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VIP at Home: The Johnsons

By Sadie Fowler || Photos by Erin Kosko

While many people may consider building a home to be an overwhelming undertaking, Ashley and Brandon Johnson consider it so much fun they’d gladly do it again. Thanks to help from custom builders at J. Wyatt Homes, the Johnsons have delighted in the process of start to finish in the two homes they’ve built so far in Murfreesboro’s Mirabella neighborhood.

“This is our second home here,” said Ashley, a pharmaceutical sales representative and Murfreesboro native. “Jeff Wyatt with J. Wyatt Homes built our first home in the subdivision on Mirabella Way. We lived there a little over two years when Brandon’s dad, who is a real estate agent, said he had someone who wanted to purchase our home — it was actually a family member moving here from out of state. We had been thinking about selling our (first) home and building another one, so things just worked out for us.”

The Johnsons have been married for 11 years and love calling Murfreesboro home. Brandon, who is also a native of Murfreesboro, works for Nissan. They both work a lot, and, whether for business or pleasure, love to travel. Some of their favorite places to visit are Hawaii, Cabo, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and 30A.

“We love the beach and are always down for an adventure!” Ashley said. When they’re home, however, they love enjoying their space alongside their two dogs, Daisy and Bebe. “We absolutely love Mirabella,” Ashley said. “All of our neighbors are amazing. We are a really tight-knit community, and we like that.”

In fact, they like it so much that after selling their first home in the neighborhood they decided to build a second one there as well. The process of building their current home, on Avellino Circle, began in the summer of 2016 and they have now been living there for 17 months.

“We knew when we built this home that we wanted a more open concept,” she said. “Another thing I knew this time around was that I wanted a bigger laundry room, which sounds weird. Our laundry room is one of my favorite rooms in the house!”

When the Johnsons build, they do so with entertaining in mind. They love hosting friends for birthday parties, showers, dinners and any other excuse they can find to have people over to enjoy one another’s company.

“What we like best about our home is that it serves as a place where family and friends can come together and have fun,” Ashley said. “In the summer, we have pool parties every Saturday. There is a standing invitation for all of our friends and family.”

When the Johnsons see their friends and family members smiling and having a good time, it makes all their hard work and long hours away worth the effort.

The Johnsons have a passion for entertaining, having built both houses with this in mind. “We love when we have a full house — it makes us happy,” Ashley said. “We could care less if my nephew is drinking juice on our white couches or if someone comes in the house with a drenched swimsuit.”

Ashley and Brandon also both love the process of building a home.

“We love it,” Ashley said. “Everyone warned us when we built our first home that it would be very hard. But we had the absolute opposite experience. Our builder Jeff Wyatt made the process so easy.”

They’ve now built two from the ground up. Ashley says they have enjoyed designing both homes with an architect, with Wyatt then bringing their plans to life. They have also worked with designer Holly Orr, with whom Ashley had a blast working on the home’s finishing touches — everything from selecting colors to going to market to buy furniture.

“A decorator makes the process easier,” Ashley said.

Brandon and his dad were able to do some of the work in the home, including our laundry room floor, which is a guest favorite. It is a brick tile laid in a herringbone pattern. They also laid the marble in the entrance, which is another favorite among both the Johnsons as well as guests visiting.

“That was really fun for Brandon to do and also a great way to spend some time with his dad,” Ashley said. “We’ve now completed two homes in the past five years. I would encourage people to build. It’s not as scary as everyone makes it out to be.”

In fact, with the right team, the Johnsons actually describe the process of building as one that’s a lot of fun.

Light-hearted, laid back and fun, the Johnsons love sharing advice with their friends about finding or creating the perfect home. If a family’s goal is to buy, Ashley recommends going for a house that jumps out and makes you happy upon seeing it on the street.

“Don’t look for perfection,” she said. “Unless you are designing and building a home, you’re not going to find one that’s perfect.”

The Johnsons advise having a short list of deal breakers; things that can’t be changed, such as location. Things like paint colors and cabinets can be changed, so do not make those reasons for not buying a house that’s otherwise what you want.

“If it’s perfect, but a little too small, get a bid to add on … And if you can’t find something you love on the market, don’t be afraid to build!” she said.

What matters most in a home? To the Johnsons, it’s not so much the home itself as the people who fill it.

“The biggest blessing of our home is being able to share it with others,” said Ashley, adding that they are always thinking ahead and that, in their next home, they’d like to have a pool house and guest suite. “Having the space to host friends for a long weekend or holiday party is what we like most about our home.”

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