More in Wilmore: Home offers one-floor, resort-like living

While the world bustles around it, McCauley Estates captures the stillness of the central Kentucky countryside. Cornerstone Homes builder Brent Tussey chose the building location because of the vast growth in the area—the Harrodsburg Road corridor that extends into west Jessamine County—and the natural farmlands that surround the development.

One of the new homes, located at 1004 Gallant Dr. in Wilmore, is a 3,495-square-foot model of the houses that will soon go up in the community: a sprawling ranch on a one-acre lot. Tussey said he’s received many requests from potential homeowners seeking one-floor living, and in an effort to keep up with the demand, Tussey developed multiple ranch-style floorplans for his clients to consider.

“We’ve kind of become the specialists in Fayette and surrounding counties for those (kind of) plans,” he said.

The home’s agent, Carolyn Wheeler of the Wheeler Group at Bluegrass Sotheby’s International Realty, said Fayette County just doesn’t have the lots to accommodate homes like these—so Tussey travels outside of Lexington to build.

“There are not enough builders to go to outlying areas like he’s willing to do,” Wheeler said of Tussey.

Tussey said he was often asked about the true cost of building a certain type of house. So when he started his company, he vowed to provide a transparent pricing system that empowered the owners.

“I launched (Cornerstone Homes) in 2017 to do that,” he said. “We consider the owners as part of our team. They’re very involved in controlling the cost. And we actually provide copies of invoices to verify the cost of their home. Everything is on the table, there are no hidden costs, and they know what they’re getting into when they agree to build the house.”

There are 18 lots in McCauley Estates, and each house will be a large ranch with an open floorplan and a substantial outdoor entertaining area. Although the new houses can be customized by the homeowner, Tussey said these things make the houses Cornerstone homes: the use of steel beams and pre-engineered I-joist floor systems as well as geothermal HVAC systems and 2x6 exterior walls, the latter two conducive to high-efficiency homes.

The house at 1004 Gallant Dr. was designed with comfort and convenience in mind—especially the kitchen, which features two refrigerators and two islands.

“It’s set up to where the chef has their workspace, then they’ve got the entertainment island,” Tussey said. “(My wife) felt every time she cooked Thanksgiving dinner, everyone (gathered) beside the cooking area. She said, ‘Let’s expand this out,’ and give the kitchen an entertainment space. So far, people who have looked at the house really liked that.”

The house also has three fireplaces, include one outdoors. The porch is an 18x20 covered space where the fireplace stretches to the ceiling, creating a cozy area to gather and enjoy the views of rolling hills.

“Outdoor living is one of the No. 1 things people are asking for in new homes. Out there with that big porch, where you can look over the farm behind it, it’s a relaxed elegance, a resort-like feel,” Wheeler said.

The house was finished with quartz countertops, distressed seven-inch oak hardwood floor, and extensive cabinetry—over 50 total in the house. The outside materials include handcrafted brick and stone.

“It kind of gives it an old-world look,” Tussey said. “(The houses in the community) will all have some form of brick or stone exterior.”

With a full-time draftsman and selection specialist on staff, Tussey said his company can connect potential clients with the right people when they’re looking to build a custom home.

“We have a lot of people who want to build a house, but don’t know where to start,” he said.

“One of the benefits of Cornerstone is that we can help design any plan for people when you’re not sure if you want to build or where to start with the process.”