior finish remodeler. Ever

years, and the business is still going, which is

bespoke home building without

the hard worker, he got ahead of the builders

impressive. My parents didn’t go to college,

comprising on quality. In any given year,

he was working for by around five jobs. The

and they weren’t building anything like what

the company will complete more than ten

builders simply couldn’t afford to pay him. What

the company is building now. These were

homes, each one ranging from 6000 square

happened? They traded for a piece of land,

small houses, each around 2000 square feet

feet to 10,500 square feet.

which would be the seedbed for Jurek Builders

in size.”

At the center of the company, as the name

“Soon, they had a profitable, family-owned

to grow and blossom. Working as a team, my

That was then. Now, as Henry highlights,

suggests, is a family. “We are a complete family

mom and dad built a house on that land, and

things are moving faster than ever: “Currently,

business,” says Henry Jurek III, Vice President,

then bought another piece of property on the

we have at least 15 plans being drawn up

Sales and Operations at Jurek Builders. “My

same street – and then another.”

by architects. The minimum price for these

84 Lumber For nearly 65 years, 84 Lumber has been building on its legacy of creating, shaping, and maintaining the American dream for professional builders and passionate do-it-yourselfers. As the nation’s largest privately held building materials supplier for single- and multi-family residences and commercial buildings, its 250 locations nationwide offer the highest quality lumber, name-brand windows and doors, custom millwork, kitchen and bath design, turnkey installation services and more. 84 Lumber’s Orchard Park location is proud to have a longstanding relationship with Jurek Builders and congratulates them for a momentous 50 years in the building industry. “Jurek Builders and 84 have a fantastic partnership that is mutually beneficial to both parties,” boasts 84 Lumber Area Manager Tyler Golub. “At 84 Lumber, we pride ourselves on maintaining the highest standards, and we know Jurek Builders does the same. Their reputation for completing jobs, both big and small, with unparalleled service, perfectly aligns with 84 Lumber’s mission.” As with all its customers, 84 Lumber’s outstanding customer service and ‘nothing is impossible’ mindset is apparent in its relationship with Jurek Builders. “We treat all of our customers like family, and Jurek Builders is no different,” says 84 Lumber Orchard Park’s Outside Sales Representative Colin Mcintosh. “Whatever materials they need to get the job done, we try our best to get them quickly and at the best price. Jurek is a family-run operation with excellent people, and we look forward to working with them for many years to come.” 84 Lumber’s Orchard Park location is known to specialize in both new construction and remodeling alike. No project is too large or too small. From supplying windows and doors for multi-million-dollar homes to supplying deck packages and materials for the everyday homeowner – 84 is just one call away from helping with your next project. For more information, visit or join us at and



JUREK BUILDERS worked his way up from the bottom. “I still get out of the office and run bulldozers, loader machines, and mechanical excavators called backhoes,” explains Henry. “Mostly, though, I meet with the customers, calculate the pricing, and get everything ready for sale, walking through our properties with homebuyers and answering any questions they might have. Unfortunately, we lost my mom last year to cancer. She was a huge part of our team, running the entire office. So, naturally, it was a tough transition. But we remain a family business. My dad runs the jobs; I run the office.”

Personal touch For its construction of high-end and bespoke homes in the Western New York region, Jurek Builders has been awarded Builder of the Year by the Buffalo Niagara Builders’ Association (BNBA) twice, once in 2013 and again in 2017, proving that the strong family partnership at the heart of the firm is certainly a productive one. Even with the arrival of Covid-19, the company kept building. “We really didn’t notice the pandemic that much,” Henry admits. “The only time we had a decline during the Covid-19 crisis was when, in the state of New York at least, regulations said that just one construction worker could be on site at any one given time – even if one was a painter working indoors, and the other was running a bulldozer outside. You’d be fined anyway. However, four-to-five months later, regulations eased as those who had set them realized it wasn’t entirely safe to allow only one person on site. If anything were to happen, not a soul would know! “Otherwise, I think the pandemic made people realize they needed more space,” he adds. “That suits us: more and more people are now finishing their lower-level basements; they are putting in additions; they are requesting to build bigger homes. We can help them. Of course, there have properties will be between $2 million and


The family-run company has become

been negative knock-on effects. For instance,

$5 million. In terms of site work, we have

renowned for its high-end interior trim work,

it’s still sometimes hard to acquire materials:

five houses under construction and one

making it one of the leading luxury home

garage doors have a 50-to-60-week lead time;

awaiting a building permit. Two of these are

building businesses in the Western New

windows must be ordered way in advance.

for professional athletes, a popular career

York region. Now 43 years old, Henry has

It’s crazy. To compensate, we tried to help

choice within our client base, and the other

spent the best part of his life working with

our customers financially. As an example, we

host of plans are for the bulk of our target

Jurek Builders. Beginning at just ten years

were able to lock in the pricing of lumber by

demographic: doctors, lawyers, and various

old, he was employed as a sweeper for the

paying for it upfront and storing it in our own

business professionals.”

company’s string of properties. He proudly

warehouse. Ultimately, this meant we could


JUREK BUILDERS can watch their kids play basketball from above. You see, we are always happy to accommodate the needs of our clients.”

Exciting development Why do these famous athletes and customers with incredible designs keep coming to Jurek Builders to see their dreams realized? The answer, according to Henry, lies in the company’s traditional philosophy to work and materials: “We are very old school, and when I say that I mean we use all plywood for two-by-six construction – no particle boards, strictly plywood. We also use copper water the Buffalo Sabres hockey team and features

lines instead of weaker plastic alternatives. In

incredible workmanship on our part. Indeed,

all projects, we only use the highest quality

to clear, the New York-based company is

one area in the lower level of the building

materials, which is what we have come to

intent on cracking on with business. Currently,

contains a golf simulator, the required head

be known for. We are very transparent, and

it’s breaking ground on the second biggest

room for which meant we had to dig an

I can honestly say we are friends with every

house the company has ever built. “In total,

extra 2 feet further down into the basement

person we have built for. That includes other

the house covers over 10,500 square feet,”

floor. Another client is putting a half-sized

builders in the area. They have employed us

highlights Henry. “It’s a really special bespoke

basketball court inside the house, and we’ve

to build their personal homes, which is pretty

project being carried out for a member of

included a viewing platform so the family

unheard of!”

keep costs much lower for clients.” As the hazy shade of the pandemic begins



“Another thing that sets us apart from our competitors is that we pass our discounts on to the customer,” he continues, proudly emphasizing the importance of good company-client relationships in a successful business. “At the end of every month, we provide the customer with invoices so that they always know precisely where all their money is going. In terms of suppliers, Jurek Builders makes sure that it pays all bills early. Furthermore, recently I spoke with Anderson Windows, and they have partnered with us on their new Excellence Program. Not only will we receive materials sooner, improving our efficiency, but Jurek Builders will also appear

of New York, including the Rochester area.

fortunate to work with him each and every

on their website as a partnered brand, which

Ultimately, I want to do what my parents

day at Jurek Builders.” F

we think is huge.”

did. When dad retires, I hope my wife will

Adding all these factors together, Jurek

come and run the office – just like my mom

Builders really does find itself streets ahead.

did for us. I want that tradition kept alive

“The most exciting development we have

because it was so successful. That will be a

on-the-go right now is Serenity Court, a street

while, though. My dad is 73 years old and

bought by our company within Spaulding

doesn’t want to retire any time soon. But I’m

Green Development. Since we have the

glad! I will always consider myself incredibly

Jurek Builders Services: High-end home builder

whole street to ourselves, we are going to build 13 beautiful houses – just our houses on that one street, it’s incredible! We recently started infrastructure works and plan to break ground on the houses in July. My dad and I will be working on site. We’re not drive by builders; we’re hands on.”

Family feel Jurek Builders shows no signs of slowing down. Luckily for its clients, the future looks bright, and the business is keen to continue adapting and evolving with the times. “Keeping an eye on what’s around the corner is fundamental to staying relevant,” says Henry. “For instance, the interior designer that we work with stays up-to-date with the latest trends by attending various conferences and design shows. The NAHB International Builders Show (IBS) is also important to our long-term strategy. Every couple of years we attend, excited to learn about new materials, trends, and ideas within the high-end home building space. “As Western New York’s premier custom home builder, it’s a necessary part of what we do,” asserts Henry. “And it’s just the beginning. With these professional athletes on board, their teammates are also becoming interested in our work. We’ve employed more people to keep up with demand. At some point, I want to expand into other parts MODERNHB.COM





with purpose With over 140 years of experience, Prier has become the go-to manufacturer of high-quality, easy-to-install, US-made plumbing products that truly stand the test of time


stablished in 1881, there have been

plumbing parts. As an industry trailblazer,

many memorable moments in the

the firm became increasingly revered for its

commercial, and ground hydrants,

history of Kansas City-based plumbing

robust plumbing parts, including freezeless

manufactured from heavy cast brass patterns,

parts manufacturer Prier. So, let’s start

faucets and hot and cold wall hydrants, and its

copper tubing, stainless steel and aluminum;

steadfast mantra: build with purpose.

angle sill faucets, featuring cast brass black

at the beginning. Set up by a German immigrant, Anton

flanges and female step caps for increased

Prier, the business that took his name began

Prier acquired the plumbing brass division of

durability; and plumbing brass, draining

manufacturing a variety of products, from coach

Mansfield Plumbing Products, and it has since

products, and specialty valves, among other

lanterns to household goods. Prier continued to

fostered successful relationships with most US

parts, which utilize red brass to ensure each

grow over the years, and production started to

retailers and wholesale suppliers like Ferguson,

individual component stands the test of time.

scale during subsequent periods of war. During

Winsupply, Menards, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and

World War II, for instance, the company pivoted

Ace Hardware.

its manufacturing operations to create specialty

More recently, Ferguson, the largest plumbing

Unlike yellow brass, which is chosen by many importers due to its much lower initial cost, red brass is more resistant, more durable, and has

products for the US Navy, and in the 1950s, Prier

wholesaler in the US, brought in Prier’s products

a higher copper content. All these products –

shifted its operations once more to support the

for nationwide distribution. The move stands

and more – are manufactured at its facilities in

US military in Korea.

as a testament to Prier’s status as a leading

Kansas City, Missouri.

Moving into a lengthy peacetime period, Prier zeroed in on its niche: heavy brass


Things haven’t slowed. In 2007, for instance,

Today, Prier is recognized for its residential,


manufacturer of essential plumbing products – not just in Missouri, but across the US.

But what truly separates Prier’s products from the competition? Matt Lemke, Vice


President of Sales and Marketing at Prier, sat down with Modern Home Builders to provide us an answer. “It’s simple: we lead on quality and innovation,” he states. “Our engineering team keep their ears to the ground and remain focused on doing things right – not just doing them quickly. That means we can produce high performance goods. Speed is important but manufacturing quality is paramount. To lead on quality, we begin the whole process with our research and development (R&D) team, coming up with new ideas, innovative designs, and ways to improve products we have previously released. We know we can always find ways to be better ourselves and improve our products. “Another thing that sets us apart from the competition is that we listen to our customers,”

manufacturing processes, from the beginning

mentions Matt. “We hear what they’re saying

to end of operations, using quality materials,

that Matt believes demonstrate the uniqueness

Two products from Prier’s Signature Series

and act on those things we can improve. After

quality methods, and quality people to get the

of the brand are the P-118 TrueTemp/P-114

that, it comes down to employing best-in-class

job done.”

CoolTemp Single Temperature Hydrant and MODERNHB.COM


PRIER P-6IV Heavy Duty Irrigation Supply Valve. Let’s begin


with the former. The Prier P-118 TrueTemp provides a year round source of tempered water in areas that are subject to freezing temperatures. The hydrant valve is connected to the supply piping in the heated portion of the structure, reducing the possibility of freezing. The temperature is controlled by the dial inset on the handle, while the handle itself controls the flow of water. “The P-118, is truly a unique, single handle hot/cold,” says Matt. “The P-114 came about to match the P-118 for a single temp option.” The P-114 is a perfect marriage between style and quality, pairing a satin nickel-plated or oil-rubbed bronze design with Prier’s signature CoolTemp technology to ensure a consistent supply of water in every season. Even in the harshest of conditions, the P-114 won’t freeze; each valve is made from a solid brass body and is air-tested to guarantee


superior, leak-free quality. Turning to the latter, Prier’s P-6IV is an innovative solution for irrigation, particularly for sprinklers in areas that experience extreme weather changes. When cold weather sets in, Matt informs us, lower quality valves often become frozen in place – and that means a costly fix. The new valve, which was launched last year, is installed on building exteriors, enabling a professional (and homeowners) to winterize the system without needing to enter or for the owner to be present. Not just a convenient, time-saving piece of kit, the P-6IV also features Prier’s triple seal positive shut-off system and a solderless, non-ferrous design to guarantee a longer life span.

Mission for total quality “Picking up on those supply chain issues, we really saw a disruption in our processes,” commented Matt. “In 2020 and into the following year, Covid-19 severely impacted procurement. We hang our hats on a simple fact: we will ship an order within eight working hours of entering the PO; however, disruptions to the supply chain really interfered with that promise; we began to experience lead times of six-to-eight weeks. That’s simply unheard of! With everything that was going on at the time, though, our customers were very understanding. We pivoted to alternate suppliers and within a few months were back to our eight-hour standard and we continue to fulfill that promise. “In all, the pandemic was a double-edged sword,” he adds. With most people stuck at home, suddenly there was no better opportunity to fix that leaking faucet that had been bugging people all year. Then you have the other side, which was very difficult.



We didn’t get a break on that front; we couldn’t

brass and copper. Our machines drill out

Program (GAP), and Harvesters Community Food

ship everything completely on time – but,

those materials, generating a lot of scrap in


without a doubt, we were better than most. I’m

the process. We probably use about half of the

proud of the efforts Prier took to care for both its

initial brass rod sold to us by our supplier – a

life, it intends on continuing to innovate and offer

employees and its customers. Part of that comes

portion must be bored to allow water through.

expert solutions across its increasingly diverse

down to our deeply ingrained mission statement.

However, instead of discarding all the scrap, we

range of plumbing products. “To that end, we’re

Having one is not uncommon. But ours isn’t

send it back to our supplier. They melt it down

releasing several new products, including a

some dusty plaque on a wall. It’s something we

and sell it back to us. The whole thing becomes

lead-free line of garden valves and a sanitary bury

live by every day, and it revolves around doing

a cycle – and saves a lot of brass in the process.”

hydrant. And, as always, it is all about serving the

In the past year, Prier recycled 150 tons of

customer. During the pandemic, we couldn’t see

the right thing, operating under the will of God

As the company moves into post-pandemic

for our people and our planet, to make a profit.

brass, six tons of copper and other metals,

many customers. So, moving forward, we want to

Put simply, that mission statement is our guiding

and over 25,000 cubic feet of cardboard. By

reconnect with them.

light and part of our culture.”

promoting a circular economy, more than half

To significantly cut its carbon footprint and

“We will always be there to solve any issues

of materials used in Prier’s products are taken

– whether you’re a plumber, contractor, or just

fulfil the environmental aspect of its mission

from recycled sources. Apart from obvious

wanting to do some DIY,” he concludes. “We

statement, Prier recently installed solar panels on

quality improvements, being made in the US

make products of the highest quality, market

each of its buildings in Kansas City. On top of that,

also offers profound environmental benefits: no

them at a fair price, and offer a service that is

all existing bulbs were substituted for motion-

importation and minimized transportation of

second to none. Therefore, within five years,

detecting LEDs across its warehouses and offices.

goods means much less carbon emissions.

we want to keep growing our connection

As a result, the manufacturer now saves more

“Our sustainability drive also includes the

to local communities across the US. I see us

than 330,000 kilowatt hours annually – enough to

local Kansas City community,” Matt adds.

establishing ourselves as a partner rather than

power 30 houses for more than a year.

“In line with our mission statement, each

just a supplier within the national scene.” F

“All our buildings are fitted with the latest

year we donate ten percent of our profits

photovoltaic technology,” Matt reveals. “We are

to worthy causes through Prier’s charitable

energy neutral at my office, and that means

organization, managed by the Greater Kansas

we can sell excess energy back to the city. In

City Community Foundation, which serves

other places, we offset our carbon. Another

those in the nearby region. Some of our

important aspect of our sustainability strategy

favorite charities include United Way of Greater

is our recycling of scrap. For our valves, we use

Kansas City (United Way), Grandview Assistance

Prier Services: Plumbing products




Unbeatable design Delivering houses across the Bethany Beach oceanfront, Marnie Custom Homes is making a name for itself thanks to a creative, client-first approach to homebuilding

Marnie Custom Homes team



Photography credit - Dana Hoff





arnie Oursler’s journey to

years, before eventually saving up enough

she knew. After a quick turnaround, Marnie

becoming a professional

money to buy a house seven blocks from the

sold the property just nine months after she

home builder is not what you

beach,” she laughs. “It was a tear down, but I

purchased it, securing a healthy profit in the

might describe as typical. Her

went ahead and fixed it up anyway.”

process. From there, she didn’t turn back,

first introduction to the industry came at the

The daughter of a successful builder, this

age of 23 when she began working for a real

passion for home improvement runs deep in

estate agent in Delaware’s Bethany Beach. It

Marnie’s blood. “I grew up cleaning houses in

“I loved everything about it,” Marnie insists.

was there that Marnie, who was fascinated

the subdivisions where my dad was building,

“Managing the project, the creativity, making

by the town’s homes and the majesty of the

doing everything from forming-up concrete

decisions, working with subcontractors,

Atlantic Ocean, discovered her dream: to live

to punch-out, interior trim, sweeping out

and more.” The project, beyond a source

in an oceanside community.

houses, and anything else that needed to

of personal enjoyment, also turned out

be done,” she comments. But it wasn’t until

to be a prime advertisement for Marnie’s

whatever money she could. “Literally, I was

Marnie came to work on her own house

home building capabilities; with her work

eating peanut butter sandwiches for two

that it dawned on her precisely how much

on full-display, she was approached by a

To realize her dream, Marnie started saving

purchasing one more beach-side lot, and starting work on her first ever custom home.

Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath, Ltd. For 25 years Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath, Ltd. have been designing kitchens for our discerning clients all over the country. Our staff is intimately involved in every detail of our projects to ensure that the execution and completion of the work goes smoothly. Most importantly, we’ve perfected our ability to listen and to understand our clients’ tastes and needs. Each one of our designers takes great pleasure in making these dream kitchens come to life. We are on top of all of the latest trends and take pride in the fact that we are able to introduce new ideas by thinking outside of the box and by utilizing new technology. From incredibly detailed plans to a triple check system our clients are pleased with how smoothly their projects proceed. We understand the value of excellent customer service and will bend over backwards to ensure that our clients are happy for years to come. From traditional to transitional to contemporary designs our clients can rest assured that the end result will be timeless.



Photography by John Cole

“I had a wonderful experience working with JGKB. They made our kitchen renovation project fun and easy, and it was completed on time! They were able to find a perfect place for everything and helped supply us with top-notch appliances, cabinets & countertops. The kitchen’s incredible new beauty is truly 3 notches above top; all of our friends & caterers marvel about it! I highly recommend working with Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath for your kitchen remodel.” Mike A. & Kristen C.

6935 Wisconsin Ave. Chevy Chase, MD | 1 East Dover St. Easton, MD | 44050 Ashburn Shopping Plaza #175, Ashburn, VA Contact us for your complimentary consultation 301-657-2500 ext. 206 | |


I benefit from a fantastic team of devoted and dedicated employees, every one of whom has a passion for homebuilding. We also have a phenomenal team of subcontractors, many of whom I’ve worked beside for more than 15 years, digging ditches, picking up trash, finishing homes, and solving problems together

Beach Builds for two seasons in 20172018 and HGTV’s 2018 Dream Home. The company has since grown in terms of both size and capability, as that 2500-square-foot initial project has morphed into regular oceanfront builds up to 13,000-square-feet in size. Commenced in the fall of 2019, one such project is ‘Kan’t Beat the View,’ a 6800-square-foot oceanfront beach house located in North Bethany Beach, which includes a clear line of sight to the

local couple, keen to secure her services

going to cost, with a spreadsheet a couple

ocean from front-to-rear. Beset by initial

for the tear-down and rebuild of their own

of pages long. They said yes – and with that, I

planning delays, and further impacted by

home. “They invited me to bid on their

started a company.”

the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was

house,” Marnie recalls. “So, I did. Line by line, I showed them how much the house was

Marnie launched Marnie Custom Homes in 2007 and also hosted DIY Network’s Big

an intense build for Marnie, who managed nevertheless to deliver the project on

84 Lumber From coast to coast, 84 Lumber operates more than 250 stores, component manufacturing plants, custom door shops, custom millwork shops and engineered wood product centers. 84 Lumber also offers turnkey installation services for a variety of products, including framing, insulation, siding, windows, roofing, decking and drywall. The company was founded in Eighty Four, Pennsylvania and is currently the nation’s largest privately held building materials supplier. 84 Lumber in Clarksville, Delaware proudly works with Marnie Custom Homes building beautiful custom homes in the area. The 84 Lumber team in Clarksville and the team at Marnie Homes have seen so much success together because of the way they work hard for each other. Whether it’s someone taking a phone call after 5:00 p.m., or someone else ensuring everyone is looped in on changes, the relationship is one that 84 Lumber strives to create with all custom home builders across the country. 84 Lumber understands that with custom home builds, there’s always something. The plans are ever-changing and extremely detailed. Whether it’s cleaning up job sites on the weekends or moving materials at any time of day, 84 Lumber makes it happen because that’s what partners do. 84 Lumber is the only supplier that recognizes the detailed process of building a custom home from the ground up, and it is the best supplier to partner with on any job. Contractors and professional builders can expect personal service from 84 Lumber. Each of 84 Lumber’s 250 stores has its own personality, but each also understands people who build for a living. At 84 Lumber, professionals trust us. From sun up to sun down, our associates will spend time with you and answer your calls. To find an 84 Lumber near you, visit



MARNIE CUSTOM HOMES schedule. “Late start or not, the completion date doesn’t change,” she comments. “We had to hustle and hustle for the whole nine months, being strategic in our approach to organize all the moving parts.” It was in recognition of Marnie Custom Homes Project Manager Dustin Burkett’s work on Kan’t Beat the View that Marnie nominated him last year for Pro Builder’s Forty Under 40 Class of 2022. The award seeks to celebrate the home building industry’s brightest young talents and next-generation leaders and innovators, with recipients selected from more than 100 nominations across the US. That Dustin was one such recipient is a credit to his hard work on Kan’t Beat the View, and serves to further underscore the company’s achievements.

