Builder Britney Wallace grew up in Chapel Hill, where her father, Gary, was a developer of commercial and residential properties. She attended North Carolinas flagship university studying computer programming. When she graduated in 2006, she found working at a desk full time was not what she wanted.
I liked the work, but not the desk job atmosphere, Wallace said.
Fortuitously, her dad had some residential lots at Paladin Court in Durham. She jumped at the chance to get her contractors license and begin building homes there.
Ive always loved houses and went with my parents on Parade of Homes tours even as a kid, Wallace said. And even though I spend most of my days building homes, I still like watching HGTV (Home & Garden Television).
Wallace said she finds it really fun and rewarding to create something tangible, which has been largely lost in our country today. I like our customers trusting us with such a big part of their lives. I like the controlled chaos of the daily process: organizing the job, getting the materials to the site, working with the subcontractors, and understanding that things never go according to plan and being able to deal with it when they dont.
She now lives in a home in her first neighborhood and runs her own company, B. Wallace Design and Construction.
The idea now is the same as it was when I started, Wallace said, I want to create homes that I would be proud to have my name on.
While Wallace will build homes of any size and style, she is still committed to building well-appointed homes that are of average size 2,300 square feet or smaller. These homes are now known as Jewel Box Homes, possibly from the references by famous architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright when speaking of some of their smaller projects as jewel boxes.
Wallace especially likes combining historic Craftsman style with modern conveniences and energy-efficiencies in building techniques and products. She will be speaking about this on Wednesday, February 1, at a meeting of Professional Women in Building at her current building venture, Patterson Glen, a townhome community off Chapel Hill Boulevard in Durham.
Patterson Glens convenient location on Southwestern Drive has made it a popular place to live for UNC and Duke University employees. Two of the four floor plans have a main floor bedroom or master suite, which make them desirable for retirees.
Detached single-car garages provide extra storage space, and private back courtyards are another bonus to these homes that range in size from 1,605 to 2,113 square feet. The prices for the three remaining floor plans start at $269,000 and go up to $329,000. Cabinet, flooring and tile choices can increase the price of any home.
Wallace began the design process for Patterson Glen in 2006-2007, while she was still building single-family homes at Paladin Court. She worked with architects at New City Design of Raleigh to create four floor plans in the Craftsman style for Patterson Glen.
Some of the most popular architectural features found in Paladin Courts single-family homes are also at Patterson Glen. These include arched ceilings to transition from the common rooms to the master suite or main-floor bedroom and the signature stairwell that has small sets of vertical and horizontal windows bringing in lots of natural light to a space that is often a dark and uninteresting part of a house. The Craftsman-style front doors have three-over-three glass insets that reinforce this image and add even more light.
Wallaces inspiration for second-floor family rooms in two of the floor plans was families downsizing, yet still wanting space for visiting grandchildren to relax. She has also seen homeowners use that space as a media room, a home office space or as a home gym.
We have 30 units and four floor plans, yet I have been surprised at how unique each one is, Wallace said. It reflects each home owners style and taste. It has been a lot of fun to see how the same floor plan can turn out really different.
One of the reasons is Wallaces personal involvement in the choice of building products. For example, for every house she builds, spec or with a customer, she goes personally to the tile store and looks through what they have and what seems to be peeking peoples interest at the time.
I just go and see what seems to be popular, a little bit new without being too trendy, Wallace said.
The result is very unique baths some with separate vanities all with flowing ceramic tiles, granite and marbles that give a rich look and easy care for the home owners.
Another distinguishing characteristic of Wallaces homes is her thoughtful use of paints. She chooses a six-color palette for each town house. The palette is based on the homes three living areas: the common rooms, master suite and additional bedrooms and bath.
I dont like every room to be a different color because it doesnt flow together, Wallace said.
She says her goal is to have a main color and accent color in the common rooms living room, kitchen and family room. She uses an additional color in the second and third bedroom and the second bathroom to create a unity in those suites. Then the master suite has a third primary color. The closets are whatever the majority color of the room is. If the majority color is dark, then the closet ceiling gets to share that color.
To me it (a six-color palette) just makes it feel flowing and continuous but still with distinct spaces and unique enough within different spaces that every portion of the house has its own identity, Wallace said.
The trey ceilings in the kitchens are another place where individual tastes can change the look of the space. The ceilings have metal insets that look totally different when bare or painted in one or different hues. Wallace says she had never considered not painting ceilings different colors.
I ask, Why would you paint the ceilings all white, Wallace said.
Many of the kitchens have dark, dark cabinets, which are very in right now, but Wallace says she has always liked them because they bring some depth and richness into the space. Yet she says she is seeing a turn back to white cabinets.
There are still 10 townhomes available at Patterson Glen a few in each of these floor plans the two-bedroom Madison; the three-bedroom Logan with a first-floor master suite; and the three-bedroom Harrington with the master suite upstairs. Of the 10 units, three are in the planning stage, four are ready for homeowners to select their own finishes, and three are turn-key ready.
To learn more about Wallace and Patterson Glen, log onto www.bwallacebuilt.com
or call Coldwell Banker Advantage New Homes representative Randi Edmiston at the Patterson Glen sales center at 919-381-6358.
Sally Keeney can be reached at
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