A Luxury Home on Lake Glenville

Have you ever lived in a custom home? Few luxuries compare to living in a home that is designed around your life, your habits, and your needs. Most custom homeowners find that once they’ve lived in a home specifically tailored to them, they have a difficult time going back to a pre-made one. One couple who found this to be the case is Gary and Kathie Gamble.

When the Gambles made the move from Montana to the mountains of North Carolina to be closer to family, they knew they wanted to build a custom home like the one they lived in out West, rather than moving into one that they had no hand in planning. Their research and design ideas led them to Sundog Homes.

Why Did They Choose Sundog?

What was it about Sundog Homes that made them choose us? “Trust and confidence,” according to Gary Gamble. He said they “Needed to [work with] a company that I could totally trust in two specific areas … financial trustworthiness and quality (not shortcuts). We achieved both.”


Mountain lots present unique challenges for builders, such as steep grades, erosion risks, and even finding flat surfaces on which to build. The ideal mountain home plan should take into consideration and work within the natural elements of the lot.

The lot on which the Gambles’ house was constructed was no exception and required a good deal of land planning and pre-construction work before it was ready for a 6,000 square feet house to be built on it.

Some of the pre-construction site work included building a boulder sea wall — a wall along the shoreline of their property meant to protect the shoreline from breakwater — because the home sits above Lake Glenville. Our team had to custom design an underground water drainage system for the home, as well. In fact, Sundog Homes did all of the land planning in-house to ensure that no detail of the difficult mountain build was overlooked – and that all of the homeowners’ needs were met, too.

The expansive back porch of the Gamble home offers a stunning view of the mountains and Lake Glenville, as well as plenty of room for entertaining.

Single-Floor Living in the Mountains

On top of the unique requirements demanded by the land, the Gambles themselves had some special requests. For example, a waterscape feature starts in the front yard, surrounding the house almost like a moat. It flows under the front walkway and around the back of the house with a series of waterfalls and ponds along the way. The Gambles wanted the primary living space to be all on one level, too. With 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, and nearly 6,000 square feet of living space, that was a pretty tall order with its share of impediments, so we had to be creative.

They brought us their own building plan, designed by Lucas T. Shad, the architect who designed their home in Montana. We worked with Shad through the entire process of building.

In addition to the main house and all of its custom touches, we also built the Gambles a guest suite above the garage. The suite is accessible via an elevator in the main house to a double-level covered breezeway that connects it to the home. Out-of-town visitors don’t have to rent a hotel room to get privacy, and we sprayed foam insulation to ensure guests aren’t rattled by garage noise.

The main living area of the home features high cathedral ceilings and custom brick and stonework.

“Outstanding” Results

Gamble said that Sundog’s “everyday on-site management of a very sophisticated building plan was superb throughout and their follow-up was outstanding”. We even met with Shad for site visits before, during, and after the construction of the home to make sure everything was on track, and everyone was happy.

In the end, they were very pleased with how their new lake mountain home turned out, and even more satisfied with the collaboration between Sundog Homes and the architect. Gary Gamble told us that he had found that “Most people who build in the mountains end up not liking their builder by the time the process is finally completed. We had just the opposite experience and would hire them again.”


Designing a Modern Home, Redfin Asks the Experts

Redfin reached out to ask the experts for some tips about what to keep in mind when designing a modern home. Of course, we were honored, and happy to oblige.

Here’s what we had to say:

When designing a modern home, we believe the most important consideration (other than the homeowner’s budget), is making sure the overall layout and footprint of the home is in harmony with the land. It’s amazing how effortlessly the interior elements unfold when you approach the design from the outside-in. Try aligning stairs with the natural slope of the lot; facing bedrooms towards the sunrise, and the dining room towards the sunset; or using floor to ceiling windows to bring interesting natural features inside. Whether you’re building in the country or the city, nature is everywhere — let it be your guide!

Read the full article on Redfin’s blog. Let us know what you think in comments!

A Mountain Modern Home in Cullowhee

When Dan and Judy Geiger moved from Pennsylvania to the mountains of Western North Carolina, they sought a home that reflected a “mountain modern” style. They chose Sundog Homes to build their custom home because of our reputation and based on recommendations from others who had homes built by us, as well as “Seeing (our) quality of homes in other developments,” according to Dan Geiger. 

Although their primary motive for moving to the area was to be closer to their grandchildren, they did have a few other reasons. For one, they wanted proximity to the mountains, lakes, and rivers that are so abundant here. In fact, they said they built their home in Jackson County’s Cullowhee River Club community because of its mountain views, and because it’s on the Tuckasegee River. 

“Sundog listened to our needs and concerns, (and provided) access to the BuilderTrend app to monitor progress.”
Dan Geiger, Homeowner

Meeting their Needs

The Geigers brought Sundog the plans for the house they wanted to be built, which was designed by an architectural firm preferred by the management of the Cullowhee River Club community. Like most homebuyers, the Geigers had a checklist of “must-haves” for their new residence. Some of their more specific desires in a home included having all-gas appliances, a screened-in rear deck to take advantage of those mountain views, and smart home capability. One of the most challenging aspects of their home build was constructing a 2-car detached garage with a guest suite above it. Sundog Homes’ solution was to build a garage on the property that was customized to match the design of their home. 

