7 top Louisville home pros to watch for in 2016
Updated May 10, 2016 12:00 AM By Matt Langan
“You build a house from the ground up,” he said.
He shifted the gears in his old blue pickup truck. Eleven years old, I sat shotgun in the warn seat next to him. An empty Diet Mountain Dew bottle rolled on the floorboard as the truck roared up the hill on that cold Saturday morning as we headed to a home site.
It was during drives like this that my dad, a home builder, liked to give me advice. Oftentimes, it came in the form of idioms like this one.
“Here come the lessons of life,” I said with a smile, looking out the foggy window.
Sometimes I’d sing, "Here come the lessons of life," like a jingle you’d hear introducing a television show. Putting it to a tune lightened the mood - making it seem like I wasn’t taking the advice in or enjoying it.
But I was listening despite playing it off.
"You build a house from the ground up," is a phrase I think about often. It's exactly why we're kicking things off by honoring and celebrating the creative Home Pros we serve.
Living Spaces By Lyn
Lyn Mabry is a residential designer who moved to Louisville from Nashville in 2000. One look at her work and you instantly feel the coziness and warmth of a home.
A big part of Lyn’s design and creative influence is balance - she’s enjoys yoga and meditation, which seem to flow directly into her design.
“It’s all about balance,” she says. “Colors are powerful and play a huge role. Clean lines versus warmer, curvy lines. Stronger colors with neutral colors. And texture is important.”
So while that undertone of warmth is always present, she’s not afraid to venture out into the unknown - using trendy, artsy, even funky themes - to achieve balance.
Her favorite part of the design process is getting to know the client. She likes to go into someone's space, look at what they have, determine who they are, and try to coach them to root out what kind of things make them feel good how to surround them with things that nourish them.
What’s one important piece of advice she gives to clients?
“Don’t discount what you like and don’t like. Making a space comfortable requires that things you love be there.”
Wolford Building & Remodeling
Ron and Martha Wolford of Wolford Construction are staples in the high-end luxury home market in Louisville. They’ve built A LOT of homes. Try over 600 homes and close to 200 remodel projects!
One would think that after a while a lot of those homes and designs start to look the same, right? Not for the Wolfords. They vow to never use the same design elements twice.
“We believe our clients deserve to have the best -- a home that represents their unique qualities and tastes.”
When it comes to designing, they find their inspiration in their surroundings.
“It’s everywhere. If you can take what you see and put a unique twist on it the results can be amazing. There is no shortage of inspiration in this fabulous world we live in - from nature to magnificent feats of man. There is always something to learn!”
We asked Martha about her favorite project, which she told us was a 13,000 sq. foot contemporary home rehab in Glenview.
“It had 9 bathrooms and the client had no fear of bringing in unusual materials and experimenting with styles. The result was amazing. My favorite room was a powder room that was ALL black. A black granite pedestal sink, black toilet, black tile from floor to ceiling embedded with Swarovski crystals. A starburst crystal chandelier brought out all the crystal in the tiles. It was truly a starry starry night experience.”
...we’re salivating too!
Anne Del Prince
Had we not known Anne Del Prince was an architect when we called her, we would’ve figured it out very quickly! The love and respect she has for her work and clients is so obvious.
Anne thinks good architecture and design is not about style or being unique for the sake of being unique, but about “flow, space, light, and proportion.”
The words of a true architect at heart.
Anne’s architecture experience began at the University of Cincinnati. Shortly after graduation, Anne started working for Lewis and Henry, a commercial firm and worked there for 10 years before she went on her own and started the business she owns now: Anne Del Prince Residential Architect.
We asked her what makes her design unique. Why do clients come to her?
“My thought process looks at what is there and what fits your unique home. The house itself that you are working with has so many decisions that have already been made and I just try to follow the queues. One of the best compliments an architect can get is when a neighbor comes over and they don’t realize where the addition was placed.”
“Good architecture is not flashy or showy, but always very attractive.”