Innovative approach Kan’t Beat the View wasn’t the only project to present Marnie Custom Homes with a challenge. Two additional projects, Surfside and X-Ta-Sea, which began in 2019 and 2021 respectively, each saw disruption, as the initial pandemic gave way to months of supplychain disruption. “There was nothing else to do but work, so we worked,” Marnie says. “Seven days a week, we were finishing these houses. Everything was moving so fast, I set up an online platform for my internal team so we could discuss and update each other regarding deliveries, in-house schedules, and other critical information. I would go and inspect houses off hours to limit my interactions, and send videos to our clients to keep them informed. It was whack-a-mole every day.” Nevertheless, Marnie continued to deliver her projects on schedule, a fact that she attributes to her own and her employees’ innovative approach to homebuilding. “What we hear from our clients is that we’re more creative in every aspect, from design to completion, and even in terms of scheduling,” Marnie says. “There are a lot of rules we have to follow and to account for when building on the oceanfront. Not only do we have to factor in hurricane winds and other risks, but we also have to consider how we can make the house look amazing, how to accommodate all our clients’ wants, how to deliver it at the cost they request, and how to finish it on time. “What sets us apart is that we do all of those things,” Marnie continues. “I benefit from a



fantastic team of devoted and dedicated

pandemic is set to shape the company’s

moving forward, in terms of how we work

employees, every one of whom has a passion

practice moving forwards. “Every day we

through any new challenges, how we get

for homebuilding. We also have a phenomenal

learn,” she insists. “Especially in our field,

our systems in place, and then begin to

team of subcontractors, many of whom I’ve

process is important: we’re building homes

perfect them.

worked beside for more than 15 years, digging

that have never been built before. We

ditches, picking up trash, finishing homes, and

typically start houses around Labor Day, with

building these houses, and we’re at the

solving problems together.”

the goal of having them finished by June,

point where we’re all working in a way

in time for the summer season. It’s a small

that’s high functioning,” she goes on. “We

Team-oriented mindset

window in which to build,” Marnie adds.

still meet in person once a week; although

Reflecting on the last two years, Marnie

“During the pandemic, we became very

we’re not always physically together, we’re

is confident that her experience of the

organized upfront, and that’s now helping us

in sync.”

“There are 11 people involved in

Atlantic Millwork & Cabinetry Since 2011, Atlantic Millwork & Cabinetry have partnered with Marnie Custom Homes to supply first-class materials for their grand designs. We proudly supply all of the TruStile Doors and Windows by Marvin for their custom creations, providing superior beauty, durability, and energy efficiency. Their designs often incorporate a unique shiplap paneling in the interior, which emits modern style. Atlantic Millwork & Cabinetry have been an independent distributor serving professional contractors, builders, and homeowners since 1991. As a highly-acclaimed coastal builder, Marnie Custom Homes seeks only the best for its clients. Our business relationship continues to grow from the mutual goal of providing superior customer satisfaction. The last decade has been genuinely rewarding, with our ‘Made in America’ products, showcased in their region’s most remarkable new homes. We congratulate Marnie and the team on their 15 years in business and look forward to the next project.

Erik Olmsted - Personalized Contractor Relationship Specialist




In honing these systems, Marnie Custom Homes benefits from a strong and inclusive company culture, with a team-oriented mindset, inspired in part by Marnie’s own love for sports. “I played a number of sports and follow a lot of teams,” she reveals. “As a division one college athlete myself, I understand how functioning teams should work. “At Marnie Custom Homes, we have our own players who are very good at certain positions, and we rely on them,” she says. “As the leader, I’m the one who says: ‘I’m here for you. I’m standing next to you for support. Don’t hesitate to ask me for help’. One of the biggest and most unique elements of our culture is that at every meeting we ask for support and express our gratitude – whether it’s for our colleagues in the room, or for something in our lives. Likewise, if an employee doesn’t understand something, there’s an openness: they can ask me or a team member, and it will be reviewed until everyone is on the same page.” As Marnie, like everyone, looks to put the two years of the pandemic behind her, the future for her company is positive, with a series of new projects in the pipeline. “We’re currently finishing a number of projects, and they all are truly amazing,” she confirms. “A large number



and effectively with our subcontractors and vendors. If we do so, I believe we’ll be in the best position we can be. We just need to stick to what we know and learn from our

Marnie Custom Homes Services: Oceanfront home building

mistakes, and hopefully the future will be very bright.” F are oceanfront, with a couple oceanside. All of them are special because of our clients, whose homes are personal, creative, and unique. For us, that’s fun – although they might share similar features or a comparable style, no one house that we build is the same, and no client is the same. It makes for an exciting and enjoyable experience. “Our coming year will then begin in the fall,” she adds. “Once again, we’ll be starting work on several new properties across the oceanfront, oceanside, and bayfront. That’s always very exciting, because it means different views, different light, and different designs. For our team, it’s set to be a busy year!” As we conclude our discussion, Marnie is keen to reiterate the importance for continual improvement – both for the company, and for each member of the team – as she looks to drive and maintain the company’s high standards of homebuilding. “Looking ahead to five years from now, my goal is to simply get even better at what we do,” she concludes. “I know that I personally am going to continue on that path of exploring, ‘How can we get better every single day?’ I want to see that happen individually, as a team, and in terms of how we deliver for our clients, and work closely MODERNHB.COM



An eye for




Karp Associates is celebrating its 40th year in business with the recent completion of its VUE New Canaan multi-family development, with yet more custom home and multi-family projects to come


hen Arnold M Karp got the “real estate bug”, it changed his life forever. Already having forged a successful career as a New York

financier, Arnold moved to Connecticut to take up a new position as CFO for a company that owned real estate, radio stations, and an insurance subsidiary. “I decided that real estate was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” he reveals, looking back at that time, and the period that led to the launching of his own homebuilding business, Karp Associates Inc. The company started with construction of renovations and additions, before expanding its repertoire to encompass custom homes, consulting services, project management, and multi-family housing projects. “We’re a multi-faceted construction firm, specializing in distinguished custom homes and first- rate renovations, construction management, multi-family housing, real estate consulting, and project rescue,” Arnold confirms, when speaking to Modern Home Builders. “We have seen so many different projects in our time. We’ll build anything the client wants, but we’ll also challenge them to make sure they’re getting the best project and design possible, before delivering that special project built on-time and on budget.”

Meeting clients’ needs In 2022, Karp Associates is celebrating an impressive 40 years in business – still, according to Arnold, “there’s always a twist and turn” when it comes to homebuilding. One of the company’s recent projects offers a prime example. “We’re currently building a custom home for somebody on the water,” Arnold tells us. “But just after we started the project, a big storm arrived, drawing all the dirt that we’d just moved out, back into the building foundations.” It’s not just the current challenges of building, with supply chain and weather disruptions, labor shortages can prove to be difficult as well, “Our clients and their professionals are extremely creative and exacting,” Arnold adds. “Not only are the living spaces important to clients, but special features MODERNHB.COM


KARP ASSOCIATES such as large garages with multiple car lifts

“When I first ventured into the business years

require high design and execution to make

have become a major feature. Similarly, there’s

ago, clients would ask for a simple sliding glass

them function properly.”

barely a house we work on these days that

door,” he reflects. “Now, most of our projects

doesn’t have either an elevator, or the option

feature oversized multi slide glass door panels.

under his belt, Arnold is particularly sensitive

for an elevator in the future.

We’re building features that are interesting and

to the wants and needs of his clients. This

Now with decades of homebuilding

knowledge has served Karp Associates well

VUE New Canaan

during the completion of its recent project: VUE New Canaan, a luxury multi-family home development located in Fairfield County. Vue New Canaan is situated just steps away from the village of New Canaan, which features destination shopping, dining, and recreation, along with expedient transport links to New York City. “What makes VUE New Canaan unique, is that it sits right in the middle of New Canaan,” Arnold tells us. “The site was largely comprised of old housing stock built during the 1930s, including mostly brick buildings with no light or air, and relatively small apartments. After we purchased the property, it took us approximately two-anda-half years and a total of $2 million to secure approval for our plans.”

Eye for design VUE New Canaan is the largest construction project to-date in the town of New Canaan, and has been accompanied by an investment of $80 million by Karp Associates. “The development consists of 59 rental units, along with 40 condos ranging in size from 1000-to2800-square-feet,” Arnold says. “We have a very nice group of people, from younger families all the way up to active seniors.” With private balconies and terraces, and half of the plot dedicated to green space, including a natural playscape and zen garden,

A.P. Construction Company A.P. Construction Company (A.P. Construction) is a construction management and general contracting firm, headquartered in Stamford, CT. For over four decades, the company has developed extensive experience with commercial buildings, educational facilities, private clubs, healthcare and municipal facilities, and multifamily and senior living properties. A.P. Construction’s approach and attention to detail has established a reputation of integrity, quality, efficiency, and savings for its clients. Based on a foundation of high standards for quality work, comprehensive skills, and outstanding safety performance, A.P. Construction’s average annual construction volume is over 140 million dollars, with 80+ projects per year. As a division of The Ashforth Company, a diversified real estate operating company founded in 1896, A.P. Construction provides a unique owner’s perspective, with a complete understanding of not only how buildings are built, but also how they are maintained and operated. Among accomplishments over the past 15+ years, A.P. Construction has completed more than 50 education projects, 1,000+ multifamily units, 200 commercial projects, 35 private clubs, and eight senior living projects. All undergone with its strong and long-term relationships with architects, owners, tenants, subcontractors, and suppliers, and has resulted in over 70 percent of projects coming from repeat clients. Celebrating the milestone of 40 years of business, the company is particularly proud of its strong, trusting and collaborative culture, commitment to giving back to the community, the long tenure of many of its employees, and its long-standing client relationships, indicating A.P. Construction is a great place to do business, and a great place to work.




Congratulations to Karp Associates for 40 Years in Business. A.P. Construction is proud to be part of the Karp team that successfully constructed The Vue.


APC Karp Assoc The Vue Ad.indd 1

7/1/22 11:10 AM


the development at New Canaan is a credit

“Architect by training, and a builder by

“At the same time, we need to work with

to Karp Associates’ commitment to innovative

vocation, Robin has a great eye for design,”

our clients,” he continues. “I often joke that

design. For Arnold, that’s partly due to the

he says. “We’re always on the lookout for new

when we’ve finished a project, very rarely

unique ability of Robin Friedman Carroll, the

ideas. When a new magazine comes into the

does anyone say everything was perfect. Our

company’s Director of Design & Residential

office, we’ll pass it around, then we’ll discuss

goal is to make the experience of building a

Construction, who helped ensure features and

the designs that interest us, whether it’s a

pleasurable process and to work throughout

style important to buyers and renters were

cantilevered wall, or a completely unique

the project to create a finished product that



meets our clients’ needs, and enhances their quality of life.”

High-caliber craftsmanship It’s been a difficult couple of years for businesses throughout the construction industry, as the Covid-19 pandemic brought projects to a halt nationwide. But amid difficult circumstances, Karp Associates and its COO, Paul Stone, demonstrated its resilience. “We continued to pay everyone, and retained all our staff,” Arnold states. “We fortunately had a few commercial projects ongoing, where businesses sought to make the most of their temporary closure by inviting us to renovate or alter their office space. In one case, we managed to add a nursery and preschool to an existing community center. “As an employer, however, we had a responsibility to stick with our employees, even though we didn’t know whether the market was going to bounce back,” he argues. “What we found was that outside of major metropolitan areas, and once the pandemic was under control, people began to make strategic changes in living – moving from apartments in New York to homes in Connecticut. Our team communicated with our clients about what they wanted to do, in order to make sure we could realize their dreams as quickly as possible.” Although not over, the impacts of the pandemic have taken on a new shape during



the last year, characterized by lengthy supply

is pricing,” he goes on. “Most of our vendors

them. At the same time, we also can’t afford to

chain shortages, and associated project delays.

and suppliers will keep their quotes good for

undercharge them, so it’s about trying to be

“It’s been challenging,” Arnold admits. “Paul

a week or so, but with the cost of everyday

as flexible as we can to make sure every deal

Stone (Karp Associates COO) has us ordering

materials changing so rapidly, we’re constantly

is fair. It’s really caused us to adapt to source

windows six months in advance. We used to

having to reassess. For our clients, that means

and pay for materials earlier, storing them in

order hardwood flooring prior to sheetrocking,

we’re having to return to those who have asked

our warehouse or on a job site to ensure that

we’re now ordering the same flooring before

for a locked-in price, and explain to them that

we’re always one or two steps ahead. It’s a

we’ve even installed the foundation.

it’s no longer possible. Instead, we can provide

completely different way of thinking about

a range – otherwise, we risk overcharging

projects and time frames.”

“For 2022, the biggest challenge we have

County TV & Appliance County TV & Appliance is an essential partner to the building community. Providing an unparalleled personal experience, with a standard of excellence, reliability, and dependability are just a few reasons top industry professionals, like Karp Associates, trust County TV & Appliance with providing the appliances for their projects. Located in Stamford Connecticut, the company services residents in Connecticut and New York, across the Fairfield and Westchester Counties. County TV & Appliances has been providing appliances of all types to builders, developers, contractors, and homeowners for over 70 years, and carries an exceptional variety of the best reputable brands, and the latest in smart home appliance technology. Our knowledgeable employees guide each client through their entire appliance purchasing journey, assessing each project with meticulous care. Big or small, there is no project that goes beyond the expertise of County TV & Appliance. Our ability to work at the pace needed to accommodate the customer is our specialty. County TV & Appliance has had the pleasure of a long-standing relationship with Karp Associates. It has been an honor to work with them and facilitate all their appliance requirements for all size jobs. The relationship we have created together allows a seamless finished result, ensuring each project is met with perfection.




Rick’s Plumbing Service Rick’s Plumbing Service is honored to have had the pleasure of working with Karp Associates for nearly 30 years. This business relationship has given Rick’s Plumbing Service the opportunity to work on many unique custom homes, as well as high-end larger scale developments. What sets Karp Associates apart from others is its commitment to top-notch quality. It sets exceptional standards, communicates well, and the end result is always exquisite.



For the rest of the year, the focus for Karp Associates is on the continued delivery of projects for clients who purchased homes during the pandemic. The company is also waiting on approval for a series of new multi-family projects, as it looks to build on the impressive work at VUE New Canaan. “In doing so, we benefit from the long-term relationships that we’re able to establish with our clients,” Arnold says. “We

Interstate + Lakeland Lumber For over 100 years, builders, architects and homeowners have turned to Interstate + Lakeland Lumber (IL Lumber) for all their building needs. With yards in Greenwich, Stamford, Westport and Newtown, CT as well as in Shrub Oak, NY, IL Lumber is perfectly positioned to serve the building community across Fairfield and Westchester Counties. It offers much more than just lumber though. IL Lumber offers full lines of top-quality windows, doors, decking, siding, trim, millwork and more. Its molding and millwork, custom-made in the company’s Bethel Millshop, is some of the highest quality and most sought-after work in the region. Since 1995, IL Lumber has been proud to supply Karp Associates with lumber and millwork. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to be associated with one of Fairfield County’s premier builders,” says Sheldon Kahan, IL Lumber’s President and CEO. IL Lumber is currently focused on its new window and door design center in Westport, CT. This multi-story space, which will showcase the highest quality and most advanced building products, is expected to open this autumn.

place a real emphasis on the importance of high-caliber craftsmanship as an accompaniment to the taste and lifestyle of our clients. At the same time, we’re determined to give accurate budgets and timeframes. We have lost projects where a client has demanded the completion of a project in a window that’s simply not possible. In those situations, it’s about identifying the right client, the right architects, and the right set of professionals to work with.” Looking beyond, Arnold is hopeful that Karp Associates can continue to post impressive growth, with an even greater range of interesting projects. But equally, he’s well aware that he won’t always be the one to steer the ship. “As I get older, I’m starting to look to the younger generation of employees we have on board,” Arnold admits. “That’s been a major shift in our strategic planning recently that we never really had to consider until now. “We’ve recently had a few family members of the next generation join the firm. They are transitioning from other professions, such as law, because they find our business both interesting and challenging. We’re trying to bring them up to speed. While I love what I do and I never see myself retiring entirely, I would like to work fewer hours. I’m hoping that we have good people who decide that they want a chance to move the business onwards and upwards in the years to come.” F

Karp Associates Services: Luxury homebuilding




Every house

is a milestone




For over 45 years, Bayless Custom Homes has built houses and forged relationships that not only have a strong sense of purpose, but also withstand the test of time


n Tyler, East Texas and San Antonio, South Texas, the Bayless name has become a marker of quality; those distinct areas are covered by Bayless Custom Homes (Bayless), which is itself

split into two companies: one headed by Gary Bayless and the other by his son, Clint. As coowners of the titular business, the pair make quite a team, building a vast range of custom homes, from cottage-style to Victorian. With each project, Bayless seeks to infuse traditional design with upto-date finishing and technology. Founded by Gary some 45 years ago, family was always going to be a central factor in the business. “Clint began working with me very early on,” he explains. “He would often join me after school and at the weekends, conducting trim work and other small tasks. He effectively grew up in construction, and eventually joined the business full-time. We’re still working together today, delivering the finest service for our brilliant clients.” Similarly, Clint fondly remembers his early years. When asked about company milestones, he’s quick to return to those long summer evenings and weekends at work with his dad. “A key milestone that comes to mind is when my father first taught me how to use a saw,” he says. “I must’ve only been 12 years old at the time. By 17, I was already a framer! I’m grateful for all the knowledge that he’s since passed down to me. He made certain that I understood every facet of the building industry. “However, we consider every house to be a milestone,” Clint continues. “Above all, we concentrate on detail and quality throughout the build process. Indeed, our slogan is ‘Building for Purpose,’ and that purpose is for people to truly love their forever-homes. To that end, we work closely with our architects and designers, and then we provide best-in-class building and general contracting services to get the job done. Moreover, for us, building for purpose means not taking on too many projects at once. We don’t spread ourselves thin; we only build five-to-six homes at a time because we want to be on-site every day. Handing work off to a superintendent might be efficient, but it’s not optimal. If you work MODERNHB.COM



with Bayless, then you’ll always work with us – not someone else.” Over the decades, Bayless has amassed an arsenal of solutions to combat common construction problems. From the initial land purchase to the final build, Bayless has its customers covered. Even after the house is complete, the firm offers a host of after-care services such as touch-up lists and one-totwo-year warranties on its products. In this sense, the services that Bayless provides can be understood as being resoundingly holistic in nature, covering every aspect of home building with a robust attention to detail that puts clients at ease during what can typically be a stressful time.

Attention to detail Bayless specializes in historic renovations like camelbacks, single and double conversions, complete home remodeling, and preservation services for older buildings and brickwork. In addition, Gary and Clint have carried out comprehensive storm repairs, numerous kitchen and bathroom remodels, as well as a plethora of outdoor living arrangements like custom-built pergolas and fine wrought iron gates. One particular project that they remain proud of is the Goana Residence, an incredible $2.5 million luxury custom home. “In particular, that was a tremendous milestone for the company,” says Clint.



