Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 18, 2018
Spring Home Builders

The house is not for sale, but I’ll sell it

By Justin Webster, Ledger sports editor | Apr 25, 2018
Judd Connor’s dining room.

Custom homebuilder and Fairfield resident Judd Connor appears to be cursed with the skills of a good builder.

He not only has a tendency to leave his customers happy, he is about to build his fifth home for personal use because people keep asking to buy his latest projects planned to house his own family.

“I built my first two houses down in Keosauqua,” said Connor. “One was a ranch and the other was a story and a half. Then we moved to Fairfield. We wanted to get closer to town and Bob Hougher had some lots for sale, so we built across the street. I also built one for Tom and Diane Bevins that’s right here and when Hougher sold their house, I built their new place across the road.”

It all started in the 1990s when he painted his neighbors’ tin roof and then worked for his dad, Ken Connor, who was a home builder himself. The now 39-year-old even helped his father build their family home south of Libertyville when he was 12 or 13 years old.

As for current trends, Connor said he’s been building a lot of cabin style homes and people are gravitating towards more of an open floor plan and to homes with fewer walls, where the rooms flow from one to the other.

If you’re considering a build, he suggests asking the local lumberyard for recommendations because they know who the good builders are.

When it comes to a floor plan, some people look at a house and say, “I like the flow of this house,” while others will see the photo of the outside of the house and want to work backwards from there. “Everyone has a different starting point, and you just have to find what you like,” said Connor.

Once you get started, “You have things that need to go in order,” he added. “If someone gets held up and the drywaller is stuck at another job, you can’t move forward until the work is done and you pass inspection. It takes longer when everyone is in there tripping over each other, so some guys you need to get in and get out of there.”

Connor frames up the whole house and does all of the siding and roofing. He also lays interior flooring, like hardwood floor or ceramic tile. He does a lot of that.

“I don’t lay carpet,” said Connor. “It’s one of the things I don’t do.” Connor also thinks it’s best to get specialists for certain parts of the build.

“Some guys like to do everything and do their own drywall and I find you get a better drywall job if you have guys that just do that for a living. They’re better at that when it’s all that they do.”


The house

It’s a single story craftsmen house with a fully finished basement in the Liberty subdivision which can be accessed by driving through West Hills.

“I don’t know that you could call it a ranch house since it doesn’t have an upstairs in it, but it’s a one story with a basement,” Connor described.

They try to keep everything with solid surface countertops such as granite and quartz.

“I like hardwood floors because I like to make homes that are easy to clean,” Connor said. “That’s a big deal to me.”

One of Connor’s favorite traits of his “current” home is the location.

“We have a great lot here that is really close to town and we have good access to Jefferson County Park, plus it has a nice sized yard, which I always look for.”


Inside the house

“I like wood burning fireplaces as opposed to gas. They put out real heat and I just like the real fire. They can be a little bit messy, which is why some people go to gas.”


The formal living room

The Connors use this for more of a staging area for guests. “Down in the basement I have our main living room which is where we watch T.V. and movies,” said Connor. “It’s more for family, friends and parties, while I use this for having the football game on while I’m cooking.”


Dining room

The dining room is a small section of space between the upstairs living room and the kitchen, with plenty of natural light soaked in through a wall of windows on one side with a wine bar on the other wall and a chandelier-style fixture hanging from the raised ceilings over the dinner table.

“I just like the glass and all of the openness to this area right here and obviously we keep the dining room near the kitchen,” said Connor. “With the chandelier light, you just have to know where you want to set your table so you hang it in the right spot.”


The wine bar

“We put some different textures in there,” said Connor. “If we didn’t raise the ceilings, I could have put in an upstairs, and that’s where the stairs would have been but I didn’t want to have that coming into the dining area, so we scratched that idea or in this case, I put a wine bar in.”


The kitchen

Connor went for funtionality and added a few features such as a prep sink.

“I like the look of stainless steel with the white cabinets,” he said. “Sometimes when I do wood cabinets, because I’ve had all hickory and [other kinds of] wood in the house, I would go with black appliances, but that’s just a preference. There is a different style we were going for in this house which is called a modern rustic. Everyone is starting to add barn doors to their space, more for looks than for funtionality, and the lighting fixtures were just picked based on preference.”


The floor plan

The setup has five bedrooms with three on the main floor and two in the basement, plus three and a half baths and another living room in the basement.

The square footage is 1,680 on the main floor with another 900-plus square footage downstairs.

The main bedroom downstairs is approximately 18x13 and was an afterthought after he took an upstairs bedroom from the original plan to convert into a personal office. His son uses the room and Connor thought it just made sense to utilize all of the remaining space for a larger living space. It also has a walk-in closet which Connor likes to include when space allows.

“I have three kids,” Connor explains. “I started out by giving everyone there own room and I needed an office. With this house, I happened to be working on another house and saw this plan. I liked it and thought it would be a plan that would sell when I was ready to move. I just liked the flow of it.”


Why he’s moving again

“My house wasn’t even for sale. I had a friend, who had a couple lots out here and sold them, call me and ask me if I would sell it. They knew that I had that lot and it’s kind of the same thing that happened at the last place, my house wasn’t really for sale when I sold it then, either. They asked on a Thursday if they could show it Sunday, and [by] Monday they bought it. It just sold that easy.”


How long until you are done?

“I need to get going on it. We’re finishing a house in Keosauqua and then my house will be next. We’re going to move out by July and my new house will be close enough. Hopefully, we won’t be too far behind and can move in by the end of July.”


You sound like a car collector but with houses.

“Yeah, but it becomes too costly to keep too many.”


Will you keep switching houses?

“I’m probably going to try to stop selling my own home and just building spec homes without moving into them.”


Are your kids gonna continue the legacy?

“We’ll see. I’m going to make my son help me build my new house over the summer, so we’ll see.

“We’ll get him a new hammer and see how he can swing.”

Comments (1)
Posted by: Glen Joseph Peiffer | Apr 29, 2018 12:15

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