SouthPark Magazine – May 2007
By Sam Boykin
Early Interest in Design Prepared Builder for Long Career in the Industry
Doug McSpadden is one of those fortunate few who always knew what he wanted to do with his life. While growing up in Gastonia, he was fascinated with designing and building things, from Lego-block cities to tree houses. This fascination eventually led him to the University of Tennessee School of Architecture, where he graduated with honors. He then earned a real estate broker and contractor’s license. “It gave me everything I needed to design, build and sell houses,” says McSpadden, 47.
And for the past 20 years he’s been doing just that as president of McSpadden Custom Homes, a luxury home builder. In the process he’s garnered numerous awards, including five Gold Awards in HomeArama 2006 at The Sanctuary.
In the late 1990s, McSpadden, along with project manager Mike Jenkins and a few other company team members positioned themselves for an anticipated boom in luxury houses in the south Charlotte and Lake Wylie area. The company sank a sizable investment into hiring new employees, establishing a new office space and upgrading building technologies.
The gamble paid off, and the company was well prepared to capitalize on the wave of folks who have moved to the area over the last five years or so. McSpadden says the company has nearly tripled in size in the last two years, and is planning to build a new corporate center in Lake Wylie. McSpadden estimates that since 1987, his company has built well over 200 homes, ranging from 3,000 to 12,000 square feet each.
Diverse Buyers Add Architectural Variety
McSpadden says that over the past two decades he’s seen many trends and changes in the area’s luxury home market. And as the Charlotte area becomes increasingly diverse, so have the architectural styles. “People do love the older European layouts that are very evident through Charlotte,” says McSpadden. “But I think there’s a new breed of people moving to Charlotte that recognize the beauty of architectural variety – from Southwestern and contemporary to Mediterranean. This adds a richness to the region that we really haven’t seen before.”
And while he says many of his customers still love large and spacious homes, some people are starting to rethink how to utilize the spaces in side their abode. “We’re still building 10,000-square-foot homes, but do you really need 30-foot ceilings and rooms so large that you get lost in them? Some buyers, especially empty nesters, are building homes with more intimate spaces, and using softer colors and more natural textures.”
As an example, McSpadden refers to his company’s award-winning home on the shores of Lake Wylie featured in HomeArama 2006. While the luxurious four-bedroom, five-full-bath and two-half-bath home is a very spacious 6,726-square feet, it still feels intimate.
“The ceiling heights are no more than 10 feet high,” says McSpadden. “This is more energy efficient, creates a more personal space, provides better acoustics, and is much easier to heat and cool.”
Another emerging trend in the luxury home market is the use of environmentally friendly building materials and practices. As an associate member of the Green Building Initiative, a nonprofit network helping to accelerate the adoption of environmentally sustainable building practices, McSpadden says they’ve started working with many new eco-friendly technologies. These include ICFs, which are lightweight, interlocking foam insulation panels that are more energy efficient than traditional construction materials, as well as various synthetic materials, which help conserve natural resources. By incorporating these kinds of green building principles into a structure, the average homeowner can save nearly 50 percent on utility costs, not to mention help reduce air pollution.
With the home market and economy booming, McSpadden has plenty to keep him busy.
He credits much of his company’s success to his faith, spirituality and strong family values, which he says, “have guided the business through the past 20 years, and will continue to do so.” And regardless of business demands, McSpadden says his wife Laurie, and their two sons, Harrison, 18 and Connor, 14, will always be top priority, and in fact help fuel him as a businessman.
“I work very hard during the week to make sure the business is a success and our customers are being served so I can provide for my family and spend more time with them. I feel like we’re truly blessed.”