Building Outside the Box: Brian Burkley

Stages Magazine
March / April 2011

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You could say building houses is in Brian Burkley’s blood. After all, he was inspired by his grandfather who was also a builder. Six years ago, as Burkley began drawing up plans for the new house that he and his wife Natalie planned to build, he had no idea his endeavor would wind up leading him right in his grandfather’s footsteps. At the time, Burkley had an eight-to-five job in the banking industry, but had been building houses on the side for almost two years. As construction began on the Burkley’s new home, the couple was surprised when people began approaching them with offers to buy the house before it was even complete.

“I have always wanted my homes to be different architecturally,” says the thirty-two year old Natchez native and father of two. “At the time I noticed a lot of new homes were looking a little ‘cookie-cutter.’ They were all starting to look the same. I wanted to build a house that would stand out.”

It was Burkley’s attention to detail that got him noticed by other prospective clients. He continued to build houses on the side, but as business picked up he realized he wasn’t giving his day job the commitment it deserved. With his wife’s support, Burkley made the decision to pursue home building full-time. He quickly learned the ropes of the home building business with the help of both a mentor and a business partner. Burkley and his former partner built eight houses together before he decided to strike out on his own. Today Deep South Custom Homes builds around 25 houses per year in the Jackson metro area.

“My previous job in banking gave me the finance background and customer service skills I needed to form relationships with my clients,” Burkley adds. “I enjoy meeting with clients and drawing up the plans. I am a very hands-on builder. I like to be creative and this means going beyond my customers expectations to build a one-of-a-kind product they can call their dream home.”

Because of the success his business has seen over the last five years, Burkley felt the need to give back to the community that has given him so much. Three years ago, Deep South Custom Homes was selected to participate in the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway. Local builders across the country are chosen to build a home valued between $300,000 – $600,000, which is raffled off to one lucky winner.

“Building the house for St. Jude was something I always wanted to do,” reveals Burkley. “As a relatively new builder, I felt honored to be chosen.”

The dream home giveaway, which is currently held in over thirty cities across the United States, serves as the largest single-event fundraiser for the Memphis-based children’s research hospital. Since the program began in 1991, it has raised more than $155 million dollars to fund research and find cures to save children around the world. This year marks the third year Deep South Custom Homes has built the dream home in the Jackson market. They have committed to continue participating in the giveaway for the next five years.

“Designing the house poses somewhat of a challenge in that I have to be creative architecturally and make the house aesthetically pleasing while sticking to a tight budget,” Burkley says. “Deep South doesn’t profit from the home; it’s all donated and I have been fortunate to work with vendors and sub-contractors that support my efforts. Building the St. Jude house has become a huge part of Deep South Custom Homes and we are passionate about this organization and what it stands for. It helps raise money for a wonderful cause and allows me to give back to the community for all the many blessings I have received. It has been such a positive and rewarding experience and it gets better every year.”

Groundbreaking for the house took place last November. The 3200-square-foot home will be located on a corner lot in The Townsip at Colony Crossing off Highland Colony Parkway in Ridgeland. A two-story French Acadian style home, the house boasts an open great room and keeping room with 22-foot ceilings and balconies overlooking the front and the sides of the house. The interior will feature top of the line amenities including granite countertops, wood flooring, stainless commercial-style appliances, custom-crafted wood beams and cabinetry, old brick, exquisite lighting fixtures and much more. National dream home sponsor, Brizo, will supply plumbing fixtures that incorporate state-of-the-art technology. Tickets for this year’s dream home will be available to purchase at various locations throughout the Jackson Metro area. Upon completion of construction, tickets will also go on sale at the home’s site during the open house tours. Giveaway for the 2011 dream home is scheduled for this June.

Just as no two people are alike, Burkley believes each house he builds should be as unique as the family that will call it their home. “Not every house I build will fit the needs of every family,” he says. “I go into each project with the belief that there is a family for each house. It’s my job to meet their goals and give them timeless details for the times of their lives. Most importantly, I hope that joy, happiness, and lasting memories will resonate the walls of every home built.” It is this unique approach and meticulous desire to exceed his customer’s expectations that Burkley hopes will lead to his continued success.

Deep South Custom Homes
Brian Burkley
P.O. Box 5825
Brandon, MS 39047
(601) 720-1978