“I’ve always wanted to build a truly modern home and that’s the first one that I consider to fit the bill. I’ve built a lot of contemporary residences, but none like this: it featured a basketball court, a putting green, and a whole suite of other unique features. Even something as rudimentary as the air conditioning vents were premium; we had them manufactured right here in San Antonio so we could create the perfect look for our client. That’s the level of detail we’re talking about. We also sourced the finest teak wood wrapping for the white stucco façade, built a swimming pool, laid

also built Hope Haven’s new 6500-square-foot

are stood there, completely finished, except for

engineered hardwood and polished concrete

foster home for teenage girls pro bono, raising

the fact that they don’t have any windows!

floors, and imported stunning Mexican tiles

over $2 million for a truly worthy cause. The

for the countertops. In short, it was a beautiful

dormitory-style facility will provide long-term

construction industry in Texas has taken a hit,

house to work on.”

housing for up to 16 teenage girls that need

and it’s been quite slow to recover following

care and a safe place to stay.”

the Covid-19 crisis,” he concludes. “However,

As Gary points out, though, that’s just one home in a long list of greatest hits. Remember,

Since then, Bayless hasn’t slowed down. As

“As a knock-on effect, the health of the

we’re projecting strong growth in the future,

at Bayless, every house is a milestone. “A few

Clint remembers, the business only worked

especially since lots of new businesses like Tesla

years ago, we built a custom home for a client

in a reduced capacity for about a month or

and Samsung are moving here to build their

who happened to be incredibly wealthy, and

so when Covid-19 first hit, with things quickly

factories and workspaces. Until then, we’ll just

that was exciting a building point of view

picking up soon after.

keep on trucking and doing what we do best:

because he had one instruction: just make

“One major challenge we’ve dealt with

building for purpose. We aren’t in any rush to

it look cool!” he laughs. “The house fronts a

surrounding the pandemic is the lack of

grow; we’re more than happy where we are

stunning lake and therefore we built rounded

available materials,” he says. “Though we’re

and with the excellent services we provide.” F

bedrooms to offer beautiful views from all

easing into a post-pandemic period, those

sides. We fitted a bespoke swimming pool, an

issues still haunt us today. In fact, just before

expansive balcony, and a volleyball court. It

this interview, I was told that a project would

turned out really well – and others thought so,

be delayed by another two days. Windows are

too! The house was awarded first place at the

incredibly hard to procure, for example, and

Parade of Homes in 2019, which was just the

we’ve had to order them in advance. Lead

cherry on top.”

times of three weeks have turned into three

Bayless Custom Homes Services: Home builder and general contractor

months – or more. Across the country, houses

Work with the community Other significant projects include Bayless’ appearance on the Emmy Award-winning reality television show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which saw Gary and Clint take on the challenge of building a new custom home in just one week for a deserving family. “For us, it’s important to be involved in the wider community,” says Gary. “By giving generously, it’s incredible how our company can bless so many people through projects like these. Indeed, we’re committed to social responsibility, and as an example of that, we founded Widows in Need, a charity program that organizes help for widows in the local church community. It could be as simple as bringing in someone to change an air filter at their home, or just something that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do alone. We MODERNHB.COM




out of adversity In its first year of business, Bourn Custom Homes had to contend with an unprecedented global health emergency – however, it has now found itself in a stronger position because of it



he story behind Bourn Custom

formally established the business in 2019,

lots of different custom home builders in a bid

Homes (Bourn) isn’t exactly

this journey started around seven years ago,”

to create our dream home. But we never really

conventional – but that’s what

begins Gary Bourn, President at Bourn Custom

found a perfect match. Therefore, my wife, Jill,

makes it so special. “Though we

Homes. “At the time, we were meeting with

and I decided to take the task on ourselves,



and we built our very first home together as a

schoolteacher,” he adds. “After selling our first

grew, we welcomed new people into our team,

husband-and-wife duo.

custom home in 2019, that all changed; the

and that brings us right up to today.”

“Before that, I was working as a fulltime strategic consultant and Jill was a

wheels were firmly set in motion, and we chose to continue with the business in earnest. As we

Though not necessarily a comprehensive company history, Bourn has already begun MODERNHB.COM


BOURN CUSTOM HOMES between Gary and Jill. “We were high school sweethearts,” explains Gary. “We were married at 19, and we’re still best friends. Jill has a very unique set of skills that I don’t have, and vice versa. She carries out all the design work, communicates with the clients, and holds everything together; whereas, I’m the one out and about, running the jobs, making sure the trades are showing up, and keeping our sites in immaculate condition. Coupled together, these wonderfully diverse skillsets mean that timescales are shortened and build times are reduced. There’s a constant flow between us; we’re continuing to grow together alongside the business, and there’s no sense of slowing down. Indeed, we’re up for some pretty big awards within the San Antonio and wider Texas area this year, so we’re really excited to see where things to carve out a strong reputation in Bulverde,

place, and each pair of house keys proudly

Texas for its beautiful, 100 percent bespoke

presented to a client.

are headed.”

A different experience

homes. In that sense, its history continues to

At the heart of that history, though, will

be written with each custom-designed floor

undoubtedly remain the core relationship

In hindsight, establishing a commercial business

plan drafted, each beam carefully slotted into

underpinning the entire business – the one

in 2019, just months away from the unforeseeable arrival of the pandemic, was an incredibly risky venture. In fact, as Gary jokes, it was probably the worst thing he and his wife could’ve done. As we slowly ease out of the Covid-19 crisis, moreover, a host of other challenges have appeared, including skyrocketing energy prices, rising interest rates, and global supply chain issues. “However, establishing Bourn in the months prior to all this was also a blessing,” reveals Gary. “Since we were so new, we didn’t have an ageold blueprint that we had to stick to; for many companies, it was hard to detach from practices that had been ingrained over decades of work. In contrast, Bourn was highly adaptable; we kept rolling with the ever-changing times in an unprecedented period of uncertainty with vigor. That meant we also started planning ahead: if a project began in June, then we ordered the lumber in April; and if we needed windows for a new build, then we ordered them as soon as the contract was signed. As a result, we’ve consistently outperformed our competitors; while build times can be as high as 18 months elsewhere, ours haven’t risen above 12. “With the tremendous adversity we faced in our first year of business, there was no choice but to be incredibly organized and detail-orientated,” he continues. “In turn, that’s enabled us to provide a different experience when it comes to a custom build. For instance, we’ve embraced technology, viewing it as a source of power to



improve and enhance our services, rather than an obstacle to overcome. Once we’ve started a project, we update our clients with the latest progress every single week. To do so, we use an application called Trello, which is quite common, but we’ve built it out in a way that allows us to keep our clients accurately up to date, without having to constantly go back and forth via text or email. We post progress pictures, answer client questions, create materials lists, and so on. It offers our customers a sense of continuity and calm throughout what can sometimes be a stressful period of time; if they need anything, then they know where to find it. We also capture drone footage of the build process and upload it to the app, creating what we like to think of as a scrapbook for our clients, which they can then fondly look back on at the end of the whole process.”

interwoven services, supporting families and

the Texas Hills Country-based builder works

accommodating their various needs as they

diligently to make individual dreams become

build, and putting those elements together to

change over time. Whether an idyllic cottage

mesmerizing realities – time and time again.

create a unique house that clients can happily

fronting a serene pond or a mammoth estate

Bourn is also partnered with the National

call home. Bourn is proud to carry out these

with all the latest smart home technology,

Finding a perfect location, designing a dream

Association of Home Builders, the Greater




San Antonio Builders’ Association, the Texas Association of Builders, and incorporates its own rigorous quality control standards and assessments. The relative youth of the firm offers other various unspoken benefits. Indeed, Bourn is spearheading its very own gender equality drive, and Gary it determined to put a voice to it. “In this company, Jill plays an integral role,” he asserts. “Yet sometimes, because of the gender bias within the industry, people often see my name on the paperwork, and they assume that I’m the one doing all the work. That’s certainly not the case. People don’t realize all the challenges that women face in this industry. It can be as simple as a vendor asking her to put them in contact with the actual builder. In reality, she’s the one on that building site and she knows it inside out. “People see a successful company led by a husband-and-wife team, and they typically assume that the husband must be doing a great job,” Gary adds. “We run this company in a completely equal way, and that’s what I attribute all our success to. Jill is unbelievably talented, detailed, and does not miss anything on-site. She’s in boots and beat-up jeans, getting stuck in and getting dirty; she’s not just sitting comfortably away somewhere going through the books. Being a woman in the



home building industry is extremely difficult,

As our interview has made abundantly clear,

complacent, and we’ll continue to develop

and as a company we’re determined to change

that’s not entirely surprising. “Going forward

internally, becoming more focused on building

that for the better.”

with the business, we’re going to be even more

the best homes that we can within our rapidly

selective with our clients,” concludes Gary. “In

evolving market.” F

Last year, Bourn entered its Parade of Homes Project for 2021 into the Builders’ Association

the same way that people want to find a great

Awards. Needless to say, the attention to detail

builder, we want to find excellent clients. We

and capacity for bespoke design that we have

intend to maintain the size of the company

since covered was immediately recognized. The

because it works extremely well as it is; people

company won the People’s Choice Award, Best

applaud the build process, the communication,

Outdoor Living Space, Best Water Feature, Best

and the best-in-class execution. But that’s not

Interior Design, and Best Overall Home – almost

to say we won’t grow. We refuse to become

Bourn Custom Homes Services: Custom home builder

a clean sweep. “Being awarded all those accolades was huge for us,” admits Gary. “It showed people that Bourn is not just a simple mom-and-pop shop that can only build certain homes, but instead that it can build high-end, luxury houses to custom specifications for a diverse range of clients. Jill designed the project, creating a home that could be multi-generational, accommodating the needs of children and grandparents in the same setting. She also incorporated elements of outdoor living to reflect what our country is best known for. It was a traditional farmhouse; we used a lot of reclaimed wood, antique furniture, and big tables which could seat more than ten people at a time. “One feature that received a lot of attention was our use of an auxiliary preparation kitchen,” he explains. “You do all your messy work and cooking in there, and they you bring it out to the main show kitchen to serve, where everything is nice and clean. When you step outside, moreover, you are greeted by an infinity edge pool, allowing you to swim while looking out at the beautiful Texan landscape. The mixture of deep blue water and vibrant leafy greens is stunning. It’s small things like that which set us apart from the competition.” More recently, Bourn created a waiting list for its design and build work – it’s just that popular. MODERNHB.COM




means better




Formed in 2012, Pencsak Builders has enjoyed a steady growth trajectory, culminating in its recent work in the San Antonio and surrounding areas. A boutique home builder has the added benefit of a higher standard of customer service


avid and Angela Pencsak haven’t always been homebuilders. Before the husband-and-wife pair joined forces to found Texas-based Pencsak

Builders (Pencsak) in 2012, David had forged a successful career designing, owning, and building restaurants for 35 years, while Angela has been awarded the title of ‘San Antonio’s Photographer of the Year’ an impressive four times consecutively, alongside her 15 years owning and operating a photography studio. Today, the Texas-based outfit is a boutique builder, specializing in the construction of luxury homes. For both, it was a largely seamless progression. In his work, David is able to draw on a rich experience of designing, organizing, and creating spaces as he considers the flow and functionality of each of Pencsak’s home projects. As he puts it: “The level of coordination required in owning, operating, and staffing a restaurant is much more complicated than that of typical home construction. I would also select the architects, and work with them to design restaurants in conjunction with interior designers.” Likewise, Angela cites a familiarity with “color, harmony, light, and creating a mood” as crucial factors in her own contribution to Pencsak’s success. “How is that space going to make you feel? Where does the sun come in? How can we add simple sconces to a space to create a mood?” she says, before admitting that her favorite part of homebuilding are the relationships it helps to create. “We prefer to work with clients from the beginning, locating the land, matching the designer and architect with our client’s needs, and working as a team to design each home,” she continues. Angela being a realtor is also a perk for their clients, whether it be finding the land or helping them sell their current home. The last few years have not been without their challenges, but despite the restrictions imposed by Covid-19, Pencsak has continued to MODERNHB.COM



and heating systems, and LED lighting. David comments: “All these components of our building will dramatically cut the cost of our clients’ monthly electricity and water bills, while providing managed, clear air throughout the home. We continue this throughout the exterior of the house as well, using a Huber post strong growth. It’s a trend that’s set to

some of the most beautiful high-end homes

Zip System to make the home airtight and

continue. As Angela points out, with the rise of

in the area.”


working from home, it’s now more important than ever to have a space that’s more

development, they’ve decided to move in

Boutique status

comfortable for everyday life and work.

themselves. “We bought 13 acres, on which

Client relationships aren’t the only kind that

we plan to build another home with some

Pencsak is keen to cultivate, however. The

because we’ve had to replace some of the

very unique features,” Angela confirms. “At the

company also places a strong emphasis on

sub-contractors that we have used for years,

same time, we also hope that it will serve as

community involvement, fostering close ties

simply because of the way their business didn’t

a model project, showcasing the full range of

with the local high school. “We have four kids,

really pan out,” she notes. “We really care about

our capabilities for people in the area.”

and the memories that their school has given

“The pandemic does remain a challenge,

keeping the bones of the home of a high

For David, each project represents its

them are unbelievably impactful,” Angela says.

quality, so we need to make sure we’re receiving

own challenge. “All the homes we build are

“We had two on the varsity dance team, a

the highest-quality materials and labor.”

different in their own way,” he insists. “One

cheerleader, and a varsity basketball player. As a

project that we’re particularly pleased with

company, and new empty nesters with our four

work on ‘The Estates at Zaccaria Ranch’. As part

is one for which we won the ‘Best Specialty

dogs, we still make donations to the teams.”

of the development, the company is helping

Room, Custom Builder’ award at the Greater

transforming 278-acres of land into a luxury

San Antonio Builders Association’s 2021

a busy year in store for the homebuilding

20-lot neighborhood. “The land has been

Summit Awards. As a spec home, it was so

couple, who reveal that they have a model

owned by the Zaccaria family since the 1960s,”

impactful, leading to a number of new builds

home under construction, and two other

David reveals. “The lots themselves vary from

and real estate transactions.”

speculative homes in the design process,

One recent project for Pencsak has been its

five-to-17 acres. It will feature a private gated


Such is David and Angela’s passion for the

Sustainability is a big focus for the

Returning to Pencsak and its projects, there’s

which is an important part of their marketing

entrance, and include its own wine bar and

homebuilding couple, whose projects feature

process. Angela comments: “We have always

entertainment center for the residents. We’re

spray foam insulation, some of the highest

had a model/spec on the ground so that

proud to be the preferred builder for what are

energy efficient windows and efficient cooling

we can showcase our design and quality of


construction to our clients. It is something we

up early and now we have to store product

his contributors from architects, builders, and

enjoy and allows us to get really creative!”

for a while, but it’s better than waiting and it

the trades, like Steve Baczek, Jake Bruton, and

keeps the build on track.

Zak Dettmore,” adds Angela. The couple also

“There’s a lot to come!” David confirms. “We have multiple new client builds in the area

“We’ll continue to be on top of the newest

noted their admiration for Brad Leavitt of AFT

under construction and in the pipeline for

and best practices,” he goes on. “In November

Construction, Nick Schiffer of NS Builders, and

next year that are absolutely stunning.”

we will attend the contractor coalition summit

Morgan Molitor of Construction 2 Style for

and we always attend the International

their content on social media.

Turning to the long-term, Pencsak is intent on maintaining its boutique status,

National Builder Show, where we have and

something which David and Angela believe is

build relationships with other custom home

concludes. “As new products come out, we

key to preserving the company’s exceptional

builders and our vendors. This is so important

continue to educate ourselves – since we first

standards of customer service. Angela says:

for our company.”

started building homes, we’ve continually

“We really love to have one-on-one time with

Being part of a community of builders is

“We always strive to improve,” Angela

improved our capabilities. Over the next five

our clients, and to be able to provide the

very important to both David and Angela, as it

years, we will continue to maintain good

service that we do.”

is a great way to boost everyone’s success. “A

practices, integrity, transparency and highest

rising tide lifts all boats,” agrees David. He also

quality for our clients.” F

“When you have numerous subcontractors putting their hands on your home, it takes

noted how the business is keen to continue

a lot of supervision and coordination,” David

to learn and improve. “We are especially

adds. “You have to be a master scheduler. For

thankful to builders, architects and designers

instance, with supply chain issues we have to

who share their experience and knowledge

deal with today, we are ordering appliances

through social media; Youtube, Instagram,

and windows before the slab is poured.

Tiktok, and Facebook. You gain knowledge so

Selections have to be chosen and ordered

quickly,” says David. “We have some favorites,

earlier than ever before. Sometimes they show

such as The Build Show with Matt Risinger and

Pencsak Builders Services: Residential luxury homebuilding




Creating communities With more than 100 years of combined experience across its award-winning team, Rocklyn Homes has surely found the formula for success: building expertly designed homes at the best value in the most desirable of locations



ithin the greater Atlanta

communities. As one of the most recognized

metropolitan area, Rocklyn

builders in the region, Rocklyn has been

were presented by the Greater Atlanta Home

Homes (Rocklyn) is building

awarded numerous accolades and prizes for its

Builders Association and the Atlanta Sales and

an intricate map of

exceptional new builds.

Marketing Council, Rocklyn won gold awards for


At the 2021 OBIE Awards, for instance, which

‘Best Building Design: Single-Family Attached,’

of other accolades given in recognition for its

‘Best Building Design: Attached Model, $299,000

homes and employees. It was also recently

company is Jack Brewster, President at Rocklyn

Offering an insight into the award-winning

and Under,’ and ‘Best Merchandising: Model

named a top-five home builder by the Atlanta

Homes. “We are a family-owned company that

Home, $299,000 and Under,’ as well as a slew

Business Chronicle.

was founded in 2009 by David Jenkins, who MODERNHB.COM


ROCKLYN HOMES formerly owned and operated Winmark Homes until the market downturn of 2007. Though he decided on using the same people, he wanted a fresh start. So, a different name for a new company was chosen – that name was Rocklyn Homes. Before the home building business, David owned and operated a paving company until he was inspired to use a family piece of land to start building homes. We’re grateful he did! Here at Rocklyn, we are a full-service home building company, and that means we develop, design, and build all our own neighborhoods, creating distinct individual communities in the process. This fact sets us apart from the competition; it enables us to move quickly through all parts of the development and building process, allowing us to adapt to new scenarios with confidence. “At the heart of the business is people,” he continues. “In fact, our people are the only reason we are in business. The pandemic certainly created challenges on the personal side of things, so we try to arrange plenty of team building activities throughout the year to keep people in touch and bring them together, especially those who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to see or speak to each other. However, Rocklyn’s conception of its people also naturally extends to its customers. To that end, we run a simple but beneficial referral program, allowing homeowners to refer friends and family to our services. When they fill these forms out and refer someone, they are then given certain credits and prizes for doing so.”

Why Rocklyn? Moving away from the myriad accolades and awards the company has won, another prominent way that Rocklyn is making its name known is through a high-profile partnership with the Atlanta Falcons. The popular NFL team, which competes in the National Football Conference, is not only an instantly recognizable name for those in the Atlanta area, but it also carries a certain kind of cultural weight. Indeed, not every company will be approached to partner with a conference-winning football team. “We are avid Atlanta Falcons fans – as individuals and as a company,” Jack comments. “We were approached by the Falcons’ marketing team to become their exclusive builder. That means we can promote our company at games and use their logo on our print material. As a result, this has allowed us to display our continued, passionate support of the home team, which in turn offers



us a platform to show our commitment to the

can fall in love with for a lifetime. Rocklyn also

buyers very soon: Hawthorne Station, Spring

greater Atlanta community.”

makes it easy for first-time buyers to step onto

Valley, and Beverley Heights, all of which will

the property ladder, guiding them through

offer a variety of homes within the $200,000 to

build beautiful and well-constructed homes at a

the entire process – from sales and design to

$400,000 pricing bracket and from 1400 square

reasonable price. By bolstering its builds with a

closing and post-closing.

feet up to 2000 square feet in terms of size.

Rocklyn was founded with a simple vision: to

keen passion for spacious interiors and attractive

In Atlanta, the company is known for many

As Jack makes clear, however, these

exteriors, the Georgia-based company draws

local developments, including Bentley Estates,

developments are just one string to Rocklyn’s

from the expertise of its knowledgeable team,

Cannon Trace, and Renaissance at South Park.

giant bow at present. “We are currently in the

strongly experienced in building, design, and

Three more developments are now in the

process of finalizing a video series we are calling

customer care, to create homes that customers

pipeline and will be available for prospective

‘Why Rocklyn,’ which will demonstrate our




commitment to the company’s culture and

the challenges we have seen in the supply

its build quality,” he details. “We are hoping to

chain since the pandemic. Fortunately, we

commit to taking on larger orders.

finish the series within the next few weeks.

have a large purchasing power dynamic,

family-operated firm with the ability to make

But we’re also exploring new ways to combat

and that means, unlike many others, we can

decisions quickly, especially when it comes

“As mentioned previously, we are a small,

to product changes,” Jack adds. “In turn, these factors help us to adapt and switch products on the move, particularly when we are hit with supply chain constraints or when a part is specifically requested by a customer. We are also welcoming more customers into our design studio – an amazing 5000-squarefoot space that allows buyers to come in and customize their homes. It gives them an opportunity to see and touch the materials that will end up being installed in their dream build.” That final point is one worth pausing on since, as anyone who has done so before will attest, there are few experiences like selecting all the different options and upgrades that will be incorporated in your new home. Tailoring it to individual wants and needs, choosing everything from the flooring to the faucets, the whole process is an opportunity that many homeowners will never get. Fortunately, Rocklyn’s own design studio offers new buyers a stress-free and seamless experience, offering soon-to-be homeowners the confidence and ability to personalize their purchase, turning it from a new house into a familiar home. Visitors to the design space, which is located just outside of Atlanta in Duluth, Georgia and is staffed by two full-time professional interior designers, can expect a detailed and ordered process. Buyers can examine exterior options (brick, stone, paint



colors, and other features) and investigate

As it turns towards life after the pandemic,

expect to generate more of the same growth we

imaginative interiors (over 75 options of fixtures,

Rocklyn is ready for a future of continued

are currently experiencing and expand into new

railings, appliances, wood treads, carpeting

growth. “We are building and developing

markets across the southeast.” F

choices, and kitchen fitting options are available).

as quickly as we can to keep up with the

In the tile section alone, there are over 160

incredible demand that we are seeing,” explains

selections to choose from, indicating that this is

Jack. “We may not have a record-setting year

a truly bespoke experience. The on-site interior

because we have sold through our inventory

designers efficiently guide customers through

quicker than we have been able to develop,

the process, meaning that any concerns can be

but we are preparing for another great year.

addressed quickly and with care.

