March 1, 2008
A crafts group enlists local artisans to create a one-of-a-kind dwelling.
HandMade in America has been fervently promoting craft in Western North Carolina since 1993, but this year marks the nonprofit’s first foray into real estate. In a novel collaboration, the group has partnered with private developer Biltmore Farms to construct the HandMade Home, a 3,700-square-foot model in Asheville showcasing the work of 100 local craftspeople. The house, which broke ground last September, is expected to meet the green-building standards of North Carolina’s Healthy Built Homes program and fetch $2.25 million when it makes its debut in October as part of the city’s annual “Parade of Homes.”
Founding executive director Becky Anderson hopes the project will spur other developers, architects, and homeowners to tap the region’s greatest resource: the 4,500 resident artisans making everything from furniture and lighting fixtures to tableware and rugs (examples shown). “We want to become the center of handcrafted homes,” she says. To make it easy, HandMade in America has produced directories featuring the work of and contact information for the craftspeople in its network. But Ben Brown, the project’s publicist, recommends that people considering such an undertaking think smaller. “This is the first project of its kind, and it will probably be the last,” Brown says. “With one hundred independent-minded artists involved, people are ready to shoot each other.”