Hey you guys,
It’s Luke Newcomer with the Newcomer Group.
I am really excited to have sat down with the owner of Corner Construction, Ryan Cornelison in one of our featured luxury oceanfront listings, 7454 A1A South. It’s one of the most fantastic homes on Anastasia Island and I’m not just saying that because we’re selling it.
It is such a beautiful home with so many unique elements that went into this property, and I thought it was important for you to get to know the builder. He’s got a fantastic business and a great reputation on Anastasia Island and throughout St, Augustine.
We talked for about 30 minutes, so if you’d like to see the full interview, check out this week’s video. I’ll be sharing some of the highlights from our interview below, but really the video is worth every minute.
Luke: Before we dive in and talk about the house, I want to learn a little bit about your business. So first off, tell us who you are, where you’re from, just kind of give us some background on how you got to here.
Ryan: Corner Construction has been around since 2007. My wife, Kim, and I are the only owners. We were living in Orlando and I was working for a national builder at the time in 2007. Both Kim and i were were born and raised in St. Augustine, so we’re originally locals. We were expecting our first child and we decided that we wanted to be back in this beautiful town to raise our kids. So I quit my job and we moved home and we started Corner Construction 2007. It’s been a whirlwind but we’re very blessed.
Luke: How long have you been building custom homes? I know you’ve got an extensive resume of flipping properties with a buddy and building with that national builder. But what was it like to start building on your own? What was it like starting a business?
Ryan: So in 2007 when we moved back, we literally just started. We had no other source of income.
I had a warehouse that I was renting from my father-in-law, so I had an office to go to, but no work yet. One of the first things we did was make some business cards and literally every day I would go to work with my business cards and I would start cold calling everywhere. I was going to different shopping centers and handing out business cards. I was talking to people. You know, we did some random stuff in the beginning. My very first job was an industrial laundromat for a person that was doing commercial medical laundry.
Luke: I think a lot of people can resonate with that. The cold calling, then hitting the ground running. You’ve really built something up. Corner Construction has a fantastic reputation, it’s a household name. What do you think sets yourself apart from other builders in this area?
Ryan: You know whenever you’re building homes, the number one thing is to create value for your client.
There’s three things that clients look for when they’re hiring a builder; price, product, and process. So the price is dictated by the property. You know, the level of construction and the market. The product takes a good culture, you can’t do good work without a good culture. d. It really depends on the person who owns the company, they’re who sets the culture. Then the process is the one thing that is different across the board. I think that our process is second to none. We have a great team, we focus on relational building.
Luke: So what goes into building a home like this? Are you designing and building this all yourself?
Ryan: When you’re building these big beautiful homes you can’t do it alone. You need to have a good team around you, and you need to know your subcontractors. This home was blessed, we had Mike Stauffer as the architect for this home. He’s a renowned architect here in town. He’s got a great reputation, does an amazing job.
Then there’s the owners, they’re a part of the team too. You have to be able to connect with them.
We can’t build these homes without the owner’s input. When it comes to their selection items, their input really sets the style of the home.
Putting a good team together is the only way to have a great product in the end.
Luke: Before we dive into talking about this house, are there any projects that you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
Ryan: We have a lot of challenging projects around town. We’re doing a restaurant downtown right now, it’s over the water and it’s a very, very extensive build. Of course that’s a lot of fun.
Then we have a lot of neat single-family homes, a few ocean fronts, a few intercoastal fronts. We’re very blessed to have the ability to connect with some of these clients, they’re building some pretty impressive things. I’m excited about all of them.
Luke: So let’s get to this property, 7454 A1a. It’s currently for sale exclusively with the Newcomer Group. I mean this isn’t something where you get the permits and you build a house in nine months. There is so much that went into this home. When you combine the quality of construction with the quality of the materials, you get true luxury oceanfront living. If you were speaking to the person who gets to buy this home, what would you say?
Ryan: Whenever you’re building an oceanfront, the structure is in the forefront of the design. The magic happens when you can create a robust and structural building, and still make it feel elegant and beautiful. The ocean’s just on the other side of the dune, so you have to take into consideration all the possibilities that come with that. This particular home is built with a deep foundation, there are pilings that go deep into the earth. There’s a grid of pilings that are put into the ground 40 to 50 feet deep. I’m 40 years old and I’ve lived in St. Augustine pretty much my whole life, and we’ve never had an event that would require that type of structure, however it’s built that way in the event that there was.
It took probably four to six months to get the foundation right, to get all the retaining walls right, to get everything in place for us to go vertical, then that’s where the fun begins.
