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The front view of the Chadwell home in Cullowhee.

A Home Away From Home in the NC Mountains


552 words | 2 min read

The Chadwells, homebuilder Mike and interior designer Jodi, didn’t initially plan to build a custom vacation home, but they didn’t like what they found on the market. “As a builder, I’ve always built my own homes… [and] it was impossible to find an existing home [in Western North Carolina] that we could feel good about,” according to Mike. Their journey to find the right home led them to Sundog Homes.

While searching for suitable lots, they found Sundog Realty agent Mark Brooks’ land listing, and that’s how they discovered Cullowhee and Sundrops on Caney Fork. Sundog Homes was the logical choice for a builder; in addition to building every house in the neighborhood, Sundog Homes also designed, planned, and developed the entire community, including roads, infrastructure, a community water system, and the luxury pool and clubhouse.

Cullowhee was Calling

Although they didn’t have any particular ties to the area, Jodi said they felt that Western North Carolina was the right place to build their second home because, among other reasons, "It’s beautiful, especially in the fall. The reason we chose Cullowhee is the Sundrops subdivision. It’s a beautiful, quaint, pet-friendly, safe community with wonderful amenities bordered by a tranquil creek." Plus, Jodi added, "We can drive from our house in (Tampa) Florida in about 8 hours (and) It’s an hour from the Asheville Airport to pick up family and friends.”

The Home They Wanted

Chadwell-foyer-stairs-built-in Working with Sundog Homes allowed them to build exactly the house they wanted. “We really wanted a home that we designed,” according to Mike. “We were very grateful that we were able to create our own house plan. It was very important to us.”

“We are very grateful to have a project manager who worked hard to create our vision for the house,” Jodi said of their project manager, Brent Raynor. “The details in (the) home were definitely a collaborative effort. I would show Brent pictures of what I was wanting, and he did a great job implementing it.”

Communication is Key

Chadwell-kitchen-dining Although they knew the potential for “cost escalations,” as Mike put it, the Chadwells said they didn’t really have many challenges while their home was being built. They owe part of that ease to the Buildertrend project management app that Sundog Homes uses with every custom home we build. Mike said, “Sundog’s use of Buildertrend works really well for out-of-town customers” because it allows supervisors to communicate detailed daily progress and information to clients - including pricing updates.

Even though he said, “Pricing was higher than we initially budgeted,” the (Buildertrend) “financial reporting made it clear that the costs were correct and reasonable.” Constant communication between the Chadwells and Brent was also valuable. In fact, they cited that communication as one of their best moments of the home-building process, along with picking out interior details with our Design Coordinator Brannon Honeycutt, hammering out the contract with our company President David Earley, and working with company Vice President Phillip Gamble on their custom design.

Home Sweet Second Home

Chadwell-Living-Room-Fireplace Now that they’ve settled into their vacation home, they say they “feel very relaxed in it.” Would they recommend Sundog Homes to friends or family members who are in the market for a custom home? “Yes. [Sundog has] Good communication, skilled subcontractors… quality homes, and great integrity.”

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