Second Career As Builders Best Thing For Edwardses
When Carlton and Deborah Edwards began working together every day, running their home building and design company, it was a defining moment for the couple.
"It's as important to like your husband as it is to love your husband," Mrs. Edwards said.
Edwards, 56, and Mrs. Edwards, 57, have been married for 31 years and together run Carlton Edwards Builder & Designer LLC in the Tyler area.
Edwards worked as a trust manager for a national bank for nearly 30 years before leaving the banking industry to do what he loved -- design and build houses. Mrs. Edwards said he began building and designing homes as a side business before leaving banking.
The couple was born and raised in Fort Worth before banking took them to Whitehouse for more than three years, Phoenix and the Texas Hill Country, where they lived between Fredericksburg and Kerrville for six years before moving back to East Texas to start their business. They live near Lake Palestine, in Henderson County.
While Edwards was a banker, Mrs. Edwards spent her time serving as chairman for several nonprofits, working part-time for a boutique and home furnishing store and doing public relations work for the bank her husband worked for.
When Edwards turned 50 and their youngest of three daughters was out of college, he decided to design and build houses full-time, starting in 2006, she said.
"We're very blessed," Mrs. Edwards said. "It's the best thing he ever did."
When he quit getting up every morning to work at the bank, as he did for 26 years, she said it was a defining moment in their relationship and they found that they liked each other, as well as loved each other.
Edwards handles the designing and building end of the business while Mrs. Edwards does the books, administrative work and client services. She said she takes the clients to pick out brick and paint colors and guides them through the planning stage.
"I love taking the clients and picking out stuff," she said.
The Edwards build custom houses, as well as spec houses. All of their spec houses are in Bullard, which she called "the hot spot." She said they have built custom homes in Anderson, Cherokee and Henderson counties as well as Phoenix, the Hill Country and Northeast Texas. "You name it, we've built there," she added.
They have built houses on 1-acre lots to 500 acres of land. "We build absolutely anything they want," she said.
With Edwards being a designer, they take the time to get to know their customers. He will also build a home for customers who already have plans from another architect or designer.
Mrs. Edwards said they build an average of six homes a year but have done as little as four and as many as eight homes in one year.
The Edwards joined the Tyler Area Builders Association in 2007 and became heavily involved in 2009. This year, Edwards is serving as vice president of the association and is chairman of the 59th annual Parade of Homes, which started Saturday and runs through June 10.
Mrs. Edwards said the number of homes in this year's Parade of Homes -- 36 -- is a drastic jump from recent years, which is a good sign for the area market. Last year there were 27 homes on the parade, which was visited by more than 4,000 people.
She said the Parade of Homes is a fabulous opportunity to spend only $10 and look at homes that range from 1,500 square feet to nearly 7,000 square feet in any imaginable style. People can go at their leisure to look at the 36 houses during the Parade of Homes, which lasts two weeks, or can see them all in one day.
She said a lot of people are not thinking about building but are looking to make a change. The parade is good for people looking to remodel their home or simply change the paint color. But, she said, with the current low interest rates, it is a great time to build a new home.
"The market is really coming back strong," she said. "People are ready to build."
The Edwards have one home on the parade route, in Oak Grove Estates in Bullard.
Several homes on the tour will include green features such as tankless water heaters, natural lighting, high-efficiency windows and spray foam insulation.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger and 30 percent of each adult ticket sold this year will be donated to the Azleway Boys' Home, Children's Village and Children's Miracle Network Hospital.
The parade will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3 to 9 p.m. Friday. The location of the homes, a map and information on ticket sales can be found at www.tylerareabuilders.com