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Build on What is Essential

by: Jim Wiley

Jim Wiley, President of Beacon Street

Jim Wiley, President of Beacon Street

In the 1980’s, many Americans moved out – chasing the suburban dream. The thriving 1990’s accelerated the pace of this movement for more, but then came the recession. A moment of introspection, it prompted us to look at our values and ask ourselves some hard questions.  In the years since, a shift has taken place; a move away from collection of “things” to satisfy and towards genuine connection. Desiring more than a stretched thin existence of upkeep and long drives, people sought to replace the busy race with the goal itself—life. A vibrant life that longs to leave the life of excess behind and find what is truly essential.

As Greg McKewon, the famed writer of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less states, ”the way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default. Instead of making choices reactively, the Essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many, eliminates the nonessentials, and then removes obstacles so the essential things have clear, smooth passage.” [see model below]

At Beacon Street, we‘ve found great wisdom in the idea of essentialism. A way of life purposed to evaluate each decision through the lens of values. A vibrant rubric, it buoys against the drive to amass more of the mediocre, enabling us to deliberately choose the vital few. Put simply, Essentialism is about making choices driven by principle, rooted in what’s most important to you. And while there are certainly tradeoffs – the intentional forgoing of that which we deem less valuable – the way of the essentialist is focused with precision on the discovering the truth of “less but better.”

Be it the desire for community, access to conveniences, culture, great food or just the enjoyment of life within walking distance, this is what drives our discerning buyers. The result is an influx of residents to urban areas – the city taking a big breath in – filling its lungs with newfound life. With already full-to-bursting cities across the nation, the beauty of constraint is driving development companies to find and offer more creative, dare we say essential solutions. 

Access is essential to livability. (The amenity is all around you!)

The explicit values driving buyers decisions is saying “yes!” to more of the things to which they desire to say yes to—connection to people and great places. A place to call home that allows them to simply walk out their doors into the life of the bustling city street—is paramount to choosing life in this form.

Before the advent of cars, this was the way of life for millennia. Age-old principles of timeless neighborhood design and great planning have inspired people to live deliberately. Great neighborhoods of the past, the ones we all walk into and immediately feel a special sense of connection and community, are built on principles that are timeless and powerful. It is adherence to these principles that creates the kind of dynamic places that enable the aspiring essentialist to truly enjoy the life and spirit of a place.

Tradeoffs in a material driven world are agreed upon as excesses, and deliberate decisions to jettison them move us toward what can be gained in return—the timeless joy of life lived with less but better—neighbors who care, a sense of place, sidewalks, local shops and eateries, and outdoor activity all shape this vibrant way of integrated life.

Our industry stands at the door of opportunity. With baby boomers and millennials alike seeking similar access to the truly essential, we get to differentiate and taylor our approach to place-making, infusing it with meaning. How do we appeal to the homeowner who for decades has grown accustomed to more but craves simplicity in a more manageable space? How do we offer access without compromising the beauty and comfort of home? How do we deliver on the premise of less but better?

Livability is essential to sustainability.

As a development company that cherishes history and beauty, sustainability is of utmost importance as it effects directly the vibrancy and longevity of a place. While the nature of building materials and supplies have become more earth-friendly by nature, we believe easier access to what residents desire most in the livable space promotes a greener lifestyle.

By definition, life in walkable environments is greener. When a resident can simply walk out his or her door to the nearest shop for fresh bread, there is a positive impact on emissions simply because they no longer have to drive.

Admittedly, most sustainable or green designs are presented in a modern aesthetic. However, a zero carbon building that feels uninviting is of little interest to a more traditional homebuyer. If there are no spaces familiar enough to satisfy their desire, they simply won’t move. Offering a home more familiar, more essential, and more dense is for many an agreeable future. The more sustainable option, therefore, is creating spaces that enable them thrive, whatever their aesthetic preference. Traditional design and green development can actually be complementary, particularly when it gives homeowners access to what they define as more sustainable life.

Essentials give access to life.

What is essential to building a sustainable, beautiful space for your customers? Knowing what is most valuable to living life abundantly. Find out what is most essential to your audience, and then do everything in your power to build it. 

