Nutter Custom Construction
Inspired By You. Created By Us.
By Lalaena Gonzalez-Figueroa
Photography by Giovanni Lunardi
When Sarasota native T.J. Nutter launched his custom home company, he built upon an established foundation of excellence. His father and grandfather preceded him in the construction industry, though T.J. acknowledges that his early aspirations didn’t include following in their footsteps. “I pursued an interest in finance,” he explains. But after playing football at Tennessee Tech and graduating from the University of South Florida, T.J. quickly discovered that he wasn’t suited for the traditional corporate environment. While interning at a financial firm, he recalls, “I’d always eat my lunch at a construction site so that I could watch the progress of the project.” It didn’t take him long to realize where his true passions lie; T.J. left the financial sector and became a superintendent for a national builder.
His strong work ethic distinguished T.J. early in his career. He gained management and leadership experience as a director of construction, then as the Chief Operating Officer of a large homebuilding operation in Sarasota. The opportunities provided T.J. with the ability to build a comprehensive understanding of the complexities involved in the custom construction industry. Armed with this knowledge and propelled by an entrepreneurial spirit he began to envision his own custom residential construction firm, framed around his belief in creating a company that would cater to his clients’ unique wants and needs.
“I always knew that starting a construction company during a challenged market is a risky –but strategic- move,” states T.J. “If you can survive during tough times, then you’ll thrive once conditions improve.” It was a calculated risk; he carefully planned his move and, when prospects began to emerge in 2011, T.J. launched Nutter Custom Construction. The firm’s slogan speaks volumes to his approach. “’Inspired by you, created by us,’ means that we listen to what our clients want,” he explains. “Their lifestyles and designs guide our work. We take their dreams and visions and turn them into beautiful and functional homes.”
The process of replicating concrete structures from intangible concepts isn’t without its challenges, and T.J. is sensitive to the needs of his clientele throughout the homebuilding process. His presence is consistent, the foundation of excellent customer care. “You don’t hire a custom builder to work with his staff,” he says. “I don’t want to grow my business to a point where I become removed from my customers. It’s vital to the success of each project that I can speak directly to my client at any time, and that I am available to answer questions and address concerns.”
He believes in cultivating lifelong relationships, and T.J. explains that the secret to longevity is communication. “I want to ensure that I’m the right fit for each client, and the way to ascertain that is by listening,” he says. “Only by hearing their ideas and truly understanding what they want can we help them achieve their goals.” All too often, T.J. notes, it is the insignificant-seeming details that can make a difference in a builder’s ability to build a client’s dream.
“What does it mean when a client says, ‘I like wood’?” he poses. “It takes a certain intuition, an understanding of the individual’s lifestyle and motivation, in order to truly understand what the right home will look and feel like.” T.J., who majored in Interpersonal Communication in college, explains that his background allows him to connect more effectively with his clients and colleagues. “Construction is a language all its own,” he says. “Sometimes you have to translate for a client and you want to ensure that you’re not losing the integrity of the message.”
While he has become lauded for his high-end custom homes, T.J. notes that his projects are driven by the uniqueness of their qualities, rather than price points. “My interests lie in creating residences that are distinct, sustainable, efficient and structurally sound,” he says. “Our primary criterion is that every home we build must be done with integrity and purpose.” He connects with homes on an intuitive level, understanding how to achieve functionality and aesthetics with each project. “I like to see how floor plans will work in my clients’ lives,” explains T.J. “I want to know that a home will adapt to its surroundings and will minimize its impact on the environment. The most beautiful plans on paper won’t translate if a home doesn’t make sense with the space around it.”
In over 15 years of local experience, T.J. has cultivated solid relationships with the region’s most skilled and dependable subcontractors. These individuals, he says, provide the support his company needs to maintain a thriving –and diverse- client base. “We strive to maintain consistency not only in the quality of our work, but in the experience and satisfaction of our clientele,” he says. “We’ll do the best job we can, every time, in our attempts to exceed each client’s expectations. At the end of the day, it’s their home we’re building. We never lose sight of that.”
Enhancing the work performed by Nutter Custom Construction is the talented design service offered by T.J.’s professional partner Sybill L. Johnson, an accomplished interior designer. Her personable nature and client-centric approach are in keeping with T.J.’s lofty standards; Ms. Johnson’s on-site showroom and concierge service ensure that clients achieve every detail of their dream residences. “Thanks to our interior design center, we are able to provide homes that are move-in ready,” states T.J. “From towels in the bathroom to silverware in kitchen drawers, we can customize residences to each individual’s needs.” This, he adds, is particularly helpful to the company’s overseas clientele. “We have gone so far as to have refrigerators stocked for new homeowners,” notes T.J. “We do what it takes to care for our clients at every level.”
Beyond his professional commitments, T.J. is a family man who thrives on outdoor activities. The Nutter clan is particularly fond of salt water sports including boating, diving and fishing. “Balance is so important,” reflects T.J. of his time outside of work. Though running his company is a demanding endeavor, he asserts that “it is critical to find a place for family, faith and fun in addition to work.”
Nutter Custom Construction handles custom residential building and renovations throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte. Clients appreciate the knowledge, experience and quality that the firm provides, as well as the outstanding customer service that continues years after each project is completed. Their consumer base is diverse, but shares a common goal. “Our clients come to us because they want to achieve paradise,” says T.J. “Everyone’s view of paradise is different, but through communication and dedication we are able to turn their dreams into realities.”
Nutter Custom Construction’s projects are backed by T.J.’s vast industry experience and knowledge, along with a 10-year third-party structural warranty. A licensed home inspector, certified building contractor and licensed real estate agent, T.J. is well-versed not only in the elements of construction, but in how to maximize property values and achieve long-term returns. He is an accredited LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) professional and a certifying agent for Florida’s Green Building Coalition. Active in his professional community, T.J. has served on the advisory boards of regional vocational institutions, was the 2011 Chairman of the Sarasota County General Contractor License Board, and has been involved with the City of Sarasota Historical Preservation Board. He is a past president and lifetime director of the Manatee/Sarasota Homebuilders’ Association.
Copyright © 2012 REAL Magazine
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Photography used under license from Giovanni Lunardi Photography
Photography Copyright © 2012 Giovanni Lunardi Photography