Chase and Whitney Williams know how to create a dream home for others. It is a skill they have perfected in their family business, Chase Homes. He is a homebuilder and she is an interior designer.
When their twin boys, Luke and Jack, now 5, were younger, the couple moved six times. Those days are behind them. The couple is now looking forward to spending the festive holidays in a beautiful home they built and decorated for themselves. The smiles on the faces of Jack and Luke show they couldn’t be more thrilled with the prospect of joyful holidays.
The couple say their Tyler home reflects their approach to homebuilding.
Walk into the home and to the left you will encounter a sturdy wooden door that looks like it was pulled off a New England barn in the 1950s.
The door slides open to reveal a room in which there’s a vintage-looking piano and art reminiscent of the work of mid-century abstract masters. From the vaulted ceiling hangs a large rectangular light fixture that screams modern.
Welcome to the Williamses’ world where yesteryear merges with today. Call it a marriage of vintage and modern.
Lifestyles Magazine recently caught up with the couple. Below are their written replies to questions.
LIFESTYLES: Both of you started in different careers. When did you know that homebuilding was your true calling?
CHASE AND WHITNEY: We started Chase Homes six years ago when Whitney was pregnant with our twin boys, Luke and Jack. (At that time Whitney was a registered nurse working in a doctor’s office and Chase was working for an oil and gas pipeline company.) We both decided we wanted to explore building before the birth of our boys, since we knew life would only get crazier! It was a natural path to explore as Whitney’s family has been in the building industry for decades.
What started out as a college job with Whitney’s father (David Humphrey, Johnson Humphrey Homes) turned into one of my greatest passions. Having such a huge knowledge base at our disposal was so advantageous. Whenever there was something we needed help with or a question we didn’t know, we had decades of experience from people we love who were always willing to help us be successful.
Whitney’s grandfather, Raymond Johnson, has been building in Tyler since the 1960s. He is such a wonderful example of a hardworking and respectable man. Whitney’s dad, David Humphrey, and uncle, Kevin Humphrey, have provided us with an invaluable firsthand knowledge base. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the help from our family.
Early in our career, we built and moved many times. We gained invaluable knowledge through firsthand experience. Our boys, who are now 5, have moved six times, but we are finally settled for now.
We’ve discussed many times that the ultimate goal of Chase Homes should be a husband and wife team — builder and designer.
LIFESTYLES: What are the advantages of being a builder and decorator team?
CHASE AND WHITNEY: The idea of building a custom home can be overwhelming. We understand that it’s a personal process and an investment to build the home you have been dreaming of. Not only is it time consuming to think about every fixture and finish, but to also be confident that it’s going to be cohesive throughout the entire home.
Our goal is to alleviate as much stress as possible during this process. Pinterest, Houzz and Instagram are wonderful tools for gathering ideas, but after saving thousands of pictures it can be hard to narrow down mood boards to concrete ideas.
We are here to bridge the gap from idea board to reality. Having a builder and designer that work so closely together is the absolute best way to make sure all ideas are executed properly and at the right time in the process. There are two people closely involved communicating about every detail during the construction process.
Depending on our clients’ needs, we have two ways that we can achieve their goals. We can assist with their selections and design throughout the process or we can offer a full design service where we meet and get a real feel for who the client is and how they want their home to look.
From there, we can take on the task of making all those selections and decisions and getting the clients’ approval on the work.
LIFESTYLES: How do you make your partnership work so well?
CHASE AND WHITNEY: We both love what we do and are very passionate about building. We work so well together because we have separate skill sets that complement each other. Whitney’s skills lie in taking designs and ideas and putting them together so they work cohesively in a home. Chase’s skill are much more suited to running a company, and all that entails.
We trust each other in our separate crafts to execute our own expertise.
LIFESTYLES: You describe your style as a blending of vintage and modern. How do you pull this off?
CHASE AND WHITNEY: Blending vintage and modern for us is all about balance. We love to add in vintage artwork and antique rugs to add warmth to a space and give it a personal one-of-a-kind touch. There is a great local shop, the Noble Knot, that offers beautiful selections of vintage rugs.
We find most of our vintage artwork through different Etsy shops. Adding personal touches like this really makes your home feel like your home.
Depending on the room, we often add in more modern elements through lighting and custom cabinetry design, but our ultimate goal is to find that balance in all the selections to maintain a timeless look.
It is definitely a process (for us it’s a fun process) to make sure all the elements in a room are working together to create that perfect mix of modern and traditional. We find a good place to start is with selecting finishes that will last the test of time and then we add in personal touches through paint colors, lighting, wall treatments flooring and decor.
We want the overall feel of the houses we are building and designing to be warm, inviting and livable. Design is all in the details. You cannot go wrong with natural stone and hardwood flooring. We add in texture with wall treatment such as wallpaper, v-groove, shiplap and wall moldings.
We love to mix metal finishes on lighting, hardware and plumbing. When we use finishes that could be considered trendy, for example patterned tiles, we want to make sure that they are classic enough to not look outdated in five years.
LIFESTYLES: In your home, the light fixtures are big, bold and unique. Why such an emphasis on light fixtures?
CHASE AND WHITNEY: Lighting is a great fun way to really show your personality. Unique lighting fixtures can really make the house feel like you. It’s one of the first things people see when they walk into a house. It’s a great place to go more modern and then tie in more traditional or classic elements elsewhere.
LIFESTYLES: Your stove is amazing. Tell us more about it.
CHASE AND WHITNEY: Our stove is from La Cornue. We purchased it through Williams Sonoma. It shipped from France and it took 10 weeks to arrive. We were a bit nervous as our house was in the Parade of Homes and we had a very strict deadline.
Luckily it arrived within a week from the parade’s start. We often are asked if we cook on it or if it’s just something to look at. People always say they’d be scared to use it.
The truth is, we cook on it every single day. It functions just as amazing as it looks. It was an investment well worth it.
LIFESTYLES: What do you do to make sure you and your clients are on the same page?
CHASE AND WHITNEY: The No. 1 thing you have to do is to listen to what your customer wants, but you have to know what questions to ask in order to arrive at that point. Anyone who wants to build a custom home has ideas of what they want their home to be like.
We listen to their ideas, give advice and figure out how to really achieve the look they are going for. Gaining and maintaining trust is a major aspect of the builder/client relationship. There’s so much thought and time that everyone’s putting into a home and we want to feel like our customers have complete faith and trust in us throughout the process.
We would love our clients to describe the building experience as totally worth it. There is absolutely no other way to get the exact layout you want with all the latest and most efficient features like spray foam, low-e windows and high-efficiency HVAC.
We want to be known for taking out the stress and invoking confidence in our clients that they are going to get the house of their dreams all while making it as smooth, fun and as stress-free as possible.