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The blueprint of a home, and a headshot of Valery Tucker, President of Stonebridge Homes, Inc.

Meet Our Newest Golden Oak Homebuilder

As our community has taken shape over the past 5 years, we've shared a number of conversations with our Golden Oak homebuilders. With the coming of the new Kingswell neighborhood, the timing is ideal for a conversation with Valery Tucker, President of Stonebridge Homes, Inc.

 

Valery and her husband Gary Tucker and partner Todd South have been building distinctive homes in Central Florida since 1996. Widely admired and accoladed, this year Valery was named a Business Owners of the Year honoree at Orlando Business Journal's 18th annual Women Who Mean Business awards.

 

As President of Stonebridge Homes, Valery's primary responsibility is liaising with the clients throughout all phases of building each new home, from plan design and interior selections through completion. Here are some highlights from our interview with her.

 

Q: At Golden Oak, we are all about celebrating family and the magic at Walt Disney World Resort. Tell us, how does tradition play a role in your company?

A: It's at the heart of how we turn a house into a home. One of our talents is incorporating our clients' personalities, lifestyles and tastes into special spaces and features for the family to enjoy. These become their places where precious moments happen, where family memories and traditions are made. We always tell our clients that in the end, a house has to not only look good, but emotionally feel good to them.

 

Bringing that all together hinges on getting to know our clients, learning what they like doing and how they feel about it all, so we can envision them living in a home they love.

 

Q: What are some examples of how you apply this to your clients' homes?

A: We had a great time being creative with a client who is a retired helicopter pilot and has a lifelong love of aviation. For the home theater room, we brainstormed an adventure theme inspired by the Indiana Jones films, with a 20-feet-long sculpture of the nose of a propeller plane. It looks like it's coming right through the wall. The bar alcove is horseshoe-shaped, as is the ceiling above that's painted with a treasure map. The clients named the islands on the map after their children and even included ours as well! The adventure theme really captures the husband's unique style and joy of life.

 

Another example is we always try to include a big island in the kitchen area for the kids to hang out, since it's a natural area to come together. We also like to incorporate in the house a cozy niche with a bench for kids to read, daydream and play. We'll work with our clients and designers and artists to create a spot with special touches chosen just for them. For a lot of clients, we'll do the same for the family pet—a comfy niche to take a nap or get cuddles.

 

Q: It sounds like you have a good sense of how to blend in the personal and the practical. Would you put it that way?

A: Absolutely. You could say that is one of our signatures. It's very natural for me to apply a woman's perspective to the design and build of our homes. I make sure that many of the things that are common sense to women and moms don't get overlooked. Simple things that can make life so much easier, like the best place for the laundry baskets to go, remembering to include electrical outlets for the holiday decorations and considerations for young children or older family members.

 

Q: When clients compliment your company, what most often stands out?

A: The personal attention that we give them. We care; we get excited along with them. We listen; we're accessible. We're constantly asking ourselves, what can we do to meet their expectations, and even beat them? We are the ones on the job site—my husband and myself—turning the vision into a home. If a client needs us, has a question, they call us and we talk it through.

 

It sounds so basic, but being a good listener and organizer makes such a difference. I was a schoolteacher before joining my husband fulltime in this business, and know from experience that both of those skills are critical to helping our clients achieve their vision of their dream home. We start with breaking down the process into phases and steps and walking clients through each. We set mutually agreeable expectations and listen to their needs and concerns in a constructive way from start to finish. It makes everybody comfortable with the whole process and outcome. It's our tradition to make the process enjoyable! When our clients have long been in in their home, we inevitably get a phone call saying they miss us!

 

Q: Golden Oak homes feature some beautiful interpretations of architectural styles. Tell us your favorite example of architecture in the Walt Disney World theme parks, and why. Plenty of our readers have their favorites.

A: I love Cinderella Castle. It is majestic and magical. It exudes warmth and excitement, strength and sparkle! No matter how it is decorated or is lit, whatever time of year, there's nothing like walking down Main Street U.S.A.® and seeing that castle.

 

The same is true for the homes we build. We want them to feel majestic, strong, and make our clients excited to be home!

 
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