Looking further ahead, in several years’ time, we

Rocklyn Homes Services: Home builder




Inspired by design Defined by its sophisticated and timeless homes, 5th Avenue continues to create stunning communities where no project is the same




or 5th Avenue, homebuilding is about more than just houses. The company continually strives to create thriving communities based on quality,

craftsmanship and creativity. Known for its adaptability, hands-on approach and wealth of homebuilding experience, 5th Avenue now looks to expand its geographical reach, and provide even more buyers with the opportunity to make their unique vision a reality. Founded on the desire to provide buyers with the highest level of quality construction available in the custom market, 5th Avenue has seen ongoing success since its inception. As Vice President of Sales, Alexa Dimperio details: “It’s been a real journey since starting 5th Avenue Construction. The company was founded in 2009, building custom single-family homes in Lemont and Naperville, where we still do much of our work today. “Fast forward 12 years and we have a number of communities in Lemont, Plainfield and Naperville. We completed over 90 homes in the Glens of Connemara and are currently wrapping up 30 single-family homes in the Estates of Montefiori. At the moment, our remaining community is Derby Pines - an eight-lot cul-de-sac community in Lemont off of Archer Road. Our communities are made up of single-family homes that buyers can customize and upgrade according to their wants and needs. “We have always been focused on building homes that buyers can retreat to and build a life in,” she confirms. “People come to us with a vision, and our objective is bringing that MODERNHB.COM



vision to life. We have a range of services in our

communication, which means we are adept at

portfolio, including custom teardowns, new

cross-collaboration, both with our home buyers

developments, and renovations.”

and with other members of the team.”

As a boutique home builder, 5th Avenue is

“That being said, we don’t want to overwhelm buyers. We’re here to listen to their needs and then use our industry insight and

run by a tight-knit group of experts. “Our work

Working in partnership

expertise to provide them with information on

is incredibly niche. We offer a more intimate,

The smooth synergy between everyone at

what is possible, what constraints are in place,

personalized service, which means that our size

5th Avenue allows the company to provide

and how we could go about achieving their

can often work to our advantage. Our team

buyers with a flexible, informed, and effective

goals in a practical manner.

takes a hands-on approach in an effort to build

service from beginning to end. As Alexa

and maintain strong relationships with our

discusses: “One thing that makes us unique is

very in-depth planning and selection process.

buyers that extend long after closing.

flexibility for customization. Buyers who come

If someone signs a contract tomorrow,

to us for a home can really do whatever they

we can start getting plans drawn up with

Everyone is confident and experienced in

want, whether that means moving walls

our architect and engineer that same day.

their role, which means they are capable

around and reworking a plan we already

Everything at 5th Avenue is done in-house,

of being autonomous and independent,

have, or starting entirely from scratch and

so it’s not as if buyers are bringing in their

whilst working together to achieve our goals.

working off square footage. Buyers aren’t

own plans or architects. Instead, we form

We are dedicated to totally transparent

necessarily locked into option A, B, or C - their

a partnership with our clients, working

“Our team works incredibly well together.


choices are pretty much endless.


“Additionally, we are known for having a

collaboratively to create a comprehensive

that information, we can build a budget around

plan for their home.


“Once the plan is 100 percent complete, our

With numerous other exciting projects

buyers come in for the selection process. They

nearing completion, the next few months are

meet with our designers and go through all

full of opportunity for 5th Avenue, as Alexa

of the materials and design elements of the

confirms: “We have properties, in progress,

home. We allow our buyers to take as much

available for sale in Naperville. We also have a

time as they need for the selection process;

brand-new townhome development, Reilly’s

whether that’s two months or six months. It’s

Meadow, in Lemont that is set to break ground

all about their timeline and how quickly they

this summer. The site will be comprised of 20

want to get things done. After all, building your

townhomes, which will be released in phases.

own home is supposed to be an exciting and

We aim to release the first round in July of 2022.

fun process, we don’t want to rush them. In

These are perfect for buyers who are looking to

addition, the more time we spend in planning,

downsize or are looking for change, so that’s a

the more we can guide our buyers and help

very desirable, opportunistic parcel.

them get the most out of their build.”

“In the long run, our main goal is just to continue building the homes of our buyers’

Building dreams

dreams while supporting the communities in

A keen insight into contemporary housing

which they live. We are always looking for land,

styles has helped 5th Avenue to create

and in the next few years we plan to expand

custom homes that are inspired by modern

to South Florida where we can continue to

approaches. “Our home designs are influenced

grow our brand and prosper as a company,”

by market trends, and popular buyer

she concludes. F

5th Avenue Construction Services: Custom homebuilder

preferences. It’s really important that we understand what buyers are seeing value in currently, and what factors go into making specific designs more effective than others. “As a boutique custom homebuilder, we pride ourselves on building distinctive homes - homes that stand out in a neighborhood and really capture your attention,” says Alexa. One of the company’s most recent projects, 12891 Collina Lane, epitomizes 5th Avenue’s unique blend of contemporary style and bespoke charm. “12891 Collina Lane was an exciting project for us, so it was all hands-on deck for sure! The community was originally a large venue, which was then developed into the Estates of Montefiori, consisting of 35 single family homesites. “12891 Collina Lane was originally planned as a model home. We were open from 11am-4pm every Saturday and Sunday where prospects would visit, or I would hold buyer meetings. It’s not about selling that specific property, but more about showcasing the potential of the community and the kind of spaces we can build there. “Buyers go under contract at the base price of their desired floor plan, which includes the land itself. From there, buyers have the flexibility to upgrade options based on their preferences. What are their must-have design elements and amenities? What are their preferences? Using MODERNHB.COM




that’s truly yours Mike Paris

Creating neighborhoods inspired by Sacramento living continues to spell success for BlackPine Communities as it takes on new markets and territories



Molly’s Walk





ince 2010, BlackPine Communities

cohesive sense of style, and a symbiotic

Since last being featured in Modern

(BlackPine) has been dedicated to

relationship to their surrounding towns

Home Builders, BlackPine has experienced

producing high-quality, bold and

and cities. Having successfully adapted to

considerable growth, and broken ground

sophisticated homes for buyers and

the changing market following Covid-19,

on some of its biggest projects yet. “We

renters across the Sacramento region. Driven

BlackPine now looks to extend its reach, and

have grown our team of associates and

by the belief that every home is a sanctuary,

continue work on a number of exciting and

partners, as well as our product diversity

the company builds communities with a

ambitious community projects.

and geographical reach. We have certainly elevated our financial capability, and our ability to take on larger projects. I think probably the biggest focus for us has been expanding the diversity of our product offering, and our top-notch team of associates has been the driving force in bringing new product to market. “We have continued to work in our downtown core area, as well as some inner-city locations, where we do a lot of infill projects. We have also moved to the suburbs. We recently decided to take our urban product and apply it to suburban areas, which has been really successful; we are doing a lot more conventional housing, as well as working with advanced rental communities where we are building singlefamily homes. One of our current projects, which we are now breaking ground on, involves retaining selected home sites

Molly’s Walk



BLACKPINE COMMUNITIES within each community for our LuxeLease

become an important part of the central

whether you buy or rent we want the


downtown grid.

lifestyle to be the same all the way

“It’s going well. We have about 300

“The city is prioritizing housing in the

through,” offers company President and

units in the pipeline that we own, and

evolution of its central core, and ours is very

we are very excited about that. It’s in the

much an urban project, so we are in-keeping

Chief Operating Officer, Mike Paris.

rising Washington District in the City of

with that trend. It’s fun to not only build the

New expectations

West Sacramento, across the river from

homes, but go back and think of a concept

These accomplishments have been hard

downtown Sacramento in North California,

that can be executed across an entire

earned for BlackPine, as the company was

and we are really excited because it’s a newly

community. We are trying to make our brand

also faced with numerous challenges as

redeveloped region for the city that will

synonymous with the ‘single’ experience,

the result of Covid-19. “The pandemic definitely caused challenges for the entire industry. It was the same way for us on the West Coast as it was for builders on the East Coast, none of us really knew how to navigate what we were experiencing, especially at the beginning, when our fundamental operating disciplines were paused,” Mike confirms. “We knew that our number one priority needed to be making sure that our people were safe, and, as more information came out, we followed all of the proper protocols. We wanted to be certain that our people had enough time to spend with their families, especially with the challenges brought on by home schooling and the absence of daycare, so we were

Abbeys Gate



very flexible in terms of letting people work

that would take, and so we decided to be

build, and people really appreciated being

from home. That being said, a lot of people

entirely transparent with the home buyers; we

kept informed. Our customers were equally

still chose to come into the office, which

tried to communicate with them frequently

trying to juggle their own circumstances; it’s

was great because we had been deemed an

about any challenges that came up with the

been tough on all stakeholders.

essential business in California, and so we still needed our team working on site. “The second thing we focused on was our trades. The biggest challenge we faced there was the fact that our labor force was more or less decimated. We would have 25 houses that needed drywall installation, and only four people were available to hang it. The initial impact of this meant that our build times were doubled – we went from a seven-month building cycle, to 12 or even 13 months, more or less overnight. It was something we just had to work through, until conditions improve. “Thirdly, we made the decision early on to accept the ‘new normal’. We realized that there would be considerable effects on the industry, but that over time a new kind of equilibrium would be reached. We didn’t know how long




“The reality is that the world has changed. We are entering the third year of post-pandemic, and the business is different. We have adapted, and new expectations have been established on every level, and from every corner of our industry. I think our ability to stay nimble, and work under those challenging circumstances, has made us stronger today and positioned us to be strategically adaptable for the future,” he elaborates.

Unique vision The pandemic also prompted numerous changes across the housing sector, as more and more people started remote work. Keeping a keen eye on the market, and remaining flexible, allowed BlackPine to respond effectively to the shifting needs of consumers. As Mike discusses: “The ‘home’ has clearly been redefined over the past couple of years. “I think everybody in the world has re-evaluated the importance of their homes, and it has certainly had a direct impact on employers and workplaces. We are now seeing the home being utilized as a flexible work-from-home space, as well as a classroom for a lot of people. In response to these changes, we are now designing homes that have private spaces in them, for adults and children. We are also making homes more flexible for gathering



together, when those occasions arise.” The company also remains dedicated to Mike’s original vision, working to create genuine communities where people have the security and well-being to thrive. “One of the biggest things we have always been able to do is look beyond the house and find the home in it. People often purchase homes

“In five years’ time, I would love to see the

to manage. The pandemic really did

based on how they feel, and so we strive to

company continue to grow and prosper. We

accelerate a lot of things, and I think we

create entire areas that bring on a positive

haven’t had a strict forward-looking strategy,

will need to continue moving and growing

emotion. After all, our projects are about

however, for the years ahead, we fully

into new market areas – our brand is

the whole community, not just a single

recognize the importance in advancing our

scalable. Ultimately, our success lies in

house. That’s always been our belief, and it’s

fiscal planning and continued commitment

our ability to remain flexible, adaptable

something we have stayed true to as the

to building and working sustainably with the

and responsive to our customers and

company has grown.

community in mind. Furthermore, we aim to

the market as it continues to evolve,” he

continue being adaptable, and evolving with

concludes. F

“Our first community was built in Roseville, which is right outside of Sacramento. The project is called Molly’s Walk, after my daughter,

the market. “I think the next three-to-five years will

and it’s a single-themed village full of English-

be very interesting for BlackPine and the

inspired cottages. It turned out wonderfully,

construction industry as a whole. There

even though at the time people thought I was

will undoubtedly be continued economic

crazy. I always knew that people wanted to feel

and social effects from the pandemic, and

happy and safe when they came home from

there is still a lot of supply chain disruption

BlackPine Communities Services: Community developers

work each day, and that’s why the community was so well received. “Our offering is diverse, but consistent. We provide people with something uniquely different, and we stay true to that original vision. The company has now built a brand that brings value to the communities it builds. Not every home has to have the same style, we have moved further away from homogenous production housing into more personalized homes, but we still like to keep a sense of coherence throughout the community,” he asserts.

Moving and growing The prevailing belief in the power of community has helped BlackPine see enduring success. Today, the company continues work on a number of major projects, including 700 PARC on Main, an urban downtown development in the City of Vacaville, and two large communities in West Sacramento, called Four40 West and Five20 Fifth. It’s an exciting time for BlackPine, as Mike enthuses: “The company is at a pivotal point in its trajectory, and we are about to enter a new chapter. We’ve built great strategic relationships with a number of really highly respected companies, and in the next few years we will continue to expand on those very important and valued relationships. MODERNHB.COM



Signature service

In operation since 2008, White Oak has become a recognized name throughout the southeast US, having successfully built its reputation on an unwavering commitment to quality




hite Oak is the brainchild of Founder and Owner Finn Smith. A building industry professional since the year 2000, Finn worked for a number of home builders in the early stages of his career, building everything from production homes all the way through to custom

homes. After purchasing his first sub-division in his late 20s, things quickly took off: soon enough, Finn was building 350 homes for a large home builder. In 2008, the dawn of the financial crisis brought Finn’s work to a halt, but his ambition remained. So, he founded White Oak. “Originally, White Oak was formed to do anything under the sun,” Finn explains. “We did remodels, we bought a few infill lots and a couple of niche in-town communities around Atlanta, and we grew from there.” Today, the company consists of four principal divisions. White Oak Coastal Homes is responsible for the construction of beautiful homes along the Florida coastline and out along the US Panhandle, while White Oak Renovations operates in Atlanta and the surrounding metro areas, performing high-end remodels. Thirdly, the company’s home building division constructs custom and spec homes in the Atlanta Metro area, in locations including Brookhaven and Alpharetta. Last of all, is White Oak Interiors. The design and decorating team works closely with White Oak’s clients and project managers, managing selections of everything from tiles and countertops, to fabrics and furnishings. As Finn explains, it’s an essential component within White Oak’s turnkey offering.



WHITE OAK “In most home builds, clients have to go

they first receive a plan from an architect, and they continue to spitball ideas at finish level,

chain issues and price increases with

will then take responsibility for the interiors,”

and look for ways to improve the space.”

inflation, we recently secured a warehouse

Finn states. “At White Oak, we’re able to handle

For the industry as a whole, the issues facing

that would allow us to purchase stock

that at the same time. In light of the supply

supply chains throughout the last couple of

ahead of time and keep it in storage,”

chain issues we’re currently facing, it’s worked

years are well documented. However, White

he adds. “Now, if there’s a delay, we’ve

really well in helping our clients to have a

Oak, with a footprint that spans multiple

often ordered so far in advance that our

comfortable experience, in which they can

markets, and a large volume of homes, has

clients won’t ever be impacted. We can

trust in us to deliver everything under roof,

proved itself better than most at weathering

set priorities, too: even if a client has a

efficiently and on-time.”

the storm.

decorator that they’ve used for years, when

Vendor relationships

with an obstacle, expect their customers to

team can shift the focus to tile selection,

Underpinning White Oak’s customer

understand and accept that obstacle too,” Finn

because that’s where the delays are in the

proposition is a relentless commitment to

reflects. “At White Oak, we haven’t taken that

market, and it’s the biggest need.”

its core values of honesty, integrity, passion,

approach. Instead, we thought to ourselves,

teamwork, serving others, and a commitment

‘Yes, this is here, but how can we overcome

key for White Oak to keep abreast of the

to never settle for less than the best. “When

these obstacles and do better for our clients?’

latest developments. “Thanks to a close

a client says, ‘You would have thought you

As such, if a project in Florida is suddenly hit

relationship with our vendors, we do get

were building your own personal home’, it

with the delay of a plumbing fixture, we’re

notified of price increases ahead of time,”

blows me out of the water,” Finn says. “That’s

able to identify that potential delay for every

Finn outlines. “At that point, we can contact

probably the greatest compliment we receive.

other home we’re building, and move that

our clients to inform them, and suggest that

Our teams on the ground get so excited when

item further up in our priority.

we make a certain order straight away.

“There are a lot of builders who, when faced


“Knowing there were going to be supply

and source the decorator themselves, who


they’re discussing paint colors, our design

In such a volatile environment, it’s

“Outside of our project managers and our team, our vendors are one of the largest parts of our success,” Finn insists. “We treat them like clients, and in return, that puts us at the top of their priority list. When supply chain issues arise, they call us first – and that benefits our clients more than anybody. These relationships are the ones people don’t see, but they really make a huge difference in our ability to continue to give our clients an exceptional experience in the home building world.”

Future projects White’s Oak’s extensive list of recent projects includes building homes and the clubhouse/ amenities in the Sugar Sand Development, a very large, private gated community, located along Florida’s Mexico Beach. Without running electricity at the time of the build,

in Georgia, and in the city of Johns Creek, work

White Oak used generators alone to build the

continues apace on large remodels in the Country

and beyond when it comes to realizing its

As ever, White Oak isn’t afraid to go above

community’s new clubhouse, complete with

Club of the South, a private, gated community

clients’ dreams. “We’re currently undertaking a

fitness club and swimming pool. Meanwhile,

encompassing 900 acres, and 745 homes.

$3m-plus remodel for a repeat client, gutting






the main house, and building a detached

talking about you’. We have really become a

to protect your reputation,” he admits. “We’re

garage with living space, an office, a wood

community name: people will say, ‘We want a

not able to accommodate everyone, and our

shop, and an outdoor pool and pickleball

White Oak home’. To become an adjective like

past clients – along with their referrals – will

court,” Finn indicates. “The client was initially

that, it’s credit to what we’re able to do.”

always come first, bar none.

getting rejected for their building permits on

As thoughts turn to the future, White Oak’s

“Nevertheless, to realize the White Oak

account of some ordinances, but thanks to

outlook is firmly positive. “For our interiors

experience, we have to find the personnel that

our good reputation in the community, I was

division, the sky is the limit,” Finn insists. “The

align with our values,” Finn insists. “We want

able to personally meet with the head of the

city of Alpharetta, Georgia, is set to be a big

people who are 100 percent confident: yes, this

local municipality’s building department, walk

one for us this year. The planning department

is where I want to be; yes, serving others is vital;

them through the project, and explain why

has done a great job turning the downtown

yes, it’s important never to settle. By adding

it’s suitable. I can’t tell you how excited we are

into an attractive live-work environment, and

more of these individuals to our team in the

about that project.”

we’ve purchased a number of tear-down

coming years, we’ll be able to accommodate

lots within walking distance, with a view to

more clients, while continuing to deliver our

that customers tend to return to White Oak.

building $3m-plus homes in the coming

signature service.” F

“Almost 100 percent of our business consists

year. We’ve just received a couple of new

of repeat customers,” Finn reveals. “It’s a huge

permits, so we ought to have sticks in the

source of pride for me. There aren’t many

air in the next month or two. It’s such a hot

people who have the opportunity to build

market, and we’re excited to bring to it some

or remodel multiple homes in their lifetime,

awesome designs.”

With such a project in mind, it’s little surprise

but when they do, they realize that they want

For Finn, perhaps the biggest challenge will

that experience again. Otherwise, it’ll be a

be managing White Oak’s inevitable growth.

referral. We’ll get a phone call saying, ‘You built

“In this business, the hardest thing is to say ‘no’,

my friends’ home, and they haven’t stopped

but it’s often the thing that’s most necessary

White Oak

Services: Custom, commercial, and residential home building and interiors design





the future As one of the largest house building associations in the North, Great Places Housing Group provides affordable social housing for the UK. Working in some of the region’s most diverse neighbourhoods, the company works relentlessly to meet the differing needs of the communities it serves



Great Places Head Office


reat Places Housing Group (Great Places) is the result of six different mergers that have taken place since the company’s inception. Each new arm has brought a lasting

cultural impact to the organization and its operation. The latest merger found the business teaming up with Equity Housing Group, which was formed in 1963, and subsequently added an extra ten years to Great Places’ history. “The work we do can be traced back to different organizations,” begins Matthew Harrison, the company’s CEO. “We’ve got quite a bit of stock over in Blackpool for example, where we merged with Windmill Housing Association. Another one was with First Peterloo Housing Association in 1996. That business was a specialist in supported housing, and that is now an aspect that has MODERNHB.COM


GREAT PLACES HOUSING GROUP become intrinsic to what we do here at Great

in society. However, this is only one of the

concept of the project is not unique, we are

Places,” Matthew highlights.

myriad sectors that Great Places supports. “If

one of maybe two other businesses that run

I’m being honest, our work ranges across the

it on a ‘wet house’ philosophy. This means that

activity focuses on establishing independence

A significant proportion of the business’

spectrum of the housing market. We run a

those with a tenancy do not have to abstain

and wellbeing for its customers, particularly for

supported housing scheme for people with an

from drinking, because otherwise they often

those considered to be the most vulnerable

alcohol addiction in Manchester. Although the

prefer to live on the streets, and we wouldn’t be able to help them,” shares Matthew.

