While Kip and Brigitt Berry’s home was built in 2018, their story with Rufty Homes goes all the way back to 1997…
Brigitt remembers, “We met Jon Rufty for the first time in 1997 when we were looking to build a home in Cary. Then, during the architectural stage of the project, we got transferred to move through my husband’s job. However, the connection we made with Jon was a lasting one – we even exchanged Christmas cards for a few years! When we moved back to the Triangle in 2017 to be closer to our kids and granddaughter, we immediately knew that we wanted to work with Jon on our forever home.”
That initial friendship that was formed 20 years earlier made a lasting impression on the Berrys, who didn’t even consider contacting another builder when they were ready to build their home. Brigitt continues, “We sat down with Jon and it was like no time had passed at all. He asked us about what we were looking for and started sketching it out right there. In about an hour we had our initial floor plan.”
After living in a traditional home in Gainesville, Florida, Kip and Brigitt were ready for a bit of a change. The Rufty team introduced them to Interior Designer, Vicky Serany, of Southern Studio Interior Design, who helped develop a “transitional” style, which was a fresh take on traditional ideas.
Vicky explains, “We wanted to give them a home with a new perspective, something that still felt like ‘them’ but with a breath of fresh air. Brigitt and Kip had a few key pieces they wanted to incorporate in their design, so we started there. Then, Brigitt and I worked closely together to find other elements to complement the space.”
She continues, “One of my favorite parts of interior design is to help homeowners find the pieces that make them light up with excitement and then making all of those pieces work together in a way that makes their home feel uniquely theirs. I’m thrilled that the Berrys love the end result.”
Rufty Homes values a team approach to each project and developing relationships with designers like Vicky makes the whole process easier and more rewarding for homeowners like the Berrys.
Brigitt agrees, “I became very close with Vicky and my Rufty Project Manager, Don, throughout the project. They were amazing! The three of us would work together, solve problems, and think about the best ways to build a house that was beautiful and functional for our needs. The whole team was always one step ahead of any potential issue and if I had a question about anything, I’d get a response in 24 hours or less.”
Brigitt remembers a specific instance when they were planning out the back porch area, one of the main focal points of their backyard space. She says, “We really wanted an outdoor TV on our back porch, and Don came to us with the idea to put a small sliding door over the TV that would protect it from pollen in the spring. That’s just one example of the little details they thought about ahead of time to make the whole building process a breeze.”
One of Kip and Brigitt’s top priorities during their initial meeting with Jon was an outdoor space they could enjoy all year. He helped them find a lot adjacent to a piece of protected land, ensuring that nothing could be built behind them. As a result, their backyard includes their porch which backs up to a waterfall, hot tub, fire pit, and gazebo, perfect for both entertaining or just relaxing at home by themselves or with their kids and granddaughter.
“We can open the sliders and sit in the kitchen, listening to the waterfall and just immersing ourselves in the landscape. It’s exactly what we envisioned back in our meeting with Jon when he sketched out our floor plan. This is truly the forever home we’ve always dreamed about building and sharing with our family, but if we ever changed our mind, we’d use Rufty Homes again in a heartbeat,” smiles Brigitt.
See the full photo gallery here.
Catch up on the latest happenings at Rufty Homes in our November email newsletter! Watch our timelapse video of a custom home being built in less than two minutes, learn about our commitment to helping guide the interior designers of tomorrow, and learn about one of our former client's work to raise money for fighting blood cancer.
Our owner, Jon Rufty, was a featured guest on a recent episode of the podcast, Guys Who Do Stuff. The local business podcast, hosted by Joe Woolworth and Josh Manning, features interviews with people who have started a business or non-profit, quit their jobs to pursue a dream, and more.
In episode 43, Joe and Josh interview Jon to talk about some of the lessons he's learned over the last 20+ years since starting Rufty Homes and a few of his "secrets to success." Listen to the episode below and see all their full list of episodes here.
Since 2014, we’ve been partnering with Meredith College’s Construction Technology course to give interior design students the opportunity to tour the build site of one of our projects. This partnership gives students a real-world example of what to expect during a custom home or remodeling project, and it also allows us to interact with future designers and hear their feedback about the construction process.
Throughout the course of the Construction Technology class, interior design students learn about structural systems and how to better communicate with engineers, architects, and builders during a residential build. The tour serves as a nice complement to what they learn throughout the semester.
Lisa Wilson, the professor for the course, explains, “I try to teach my students that team effort is crucial for every construction process. Drawings are only about 60% of the process; everything else happens out in the field. Getting to take them to an actual construction site and see the teamwork in action is eye-opening for them.”
During the tour, students spend about an hour walking through one of our construction sites, interacting with the project manager and Mary Beth Buie, our Client Coordinator. Mary Beth, who is a Meredith grad herself, was also an interior design major, so she can offer a unique perspective to students who are following the path she once took.
Mary Beth says, “As a designer myself, I enjoy pointing out the workarounds that happen when structural plans interfere with aesthetics. Those things can be hard to understand in theory, but it’s easier to point out on the job site. I also use it as an opportunity to emphasize the importance of how changes and delays can impact the overall budget and schedule.”
At the end of the semester, the Construction Technology students must put together a set of construction documents for their final project. As a result, Lisa and Mary Beth work together to schedule the tour by the mid-point of the semester to give the students a chance to put what they learn onsite and apply it to their project.
“We have different homes and projects going on at different stages, so when we schedule the tour, I speak to Lisa first to see what kind of projects she’s interested in seeing. One of our primary goals is to bring the students to a job that has not had drywall put in yet, so they can see the wiring and all the other happenings behind the walls,” explains Mary Beth.
She continues, “While onsite, the students get a better understanding that once you start building, sometimes things change a little bit and everything is connected. Small things can impact the framing, foundation, engineering, plumbing, etc., but it’s not easy to visualize that until you see it for yourself.”
This tour gives them the chance to not only visualize, but ask questions to professionals. As a result, their final projects are more accurate and they feel better equipped to complete their construction documents.
From Lisa’s perspective, the tour ends up being an invaluable experience for her students. She says, “Many of my students have never been on a construction site and they may not be familiar with some of the methods of construction that we get to see onsite. This experience really lets them get into the ‘nuts and bolts’ of a project and see the big picture instead of just focusing on one small aspect of a project.”
For as much as the students get out of the tour, the feeling is mutual for the Rufty Homes team. Mary Beth says, “We enjoy being able to offer ourselves as mentors to these students and provide insight into the working life of an interior design professional by showing them how they’ll directly impact other trades. It’s also an opportunity for us to share client experiences with them and show them that their job is critical both to the general contractor, but the client as well and that interior designers are leaned on for more support and decision-making than they might otherwise think. We look forward to continuing this partnership for years to come.”