Jeremy Wright doesn’t know what life without home-building looks like. His grandfather was a builder, as well as his father. “I’ve been in this industry for 21 years,” he says. But in 2015 he founded J. Wright Building Company. Today his company is not only a Southern Living Custom Builder, but also is quite successful, actively working on twelve to fourteen new builds each year. We sat down and talked with Jeremy about his company and what’s popping in home building right now. He even made some predictions for trends next year.
What makes your company unique from other builders in the Birmingham Area?
We’re in the business of designing and building custom homes, and we also design a new home for every client we work with. A lot of builders have a designer that they outsource to, but we keep it all in-house.
Our process is also slightly different. A lot of people start with a designer and then go to a builder, only to then find out that what they want to build isn’t in their budget. We try to work from a budget and go backwards, and help guide clients into what to build.
Another thing that makes us unique is that we fund our own jobs with just a percentage down upfront from homeowners. The balance isn’t due until the completion of your home.
One of the things we pride ourselves on is building very, very energy efficient homes. We make them tight (the way we seal the home) and well-insulated and use excellent heating and cooling equipment.
What does it mean to be a Southern Living Custom Builder?
It’s an invitation only program. They seek you and you then have you go through all of their checks and balances (background checks, financial information) to see if you meet their criteria. We’ve been in the program for 4 years. Once you’re in, there are nice benefits. Their brand helps promote us and vice-a-versa—we help promote them with what we do. We can also offer some products at a better price standpoint because of the Southern Living partnership.
Where do you find your inspiration?
We learn a lot from our clients! As far as inspiration, I look at historic buildings, both here and when I tour other cities. I like architecture that is simplistic and leans towards traditional principals. From a personal preference, I like stuff that’s more timeless and our designers are that way too.
Who are some of your favorite vendors?
We are very loyal to brands. We love Sherwin-Williams paint; Wellborn Cabinet, Inc., which is right here in Alabama; Trane for heating and cooling systems; Kohler faucets; we mostly use Marvin windows, but sometimes Sierra Pacific; and James Hardie siding.
Some of our favorite vendors are AllSouth Appliance and Southern Bath & Kitchen.
What are some trends you’re seeing right now?
There are trends that will always be present. An open floor plan concept is here to stay. I think that’s a cultural change. White exteriors have been a thing and they’re not going away, but people are moving towards darker colors. White interiors will also stick around, but you’re going to see some more color popping up, like darker blues. Navy is going to be the color next year.
How did you get into custom home building?
I grew up in the industry—and have always been around custom home building. My grandfather was a millright. When the plant would shut down, he would build a house. My father is a home builder. And I worked as a construction superintendent in high school and college. High school is also when I started designing houses. I’ve been a builder for 21 years, but I started this company in 2015 because I wanted a better process for custom building.
I’m also very active in the industry—from the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders to the Alabama Home Builders Association and the National Association of Home Builders. I am enjoying working with builders from around the county in striving for fair codes and regulations that help ensure home affordability for homeowners. I’m a member of the Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Commission and the Alabama Historic Ironwork Commission.