Their timing was pretty perfect, catching the wave of the big run-up in residential real estate that later hit with a thud in 2007. But this was 1999 and times were good. “We grew like wildfire with a passion for the work, a passion for doing beautiful things. It was residential and commercial but the spotlight was always shining on the custom residential. Jeff has a big personality and he was happy to be the guy out front. I enjoyed the developer relationships that happened behind the scenes. I was feeding the need to create business relationships, which I liked doing,” Nequette says.
“We were a flat organization. It was less about the people and more about our desire to do beautiful things. You do a project then you do another and before you know it you’ve done 15 or 20 projects. And they mean a lot to me, but what sticks around in the end are the people, the clients, the employees. It was the client relationships that meant as much to me as to work,” he says.
Then the faucet was turned off in 2008. “The housing market crash totally changed our business. We went from an organization of 43 people down to about 10. We did our best to treat people right. We hope we did a good job. Then we hunkered down. “Through that we got to understand what gave us the most satisfaction, what made us tick.”
“Jeff found the single-family custom work. I found that while I enjoyed exploring that, it was as much or more about the relationships and the sustaining long term opportunity to make a better place for the people around me. And I saw that occurring much more in the community oriented work,” Nequette says. The work done at Smith Lake was all about community building, Nequette says. At Ross Bridge, the firm helped Signature Homes design the houses that surrounded the Village Center, as well as few of the commercial buildings.