East Lake subdivision meanders past an expansive lake with a water feature and wooded lots of oak and pine where wildlife abounds among the natural settings. Just past the stately entrance off Ogletree Road, amenities include a small creek begging for bare feet, an exclusive 4,000-square-foot, two-story clubhouse complete with a stacked-stone fireplace and multiple cozy areas for conversation or parties, and a sparkling community pool.
Allan and Lisa Campfield, owners of Homeworks of Alabama, deliberately chose East Lake for the third installment of the East Alabama Living Showcase Home.
“The location is perfect for families. You have an elementary school down the road, a medical facility, pharmacies, clothing boutiques, restaurants and a grocery store all within a few blocks of the home. Toss in the great position to Tiger Town and I-85, and what more could you need in location?” says Allan.
“The lot is near the entrance to East Lake, and being a corner lot, I knew I wanted a kicking exterior,” says Lisa. “We needed the perfect architect to draw the perfect plans.”
Residential Designer Micki Jo’ell fit the bill. The Campfields fell in love with her Lake Martin residence before knocking on the quirky front door. “I have a $35 flea-market door that most people wouldn’t appreciate, but then, I’m quite the rebel,” laughs Jo’ell, a more than 25-year veteran of the building industry with a who’s who of an executive client list.
“With a corner lot and three primary road views, I chose to layout out the architecture in square pod forms with some set at angles in an attempt to project a pleasing panoramic overview. The architecture as a whole is not pure in any style, but celebrates aspects of a French villa with hip rooflines and outrigger timbered brackets. Tuscan influences are also melded into the scene to help create an atmosphere of warmth and hospitality,” says Jo’ell.
The floor plan features 3,550 square feet of heated space with four bedrooms and 3½ baths. Jo’ell describes the master retreat on the main level as a sanctuary of spaces complete with a dressing area that evolves into 230 square feet of dual closets and personal laundry. A private covered area flows onto the family patio from the master suite. Another, more family friendly covered porch includes a wood-burning fireplace with television hookup. The space then moves into a grilling section for casual, outdoor dining or entertaining.
Three bedrooms and various baths sit on the upper level with a large laundry and children’s artwork stations. A roughed-in bonus space has been designed over the garage with access near the kitchen and service entry to maximize potential living area. In addition to the living spaces and porch areas, Jo’ell has developed a third garage with multiple usages, from landscape equipment or bicycle storage to a workshop.
The talented residential designer says one advantage of joining the Campfields was their mutual ability to see things in color while other builders take a more black-and-white approach. “I’ll walk the property to assess the sun, topographics, any specimen trees, then also get a feel for the neighbors, their need for privacy and, of course, the views. I take a panoramic approach and rarely label my drawings with front or back, only with directions as in north, south. I sensed (the Campfields) were going to turn me loose and trust my creative process. I’m thrilled to work with a builder like Allan and a designer like Lisa because they put value in what I can contribute. I revel in a builder with such flexibility for our combined interests of the project,” says Jo’ell.
The Campfields started in the “building” industry by building a family. In 1994, Allan, a widower, had reached the end of a 20-year-military career while Lisa, a single mother of two young boys, worked full-time while pursuing a degree in psychology. Set up by a mutual friend, the couple married six months later. They had a common dream to start a construction company, but did not want the strangle-hold of debt.
“We knew we were going places, but we had a very strict plan on how to get there,” says Lisa. Allan worked as an area sales representative for Sears Home Improvement, earning national recognition, while Lisa and the boys “lived lean and saved.” The couple also flipped houses on the side until they had more than they could manage with Allan’s travels. They built their first speculative home in 2004.
Lisa had also started the design firm, Space Appeal, to help bridge a gap she found among builders and their clients. “I had buyers calling me in tears because a builder would ask them for paint colors two days before the painter was to be at the house. I’m sure there were organized builders out there, but I wouldn’t see it,” says Lisa. Word spread of her easy work-style and attention to detail. “I eventually had to quit once we really got into the building business because I found myself helping the competition. It was a definite conflict of interest.”
Homeworks of Alabama sets itself apart from the competition because of Allan’s managing skills and Lisa’s design experience. Lisa serves as an in-house designer, but also manages the process. A well thought-out schedule is used and followed to ensure the customer and sub-contractors alike are always prepared for the next stage of construction.
Lisa also scours wholesale and retail distributors for flooring, fixtures, etc. because she knows the client’s budget. “By the time we’re picking out things, I have gotten to know the client really well. When I put that together with our budget, I can narrow our choices and save the client time and headache. Our service and attention to detail makes the process a whole lot easier,” says Lisa.
“I think it also makes a difference having two women involved in designing the home,” says Allan, referring to Lisa and Jo’ell. “Women are most often the decision maker when purchasing a home and the one in the relationship to truly function in the home.”
“This may be a ‘showcase’ home, but in the end, it’s somebody’s home. We are keeping that in mind every step of the way,” says Lisa.
The showcase home is located at the corner of East Lake Boulevard at the first intersection of the subdivision. By mid-November, the Campfields expect to complete framing and be working well into the interiors and outside façade. Drive by. Stop and say hello. And be sure to follow the progress in the next three issues of East Alabama Living.