Cranford, Stockport

“We also currently run Housing First in Greater Manchester, where we work with other organizations to get people off the streets, and help them sustain their tenancy. We provide homes for older people too and have our General Needs accommodation, which is most of the work that we do, and consists of housing for families, couples and single folk that just need affordable accommodation. “Finally, we also support housing for sale. This aspect is managed through Plumlife, and our market sale is conducted through Cube Homes, which has recently completed a project where the homes sold for over half a million pounds each. So, as you can see, we really tackle the entire range of the market,

Arkwright Place, Gorton

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GREAT PLACES HOUSING GROUP working on a ‘profit for purpose’ basis,” he says. Matthew continues to elaborate on

owns a small market-rented portfolio. With this, we then steer the conversation

“In a similar vein, we’re also involved in Park Hill, Sheffield, which is a Grade

Plumlife and Cube, and how they both

towards the various projects Great Places has

II-star listed apartment scheme. Our role is

successfully contribute to achieving the

fulfilled. As we can imagine, the company’s

mainly concerned with phase one, where

business’ goals in tackling the housing crisis.

portfolio is highly impressive, and Matthew

we own a number of homes and manage

The former specializes primarily in shared

highlights that there are a few of which he

the block - we’ve also got an office there.

ownership and leasehold management.

is particularly proud. “We’ve been involved

The building is internationally renowned,

“We even manage a marina in Manchester

in some very interesting regeneration

which, again, is a great thing to be

through Plumlife. We are one of the largest

projects. We got involved in New Islington,

associated with,” Matthew shares.

organizations operating this kind of activity

Manchester, where 20 years ago, we were

in the north of England.” Complementing

selected to be the organization that provided

Consistency of delivery

Plumlife is Cube Homes, the company’s

homes for people whose properties were

Most notably, Great Places has been

commercial developer division. As Matthew

being cleared. Today, we’ve got two more

successful in its bid to become a Homes

referred to, this arm develops housing for

schemes in that area, which we’re very

England strategic partner, through which

market sale. It is entirely market facing and

pleased to be involved with.

£241m of funding will enable Great Places to develop 4,920 grant-funded

Parkhill, Sheffield

homes across the North by 2028. “It’s obviously a significant undertaking for the organization, and it definitely has the majority of our attention right now. We have to establish the necessary resources to complete this work, and it is by far the single biggest project that we have ever been a part of. We are working incredibly hard to gain real momentum, but we are also so proud of our track record, which has helped establish the reputation we have to be trusted to deliver a programme of this scale. The top of our priority list is to commit everything we have to fulfil those contractual obligations.” A project of this size requires a reliable and hard-working team, which, for Matthew, is the essence of what makes Great Places the exemplary business that it is today. “We’ve built a strong set of stakeholder relationships based on consistency of delivery. One of the best messages that we get back from our stakeholders is that the organization has a reputation for delivering on its promises. We believe strongly in fantastic customer service, and we want to be recognized as

Shorrock Lane, Blackburn

a business that supports a social purpose that everyone can relate to.

Powell Hardware Powell Hardware is proud to be a valued supply partner to Great Places and take part in this wonderful editorial. We have been supplying Great Places for five years with a large array of products. Whatever their needs, we can be trusted to source and supply Ironmongery and associated items. Andrew Melia (Powell Hardware General Manager) said, “We have a fantastic relationship with Great Places. We deliver several full van loads to their warehouse every week, and even stock a range of more specialist items just for them.”



GREAT PLACES HOUSING GROUP Islington Square, New Islington, Manchester



“Our business model is predicated on the

example, which we all know has been at

“I think the housing market is going to

notion of being financially resilient, and if

the top of everyone’s priority following

experience a continuous restructuring as

we maintain that, then we will be able to

the Grenfell catastrophe. We need to be

we go forward, which means that when it

continue to deliver on all the projects that

cognisant of the resources issues, both

comes to balancing financial stability and

we want to. This also depends hugely on

human and financial, to guarantee that we

close-customer relationships, finding that

the team that we have; without them, we

complete our work on time, and that our

sweet spot for many companies will be

couldn’t do this work. I cannot emphasize

customers are safe.

difficult, but I know we can do it.” Despite

enough that at every level, our goal is to

“Although the market right now is

these ever-growing challenges, Matthew

support our social purpose and persevere in

turbulent, and there is still a great demand for

concludes by adding that his biggest hope

the work we do,” shares Matthew.

our housing. We have to ensure that in every

for Great Places is to remain an influential

project we are providing excellent homes,

voice in the market place, which will only

regardless of the difficulties that we run into.”

happen if the Group stays true to its social

He also shares that he cannot talk about the organization’s social responsibilities without including its drive for a greener

For Matthew, the highest priority is for

purpose. With this, he feels the business

future. At the moment, the business is in the

customers of Great Places to be well looked

will maintain its position as a key player in

process of navigating eco-friendly waters to

after. As the conversation turns to the

the UK’s housebuilding industry for many

ensure accurate execution, as some of the

future, we ask him what his hopes are for his

more years. F

homes it owns will be difficult to move to

business as it tries to mitigate the current

net zero. “Over the last two years, we have

issues surrounding the house building

been developing a strategy to get our Net

industry. “We have to remain resilient to these

Zero goals off the ground, but this is proving

challenges. They aren’t going to go away any

to be a bit tricky. For example, we own over

time soon, which means that we need to do

1,000 pre WW1 terrace houses and, as you

our level best to ensure we can rise above

can imagine, those present a number of

them, and provide for our customers.

Great Places Housing Group Services: Home building association

challenges with regards to their sustainability potential, because of the era in which they were built.

Influential voice “Our policy right now is to be driven by data, and try to ensure that we have as good a dataset as possible to make informed decisions about how to move forward. We’re working towards our EPC C as a minimum standard by 2028, and we are well on our way to achieving that. This is the first step on the journey to achieving our Net Zero targets,” he shares. Today, the reality of the house building industry in the UK is riddled with challenges; from supply chain issues, to the increased cost of living, and each of these plays their role in elevating the current housing crisis. For Matthew, the future of the business will be to ensure that its customers are able to depend on secure and affordable housing, through an organization that takes pride in its responsibilities to the community. “We’re part of a consortium called OSHA (Off Site Homes Alliance), which looks at developing modular housing options, so that we can provide capacity to meet the growing demand. Furthermore, we also have to ensure that all our stock is surpassing industry standards, such as fire safety, for MODERNHB.COM



Quality, efficiency, and speed In less than a decade, Modern Homes Ireland has managed to disrupt the residential construction sector in its home country with an innovative, game-changing offsite volumetric build process – now the pioneering home builder is looking for a new challenge overseas



stablished in 2015, Modern Homes

focused on low-rise residential building, it soon

certified by the National Standards Authority of

Ireland (MHI) has completed more than

transitioned to mid-rise residential units like

Ireland (NSAI), the Ballyjamesduff-based builder

650 homes and 2,500 modular units.

apartments and duplexes. Moreover, as the

has recently begun constructing ten-story

Though the fledgling business initially

country’s only volumetric housing provider

residential units up to 30 meters in height.


studying the unique home building system as implemented in parts of the UK, Europe, and the US. Building on the benefits of the process and mitigating its limitations, MHI soon established its own pioneering volumetric building methodology, investing heavily in technology, people, and the required facilities. With the backing of Dutch construction giant, the Royal BAM Group, MHI has since gone from strength-to-strength despite recent challenges in the global economy. Discussing offsite volumetric building in innovation was amplifying the rising issue of

more detail is Micheál Keohane, Director at

Cavan, MHI was born out of a gap in the wider

Operating out of a small rural town in County

Ireland’s housing crisis. Motivated to address

Modern Homes Ireland, who offers an insight

home building market. As the company saw

this apparent gap, MHI conducted in-depth

into the groundbreaking process behind the

it, the sector’s relative lack of technological

research in offsite volumetric manufacturing,

company’s year-on-year success: “To begin MODERNHB.COM


MODERN HOMES IRELAND with, we take a roll of standard, light-gauged raw steel product, and then we use our computer editing CAD/CAM software to program an in-house design for the project. We input that design into our roll forming and bending machines, which then process the raw steel into elements for our modules. The machines will give each element a unique manufacturing code, which our team will then use throughout the factory production process. The bespoke, highly-specialized CAD/CAM process sets us apart from both the competition and results in about an 80 percent reduction in waste compared to traditional construction methods. Furthermore, since everything is made in a factory-controlled environment, we’re able to carry our 48 different quality control stages for each individual module – eight times more than you could possibly make on a construction site. “From an environmental perspective, the reduction in waste from offsite volumetric building is significant,” he adds. “As a company, we’ve been able to reduce our embodied carbon by more than 40 percent. With high performance standards and a streamlined manufacturing process comes speed, and with speed comes less energy demands. In four short hours, we have the capacity to install a standard house via six different modules, make them weathertight, and finish them to about 90 percent completion – all without compromising on quality. The only challenge of this process is the initial rapid-fire design required. While foundations are being dug, we’re already selecting which door and window handles to use! Ultimately, however, we see this an additional strength of the overall process; it means we can have up to 60 modules on the factory floor at any one time, allowing our architects and engineers to witness the build materialize and enabling them to carry out further checks on top of our already well-established quality control methods.”

Sophisticated facilities One example of MHI’s trailblazing process stands tall in Dublin’s city center. As part of an affordable homes project with Clúid Housing (Clúid), a local not-forprofit Approve Housing Body, MHI constructed an entire block of 20 apartments through its offsite volumetric build process. Over 90 percent of the build took place in the company’s Ballyjamesduff factory, granting a 50 percent faster build time and offering significant cost savings. Indeed, the ingenious construction solution was crucial for the incredibly confined site; the planned apartment block was hemmed in by a listed building on one



side and a building just five meters away on the

certain projects paused until the market

for local authority housing and will also

other. To top it off, directly adjacent to the block

becomes less volatile, which only serves to

incorporate our offsite volumetric build process.

was a river. However, by lifting the 46 required

exacerbate the national demand for more

Looking further ahead, within the next five years,

modules over the four-story listed building, MHI

housing. That has, in part, led to our first project

I’d love to see MHI deliver over 1000 homes and

was able to fully install the modern block of

outside of Ireland: an exciting 254-home

apartments per year. To achieve this figure, we’ve

apartments in just over two weeks.

development in Blackridge, between Glasgow

begun to study robotics and automation as a

The logistical backbone of the entire MHI

and Edinburgh, called Redburn Meadows.

means to further increase our efficiency and

operation is almost as impressive as the offsite

We’re currently in the design process and

thus reduce our carbon footprint. Indeed, in

volumetric process itself. To achieve the

are expecting to move onsite this summer.

the same time frame, we want to demonstrate

company’s unrivalled efficiency rate, as Micheál

The project in Blackridge reflects a wider

a reduction of between 60 and 70 percent in

informs us, a mammoth facility fitted with the

goal of building more homes across the UK,

terms of embodied carbon and electrify our

latest technology is required. “We work out of a

particularly since the Royal BAM Group has

fleet as part of a wider company transition to

200,000-square-foot building,” he explains. “Our

unified its UK and Ireland division, allowing us

greener delivery methods. Coupling these two

unique manufacturing process requires a pretty

to grasp even more opportunities as they arise.”

intrinsically linked elements – automation and

large footprint: we have a moving floor system,

Quality, efficiency, and speed – the three

comprised of different work beds, which all our

tenets underpinning MHI’s pioneering vision.

modules sit on, facilitating the efficient delivery

As Micheál has made abundantly clear

of modules to different work zones – each with

throughout our interview, the company shows

its own materials, activity, and quality control

no signs of dropping its standards or of slowing

processes. We also utilize BIM 360, a construction

down. “We will be soon starting another project

field management software, to monitor quality

with Clúid in Ireland,” he concludes. “Located in

processes in the factory and take photographs

Gorey, County Wexford, this development will

and videos of commissioned tests.

be the first of the charity’s new 3D framework

sustainability – will be a big part of our future going forward.” F

Modern Homes Ireland Services: Modern home builder

“In terms of design, we’ve just implemented a software enabling us to deliver generative designs for apartments,” says Micheál. “That means, on the computer, we can pick a site, map it out, and then automatically generate up to 20 different designs for our apartments, all of which will be tailored to suit different customer requirements. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) also plays a big part in creating these tailored solutions. RFID trackers fitted to modules not only allow us to monitor every unit as it moves through our factory but also enables the end user to scan that RFID code and bring up an original operation and maintenance manual for the house or apartment. Many years into the future, then, homeowners will be able to accurately find out where each individual door, window, and handle is from.”

Automation and sustainability Despite challenges brought about by Covid-19 and Brexit, the acute attention to detail described by Micheál has ensured MHI’s year-on-year growth. Yet, as he also keenly observes, external market pressures have motivated the company to look for business overseas. “The Irish home building industry is in a difficult place,” he admits. “Inflation has caused materials to wildly fluctuate in terms of price, and that has meant some developments have become increasingly unaffordable. In fact, we’re currently seeing MODERNHB.COM



Enjoy the

journey CRx Construction has become renowned for building beautiful beachside homes. With a preference for Delaware’s southern coastline, the company takes pride in its collaborative approach and attention to detail







Rx Construction (CRx) began

homes, which led to the development of his

values, and we want to be a trusted partner

homebuilding with the intention

own homebuilding business. “There were some

for our clients throughout the process of

of creating memorable luxury

things I wanted to do differently, so I took the

establishing their dream home,” he begins.

homes along Rehoboth Beach and

best aspects from my previous experience and

Dewey Beach. In speaking with the company’s

introduced my own adjustments to areas that I

with the customer has led to admirable

President, Dion Lamb, we learn about the

felt could be improved.

innovation in home design. “We really do

importance of customer collaboration in

“When I started the business, I never

Under Dion’s leadership, working closely

follow the lead of our clients. Before we

bringing these projects to life, and how

understood why there had to be an adversarial

begin, our very first step is to discuss what is

the business has utilized this key factor to

relationship between builder and client, I

important to them, and the type of aesthetic

complete award-winning projects.

wanted our model to be focused on customer

they want. We have a detailed list of questions

advocacy, which led to what has become our

designed to provoke discussion to help us and

production builder in the custom home

Dion, who previously worked for a larger

collaborative process. At CRx, our primary goal

the client uncover what they really want. Only

division, quickly took to creating bespoke

is customer happiness; it is one of our core

once that has been finalized, do we bring in our expertise to make the project happen. We

We want to support everybody, and subsequently, we have created a flexible workplace where our staff are able to balance their work and personal life comfortably. If they need to be with their family, for example, for whatever reason, we try to make sure those things are taken care of, like a family should

are always on the lookout for better ways to operate, which is often achieved by working closely with our clients,” says Dion. He adds that CRx is also the type of business to draw inspiration from the latest trends in design, which means that the team is constantly observing its environment for innovative ideas regarding home construction. In addition to the value CRx places on its relationships with clients, the company is also



strategic about its projects, and ensures that

Despite the fact that CRx began building

with each contract, the team is engaged and

custom homes as recently as 2016, it has already

to deliver the vision we had at the start of

“When the new owner took over, we tried

dedicated to constructing the best home

been ranked number one on for its

the project. It was really special for that one

possible. “We don’t take on an excessive

work across the Rehoboth Beach and Dewey

to come together as beautifully as it did. It’s

amount of work at once because we want to

Beach region. “Our first award-winning home

a gorgeous house that is both classic and

make sure we don’t spread our resources too

was an extremely modern house, for which we

modern, with large overhangs, tons of glass,

thin. This allows us to invest a high level of

received the ‘Best Luxury Custom Home Design’

and a lovely courtyard and pool area that looks

focus for our clients,” he says.

from The Builders & Remodelers Association

like it has always been part of the surrounding

of Delaware. That project had a lot of ups and

landscape. There, you’ll find a stand-alone

Client experience

downs, the most significant being the fact that

screened porch area that looks out to the pool,

Our conversation then arrives at the crux of

the original owner of the house fell sick and

as well as an outdoor kitchen space and bocce

today’s discussion: the company’s projects.

sadly passed away.

ball court behind it.

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award-winning projects. “We want to support

is important - but for us, it’s about whether

works at the moment as well. We have an

“We have some fantastic projects in the

everybody, and subsequently, we have

they enjoy the journey, and the team we have

ocean-front house we are working on in

created a flexible workplace where our staff

appreciates and embraces that.”

Fenwick Island, and we are doing a large

are able to balance their work and personal

modern house overlooking the water in

life comfortably. If they need to be with their

Beautiful future projects

Lewes, which I am really excited about too.

family, for example, for whatever reason, we

This sort of unity and family spirit served the

Furthermore, we are also getting ready to do

try to make sure those things are taken care

business well during the pandemic when

a personal home for the architect, who does a

of, like a family should.

being onsite proved to be difficult, and the

massive amount of our design work, and that is going to be a real show piece,” Dion highlights.

team had to depend on each other to work

with our corporate philosophy, because

through unexpected disruptions. “We did

we want to make sure that everyone here

fantastically to be honest. Fortunately, we were

size and detail are actually brought together by

understands why we prioritize the client

allowed to continue working, but we took the

a fairly small team at CRx. However, according

experience. For us, this work is not just about

necessary precautions, of course. Our project

to Dion, the closely-knit group is precisely

the end of project, or whether the client

timelines were extended slightly, but we also

why the company is able to complete its

likes the look of the house - obviously that

noticed that everyone adjusted to the changes

It may come as a surprise that projects of this


“We don’t hire anyone who is not onboard


Our conversation then draws to a close on

trajectory, so we will continue to expand in the

the topic of the next five years. Dion hopes

ways that I think will serve us well, so that we can

that within this time frame, CRx will expand

keep creating these stunning high-end luxury

pretty quickly. The pandemic also brought in a

by approximately 25 percent. This growth,

builds for our clients.” F

great deal of projects for us as clients chose to

however, will not only see an increase in the

make the most of working from home, which,

size of its team, but also in its expertise to

in our area, was right next to the beach. We

remain a leading name in the Rehoboth and

saw a heavy influx of business as a result of this.

Dewey Beach area. “We like the ability to stay

Our team was diligent and dedicated, and I

focused on specific sets of projects. Having

could not be prouder.”

said that, we risk the possibility of remaining

Dion shares that the company has now

CRx Construction Services: Luxury homebuilder

stagnant if we don’t push for any sort of growth

been primed for forward-thinking when it comes to ordering materials in advance to stay ahead of any possible delays. “We were the same as everyone else in that respect. We were so used to receiving our supplies as and when we needed them, which has made adjusting a bit tricky, but in the grand scheme of our work, I know it will serve us better in the long run,” he shares. Now, with a few projects in the pipeline, and a hardworking team, 2022 is set to be a promising year for CRx. “We have a very traditional Cape Cod-style, 6000-square-foot house underway right now that is going to be beautiful, and we will also be finishing an oceanfront house in August. Added to that, we have a really unique project with a client who holds two lots connecting between two different streets, with an existing house on one lot. So, we are doing a very large-scale renovation with a big chunk of it consisting of new construction that will tie the lots together. It is a very unique set up utilizing a C-shaped design to highlight a central courtyard and pool that will be visible from most of the home. The clients for this project are amazing. This project has also given us the opportunity to work with Weeth Home on the interior design which we have been looking for the right opportunity to do for a couple of years. We are super excited to see the final product,” Dion says. MODERNHB.COM



Camerio Builders

Proudly improving lives since 2009, Camerio Builders is more than ready to take adapted housing to the next level by providing clients with beautifully bespoke custom living arrangements



Photography credit - Chandler Collier, Southern Aerial Perspectives

Travis Camerio President at Camerio Builders

... If more learn about it, then there will be even more hands to help those in need. Indeed, with the right team, focused on innovative living for people with disabilities, we will be able to help people live more comfortably, with a renewed sense of independence, for the rest of their lives





have a unique situation,” begins Travis

mind, Lou developed several homes for people

Camerio, President at Camerio Builders. “I

with disabilities, knowing more than others

began what it does best: building homes,” he

grew up in the building industry. My father,

about the various but specific challenges that

adds. “We carry out workers’ compensation

Lou Camerio, was a track home builder and

come with having a disability. In a show of

claims for those who have suffered terrible

developer. He built homes for over 45 years.

appreciation, the Camerio family donated the

injuries, and we’re widely recognized for

One day, however, he suffered a catastrophic

proceeds to the Shepherd’s Center.

our homes that have been built for aging

spinal cord injury (SCI) while playing tennis.

in place and disabled veterans. Considering

I was only 14 at the time. He spent some

story of his father, as well as the hands-on

the latter, Vietnam veterans often suffer from

time in Atlanta’s Shepherd Center, a hospital

experience he had living with someone in

complications due to Agent Orange, from

specializing in injuries such as his.

need of assistance due to an injury, Travis set

Parkinson’s disease to amyotrophic lateral

“I’ll never forget the day he came home in


A unique situation, indeed. Inspired by the

“With this in mind, Camerio Builders

up Camerio Builders with a specific mission in

sclerosis (ALS), which means there are many

a wheelchair,” he continues, offering us the

mind. “In September 2009, I started Camerio

unknown factors at play – it’s difficult to

story behind the successful business he so

Builders, focusing on renovations for veterans

predict exactly what they will need. As an

proudly leads. “We had to figure out how to

through the Veterans Affairs’ Specially Adapted

approved contractor for Veterans Affairs,

get him into the house, and then into the

Housing program (SAH),” Travis says. “Yet, the

however, we’re always able to accommodate

bathroom. We needed to solve a number of

more projects I completed, the more I realized

for individual circumstances.”

challenges which we were unprepared to

there was a large demand for people like me.

