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“Memphis is a very reasonable market in which to build,” says Reid Hedgepeth of Hedgepeth Construction.

Featured Article

Building Boom

Pandemic Inspires Innovation in Home Construction

Article by Margaret Ledbetter

Photography by Sarah Bell, Sélavie Photography

Originally published in River City Lifestyle

Even in this season of uncertainty during the ever-evolving Covid-19 pandemic, River City builders are busier than ever. Drive any neighborhood in Memphis and surrounding areas and construction is underway. From custom new builds to renovation and restoration. The pandemic has changed so much for so many, but nothing quite like the way people live in their homes. 

In spite of supply chain issues and increased prices across the board, people are making investments in their homes that translate to quality of life. Builders are still tackling traditional home improvement projects like kitchens and bathrooms, but outdoor spaces and home offices are a new priority. 

Tommy Byrnes, a principal with Byrnes/Oster Investments, says he has seen an increase in demand for tricked-out outdoor spaces. Homeowners want more functionality and comfort. He adds that, “People are building porches as expensive and even nicer than indoor spaces.” Advanced heating and cooling options and sophisticated technology in addition to upscale materials allow a porch to be another room year-round. 

Several of Byrnes’ clients found themselves at home with their entire families during the initial lockdown. They had to learn how to use their space again: working, studying and playing from home. After almost a year of musical rooms, one family decided to pull the trigger on a new porch; another decided to take all the lessons they learned from Covid to re-configure their home, adding a master suite, home office and work out space. While they had considered downsizing, a larger footprint made sense as working remotely seems here to stay.

David Collins, Project Manager of Collins Construction LLC is also re-configuring homes to accommodate the new normal. His clients are building home offices as well as upgrading outdoor areas. In his own home, Collins doubled the square footage, added a master bedroom wing and back porch with a fireplace. He also converted the second floor into a “multi-purpose room,” with designated space for his drafting table, work-out equipment, a bunk room, movie theater and plenty of room for his girls to roller skate. 

Reid Hedgepeth, Founder of Hedgepeth Construction, LLC has seen an increase in demand for renovations, upgrades and custom homes as well and finds his team as busy as ever. The most significant difference he has seen since the lockdown is that projects “happen in a different order,” he says. “We have re-organized how we begin. Used to be the framing was in before appliances and fixtures needed to be ordered. Now that happens as soon as plans are finalized.” And even with a long lead time, homeowners are having to make some compromises. “There is no work around,” says Hedgepeth. “It is taking a little longer to build since the pandemic and costs have increased due to materials and labor costs.” However, Hedgepeth says, “we still get the best subs and we deliver. And Memphis is a very reasonable market in which to build," he adds.

Byrnes agrees, pointing out that there are no national home builders in this market. “Memphis builders give you more value,” he says. And even in the midst of the pandemic, the result is happy customers in beautiful homes all over the River City. 


  • “Memphis builders give you more value,” says Tommy Byrnes of Byrnes/Ostner Investments
  • David Collins helping clients to re-configure homes to accommodate the "new normal"
  • “Memphis is a very reasonable market in which to build,” says Reid Hedgepeth of Hedgepeth Construction.