Unlike the other home pro’s we interviewed, Anne doesn’t look around online too much for inspiration. She draws her inspiration from a few books on Japanese and Bali styles, her own eyes, and personal experiences with the world.
Reflections of You by Amy
Amy Wagner runs the biggest staging company in Louisville.
With 10 employees, a warehouse full of staging inventory, and a growing list of clientele from the likes of Homearama builders and designers, she’s become very well known.
The most fascinating part about Amy is her background.
She started out as a Guidance Counselor. Now she uses her understanding of people to stage for-sale homes for potential buyers.
She knows the triggers that irritate and make buyers want to go running for the hills... and the ones that make them want to hang around and see more. For instance, one tip she gave us is to remove clocks as “they make buyers feel rushed.” Also, "Put in wood hangers and make sure the paint isn’t chipping because it helps build confidence in the buyer that the structure is sound."
As far as her specific design style, she gets her inspiration from Pinterest, magazines, and Joanna Gaines of HGTV's show, Fixer Upper.
Plan Ahead, Inc.
Anthony Williams draws around 100 homes a year and doesn’t get to see 95 of them.
The reason being, he’s based in Jeffersonville, Indiana and his clients reside all over the country.
He started Plan Ahead, Inc., a Residential Drafting Service in 1998, and after working with some well-known builders in the Jeffersonville and Louisville area, his business grew.
One thing about his creative process that’s quite different is he starts out each project with raw, hand-drawn sketches.
He says the nature of visualizing something on paper without jumping on the computer is something he thrives on. The final deliverable he gives clients is always computer-generated, but it’s this initial approach that allows him to truly get creative and offer something great to his clients.
"What’s one of your favorite design tips you like to give clients?" we asked.
“Curb appeal is very important. People are attracted to what they see. And I love large entry doors."
Stuccco Profile: Stuccco.com/houseplans
HG McCullough Designs, Inc.
When someone asks Greg McCullough what he does, his answer is straightforward.
“We design a client’s dream home.”
His company, HG McCullough was founded in the 1940s. They focus on high-end design with the far end of projects reaching as high as $14-15 MM. Their work can be found in Louisville, Indianapolis, Evansville, and many cities in between.
Greg tries to deliver on the WOW factor for clients.
But to deliver on something like that takes a lot of information. It’s also different for each client.
“We need to know details and we need to your personality. Everyone wants the WOW factor but you need to understand how the client defines that.”
We asked Greg what’s one trend he’s excited about.
“Outdoor Living. To bring the inside, outside. Even if it’s a fireplace, heating or cooling elements you can extend the amount of time you can enjoy the outdoors per year.”
Rock, Paper, Hammer
Minimalist design. Lots of real, natural wood. Honesty of materials.
Derek and Emily, husband and wife, run the team at Rock, Paper, Hammer, a residential architecture firm.
The above mentioned focuses stem from the couple's interest in the sustainable/green energy movement, a movement they first become excited about when they met while studying architecture at Ball State University.
They moved to San Francisco after college to pursue their interests in the green energy movement but came back to the Midwest with goals of starting a family.
Their studio is now in the backyard of their Crescent Hill home.
Where does Emily, the designer of the duo, get her inspiration?
“So much is determined by the existing structure, the views, the light. In a new house, driven by the site, the typography. The collaborative process with the homeowner is huge too - we share photos they like, and we use Google image search because it pulls from a lot of places.”
One thing they consider in the design process is ‘space real estate.’
“It’s important to make a client aware of why they use certain rooms and where they spend their time. We can then reverse engineer a solution from doing that type of discovery.”
“The proximity to the kitchen is highest value of real estate.”
When asked about her favorite design trends or products, Emily mentioned solar. "It's finally happening in Kentucky. They Mayor is recognizing it and there are incentives for installing it. I'm also excited about paper stone, which is a product manufactured from recycled paper. It's a very green material. My husband and I have it in our kitchen. It has a soft, warm feel to it that we love."