However, disability can affect anyone –

take on at the time.”

That is, not only someone with a long career

regardless of age or occupation. Accessibility

Lou made a strong recovery. But he also

in the home building industry (I had already

is, moreover, a beneficial endeavor for all.

came out the other side with a unique point

worked with my father for over 20 years), but

In this sense, Camerio Builders is devoted

of view on the struggles of living in a domestic

someone who also knows the importance of

to building beautiful bespoke homes for

setting while recovering from a life-changing

gaining independence in the aftermath of an

anyone who is aging. Even if they are perfectly

injury. With this unique perspective firmly in

injury or because of a disability.

healthy, the home that someone wants


to live in for the rest of their life will need adapting eventually. Therefore, each home developed by the Georgia-based team is custom fitted with universal design features, accessible design features, and planning for the future, regarding any situation. Wider hallways and doorways, roll-in step-less entries and emergency exits, and curb-less roll-in customized showers are just the beginning of the list of features included in Camerio Builders homes. “We take pride in making our homes accessible, however appearing like regular homes,” said Travis.

The Dream Team These projects are not simple, they are beyond custom. Each person [client] is unique in their own way, and therefore the project will be custom to fit for them. Therefore, a team effort, buoyed by expert craftmanship, is required to meet the needs of each client. As Travis makes clear: “A builder should never attempt a specialized project for someone with a disability on their own. It takes multiple people who are specialists in their field to make these formulated the dream team. Our most recent project, the Perez project, was successful because we worked so well together. Functionality and client independence are our top priorities. We were all experienced in doing home assessments, designing for aging in place and for people with disabilities.”

© 2022 CAMBRIA || 812102_AD

types of projects successful. Therefore, we

The Dream Team began with Jane Norman who served as the rehabilitation and disability case manager and life care planner for the Perez project. “It was my job to find not just experts, but the right experts for this case,” said Jane Norman (RN). She is a Certified Disability Management Specialist (CDMS), a Certified Nurse Life Care Planner (CNLCP), and a Legal Nurse Consultant Certified (LNCC). The Occupational Therapist was Peggy Freedman, Clinical Director for The Freedman Group. It was her reports which were the foundation for the entire project. “During the process I was the individual who determined what modifications needed to be made and


how the space should be constructed for function and safety,” said Peggy. “Our team had a great working relationship, and each one of them understood the skills and expertise of

DRAMATIC BY DESIGN American-made Cambria quartz surfaces.

each other so that the finished home would be perfect.”




For Travis, there’s no better example

brilliant team, we were able to design and

the equipment and mobility specialist

to evidence the incredible team behind

build a custom home and a rehabilitation

for the Perez Project. Garol is a Certified

Camerio Builders than with the Perez project.

facility for Juan and his family.”

Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) and a

He tells us the life-changing story behind

Certified Home Adaptation Modification

the home: “While on a business trip in

conducive to his types of injuries, and it was so

Professional (CHAMP). Installing features

Amsterdam, the taxi in which Juan Perez sat

frustrating to see that and feel almost helpless.

such as the elevator, overhead track

in was hit by a tram which had derailed,” he

He now has a space where everything is tailor-

system and supplying the client with

explains. “He was on his way home from a

made for Juan’s needs, not just now but for

all the proper custom fitted specialty

corporate meeting. The accident left Juan

the future, and it makes our life as a family so

equipment such as power wheelchairs and

with severe injuries, including a fractured

much easier,” said Tracy Perez.

the proper hospital bed. “For me, it was a

shoulder, internal damage, and a traumatic

wonderful opportunity to collaborate with

brain injury. As a result, he needed many

to the main floor, zero-degree entries, bed

such an experienced team on the entire

modifications made to his home. That way,

rails, blackout motorized blinds, well-lit and

project working toward the best possible

he could live comfortably, surrounded

widened hallways, built-in furniture, grab

outcome,” said Garol.

by family once more. With the help of my

bars, touchless faucets, roll-in showers, as well

Garol Orr, owner of 101 Mobility was



“The facilities Juan was in were just not

Overhead track systems, elevator access

Sensory room

as safety systems like induction range and

new construction and has helped with many

Our clients have specific needs. Hence, our prices

rehabilitation features like an infrared sauna.

designs – those homes are beautiful because

need to be specific. To that end, we provide each

The list keeps on going. The myriad features

of her.”

client with a detailed estimate for the work, being

and functions of the house indicate an

In fact, as Travis informs us, the dream team

as thorough as possible, and offering them the

immaculate attention to detail – both in terms

is joining forces once again to better the lives

of the finish and the intricate, complex details

of those in need. “We are in the process of

Designing and building beautifully bespoke

of Juan’s injury and his needs.

formulating a new entity to work through

homes for people with injuries and disabilities is a

the most difficult cases for people who have

truly unique process. Changes are always on the

incredible work, Camerio Builders won two

suffered the most severe catastrophic injuries,”

horizon; new products are always being launched;

national awards from the National Association

he notes. “In this way, our dream team will

lives are always there to be improved.

of Home Builders (NAHB): Remodelers 2021

be a one-stop shop for home assessments,

Award for ‘Entire Home Renovation: Aging-

design, and construction, as well as services in

Camerio Builders continues to find new ways to do

In-Place’ and Best in American Living 2021

medical and mobility consulting, for people

what it does best. “I look forward to our company

Award for ‘Remodel Specialty Project’ – but

with disabilities and injuries who want to

growing, not least because we will then have

the plaudits doesn’t stop there. The team also

modify their homes. Our intention is to make

more time to educate others of this process. If

won two local awards from the Greater Atlanta

their transition back home as seamless as

more learn about it, then there will be even more

Home Builders Association for its superior

possible with all the available resources.”

hands to help those in need. Indeed, with the

The project was a huge success. For its

basement finishing and its addition of a groundbreaking sensory room.

The future is bright for Camerio Builders.

most up to date information as we can.”

Intending to stay at the fore of its industry niche,

right team, focused on innovative living for people

Among its other slated projects is a

with disabilities, we will be able to help people

development in Talmo, Georgia. Though

live more comfortably, with a renewed sense of

for Juan. We also designed it for the needs

still in the early stages of development, the

independence, for the rest of their lives.”

of his 24-hour care givers in mind as well, by

project looks very promising. “It will be a rural

adding a nurses’ bathroom, locker room, and

community of large acre tracks of land,” Travis

and other aging in place custom homes built by

separating the access to the main level of the

elaborates. “Each house will be designed and

Camerio Builders. F

home addressed multigenerational situations.

built to a custom specification by us for aging

We accomplished many breakthroughs

in place. We value the small-town appeal of

in the industry with that project – the

Talmo. It has a lot of character and, therefore,

implementation of a sensory room was the

we want to protect its integrity.

Travis Camerio - Peggy Freedman - Jane Norman - Garol Orr -

“Indeed, we didn’t just design this project

most stunning. Jane and Peggy spend a great

“But we will also be working on several

deal of time on the sensory room and picked

Veterans Affairs jobs, and we’re starting on

out some amazing features. We had several

those now,” adds Travis. “The only problem is

meetings to discuss in detail. It won an award

that we’re facing large challenges in the form

by itself for specialty room, and it serves as a

of increasing construction costs. They change

relaxing and therapeutic space for Juan,” said

daily. I had a building supplier tell me their

Travis. “For the awards, I owe a lot to my wife,

quote was only good for the next five minutes!

Heather Camerio, for instance. Her inspiration,

We’re doing everything we can to keep our

her patience, her support over the years. She

costs down: revising our numbers often in a bid

specializes in aging in place selections for

to remain as competitively priced as possible.

Check out the links below for the Perez project

Camerio Builders Services: Custom Home Builder and Adapted housing specialist




Less is more

Putting quality above quantity for more than two decades, J. Hall Homes remains proud of its well-deserved recognition as Fredericksburg’s go-to custom home builder


e last spoke to J. Hall Homes

awarded ‘Builder of the Year for 2019’ by the

true floorplans like the Lauren II, the Hampton,

several years ago, before the

Fredericksburg Area Builders Association

the Kirkland, and the Hillsborough, as well as

pandemic disrupted life and

(FABA) and ‘Best of the Burg for 2019’ by

custom, bespoke homes tailored to the needs

work and shook-up most

the Free Lance Star, Fredericksburg’s local

of individual clients.

industries in the process. To catch up on all

newspaper, as well as being a named finalist in

Since 1999, Jeff has spearheaded the

that has transpired since then, we sat down

Viridiant’s ‘Building Sustainability Awards’. Then

company with a strong sense of purpose,

with Jeff Hall, President at J. Hall Homes, who

Covid-19 came along, and everything got put

intent on bringing a unique, green home

began with the short answer.

on hold. So that’s where we’re at today.”

building style, as well as quality and integrity,

“The pandemic,” he laughs. “That’s what’s


J. Hall Homes is one of Fredericksburg’s most

happened since we last spoke. It’s funny,

preeminent custom home builders. Across the

just before Covid-19, we were honored

state of Virginia, the company is well-known

with a slew of accolades. The company was

for its high-end, high-value offerings tried and


to the Fredericksburg area and its surrounding communities. “When the pandemic first started, our business didn’t really change,” Jeff continues,

now turning his attention to the long answer.

caused lead times to double and inflation

modelling,” Jeff explains. “We complete all our

“Virginia was considered an open work state,

triggered prices to skyrocket. If it takes 20

designs in-house, and then use 3D modelling

meaning that we weren’t shut down. In fact,

weeks to procure windows, then of course

to share plans with our clients. That way,

we actually had a backlog of clients seeking

you can order things way ahead of time. The

they can walk through the house before its

our design/build services. Despite the threat

problem is, though, that lead times were –

even built. We’re also utilizing virtual services

of Covid-19, we continued to go about our

and still are – constantly changing. A sudden

like Zoom to meet clients and hold design

business, wearing masks and practicing social

change will always cause problems. You have

consultations remotely. We’ve streamlined our

distancing; for the most part, we carried on

to be ready, and you have to adapt. If you’re

entire process. Technology is taking over the

as normal. Then people began to reassess

communicative, most clients understand.

custom home building industry, so this is part

everything, and the floodgates really opened;

Inflation is always hard. There’s only so much

of a wider trend we’re seeing.

it went crazy, inquiries about our building

you can absorb; there’s only so much clients

services went through the roof. People realized

can add to their budget. Currently, we’re

can FaceTime our team and propose solutions

they didn’t have to live near work or stick with

talking with trade partners and suppliers to

with the aid of CAD software, all while never

their normal commute. New ways of doing

circumnavigate these issues, adding some

leaving the office,” he details. “CoConstruct is

business were emerging, and people could

contingency cover within our pricing. It was

now at the core of everything we do: it’s an

begin to pick and choose where they lived

tough, having that much demand and not

all-in-one online construction management

and worked. Suddenly, people wanted to

being able to get things physically built.”

system that covers estimating, bidding,

build a new home in a different location or to accommodate a home office. “For a home builder, that sounds ideal,” he adds. “However, issues in the supply chain

The pandemic also brought with it another

“If there’s a problem in the field, then we

specifications, scheduling, order changes, client

interesting development for J. Hall Homes, one

and trade partner management, as well as

that’s catapulted the firm into the future of the

being seamlessly integrated with QuickBooks.

home building industry. “We’re now using 3D

These digital tools were always available, but MODERNHB.COM





not readily adopted. Now people are actually

As it stands, J. Hall Homes is building an

on who we work with comes down to execution

using these innovative tools, and they’re quickly

average of ten custom homes per year – and,

and quality. If they can’t bring that to the table,

proving essential, especially in the aftermath of

for Jeff, that’s enough. Less is more. As a strong

then we don’t work with them.

the pandemic.”

proponent of the old adage, he’s intent on

“In terms of projects, then, that just means

delivering high-quality homes that invite their

finding clients who are conducive to our

Continuous improvement

owners to fall in love with them, each and every

philosophy,” Jeff concludes. “A lot of the time

One recent build that utilized these

time they step through the front door. “We

people shop around for builders. However, after

technologies was the Ni River Retreat

don’t necessarily want to grow into this huge,

23 years in the trade and with the reputation

project, which began from scratch with a

staggering company,” he notes. “We just want

that we’ve garnered over that time, we’re able

unique, one-of-a-kind design. “We listened to

to sustain what we’re doing and get better at

to shop around for clients and find the right

what the client wanted,” says Jeff. “Then we

it. We’ll always focus on quality above all else.

ones for us. That’s the benefit of having a good

created a plan within their chosen budget.

Since we’re a general contractor, we work with

reputation. In the next few years, we will bolster

In this business, you must work with financial

many subcontractors to get the job done. It’s

that reputation and continue to streamline each

restrictions. Put simply, you can’t have

hard to find good, qualified trade people amid

of our processes, becoming even more efficient

everything. You must be attentive to a client’s

all the post-pandemic labor shortages. It takes

and, as a result, in a better position to tackle any

wants and wishes, but you must also guide

more management on our end to achieve the

future struggles in the industry.” F

them pragmatically. Fortunately, this specific

same level of execution that we’ve come to

client had great ideas and we were able to

be known for. We see our subcontractors as

bring them to life. There now stands a beautiful

partners; we’re on the same team, and we like

house sitting along a reservoir, boasting a

to use them on all of our contracts, improving

180-degree lake view and incredible features

their familiarity with the company and technical

like an in-ground trampoline, an entrance to a

consistency, instead of, say choosing a new

hidden music room concealed by doors made

subcontractor each time. Again, our decision

J. Hall Homes Services: Custom home builder

to look like a bookcase, and built-in dog crates in the mud room.” While advanced building technology, 3D modelling, and visualization software has been a recent upgrade for J. Hall Homes, one aspect of the Virginia-based custom builder’s services is nearly as old as the firm itself. Since as early as 2007, Jeff has been leading the local green building cause, opting for higher quality materials and more sophisticated construction methods that stand to benefit both the enduser and the environment in the long run. “We started green building before most builders were even aware of it,” Jeff details. “At first, you’re doing things differently. Then it becomes a habit, and then it becomes the norm. People around you start to change, and that’s how the industry adapts over time. For us, green building means how we envelope the house, insulate it, and air-seal it, as well as the type of wall sheathing and mechanical systems we use. All this is easy to incorporate, but it offers a tremendous amount of value. If a client wants solar panels, then we’ll do that; however, as standard, our houses will always be very energy efficient. We’re doing something special, but we’re doing it all the time. It’s not an optional extra. We could cut corners and make it easier for us, but we want to better the lives of our customers, and that can be achieved through strategic, energy-efficient design.” MODERNHB.COM



Coastal construction made contemporary As one of Connecticut’s leading premier homebuilders, BeachWalk Homes combines its uniquely modern style with quality craftsmanship and a sea view







ounded on decades of experience

as President and Founder, Oscar Leal, discusses:

and transparent. These factors have continued

in the construction and renovation

“Since 2012, we have been involved in over

to separate us from other contractors. As

industry, BeachWalk Homes

100 new builds and renovations across coastal

an example, our custom clients receive

(BeachWalk) is known throughout

Fairfield and Westport. In the beginning, I

detailed reports on all expenses, and

Fairfield County, Connecticut, for its masterful

was doing the design, permitting, project

budget reconciliation reports, as well as full

craftsmanship and striking aesthetics. Each

management and any other non-carpentry

transparency on our project management fees.”

BeachWalk home is a celebration of hand-

work that arose. Today, we have someone

crafted, high-quality construction, motivated

dedicated to billing, three project managers,

foundation for BeachWalk Homes, as the

by creativity and personal style.

and an office assistant. We also have robust

company was recently awarded the HOBI

processes, and a strong working culture.”

(Home Building Industry) Award for best

Established in 2012, BeachWalk Homes was


These values have clearly provided a solid

a venture inspired by an enduring passion

The success of BeachWalk Homes is rooted

for bespoke, handmade construction. The

in three founding principles, as Oscar affirms:

first awards run. The accreditation celebrates

company specializes in superior quality

“When BeachWalk was formed, our goal was

BeachWalk’s custom design and build work,

shingle-style homes, whilst also managing

to achieve a higher level of professionalism by

something the company specializes in. “We

large-scale renovations on existing properties,

being extremely organized, communicative,

take on a wide breadth of projects throughout


spec house under $1.5 million, during its very

the company, however our primary focus is

Street, a small cul-de-sac in Fairfield that is just

architecture that characterized the street, and

new construction, where we both design and

walking distance from the beach. Over the

the end product is a gorgeous, light-gray home

build the project. Some of the homes we build

course of less than two years, we had built two

with sweeping lines and distinct black windows.

and sell, others are for custom clients. These are

new custom homes on that street, as well as

Stepping inside, the home is open, modern, and

typically coastal homes in the 3000-to-5000-

one major renovation. The opportunity arose

exudes coastal vibes without any of the kitsch

square-foot range,” Oscar details.

for us to acquire a lot neighboring our recently

one might associate with a ‘beach’ home.”

completed new home. We were excited to

These projects make up only a small portion

Forward-thinking approach

continue our improvement of this quiet, well-

of BeachWalk’s extensive and impressive

The company’s award-winning home, on Millard

located street with a new home of a distinct,

portfolio. Following on from its award-

Street, CT, is emblematic of BeachWalk’s stylistic

but complementary style to those we had

winning work on Millard, the company began

flair, and high quality, as Oscar enthuses: “We

previously completed. The design was very

construction on one of its most unique and

won the HOBI Award for our work on Millard

much in-keeping with the modern, shingle-style

creatively designed projects, at 161 Pratt Street.

East Haven Builders Supply “BeachWalk Homes, LLC has had a relationship with East Haven Builders since the very inception of the business. In 2012, when BeachWalk was just an idea, our sales representative, Robert Ciccarelli believed in our mission and approach and gave us his time and energy. Since that time, BeachWalk has steadily grown, as has the relationship. East Haven has always provided extraordinarily competitive pricing and insights into the supply chain, which is more important than ever in the current environment. Our sales representative and the in-house engineer at East Haven have proven to be valuable resources, researching answers for us and helping educate our team on products, product changes, and other arenas. They look out for our best interests and treat us as a partner. This is exactly the kind of supplier and subcontractor relationship we try to build, and East Haven has made it easy to do so.” Oscar Leal BeachWalk Homes, LLC




so that allowed us to be more creative and

our mission is a continuous focus on process

unconventional with the design. We brought in

improvement. This is related to almost every

before we even broke ground, an interested

some incredibly unique lighting, used splashes

element of our operation, from how we

and creative buyer asked us to work with them

of surprising colors, and had fun with some

communicate with clients, to checklists for

to tweak it to their style. The dark gray color,

ceiling treatments. The end result reflected our

monitoring the work being done, and the

metal roof accents, and mixed siding (board

client’s design sensibility incredibly well, and we

adoption of new software. We are currently

and batten and clapboard) were the result of a

all loved it,” he elaborates.

working on a new software package that

“It was a really fun project,” states Oscar. “It had been intended as a spec home and,

close design collaboration with our client. “The interior of this home was a lot of


Continuously seeking to innovate, and improve its operations, BeachWalk Homes

fun for us. We were working with a specific

takes a critical and forward-thinking approach

client, who had an adventurous design spirit,

to construction. “The most important part of


allows our clients to view progress photos, budgets, selections, and more, via an app. “We believe it’s incredibly important to be process-focused. There are a lot of moving

parts in the building industry and you must

No, we are buying existing homes in

end of the day, these efforts are designed

have clear processes, tools, and sufficient

existing neighborhoods close to town and

to make our clients experience as smooth,

professional staff to keep everything moving

redeveloping those lots. This is definitely a

enjoyable, and cost effective as possible.”

efficiently,” Oscar affirms.

more environmentally friendly way to build,”

These values are held by BeachWalk’s entire team. Working through shared values,

Oscar highlights. As Oscar suggests, the coming months hold

As BeachWalk Homes continues to grow, and establish its presence in neighboring coastal communities, it carries with it a belief in honest

and a mutual love of the craft, has fostered a

a great deal of potential for the company: “We

craftsmanship and high-quality construction.

positive and effective company culture. “It’s

are currently wrapping up on a larger home

Oscar concludes: “We produce one of the last

important that we work as a team so that we

than we traditionally do, which was quite an

large scale, handmade products in the world. We

can motivate and manage our sub-contractors

adventure. Additionally, we are working with

love the craftsmanship, natural variability, and skill

effectively, and offer a high-quality service to

a client on a modern single-story home with

that it takes to do this. In a world where more and

our clients.

sheets of glass, hemlock siding and unique

more things are mechanized, virtual, or factory-

roof lines. These forays into different areas

made we are very proud to produce a handmade

with people who take pride in what they do,

teach us a lot, bring us new supplier contacts,

product that requires the choreography of

and get along with each other. A team like

and further hone our skills.

hundreds of skilled craftsmen.” F

“My focus has always been on working

that shines, and our clients can’t help but be

“Our goals for 2022 are to continue

impressed, particularly when you couple that

growing at a measured pace, whilst also

with our ongoing focus on communication,

refining the processes that we have been

organization, and transparency,” Oscar reveals.

instituting since the start of the pandemic. We have brought our communication,

Handmade products

budgeting, and project management to

This sense of community extends to

the next level in order to handle the rapid

BeachWalk’s suppliers and subcontractors,

changes happening in our industry. At the

BeachWalk Homes Services: Custom-built homes and renovation

as Oscar states: “We work very hard to let our suppliers know we view them as part of our team. We bring them in on the details of how we do things, treat them with respect, and are always grateful for their keeping an eye out for our best interests. Unlike many builders, most of our supplier and sub-contractor relationships are very long standing.” As a process-focused company, BeachWalk Homes uses its operational efficiency and precision to ensure its homes are energy efficient, all the way through the construction process and beyond. “As a team we are very focused on efficiency. When it comes to the environment and being green, energy efficiency has been our biggest focus. The hydronic heating systems we use have 99 percent system efficiency, and the sealing and insulation methods we use continually show our houses are remarkably tight. “By keeping our energy usage down we are saving our clients money, improving the value of their homes, and being kind to the environment. However, there are so many ways we are trying to be good stewards of the environment. For example, we mostly do what is called ‘infill’ building. We are not buying tracts of empty land further and further out from town and developing them, which is particularly harsh from an environmental perspective. MODERNHB.COM



The essence of

bespoke building Since the age of 18, Joshua Schmidke has always had a passion for building. With his father as his mentor, he has scaled Schmidke Construction and Contracting into one of the most revered homebuilders in Southwest Michigan



All images ©2021 Norman Sizemore





s a custom home builder in

a truly custom home builder. We pride ourselves

that customer service is extremely important

Southwest Michigan, Schmidke

as being boutique, and we make ourselves the

to the company. “Being able to develop the

Construction and Contracting,

single point of contact for our clients throughout

relationships that we have, not only with our

LLC (SCC) has established

the project. Once we start the project we

vendors but with some of the architects and

a reputation for superior quality in new

manage every aspect, including landscaping

other partners, is what drives our reputation

residential construction and remodels along

in order to make the process as seamless as

forward, and I like to think of our employees

the Lake Michigan shoreline and affluent

possible for all our clients,” Joshua says.

and our clients as family, which contributes to

communities across the region. According to

the entire building process. It is an experience

the company, project journeys are personal

company is ‘hyper focused’ on all details of

that really helps fortify who we are, and it

and each client is treated like family.

a project. “From the minute trim pieces and

is such an honor when someone who has

Not only does SCC build homes, the

finishes, to the handrails and everything

worked with us in the past is still inviting us

business builds lifestyles, and Joshua

between, we work with the designers and

over for dinner,” expresses Joshua.