 

Article Published in Builder & Developer Magazine, p. 52

The Essentialism Model : Greg McKeown

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Beacon Street Welcomes Smith Andrews

Smith Andrews, Director of Business Development

Smith Andrews, Director of Business Development

Beacon Street Realty, the sales and marketing division of Beacon Street Development Company, welcomes Smith Andrews as its new director of Business Development.

As a locally owned real estate company, Beacon Street has developed neighborhood residencies within the Triangle and beyond for more than a decade, and now strategically expands its team as it begins its latest ground-up project, The Wade.

Andrews brings extensive expertise from his tenure with Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, where he advised individuals on wealth, financial, retirement and estate planning along with investment strategies.

“Smith understands what it means to really serve people,” says Beacon Street President Jim Wiley. “We are confident Smith embodies the heart of our company. His skills along with shared values, a prodigious work ethic and passion to help realize customers’ dreams and find solutions that best suites their needs, make him the perfect addition to our team. We are confident he will help our clients find the best options within our residencies for their life stages, lifestyles and future.”

A Raleigh native, Andrews has a deep understanding of the community, its history, and desirability, which will be key to building its future.

“It is a privilege to come alongside Beacon Street in its incredible work of place making,” Andrews said. “Beacon Street really has a great core, and it’s all about connecting people with what they value most in life—family, community, design, relaxation, and history—in a home fits them best. That’s something I can get behind. I cannot wait to use the skills I’ve gained in financial advising to help people enjoy they places we’re building.”

Passionate about creating healthy communities for all, Andrews serves on the boards of two prominent non-profit organizations, The Raleigh Rescue Mission and Finding Purpose, a local men’s ministry.

Andrews and his wife, Julianne, were both born and raised in Raleigh and have a passion for living and working in the Triangle area. Together, they are the proud parents of their son Smith (Jr.), Kathryn Grace and 11-year-old black lab Bogue. Smith and his family share a love for the outdoors and can frequently be found along the North Carolina coast or on a family farm in Eastern N.C.

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Coastal Charm in Little Washington

When David and Julie Howdy sold their waterfront home at Swan Point, they had country living in mind — 13 acres of land they’d purchased north of Washington, privacy, another dream home to be built. They never got it.

Their rental of a Moss Landing townhome off of Water Street in Washington was supposed to be a temporary stopping point while their house in the country was built. Instead, the couple fell in love with their hometown all over again. So, they decided to stay, and there’s plenty of reasons why, according to Julie Howdy. Read More

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If I Knew Then...

The Lesson...Not everything works out just like you might plan or think it will halfway through the project. You have to keep your senses sharp and aware all the way through, and face the truth as it comes to you. Pursue the best outcome and act on it quickly. Read More

Urban Living At Its Best

When a couple of emptynesters with an adorable dog were looking to simplify and downsize, they found exactly what they were looking for in a new construction condominium project set to be built in Raleigh’s hip, yet well-established, Five Points neighborhood.  Originally from Europe, the couple has lived in Raleigh for years, having raised and educated their children here. Lucky for them, they caught wind of the new development early on and reserved a unit in the recently completed Fairview Row. Read More...

Hello city life: A longtime Raleigh couple embraces living in the heart of Five Points

Featured in Walter Magazine [Pictured: Chip & Lyn Andrews]

Featured in Walter Magazine [Pictured: Chip & Lyn Andrews]

Lyn and Chip Andrews have loved Raleigh for a long time. Chip graduated from N.C. State in 1966, they raised their children here, and today the couple is deeply involved in the cultural life of the city...So it made sense that when the Andrewses decided to downsize, they would want to be at the center of things. Their move from a spacious 5-bedroom house they built 30 years ago on Vance Street in Hayes Barton to a condominium in Five Points was a big one. But not in the usual ways. Read More...

Style Built on History

Featured in Builder & Developer Magazine [Pictured: 2017 Fairview Row]

Featured in Builder & Developer Magazine [Pictured: 2017 Fairview Row]

With everything finalized at the end of last year, Beacon Street Development’s Fairview Row was an immediate sell out. The multifamily infill project in the historic Hayes Barton neighborhood of Raleigh, N.C. isn’t the typical high density, new-urban design we’ve all become accustomed to across the country. This has everything to do with the approach the team at Beacon Street took to the project’s creation. Read More...