Kelly's Blog


Finished with Finesse

by Kelly

by Kimberly Wray
Courtesy of Home Resource Magazine

In the universe of general contractors, Winston-Salem based Kelly Harkey Custom Homes stands apart, largely because of those that stand with him. While most in his line of work maintain a list of go-to sub-contractors to put the finishing touches on a new home or remodeling project, Harkey prefers to employ an in-house team of carpenters, highly skilled laborers and mechanics.

We’re able to provide our clients with an honest and consistent workforce, and to guarantee a level of quality from one job to the next that is very difficult to do using sub-contract type labor, Harkey says. Plus, the ability to manufacture custom productseverything from the crown mouldings to built-in cabinets, coupled with our in-house design and finishing capabilities, enables us to control costs and provide customers with exceptional value.

The in-house talent includes his wife, an artist and faux finisher, and a lead carpenter who has been part of the team for some 27 years. Their skill sets, coupled with Harkey’s design sense and experience, have helped the company build a reputation for creating homes that are finished with finesse, from details like nineinch crown mouldings, to custom cabinets with special glazed and lacquered finishes. There’s nothing in our homes that’s not custom-built, Harkey says. With some two decades of experience building homes, Harkey has a vast database of previous projects and designs to draw from for inspiration making him as adept at remodeling as he is in building from the ground up. When you’re looking to remodel your existing home, to upfit it for the 21st century, it’s important to seek out a contractor that has cutting-edge building experience, he counsels. You have to have someone that has been there and built it on the other side, who will understand where you want to go with your home and what you want to do.

Customer Santford Garner turned to Harkey for a major model that essentially doubled the size of his home. We had a big lot in the back of our house and we had always dreamed about expanding, Garner says. We spoke to a few builders, and Kelly was not only reasonable from a price standpoint, but his ability to custom work and level of craftsmanship really appealed to us. He was clearly much more than a general contractor.

There’s a lot of people who can build a house, says customer Don Ingram, and Kelly is certainly a first-class custom builder. But there are very few people who can put the kind of quality touches into a house that he does. He has a great eye and his finishing workfrom crown mouldings to cabinetryis truly extraordinary.

He has great ideas and he’s very innovative and precise, remark Mick and Mary Ellen Marlow, for whom Harkey built a home from the ground up. This was not the first home we had built and we interviewed a range of builders before settling on Kelly. He was down-to-earth, very real, and willing to work with us on some things that we wanted to do that were unusual, like the use of radiant sheeting on the roof. He’s the whole package, agrees Mark Fulk, a customer who stumbled upon a Harkey spec home in Coventry Commons in the early stages. We’ve built two other homes over the years, and I really didn’t know much about Kelly at the time, Fulk remembers. But I was impressed with this attention to detail, excellent taste and design sense. He’s got a wonderfully creative eye and it resulted in a very unique house that he personalized for us.

A little more than a year ago, Fulk decided to enclose the beautiful, tree-top level deck in the back of the house. I looked into hiring an architect to draw it because it was a complex project on a sloping lot, but Kelly said, It’s not necessary; save your money.’ He knew exactly what we wanted and he built it, Fulk says. The result was just exquisite. Kelly brings a sense of style that you just don’t find typically find in spec homes to his projects, relates customer John Cunningham, who has lived in a spec house he purchased from Harkey for the past two years. We watched this house as it progressed and we could see that he was looking to do something different early on, Cunningham says. From the design, to the woodwork and the painting, to the quality construction, there was nothing cookie-cutter about it. Two years on, we’ve had absolutely no issues whatsoever. We’ve lived in other new homes, and there are always issues early on, but there’s been no so much as a nail pop here because Kelly put so much thought into everything he did in the first place.

Kelly is a very, very thoughtful and experienced individual, sums Dr. John Hammon who recently hired Harkey and his team to add a large, airy room overlooking the Yadkin River to the back of his home. He’s trustworthy and he’s had a lot of experience dealing with people. Simply put, he knows what they want and he’s got the resources and skills to make it happen.