Schmidke, the company’s CEO, discusses with

architects to make sure every part and piece

us the key specialisms with which SCC has

really looks beautiful, and the project is

shares with us two notable projects recently

become associated. “Our typical clientele is of

holistically complete.”

completed. The first, featured here in photos is

distinguished taste and lifestyle, and we drive our focus towards excellence in detail, making us


Additionally, Joshua expresses how the


All of those details are SCC’s passion, and as Joshua continues to elaborate, it becomes clear

To demonstrate these qualities, Joshua

a second home retreat that is situated about ¼ mile from the beach in a quiet wooded area

... I think that is part of what we deliver - the experience and the process. It’s not just a build, and it’s not about how quickly we can complete the work. Our clients appreciate a process where they can come up and touch and feel the materials, understand their surroundings and see what their future home is going to be like when it is completed. It also helps us tune in to what their real goals are for their home nestled behind a blueberry patch in Sawyer,

“Of course, there were challenges to

partners that we still enjoy working with and

Michigan. In addition to main home, it features

getting this done; when working on the

the clients are our friends now too,” he says,

an atelier used as an office, a detached bath

lake, for example, there are State and Federal

adding that these sorts of advantages make any

house, and a teepee (think glamping). The

regulations that we need to adhere to and

challenge on a project worth it.

second, also featured here is in Stevensville,

above that, access to the property is via a

Michigan. “The home sits on top of a huge

single lane dirt road. So, we had to think about

We love to deliver

dune that overlooks Lake Michigan. It’s right

concrete trucks, all vendors, and getting

For Joshua, it is one of the most rewarding

on the edge of the bluff. It features ten-foot

them on-site safely. It made it a little bit more

facets of the job; working with a client from

ceilings and a cathedral kitchen, three level

difficult, especially in the winter time to be able

blueprint to complete construction, and

staircases that go up to this ‘nest’ that overlooks

to access without any issues, but the finished

seeing their reaction as their dream home

the lake where we built a little seating area that

product was amazing. It has beautiful natural

is brought to life. “I think that is part of what

is absolutely gorgeous.

stone, and again, we worked with some great

we deliver - the experience and the process.




much as it is for them, and that is what

keeping our fingers crossed that it will level

we love to deliver; that experience for

itself out soon.

our clients.”

“Above that, we are younger than some of our counterparts and I feel that that

Focus on growth

will work in our favor when it comes to

Before we discuss future plans for the

competing on projects, but I also see it as

company, Joshua shares with us the

a challenge for the industry as a whole,

impact that the pandemic has had on

because we need more contractors. Perhaps

the business, and how SCC is looking

that may mean that we need to get out

to overcome certain challenges.

there and be proactive about informing

“There is a combination of factors at

kids about options in the construction and

the moment that the pandemic has

home building industry,” he says.

pressed the fast forward button on;

It’s not just a build, and it’s not about how quickly we can complete the work. Our clients appreciate a process where they can come up and touch and feel the materials, understand their surroundings and see what their future home is going to be like when it is completed. It also helps us tune in to what their real goals are for their home. “We actually had someone on a different project on the Harbor Shores golf course who was trying to explain what they were looking for. We were helping them on the design side for the railing system, and what he and his wife had in mind was quite tricky to translate; We gave samples and drawings, had much conversation, and when we finally put it together she came out the first time after the it was installed, and got quite choked up. That is absolutely something that you can’t exchange. It’s priceless for us as



In the coming months, and following

particularly regarding the way in which

into the rest of 2022, SCC is determined to

demand is outstripping supply. There

focus on growth. To complement this vision,

is a reset going on across different

the company’s strategy is to take on bolder

industries at the moment, and we’re

investments, and more challenging projects

that push its capabilities to the limit. “I think this

the level of success it celebrates today. Not

approach also speaks to where we want to be

only does he believe that the company

five years from now. We are actually looking to

is a true reflection of the excellent team

open and expand a second office and shop

that keeps it going, but he also has every

space, so we are in contract at the moment,

confidence that each member will be the

and working through a lot of our due diligence

reason SCC remains successful for many

to complete that shortly.

years to come. F

Schmidke Construction and Contracting Services: Custom home builders

“This new space will be located a little further south, where most of our projects are, and our teams and management will be based there. It’s really exciting and a significant advancement for us. Steady business growth encourages us to scale our operations as well,” he explains.

Exciting new adventure In addition to that, Joshua highlights a further avenue that SCC is offering their clients: Properti Home Concierge. “This provides non-rental home management with a focus on home watch and lifestyle concierge services. We do home watch visits for second home clients that are away. Our walk-through consists of a visual inspection looking for obvious issues plus robust reporting with photos to give them peace of mind. Then, when clients are planning to be here, we offer concierge services to enhance their lifestyle. For example, some folks want to have their weekly grocery shopping done for them, they will send us a list by Tuesday, and we will have their fridge stocked for them before their weekend arrival. This is an exciting new adventure and is helping us deliver an even greater custom experience,” he shares. In conclusion, Joshua shares how proud he is of those who have brought SCC to MODERNHB.COM



Planning the perfect home Leading custom homebuilder, Centerline Development, designs and builds dream homes for customers all across North Carolina



nown for its acute attention to detail

in creating homes that are warm, comfortable,

and quality craftsmanship, Centerline

efficient and personalized. Its dedication to

Centerline has flourished in the North Carolina

Development (Centerline) has thrived

customer service has remained unparalleled over

construction market. The company has been

for 26 years. The company believes

the last few years, even in the face of adversity.

based there for two decades, as its President,


As an unlimited building licensed company,

the business from the grass roots was a very valuable lesson, as it helped me to understand the importance of all trades. Whilst in college at NC State University, I continued to work in the construction industry, by owning a pressure washing service, and from there I grew Centerline Development.”

Strong relationships Today, Centerline specializes in custom designand-build projects. “Most of our homes are built for retirement communities, and we take great pride in designing and tailoring our product to meet the requirements of an aging lifestyle. Large doorways, zero curb shower entry, wider halls, handrails, limited stairs, elevators, and wider lanes in the kitchen are all part of the design for our customers. “Most of our clients live out of town, so we have a dedicated team member to communicate with each client during the build, to make sure we are building their dream correctly. Our website has a special area for homes under construction so the clients, as well as their friends and family, can follow the progress on our website. A picture is worth a thousand words, and this is very true for new homes. Clients have reviewed the pictures on the website and made changes using them as reference, which saves us lots of time and money,” Jeff discusses. Jeff Satterwhite, details: “We have been based in

“I started working for my father, Jack

Building strong relationships with clients

our office in North Carolina since 2001, working

Satterwhite’s construction company in high

and subcontractors is one way that Centerline

mostly with custom, single family homes, and a

school. There, I had the opportunity to work

Development ensures the success of all its

few light commercial buildings.

with a whole range of subcontractors. Learning

projects, as Jeff affirms: “The relationship MODERNHB.COM


CENTERLINE DEVELOPMENT between our team, our subcontractors and

One project is particularly close to home for

lights in the baths. Outdoor living was also very

the client is crucial to keeping the project

Jeff, as he reveals: “One of our spotlight projects

important, so we invested in a pool area and

on schedule and budget. We normally build

is Yacht Drive, on Oak Island. This project is

outdoor kitchen with a shrimp cooker.”

custom homes, so no one has built the floor

very special to my family, as it is our personal

plan. These plans have not been streamlined

home on the island. My wife Tara and I had

care with each and every personalized home.

over time and multiple builds, so clear

wanted a home on the water for many years

Knowing just how important it is to clients,

communication and cooperation between all

but could not find the right location. Finally,

Centerline is dedicated to all-around, industry-

parties is a must for a successful outcome.

in 2017, a house became available on the

leading customer service. “Outstanding

Intercostal Waterway in the Zone X flood zone.

customer service is an absolute must in the

Working responsibly

We purchased the home, and relocated it to

custom home business.

“During the construction of a custom home,

another lot close by, to remodel and sell it.

“At Centerline, good clear communication is

“After moving the old home off the lot, we

paramount. We communicate with all parties as

the client’s customer, the client is my customer,

could now build our dream home with a water

soon as possible about positive developments,

and the subcontractors are both our customers,

view. Designing and building the home was

as well as any challenges that come up, so that

so this means every person will need to give

not without its challenges, a small footprint,

everyone has the necessary information to

and get information and services to get the

impervious coverage, permits, and storm water

make informed decisions; iPads, phones, and

house right. For example, a client needs to

issues were just a few of the hurdles that had to

facetime are all used to get the information to

select the tile from our vendor in a timely

be overcome.

the right person at the right time,” Jeff confirms.

each party is the other parties’ customer. I am

matter, so we can order it, and then the tile


Jeff and his team take the same level of

“The house was completed in the middle

Socially and environmentally conscious

contractor needs to send the tile requirements

of Covid-19. Even with all the supply chain

construction is equally important to Centerline.

to the supplier so it will arrive in time for

problems we finally completed our dream

The company consistently works to Energy Star

installation. Everyone is everyone’s customer, or

home after a yearlong process. Tara wanted to

recommended standards, as Jeff comments:

the system does not work effectively.”

mix old and new items in the home to make

“We have been a part of the Energy Star

Over the years, Centerline has used its

it special, so we included 100-year-old pocket

program for almost 20 years. The program

impressive network of industry specialists to

doors in the office, vintage leaded glass in the

has changed over time, making it harder to

create dozens of gorgeous custom homes.

pantry door, and some 60-year-old nautical ship

meet the new standards. It is a fine line to walk


between staying on budget and meeting Energy Star standards on all projects.

“We also expect growth in the custom coastal market, and increased activity in the light commercial

“With the new regulations, larger square

area for Centerline. We are also seeing lots of interest

footage incurs a large penalty, so we offset it

in our cabinet division, where we sell and install four

with spray foam, tankless hot water heaters, low

lines of cabinets for a range of customers, so it’s going

emission windows and doors, thicker walls, slab

to be exciting to see where that takes us.” F

Centerline Development Services: Custom homebuilder

foundations, and solar panels. We all need to do our part to reduce energy consumption, so we build homes that are less costly to maintain and condition by selecting more effective products to put in the homes.” Working responsibly also means fostering a positive and supportive working culture. Centerline achieves this through regular training, and specialist support for team members with niche interests. “Without the right people, Centerline Development does not have a business. “We want our team members to grow and learn at Centerline. Training is very important; we have sent two team members to get their commercial driver licenses, and another team member was interested in cabinet design, so we sent her to CAD training to design cabinet layouts. This business is always changing so we support continued growth through training,” enthuses Jeff. These values keep Centerline focused on high-quality construction and mutually beneficial relationships. Despite the challenges brought on by Covid-19, the company continues to prosper, and is gearing up for major growth in 2023: “We believe next year will be major for the company, because the supply chain will be better and more domestic supply is coming online. MODERNHB.COM



Construction that’s up to

the challenge As a turnkey contractor, American Timber Works offers expert construction services to customers that are looking for a unique custom home



Gregg Scott Raffensperger


triving to create an unmatched building process from concept to creation, American Timber Works (American Timber) never shies away from a challenge. The company is known for building long lasting

relationships with its clients, as it supports them through the entire design and build process. With expert knowledge in architectural planning, project management, and interior design, American Timber continues to produce striking, large-scale structures that stand the test of time. The story of American Timber works begins with its owner and founder, Gregg Scott Raffensperger. Scott established the company straight out of college, as he explains: “I started American Timber works soon after graduating. I had worked in the construction industry throughout my teens, and really enjoyed it, so when it came time to graduate I knew that was the sector I wanted to work in. “I had been working for a local contractor, and with that experience I was able to start my own company, American Timber Works. We started off doing a lot of timber framing, partnering with other, larger companies that would use us as a subcontractor.

Customer connections “Timber framing was our main service for a while, which meant I was travelling a lot. We would take barns down and move them to new locations before rebuilding them as houses. It was hard work and I wanted to do something where I could settle down in one location and start a family, so I started to grow American Timber into a local construction company. Our background in MODERNHB.COM


AMERICAN TIMBER WORKS timber framing has always been an important

American Timber is known for taking on

Years of experience working on bespoke

part of the way we work, it has given me an

especially challenging projects, as Scott reveals:

designs in the luxury homebuilding sector has

appetite for challenging and different projects,

“We take on a lot of complex builds that other

helped American Timber Works develop a wide

which is one of the key things we focus on for all

contractors may tend to steer clear of. For

range of capabilities. Today, the company is a

our customers.

example, we recently worked on an endless

turnkey builder, as Scott discusses: “We offer the

pool project. A lot of people wouldn’t have

entire process, start to finish. We often work with

by creating long-lasting relationships with

taken that on, because it’s so different; it’s time

customers who have just bought their own land,

satisfied customers in the construction

consuming, and it’s definitely not a cookie-

and are looking for a builder to put their dream

industry. It’s important to us that we establish

cutter project. We spent a lot of time planning

house on it. We can provide that, working with

strong connections with customers, so that

and problem solving in order to get it just right

them from the design phase all the way through

they keep coming back whenever they need

– and we seek that kind of thing out because

to completion.

construction support.”

we enjoy the challenge.”

“Our overall mission is to grow the business

“We have recently started working with our first sub division, Owl Creek Estates. We are currently in the process of launching the operation, which will focus on high end and custom home building specifically.”

Planned approach It is no secret that custom homebuilding can be stressful for customers who aren’t familiar with the construction industry. In order to give customers the confidence they need, American Timber provides them with a clear five step program. “We use our website to simplify the process and make it as accessible as possible to customers,” Scott affirms. “We make custom homes, which means that everything we produce needs to be tailored to the individual. Our five-step process is there on the company website for people to look at and gain an understanding of the entire process. We find that it offers our customers a bit more confidence going into the project. “The first step is our initial meeting. Here we communicate with the customer and get a feel for what their vision is. Then, the second step is building a relationship. We get to know the customer, and gain their trust by being straight forward and transparent. Those are things we live by every day. We then go to step three, which is working on the design and making selections. It’s a careful process, we want to take our time and make sure every decision is the right one for the customer. “Step four is the actual construction process, and step five is the most



thinly by taking on loads of other jobs. “I like to keep the company focused on three to five projects at a time, because that way I can keep a handle on quality control. This year is definitely looking good for us in that regard. We have a couple of clients who have some really unique, high-end designs in mind, so we are looking forward to working with them in a few months,” says Scott. Looking ahead, Scott speaks enthusiastically about the future of American Timber. “As far as the long-term future of the company goes, you can never be sure. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can safely say that I think the company is in a good position right now to continue growing and being successful for some time. “I would like to grow our team a little bit over the next few years, and maybe open up a separate division for remodelling. I think separating those operations, home building and renovation, would help streamline the business important: enjoy. Obviously, there are more complex elements to it, but for the customer

loves what they do,” Scott asserts. It is clear that American Timber values

and make sure both areas get the attention they need. Other than that, we will continue to work

that should be the natural progression of a

its customers, and that is no doubt one of

with our core values, honesty and integrity, at

project, straight forward with an end product

the reasons for its enduring success. As the

the center of everything we do,” he concludes. F

that is ready to be lived in,” he elaborates.

company continues to experience high demand, Scott and his team look forward to

Honesty and integrity

a busy year. “This is going to be an exciting

These efforts are central to American Timber

year for us, as we are pretty much booked out.

Works’ core mission, as it seeks to build

We have a few houses that we are building in

sturdy, long-term relationships with all of its

the capital district that are pretty large scale,

customers. “A large percentage of our work

so we are trying not to stretch ourselves too

American Timber Works Services: Full service construction

is with people we already know through previous jobs. A lot of it is on smaller scale projects, for example we will build a home for someone and then they will want us to come back and do a renovation or remodel. Although we are focused on large-scale construction, we feel that the remodelling side of things is just as important for building those lifelong relationships with customers. “We also remain in contact with numerous people that we did projects for years and years ago, and we consider each other friends. It’s not all about the money for us; we got into this because we enjoy it. We want to really focus on keeping every day exciting, and building a team here that really MODERNHB.COM





Relationship building

A family business like none other, VAS Construction is making a name for itself among homeowners with an impeccable standard of service






incent Sciarretta’s love-affair with

all roles that Vincent continued to enjoy even

construction began with his

as, in the early 1980s, he launched his own

today VAS Construction undertakes a variety

father, Serverino Sciarretta. Born

firm: VAS Construction.

of spec projects across its key markets of

and raised in Italy, the industrious

“I began by conducting masonry on my

With a deep roster of skilled tradesman,

Greenwich, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Serverino moved to the US without a dollar

own, while running projects for my father

“We buy property ourselves, build homes

in his pocket, before forging a career in the

focusing on interior office space,” Vincent

from scratch, and put them on the market,”

Stamford masonry trade. Vincent was 11

recalls, now Owner of VAS Construction.

Vincent confirms. “In terms of the service we

years old when he started visiting Serverino’s

“It was that decade that I built my very first

provide, we go above and beyond. We make

by-then large condominium projects, where

house in Stamford, working closely with

sure to hold our client’s hand – whether it’s

he swept the floors, and spoke at length

the homeowners. They loved it. Ever since,

through a plumbing supply house, lighting

with electricians, plumbers, and carpenters.

interior design has been important to VAS

showroom, or scrapyard. Even after a job’s

His induction continued in the years to

Construction. Picking out the fixtures, the tiles,

finished, we’ll always be available to them.”

come; from mixing cement to advancing to

and the trim work – we thrive in the detail,

his studies with architects and aiding into

working hand-in-hand with the client to

communication,” agrees Donny Panpada,

building and construction management –

achieve exactly what they want for their home.”

Project Manager at VAS Construction. “All of


“This business is built on relationships and

our clients have our cell phone numbers. Yes, we get calls late at night, or on Sunday afternoons – but as a boutique construction company, that’s what we’re about. We’ve worked with some of our clients for more than 20 years.”

Personal approach This longevity extends to the employees at VAS Construction, too. “Donny has been with me for 15 years, between this business and a former one,” Vincent reflects. “I have another employee who has been with me for 30. Even

We are only as good as our subcontractors. Unlike some other companies, we don’t change them from job to job – we use the same ones all the time. We pride ourselves on the quality of their work. A lot of our subcontractors are owneroperated, so they take pride themselves in the finished product. That’s very important for us

his brother and his son have worked for me for the last decade. We’ve made a name for



VAS CONSTRUCTION ourselves because of the respect that we have for our people.” Amid a glittering portfolio, Vincent picks out one of the company’s most cherished builds. “We bid on a lot of work, but the Tokeneke house is a special one,” he says. “Like 95 percent of our projects, this was a referral. During the permitting process, we were contacted by the husband with his wishes that we had the home completed as soon as possible, as he was given a prognosis of passing within the next five months to six years. “This was emotionally challenging for us, but we got our team together and had the project rolling almost immediately,” he recalls. “We made it a bit smaller than was originally intended, and we managed to have it built within just eight months. Sadly, about four months later, he passed away. To this day, his wife knows that if she needs anything, we’ll take care of it. It’s a relationship that truly speaks to the unique nature of our business.” Always busy, VAS Construction continues to explore exciting new projects. “Right now, Rhode Island is taking off,” Vincent reveals. “We just built a house down on the water, another in Westerly, and one that’s just starting in Watch Hill; in addition to three other projects. In Connecticut, we have approximately eightto-ten more, and we’re pricing out another half-dozen.”