Luke: Aside from clearing the land and breaking the foundation, what upfront work had to go into this? It couldn’t have been easy, there are 100 feet of unobstructed ocean views, the unobstructed views of the intracoastal. What sort of red tape did you have to get through to get this home built?
Ryan: I mean you can imagine that whenever you’re doing construction on the ocean like this, there’s several layers of governmental agencies that you have to go through. There’s all sorts of legwork that goes into getting the documents in order and to get the approval to even start construction. Luckily the architect that this client used was very organized and very good at his craft, so he handled most of that work. There were probably six months worth of red tape to go through in order to get the approvals just to go vertical. Surveyors had to come out on a regular basis to double check and make sure we’re all in order. This was not my first oceanfront home, but since we’ve completed it we’ve done 3 others on Crescent Beach. Since this home we’ve kind of become the guys to call for this area.
Luke: Did everything go as planned?
Ryan: You know, whenever you’re building a home like this you know you put it on paper and you think it’s going to go just like that. Inevitably there’s going to be challenges that come up during the construction process, we change orders and all sorts of different things.
Luke: That’s natural, you want to deliver a product to someone that they’re going to totally love. I mean listen every square foot of this home is utilized to perfection, every little detail has been accounted for. It is one of my most favorite homes on the entire island and I’m not just saying that because this is my listing and I want to sell it, it’s a staple for sure. What are some of your favorite finishes on this property?
Ryan: I think the floor plan is fantastic, it really utilizes the views perfectly. The clients were easy to work with when it came to their selections, they had an idea in their mind of what they wanted to accomplish here, and they took the lead on making their selections. They made some really great choices. I think that the media room is one of my favorites, especially when the owner turns up the volume in there. I saw a couple of war movies there after we closed and it’s quite a thing to listen to.
Luke: I love that. Let’s talk about energy efficiency. Is this home energy efficient? Is it a smart home? Any features that you can elaborate on?
Ryan: There’s two or three ac units, they’re high efficiency units. They were state-of-the-art at the time that we purchased them. The windows and doors are typically a source of heat gain here in Florida, that we built the home a few years ago um so that makes a big difference they also the windows and doors are a huge source of heat gain here in florida so they’re high impact windows. Then of course the insulation, everything’s spray foamed so it’s a very energy efficient home. It was built way above current code standards for energy efficiency because it was very important for my clients.
As for being a smart home, I know that it has quite a sound system. There’s a lot of stuff you can control from your phone. We started the infrastructure, we put all the wiring in place. Then the owners contracted with a company here in town that listened to their needs and wants. They handled all the smart capabilities.
Luke: Getting out of the house, of course the views are incredible but there’s your own private boardwalk to the beach. Can you tell us more about that? How it was built, the materials, the maintenance?
Ryan: It’s all ground-rated, pressure-treated lumber. It’s not just the run-of-the-mill stuff you buy at Home Depot. You could use it on a dock or in a marine type situation. As far as the layout is concerned, the clients were very adamant they would like to be able to take bikes back and forth. So what we did here is create a boardwalk that utilizes ramps more than steps, because there’s quite an elevation change. I don’t know the exact elevation but it’s likely over 20 feet off the dune.
Luke: When you’re this close to the ocean, I know that a lot of people are concerned about safety and security, what sort of features does this home have?
Ryan: I mean other than being out here in Crescent Beach where there’s a lot of nature around us, there also is a perimeter wall around the building and then we have a gate out front. There are super high impact windows, if you needed to break into this home and everything was locked up, you would have a heck of a time breaking through this glass. Solid core doors, the windows are thick, I mean this, if you’re not supposed to get in, you’re not getting in.
Luke: What’s your favorite thing about this home? I know one of my personal favorite things about this house is the outside sets the tone for when you come in. You drive by this place and it’s just beautiful. There are brick pavers leading up to this grand staircase, there’s lush vegetation everywhere, the outside sets the tone for the inside. And the inside sets the tone for the back.
Ryan: I have to agree with you. I see a lot of the finishes. I see a lot of kitchens. I see lots of bathrooms, and I love this home.
Luke here again,
There’s just so much more to this interview then I could ever fit onto a blog. More about the structure, more about the layout, more about the finishes. Ryan and I really talk about and show you every detail in this home, so please check out the video.
This home is currently on the market so if you’re interested in touring or purchasing please reach out, we’d love to show you Ryan’s work in person.
You know, this home is truly a testament to our values. We’re the Newcomer Group, where exceeding your expectation is our standard.