AR Homes Owner David Bonamy has his entire family involved in the process of creating custom homes for greater Birmingham. Together with his wife, Jen, and daughter, Mary Kathryn, the crew has a seamless approach that echoes the company’s vision — and the vision of each client.
What sets AR Homes apart from other home builders? What made you decide to bring this franchise to Birmingham?
Jen Bonamy: David felt that a defined process and approach to a custom home building would be well-received in Birmingham, with a fully custom approach and full-service team to execute on a customer’s vision. We believe the "AR Homes approach” is unique and definitely needed in Birmingham.
David Bonamy: We started AR Homes in Birmingham because after 30 years of being in this market and after a lot of careful thought. We spent months reviewing the AR approach. We traveled throughout the southeast and gained both an understanding of our buyers and how we would apply this platform. More
importantly, we felt if we could implement a predictable and programmatic approach to full custom
homebuilding, the homeowner and buyer in Alabama would have a world class experience, a simplified
process to follow, and a predictable budget that is typically not the case in custom homebuilding.
Briefly explain your roles. What is a typical day? How do you contribute your own individual talents/abilities/education to the whole of AR Homes and its success in Birmingham?
David Bonamy: I work to implement our company goals of customer service, quality construction and on-time delivery. We are not perfect, but we drive every day with a vision for a top-tier customer experience, while constantly evaluating our team and contractor base for their attention to detail, high-level craftsmanship, and the quality expected in a custom home.
Jen: I am the office manager, purchasing agent, color session agent and accountant. My typical day is busy, busy, busy! I believe our family environment is what helps us be successful in our business.
Mary Kathryn: I am the sales and marketing coordinator and “get it done” person. Overall, I am the AR Homes Birmingham ‘concierge,’ meaning I have the overall knowledge of the company and can handle questions and information outside of the actual construction of the homes. A typical day for me is following up on leads, tracking how our marketing efforts look, determining any adjustments that need to be made with both sales and marketing tactics, as well as picking up any work that needs to be done. I also am in charge of creating and putting together each client’s ‘look book’ and Pinterest board after their color session.
Talk about the developments where you've built homes. How are they similar? How are they different? How did you decide on these communities in particular?
David: Our business works throughout the entire Birmingham metro, and we have worked in many of the custom home communities in town. Our architectural styles have ranged based on our customers and selected community vision, and we work with each homesite to ensure a unique setting enhances the beauty of each home. We have an exclusive AR community in Mountain Brook, however, we also build in all of the surrounding communities and areas of the city. We are an approved builder in all of the notable custom communities in town.
How often do clients decide to build on their own lots from scratch? How does that work, in comparison to the other existing communities?
Mary Kathryn: The majority of the time, clients will build on their own lots; we just so happen to have our 10-lot Trails End community in Mountain Brook. As a custom home building company, it is our priority to make our clients' visions a reality. We sit down with each client and discuss their wants, needs and visions of their dream home. It is our job to make that dream a reality. We work hand-in-hand with each client through every step of our AR Homes process. Our system is designed to get all the work done on the front end, so that clients can walk right into the home after construction is complete and it is exactly what they chose.
What do you love most about AR Homes and about the whole process of building?
David: Most importantly, we love building custom homes. The AR approach and the team we have assembled truly work to minimize those concerns, to work with a customer’s budget and to provide an unmatched level of support to each step — from lot evaluation, home design and pricing and budget requirements to interior selections and ultimately the construction and delivery of the home.
Jen: I love the color session process - seeing how a home comes together is truly special.
Mary Kathryn: I love the streamlined process that AR Homes brings to custom home building. Custom home building can be chaotic to say the least. However, AR Homes combats these issues with having an exact approach to each step of the planning and building process. I also love how each home is unique, yet each is executed the exact same way. It doesn’t matter if it is a 3000-square-foot house or a 15,000-square-foot house; each home is executed with the exact same attention to detail.
What is a color session?
Mary Kathryn: A color session is a two day event in which we go over to our Design Studio in Atlanta and our clients pick out the interior and exterior colors for their home. This is designed to be a fun and structured
experience for our customer! We have an interior designer that works with us during the color session
to help make sure the selections that are made flow well together.
Jen Bonamy: The color session process is my favorite part of the “AR” custom building. This is where
your home comes to life and it is a very exciting couple of days. David and I are at the color session with
our interior designer. We get to spend the quality time with our homeowners and help bring their vision
of their home to life.
David : A color session is a two day exclusive event for our owners and buyers to work hand-in-hand
with a dedicated interior designer in our Atlanta studio. It is a super fun event and the studio is reserved
for only their home and this session. It is exclusive to them, it is a few fun days full of inspiration, design
elements, and whatever the owner and designer can determine. Really a great chance to get away,
focus on their home, and have the interior choices selected early in the process. We document and
create electronic and hard copy media for our owners after these sessions.
How has your business shifted (if it has) since the onset of the pandemic? How are your clients reconfiguring the concept of home?
Mary Kathryn: If anything, the pandemic was our biggest blessing. The open concept and functionality of an AR Home are what drive our demand. Once people realized that working from home was an option, there was the realization of “Okay, well now I want an at-home office, but I want it to be nice.”
What does the concept of "home" mean to the Bonamy family? What does it mean for AR Homes as a company?
Jen: Home means comfortable, happy living.
Mary Kathryn: Home means a place to express yourself and your style. As a company, it means bringing your dreams to reality.