Busy time Executing so many projects isn’t without its challenges. “It’s difficult to get appliances at the moment,” Vincent explains. “Jobs that are only supposed to be four months long are taking double that time because of a lack of supply. You really have to plan ahead. When you’re pricing a job out, that means explaining to the client that things aren’t going to come in the time frame you want. We do our best to schedule as accurately as we can.” In doing so, the company is bolstered by a reliable set of partners and suppliers. “We are only as good as our subcontractors,” Vincent reminds us. “Unlike some other companies, we don’t change them from job to job – we use the same ones all the time. We pride ourselves on the quality of their work. A lot of our subcontractors are owner-operated, so they take pride themselves in the finished



product. That’s very important for us. When I walk onto a job, whether it’s a spec home, a customer’s home, or a bathroom renovation, it’s got to be right. If not, we’ll rip it out and start again.” Despite the difficulty, business is booming for VAS construction, with the industry staging a strong post–Covid-19 recovery. “During the pandemic, we knew it was either going to be a disaster, in which we didn’t have any work, or it was going to be chaos,” Donny admits. “As it turns out, it’s probably the busiest we have ever been. If you drive around where we are in Lower Fairfield County, there’s building going on in every street. Is that set to change now that interest rates are rising? I don’t know, but it doesn’t seem to be stopping. By confining

to earn that trust with a client, they don’t want

everyone into their homes, the pandemic

to switch to anyone else.” With the support of

has made people want to redo their kitchen,

Donny Panapada, Denise Sciarretta, Melanie

or even tackle something in the back yard.

Sarantos and the rest of his team, Vinnie plans

Supply chain issues aside, that’s been good

to continue to move forward in his business

for us.”

demonstrating just that. F

VAS Construction Services: Boutique construction

Loyal customers As the company looks towards the long term, the plan is to keep driving forward. “It’s the only thing we can do,” Vincent argues. “I’m not sure when my retirement day is coming, but until then my plan is to keep working every day. The construction industry is just going up and up, and we’ve established ourselves as one of the most recognized names in Fairfield County, and in the surrounding areas of Connecticut. Ask any realtor or supplier in this area, or even just speak to homeowners, they’ll know the VAS Construction name and the quality in what we do.” When asked about the possibility of extending the business beyond its current areas of operation, Vincent emphasizes the importance of consolidating where business is already strong, capitalizing on the strength of VAS Construction’s impressive reputation. “If a client needs us to go elsewhere, we’re more than willing to do so,” he points out. “During my career, we’ve had clients in Darien who have moved out to Chicago, and requested our services for their new home. So, we set up shop in Chicago, and we renovated their house. Likewise, we’ve travelled to Maryland, and we’ve conducted work in both Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Once you take the time MODERNHB.COM



Built to be


With expertise for finely crafted flooring, and a heart for contemporary creativity, Atlanta Flooring Design Centers Inc is one of the best names in the industry







rom dark and rich colors, to rugged

foot humble beginnings in downtown Duluth,

we added various builder selection centers

and versatile tactile, Atlanta Flooring

Georgia, over the next few years, locations

in order to better serve our customers,”

Design Centers Inc (Atlanta Flooring) is

grew, as did the number of employees.

begins Company Founder and President,

a leading commercial and residential

The business also began expanding into

Donny. “Atlanta Flooring expanded across the

flooring contractor in the Southeast. As

commercial and single-family home sales.

Carolinas, Alabama, and most recently Florida,

today’s floor covering market becomes

In 1997, Frank Winter partnered with

with additional retail locations in Chattanooga,

more competitive than ever, customers are

Donny Phillips. Frank, who now serves as

developing even higher expectations, and

the company’s Vice-President, brought a

Atlanta Flooring is determined to provide even

wealth of technical and operational ideas

Professional services

greater accurate, on-time service. Its reputation

that allowed the company to move forward

Now, the company has established itself a

with the most prominent national and regional

beyond the Gwinnett County market. In 2007,

reputation for reliability and exquisite taste.

builders helps it serve much of Georgia, North

the company now known as Atlanta Flooring

“Our professional installers are available

Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee,

Design Centers moved into its new corporate

seven days a week to complete the job

Florida, and surrounding states.

location in Suwanee, Georgia. Over the next

correctly and on time. For projects that

Established by Donny Phillips in 1985 as


Tennessee and Buford, Georgia.”

several years, the space grew to include more

require special scheduling, we will work with

Atlanta Carpet, the business was built on

retail showroom space, builder facilities and

you or your company to accommodate your

service and relationships. From its 1000-square-

an office warehouse complex. “Additionally,

project needs. With daily deliveries from our


suppliers, we have the capability to ensure

includes our relationships with suppliers, by

needs and budgets. Our staff of onsite quality

that your material is ordered and installed

operating on mutual respect, we are able to

management professionals assure that projects

efficiently,” he shares.

evaluate product and work to assure the right

go smoothly and problems are reported on

application for the products is followed. Also,

the front end to avoid delays and report any

on top of all the flooring trends, which allows

working with suppliers, we can better navigate

concerns quickly,” he highlights.

the business to offer whatever fits the clients’

through some of the uncertainties and

needs, while being driven by long-standing

challenges of the supply chains in today’s times.

The company’s sales and design staff stay

moral values. These include listening to its

“Our retail, custom builder, and commercial

Donny then goes on to discuss a few of the business’s specialisms. “At the moment, there is a return to favour laminates, which is a

customers’ needs, then professionally providing

sales and design teams work with retail

fascinating product development. The cycle of

service and material at a great value. “Honoring

customers, facilities management, assisted

the flooring business to ‘race to the bottom’ has

God and always treating others as we wish

living facilities, end users and architects

in many cases hurt categories that if a product

to be treated, is our mission statement. That

to find products to meet their respective

has the right construction, it will perform

Cosmo Cabinets Cosmo Cabinets is a client-focused manufacturer, providing high quality products with maximum value. Its guiding principles are teamwork, collaboration and respect. These values apply to customer partnerships as well. Partners are valued and are an integral part of the product development process. As a growing company, Cosmo is agile and able to adapt to changes in the marketplace, respond to customer requests, and make innovations with end users in mind. Cosmo Cabinets is a proud partner of Atlanta Flooring Design Center. Together, the companies have been able to execute on the strategic sourcing vision of the talented and accomplished Atlanta Flooring leadership team. Atlanta Flooring’s kitchen and bath program provides high value to the marketplace and demonstrates their commitment to providing customers with greater accurate, on-time service.




well,” he says. According to Donny, the new

well as inventory management and sales

helpful in trying to identify voids in product

generation of RevWood type products are the

processes at its outlet. “We are also updating

offerings. Where we see an opportunity,

height of today’s trends and offer great value.

our online presence and working for greater

we reach out to suppliers for ideas and

exposure of stocking products for online


Keeping in tune with the topic of variety, Atlanta Flooring is also well-versed in the ways in

sales. Multiple locations allow inventory and

which a home’s value can be improved through

selections to be available to our national

People-centric culture

flooring renovations, with hardwood being one

partners. Our footprint also opens up

A further example of how Atlanta Flooring

of the top contenders. While not every room

opportunities with its suppliers when they

helps its customers is through a cabinet

in your home needs hardwood flooring to

need a partner who can service national

program that it has introduced with Cosmo

improve in value, it does need to be consistent,

accounts in multiple areas,” Donny explains.

Cabinets. The business recently expanded its

The company’s relationship with suppliers

cabinet inventory to better supply customers

as prospective homebuyers will walk away from houses with a clutter of different flooring styles,

gives it opportunities to partner in the

who had been struggling with supply issues

especially if they’re all visible in the main areas,

development, testing and purchasing of

and lack of availability. The commitment to

like the living room and halls.

product. “The ability to be involved in the

inventory should pay huge dividends in this

color and construction process early on

new opportunity.

On the technology front, Atlanta Flooring


is working on projects to standardize its

allows us the first look at the product. The

showroom pricing based on bar coding as

interaction with our customers is also very


On the people side, Donny shares that the business’s success rests 100 percent on its

people. “If our culture does not promote a

relationships. Together with its employees,

strong desire to serve our customers, suppliers

customers and suppliers, Donny is adamant

and each other, we cannot be successful.

that the company will make fantastic growth

Understanding the many outstanding traits

happen, and we look forward to catching up

that make up the company, we work to

with the business in a few years’ time to see

recognize the effort they invest into their

how this time enabled Atlanta Flooring to

work and try to be sure that each person is

grow from strength-to-strength. F

Atlanta Flooring Design Centers Inc Services: Flooring design and installation

placed in a position to maximize their talents. A hire for one position may find opportunity in a different area and recognizing that is a challenge, but also an opportunity for growth,” he shares. During the pandemic, this attitude towards a people-centric culture proved vital to ensure the longevity of the business. “We offered opportunities for at-home working and found some of the departments were able to thrive in this. Now, as we return to a new normal, some positions will have more flexibility moving forward, and, added to that, we found that the cash-and-carry business is an area we see strong growth in as customers have been spending more time at home.” Now, looking towards the future, Donny is excited for what lies in store for 2022. “The economy is experiencing some changes that, in the long run, could have a negative impact on certain parts of the business, which is why, overall, we are looking at business areas, such as multi-family where we have not been actively involved, as well as looking at locations that make sense to explore so we can manage our growth in a reasonable way.” Atlanta Flooring is in a solid position to move forward with promise and great potential. Despite the impressive 37 years behind it, the opportunity for another 37year run lies in smart growth and excellent MODERNHB.COM



Outlasting the storm

Specializing in new home construction and custom builds, Bald Head Island Building Group is passionate about both the island in which it resides, and the homes that occupy it as it strives to deliver the best service for its clients



he only way to get to Bald Head

President of Bald Head Island Building Group,

colours paints the village. “It’s a place where you

Island, which can be found off the

the beautiful, pristine island is a place where no

make friends; it’s friendly and you don’t have

coast of North Carolina, is by boat.

tree over six inches can be cut down, no two

to get caught up in the crazy world of egos.

According to Rod Hyson Senior, the

houses are the same, and a vibrant palette of

Everyone gets along really well here,” he says.


our business opportunities enticed us to become a developer in Brunswick County, which, at that time, was one of the fastest growing counties in the US. There was a lot of new construction taking place as people were moving to the area from the north, so we joined in and started building condominiums and private residences,” he says.

Helping to rebuild Over the years, Bald Head Island Building Group became a major property management company, providing up to 55 homes for vacationers, as well as specializing in repair and maintenance on the island. Then, sadly, along came Hurricane Florence, which dealt 36 inches of rain, and gale force winds for seven days, inundating the island with major damage. “At that point, there were only 950 homes on the island, and at least 250 became uninhabitable. We took care of the homes we managed, and then national companies came in after the disaster and began tearing houses apart, stripping them down to the studs,” shares Rod. “There weren’t a sufficient number of home remodelers or builders on Bald Head, and owing to the fact that our homes were severely damaged - as were many of the properties - we decided to re-enter the construction business in a big way, which led “Over the next couple of years, we decided to

us to form Bald Head Island Building Group as

owner, and as time went by, the business

The residential builder began as a property

jump into the building phase with a partner.

a general contractor. During that period, we

dipped its toes into real estate, entering 1998

From 2000, we built 17 homes. Initially they

rebuilt about 15 homes, and began creating

as an independent management company.

were of steel frame construction, and then

individual residences for owners on Bald Head.” MODERNHB.COM


BALD HEAD ISLAND BUILDING GROUP Rod is incredibly proud of the homes that have been erected and restored under his company’s name. He mentions one home in particular that is blessed with breath-taking views of the island’s marshlands, as well as the ocean. “As a matter of fact, we are nearing the point of placing the sheeting on the roof. It will be one of our signature builds, as we are utilizing highly state-ofthe-art building materials. The home is a two-bysix exterior stud construction, with a metal roof, and foamed insulation throughout, which adds a lot of durability and strength to the structure, and, on top of that, it is located about an eighth of a mile from the ocean,” he says. Rod adds that the business has to ensure its houses are as sturdy as possible to stand in the face of storms that frequently hit the island. “It will be a great home; almost 3000-squarefeet, with decks throughout the exterior. We will also be building a crofter, which serves as a standalone part of the home, with a master suite in it, and where golf carts can be housed underneath,” Rod describes.

Employees first In order to bring together the success of projects like this one, Rod, with the help of his son Rodjr his business partner, have recruited a strong team of folks that share the same philosophy as the father-and-son duo. “We believe that if we take care of people, they will take care of us, and I feel that this is how our business has continued to succeed. We try to have fun, and we also try to make money, but most importantly we want to satisfy our clients. So as long as everyone is happy and doing what they love, then that’s what really counts. From my time working with this business, I can see that our operation has truly impacted Bald Head, and honestly, the time when that has been so evident has been during the pandemic. “You have to remember that the only means of transportation to get here is by ferry, and during a time where traveling was prohibited, we became an incredibly isolated community. On top of that, there was social distancing and all the supply chain issues we faced; it dramatically increased our cost. For example, what normally takes a half-an-hour boat ride to get to Bald Head, very quickly became two hours. So, we emphasized to our employees that we would pay them when they got to the ferry, not when they landed on the island. It slowed things down a little bit, but we managed to get through it, and fortunately, we didn’t lose any of our people, and that is all



owed to the fantastic culture that we try to create here,” Rod informs us. In the best interest of his crew, Rod encourages anyone who shows signs or symptoms that they don’t feel well, to feel secure and comfortable enough to go home and look after themselves. This, he says, has been a true testament to the company’s culture in which the business puts its employees first, no matter what. For the remainder of the year and beyond, Rod is looking to ensure that his company maintains an ethic of excellent communication with its clients in order to overcome any logistical issues that it faces to bring a project together. “When we began building homes with our partners in 2006, one of our concepts was to create a seamless process, especially since most of our clients are not residents on the island. So, we have to rely on the internet, and be able to communicate efficiently. Our goal now is to refine those capabilities and help folks pick out their lot, work closely with the architect, and, overall, meet their objectives as the home buyer. “Many of them rent out their homes, so having a company that can advise them on what makes their home attractive to renters is what will continue to keep us going. Ultimately, we want to minimize the need for them to be on-site so that when they do join us, we can spend that time working through the final details of the home, so that the job gets done a lot quicker,” he emphasizes. For Bald Head Island Building Group, its clients are friends. As Rod reflects on the possibilities of his company’s future, he wants to ensure that his friends receive the best experience in making their dream homes a reality. He concludes our conversation by noting how proud he is of the work his son and the business’ team have put into securing the success of being one of Bald Head’s favorite residential builders. “We’re going to continue to serve the property management and home building sector, and remain a premier builder that offers state-of-the-art services to deliver a quality product,” he concludes. F

Bald Head Island Building Group bald-head-island-building-group Services: Residential builder





not problems

Since 2004, Cravath Homes LLC has been imprinting itself upon the landscape of Minnesota with its custom homes, superior craftmanship, and immaculate attention to detail



large part of my job is problem

(Cravath). “We figure out what’s going on, we

solving, and that’s what we do on

find solutions to problems, and we always

it captures the positive, can-do attitude that

a daily basis,” begins Jon Cravath,

make sure things work out – regardless of

has come to define Cravath, a custom home

President at Cravath Homes, LLC

what’s happening in the global economy.”

builder operating out of Rochester, Minnesota.


That’s a good place to start with our interview;

From custom houses to multifamily townhomes,

As a result, the company has continued to

Cravath has garnered a strong reputation for

grow since its inception in 2004, when it was

under the name Cravath since the early 2000s;

As Jon explains: “We’ve been in business

delivering high quality finishing, good value

established off the back of another successful

however, before that I led another building

for money, and outstanding customer service.

residential building business.

business, which I sold to the family of a partner MODERNHB.COM



so I could start my own company. We’ve

boldly returned to the market with its vast

moving in. Therefore, we had no problems

built in excess of 300 homes, all focusing on

Montgomery Meadows project. “We entered

getting people interested in our homes there.”

semi-custom, mostly mid-range houses in the

the pandemic in a strong position, but since

$300,000-to-$600,000 price range. Of course, in

our two partners have young children, it made

bespoke, energy-efficient homes, Cravath

the last couple of years, prices have gone up by

sense that we pulled back. We didn’t do any

has managed to set itself apart from the

approximately 50 percent, but that gives you

big projects for about two years; however, last

competition. For Jon, this boils down to

an idea of the homes Cravath is building.

summer we had an exciting opportunity with

those involved in Cravath’s projects and the

Montgomery Meadows, a mammoth 46-lot

level of attention to detail they bring to the

homes; but, following the 2008 financial crash,

subdivision with a further 55 acres available for

table. “Our people are everything,” he says.

we pivoted and focused more on remodeling

future development. There’s certainly potential

“Between myself and my two partners, we

as there was much less demand for new

for expansion. We began constructing the first

can do just about anything in terms of home

housing,” he adds. “We also catered for people

villa-style homes just under a year ago, and

building. But we also have an incredible

with accessibility issues, remodeling homes for

they’ve since sold. Now, we’re in the process of

team of subcontractors, many of whom have

aging-in-place situations and individuals who

building three more.

worked with us for well over a decade. In

“Initially, we started constructing single family

had sustained injuries in accidents. Following

fact, our subcontractors are so good that it’s

the crash in 2008, things started picking up

Rochester, and times are somewhat uncertain

simply a facet of the business we don’t need

again, and we began working on several

due to the economy,” explains Jon. “Though

to worry about. They know what we want; we

townhouse subdivisions. That building model

there will likely be a correction to the market,

know what they want; and although they’re

has continued to serve us well.”

we’ll anticipate it and use that as fuel to

not direct employees, they’re part of this

continue building excellent homes. Another

well-oiled team that we’ve managed to put

Attention to detail

example of a project we’ve been involved with


Just before Covid-19 abruptly hit and

is our takeover of an existing development. As

discernibly changed the landscape of the

a casualty of the financial crash in 2008, only

through word of mouth,” explains Jon. “We

building industry, Cravath finished a landmark

22 of the planned 66 homes were actually

don’t really advertise. We just deliver a good

subdivision project. However, the company

completed. We happened to come across the

product with quality service before, during, and

scaled back its operations during the

project and bought up all the remaining lots in

after completion. That also means we’ve been

lockdown period to better assess the state of

2013. The development is on a good, desirable

contacted numerous times by the same clients

the industry going forward.

side of town; the location is experiencing a lot

to conduct repeat work. Part of the reason

of growth, with more restaurants and shops

why we’ve been asked to do that is because

That brings us to last summer, when Cravath


“The demand is falling off a little bit in

By working with customers to create


“The majority of our work is garnered

our partner team and subcontractors have an

throughout the entire build; we understand

Flexible approach

immaculate attention to detail. Trim work and

people’s thoughts will change, and to prevent

That’s not to say everything has gone smoothly.

mill work, the way cabinets are treated, and how

any unforeseen costs, we always ensure proper

As Jon tells us, global supply chain issues have

the tiles are laid – all of this and more receives

communication is made with the homeowners.

almost doubled lead times. “It takes us about

unrivalled care and consideration.

That’s a big thing in building, to have a good

six months to acquire windows,” he reveals.

reputation with no financial surprises. Indeed,

“They’re vital in a cold climate! To put that in

believe the quality and the custom design

“When people view our homes, they can’t

any time that you hear about builders having

context, we started building some villas last

process we offer,” he continues. “We’re not the

issues, it typically comes down to two things:

summer, but only received windows for them

type of builder to provide three floorplans and

lack of communication and poor financial

earlier this year. We put up plastic instead and

say: ‘This is what you get.’ We’re extremely flexible

control of the project.

continued to build inside, which was a hassle



CRAVATH HOMES, LLC correction in the market. Hopefully it won’t be worse than that. However, I think Rochester will be just fine; the economy is strong thanks to the Mayo Clinic and technology companies like IBM. If things slow down, then we’ll focus on remodeling, as we did back in 2008. If a construction project comes up, then we’ll focus on new builds. “The bottom line is that we’re flexible – and that’s essential in business today,” he concludes. “You must roll with the punches. We’re about solutions, not problems. We’ve built over 300 houses now, so it’s safe to say we’ve been doing this a while. Throughout the years you learn a lot, you begin to anticipate what’s coming, and you find ways to overcome obstacles.” F to deal with but ultimately necessary to adapt

back slightly to survey and analyze the

to these supply chain issues. There’s a process

landscape of the building industry, better

you go through when you’re building: you do

preparing the company for a prosperous

things in order. Now, we’re having to adjust

future. “We’re going to have to see how it all

and do things differently, but everything

plays out over the next couple of months,”

works out in the end.”

admits Jon. “We just need to be a bit more

As it did in 2008, Cravath is now stepping



cautious, especially since we’re due a slight

Cravath Homes, LLC Services: Home builder

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