A Cottage to Call Their Own
A couple’s new furry friend drives the need for a new home build with Daniel Adams Construction
By Christine Hennessey » Photos by Don McKenzie
Stephen and Jackie Ross moved to the Pinehurst area in 2013, after stints in Florida and New Mexico, to be closer to family. “I have two sons and three grandkids, and they live a half an hour away,” Jackie says. Being closer was important to the couple, especially as everyone was growing older. “They may need us and we may need them, so it was a good time to do it.”
Although the Rosses were looking ahead, they weren’t ready to slow down just yet. After a long career as a realtor and a brief retirement, Jackie realized she missed working and recently returned to work as a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway. Stephen, on the other hand, has been retired for almost twenty years. “I flew in the Navy, and then worked for the TWA for another twenty-two years,” he says. These days, he keeps himself busy with plenty of golf.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough, the couple decided to build a house.
When the couple first arrived in North Carolina, they purchased a condominium in the Mid South Club, a golf course community in Southern Pines. “It was lovely, a very nice place, great golf course,” Stephen says. “Then we got another dog and they had no place to run around, so we—well, Jackie—started looking.”
Eventually, Jackie found a lot in Pinewild, which Stephen was pleased to learn boasted two beautiful golf courses. After the lot was secured, she spent months searching for plans online, looking for something that felt like home. One day, she clicked on a category she’d never heard of, called “European Cottage,” and there it was—the perfect house. Now they just needed someone to build it.
“I asked a few of the realtors I knew and everyone mentioned Daniel Adams Construction,” Jackie says. “We talked to one other builder, but we just felt so comfortable with them. Then, when you go into their office and see all the awards—it was all very impressive.”
“Plus, they’d built over 60 homes in the Pinewild community,” Stephen adds. “That was a good reference point. We liked that they were familiar with the area and with this particular community.”
Daniel and Traci Adams formed Daniel Adams Construction in 1978. Over that span of decades, their full-service construction company has completed over 800 quality-built houses in the Sandhills NC area, and they take great pride in helping homeowners take their dream home or remodel from idea to reality.
Dustin Adams, Daniel and Traci’s son, worked as the project manager for the Ross house. Thanks to his parents, building homes is in his DNA. “I grew up on the job site, first playing in sand piles, later hammering nails into scraps of wood, eventually helping with smaller projects, like fixing a door,” Dustin says. “When I turned sixteen, I started working officially with the company. There was a year when I was able to stay on one house through the whole process, from clearing the lot to painting the walls.” Such hands-on experience has proven invaluable.
After attending NC State and earning a degree in engineering, Dustin returned to the family business. While he admits that there are a lot of great custom homebuilders in Moore County, he believes Daniel Adams Construction offers something unique. “We have knowledge and experience thanks to my Dad, but also a younger energy with me. We also have personality. I tell all our potential clients that, because of the competition in this area, the pricing shouldn’t vary too much between the custom builders, so long as the bids are ‘apples to apples’. Instead, they should focus on the personalities of the people. You’re going to be spending the next six to twelve months with a builder—you want to make sure you choose someone who makes you feel comfortable, who is easy to get along with. We’re a great team, and we make the process personal. We’re not just building houses. We’re building relationships.”
The Rosses agreed. “Dustin was very in tune with what we wanted to accomplish,” Stephen says. “He listened to us, and made some helpful suggestions, but otherwise let us have our way. He was very pleasant to work with.”
Building a home is never a linear process, especially with clients like the Rosses, who had a clear vision of the home they wanted to create. Although they loved the house plan they found online, they still needed to make a few tweaks to suit their unique needs. This, Dustin explains, is one of the reasons it’s so important for everyone’s personality to gel and for communication to flow freely.
“I’ve always hated stairs,” Stephen says, “so we gave up the bonus room on the second floor and used the extra space to put in a butler’s pantry, used for entertaining, and a secondary pantry for canned goods, and to increase the size of our screened in porch instead.” As these small tweaks began to take shape, the house felt more like home, and the Rosses grew more excited about what they were building.
Not everyone understood the couple’s excitement. When they told friends and family they were planning to build a home, some people were concerned. They wondered why the Rosses would go to all that trouble and warned them that process would be frustrating.
The Rosses are the first to admit that it wasn’t all fun and games. From buying the lot to finding the floor plan and to building the house, the whole process took about eight months. This included a bad winter that slowed things down, and a few other things that were beyond anyone’s control. “We had to learn to be patient,” Jackie says.
In the end, the couple agrees that the process was worth it. “Sure, there were some negative parts,” Stephen says. “But the positive was that we got exactly what we wanted.”
The Rosses have been in their house for almost a year now, and they enjoy how livable it is. Dustin agrees. “When you walk into the home, it just feels good,” he says. “It’s elegant, but not pretentious. There are many flourishes, but it’s not flashy. It hits that sweet spot.”
The guest wing and master suite are on opposite sides of the house, offering space and privacy to both visitors and hosts. Fourteen-foot vaulted ceilings make the 2,800-square-foot home feel much larger, even with the wooden beams that were added for interest.
For Stephen, the highlight of the home is the covered porch. “We are very much outdoor people,” he says. “I love being outside and listening to the rain. We have a TV on the porch, so I can watch golf. We also spend a lot of time out there with friends. Even the dogs love it.”
One of Jackie’s favorite features is the butler’s pantry that was added to the original plans. “There’s enough room for everything when we’re entertaining, and it’s so easy to work in there, prepping and getting ready.”
Dustin also cites the pantry as a unique feature. “We thought, let’s give them this fantastic showpiece. We built a curio cabinet, added some lighting. We even put the microwave in there instead of in the kitchen, which makes sense from a workflow perspective.”
What the Rosses love the most, however, is the fact that their home offers comfort as well as security. “We built this house to be our forever home,” Jackie says. This meant thinking ahead and making certain accommodations, such as designing things at waist level, opting for cabinets instead of drawers, and using barn doors, which will be easier to maneuver as they age. The home is not officially ADA compliant, but it’s close.
“It’s a house we can live in hopefully forever,” Jackie says. “No one knows what’s waiting down the line, but we built it with that intention. We want people to know they have an alternative as they age. They don’t have to give up their home.”
The Rosses aren’t the only ones who admire their house. It recently won two notable awards at The Moore County Home Builders Association’s annual Builder Awards. Not only did they capture the Gold Award in their category, they also took home Best in Show, which included competition from homes with much higher budgets. “It was the only home in the program to receive zero negative comments from the judges,” Dustin says.
While the Rosses are humbled by the recognition, they aren’t surprised.
“We are so very, very happy with it,” Jackie says. “As soon as we moved in, Stephen said ‘Don’t you feel like you’ve lived here for ten years?’ And I did! Plus,” she adds, “the dogs finally have a place to run.”
Builder: Daniel Adams Construction, 910-295-1504, danieladams.com