Sundog Homes President David Earley and Construction Manager Bret Raynor perform a quality inspection of the Geiger home.

“Sundog listened to our needs and concerns, (and provided) access to the BuilderTrend app to monitor progress,” said Dan. The Geigers were especially happy to have Construction Field Manager Brent Raynor on-site. According to Dan, “Working with Brent was a very rewarding experience.”

David Earley, President of Sundog Homes, said of Brent, “He did an excellent job with these folks and I know from the quality inspection that (he) did deliver a high-quality home.”

Communication is Key

They were pleased with the selection of interior and exterior finishes and hardware we offered, as well as how easy it was to make changes or adjustments, and how quickly Brent and his crew were able to make them. 

In addition to providing them with accessibility and constant contact with the construction team, Sundog Homes did all the footwork that seems daunting to people building a home from the ground-up. Sundog performed a free site evaluation of the property, handled all the paperwork, pulled the necessary permits, and gained approval from the community’s Architectural Review Board. From start to finish, their new home was built and ready for move-in within six months. 

“(Sundog Homes) exceeded our expectations and built us a great quality home.”
Dan Geiger

A Happy Ending – and a Beautiful New Home

Sundog Homes built the mountain modern home of Dan and Judy Geiger.

Overall, the Geigers are happy with their move, from “meeting new friends in our neighborhood… (and) Being 7 miles from our grandchildren and spending time with them, our daughter and son-in-law,” said Dan. Just as important is the fact that they’re happy with their house. “(We’re) enjoying all the new features we didn’t have in our previous home of 25 years,” he said, adding, “(Sundog Homes) exceeded our expectations and built us a great quality home.”   


2020 AHBA Build Remodel Expo

Thanks to everyone who attended the 2020 AHBA Build & Remodel Expo in Asheville, NC!

We enjoyed meeting everyone and learning about your upcoming projects.

7 Tips for a Greener Home

Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 to increase awareness about the environmental problems facing the planet. This year, Earth Day is on April 22, and it’s the perfect opportunity to make some changes around the house to not only help the environment, but also to save some money. Seven ? tips for making your home more green follow.

Change your lights, change your life

Replacing traditional lightbulbs with LED bulbs can reduce energy costs, as well as reducing waste. LED bulbs last an average of 10 times longer than traditional bulbs, and use 75 percent less energy. Plus, LED bulbs are less harsh on the eyes.

Choose low-VOC paint

Few smells are as pungent as “new paint smell,” not to mention headache-inducing and allergy-triggering. VOC stands for “volatile organic compound,” and are unstable chemicals that release gasses that can be harmful to people and the environment. When painting rooms in your home, opt for low- or no-VOC paints to eliminate the smell altogether.

Be a(n Energy) Star

Whenever possible, opt for EPA-rated Energy Star appliances. Every Energy Star-labeled product meets the government’s definitions for energy efficiency, meaning you save money, as well as saving the planet. Smart devices can share the responsibility by monitoring energy usage, and recommend ways to curtail energy waste or even check for abnormalities in the way appliances use the energy.

Change your temperature

Turning the thermostat in your home down 3 degrees in colder months, or up 3 in the summer, can cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1,000 pounds annually. Plus, it will have the added bonus of saving money on your electric bill. Smart thermostats are programmable to balance your home’s temperature, which goes a long way toward reducing energy consumption. It’s also a good idea to be sure to close windows when you’re not at home, so the air or heat doesn’t escape.

Natural light

Utilize as much of the natural light in your home as possible during the day. Arrange seating close to windows, so it’s not necessary to turn on lights during daylight hours.


When you leave the house, unplug as many appliances and electronics as you can. While they stay plugged in, items not in use are sucking up energy, and adding to carbon emissions. It is possible to save up to $200 or more per year on your electric bill just by unplugging items like computers, televisions, printers, or even toasters when they’re not being used.

Build green

The best thing you can do to ensure a greener home is start from the ground up! Building your home with certified green practices is a great jumping-off point. Sundog Homes offers green building packages that follow the Green Built NC Homes guidelines. Our spec home at 682 Sand Hill Road in Asheville has been built using the Green Built checklist with an emphasis on thoughtful design.

For example, Icynene spray foam insulation has been sprayed in the exterior walls and crawl spaces to essentially create a giant cooler. The home has an installed tankless water heater, and the 2×6 exterior walls are framed with R-19 batt insulation.

Audit your Energy

If you want to do even more, but you’re just not sure where to start, contact your utility company for a home energy audit. They will assess the amount of energy you currently use, and help you find ways to consume less. They might suggest easy fixes like wrapping windows with insulated plastic during cold months, changing furnace or air conditioning filters every three months, or other suggestions specific to your home’s location.