Isenhour Custom Homes brick showroom makes selection fun

Pine Hall Brick has a special showeoom in the Isenhour Homes Design Center

When you work with new home designer Amanda Jackson-Pfeffer you start with brick. She’s your point person at Isenhour Homes’ Winston-Salem design center. It’s her job to make the new home buying experience pleasant, fun and, in the end, exactly what the owner wants.

“We start off pretty early talking about brick,” said Jackson-Pfeffer. “It’s easier for most to pick the brick first and then everything else coordinates with that. We start with brick, pair it up the stone, and it’s easy after that to choose trim colors and shakes and roofs and shutters.”

Isenhour Homes’ design center was recently remodeled earlier this year. When you walk in, it’s like your own personal home buying exhibit. You can look, touch, and walk on samples of all kinds for every facet of home design.

The first stop is Pine Hall Brick and there’s literally a brick house inside the design center dedicated to our product.

This where we caught up with Jackson-Pfeffer on a November morning to get some insight on the company’s design process and client experience. There’s no better place to look at lots of exterior brick choices on an chilly morning than in a warm well-lit showroom where you can compare and ponder colors, styles and mortar in finished brick wall samples side by side.

Even the floor uses two styles of Pine Hall Brick ThinClad pavers with a Full Range running bond pattern against a Cocoa herringbone pattern. Jackson-Pfeffer says homeowners are using pavers mostly in laundry rooms and dropzones.

With all the colors and styles to choose from the decisions can seem daunting at the beginning, so Jackson-Pfeffer helps buyers break it down first.

“I always start off when a buyer doesn’t know exactly what they want, by saying your bricks are mainly three colors,” said Jackson-Pfeffer. “You have your white bricks, your brown bricks and your reds. Right then they can usually eliminate what they know they don’t want. If they you can pull out choices you don’t want, what you do like is a lot easier to pick.

Jackson-Pfeffer advises  buyers to drive through Isenhour Homes neighborhoods. Brick colors are complex, and they will vary from the controlled light of the showroom. They also change as the sunlight changes. So it’s important to do some fieldwork to confirm choices.

“Drive around and see a finished house because it varies by the time of day, I say,” said Jackson-Pfeffer.

The showroom presents some of the most popular brick in the three color groups. Consumer trends vary, but currently lighter brick is selling well.

Vienna is always popular,” said Jackson-Pfeffer. “It’s just a great neutral. And Oyster Pearl is more popular than Chesapeake  Pearl right now, but that fluctuates. White brick has always been a good seller.”

If you’ve got your heart set on classic red brick, don’t worry. It’s still a timeless choice of many new home buyers.

“Personally, I’m not a huge red brick person, but I love the Cape Charles brick,” said Jackson-Pfeffer. And I’d say Old Yorktown is the staple of Pine Hall Brick…that good classic red brick.

“A lot of people like that timeless red brick, black roof black, and black shutters,” said Jackson-Pfeffer

With mortar comprising about 20% of any finished brick wall, it’s one more important decision at the start of the process. There’s a tray full of mortar color options to consider, but Isenhour can make the choice easy with tried and true gray mortar because it’s so versatile with the most popular brick.

“We do gray mortar as standard,” said Jackson-Pfeffer. “But with a step up in budget we can do white mortar, which looks great with white brick.”

Blending white sand with the mortar is slightly more expensive. But it does produce great results.

Once the brick is chosen, the other components start falling place and in the brick showroom it’s easy to see how different stone accents work with each crick. Up top of the display, various samples of actual roofing are installed to pare the final exterior element.

There are more decisions to be made, but Jackson-Pfeffer has a formula if you need it to clarify options and make choosing easier.

“Most buyers either want all their trim and shakes and garage door to either all be the same color or they like contrast,” said Jackson-Pfeffer. “I try to get people to stick with two. Once you go over two you have a lot going on.”

You can even select exterior lighting fixtures to complement the brick choice.

“Lights to me are like the jewelry of the home,” said Jackson-Pfeffer. “Everybody’s tastes are different!”

That’s one more reason the Isenhour Design Center is so spacious and comfortable: it allows buyers to take their time in a relaxed setting, comparing all the elements as their new home comes together.

And it all starts with brick.






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