Dollars Play Major Role In House Construction
Growing up and
working in Banks County (GA), Faythe Willis learned how to negotiate
a deal that didn�t necessarily involve money. �For years, we had a
catering business where we were always bartering,� she said.
And for the
past 20 years, Willis has put her horse-trading sense to work as an
employee of Tradebank, a company that connects business owners with
clients who want their services and have something to trade. In
August 2006, Willis became the owner of Tradebank of North Georgia,
based in Lawrenceville. Through the years with the company, she
stockpiled trade credits as part of her compensation.
members can swap their credits for goods and services they need. In
Willis� case, the need was for a new home.
months of negotiating deals on just about every aspect of the
project, Willis and her husband Jerry recently moved into their
three-bedroom, 2,600-square-foot, Mediterranean-style dream home on
3.5 acres of family-owned land in Gillsville.
�This was the
first house I ever built,� said Willis. �I got the idea for it
during a visit to Jekyll Island. We were sitting in a courtyard
surrounded by these arched openings, and I just loved the idea. So I
traded with an architect to come up with a similar plan.�
Willis built a
large portion of the house using the talents of roofers,
electricians and other construction experts who are part of the
Tradebank network. No money changed hands; instead, she used her
Tradebank credits for their services.
In the end, the
house was completed with Tradebank credits worth $116,000 as well as
$250,000 in traditional loans. Using the Tradebank network, Willis
estimates that she saved about $60,000 over what she would have paid
retail for the goods and services she acquired through trade.
Here's a look
at the features she acquired in trade:
one-story tan stucco exterior is a wide wraparound verandah, floored
with stamped concrete pavers (traded). The double front doors open
directly into the living room, with a raised, glass-fronted
fireplace (traded), cream-colored vaulted ceiling and pale orange
walls. The concrete flooring, acid-stained to different colors, runs
throughout the main living areas.
�I raised three
boys and was a slave to my home,� said Willis. �Here, I want
everyone to come and enjoy themselves and not worry about making a
By the arched
entry into the kitchen stands an antique hall table with mirror
(traded). The spacious kitchen has a long, wood breakfast bar with
tall chairs overlooking a double sink and pine work counters. The
area also includes a warming drawer, convection oven, double ovens
(all traded), a cooktop and hood vent and a second double sink under
the window. A wall-mounted gas fireplace (traded) has blowers that
send enough hot air into the room to keep it comfy.
From the living
area, double doors open to the courtyard between the wings of the
house. A water feature with a clay urn (traded) and pond anchor one
wall; an outdoor fireplace (traded) and gas grill sit under a
covered area at the back. Doors from the courtyard open into a
garden shed on one side and the master bedroom on the other. The
space is cooled by ceiling fans with palm frond blades.
lets us shut down entire parts of the house when we�re not using
them,� said Willis.
One wing of the
house holds Willis� home office, with French doors leading to the
side porch and a diamond pattern in the concrete floor. The room and
an adjacent bedroom also has a built-in Murphy bed hidden behind
double wood doors, giving the space plenty of flexibility for guests
and grandkids. The guest baths have stucco surrounds in the showers
and ornate cabinetry below the sinks.
At the end of
the hall is the carpeted master, with a dramatic vaulted ceiling and
three arched windows looking out to the backyard. The glamorous bath
boasts a large spa tub, a tiled walk-in shower with a bench, granite
counter tops and mirrors over the double sinks decorated with iron
floral patterns. A pass-through from the master closet allows dirty
clothes to drop directly into the adjoining laundry room.
traded with contractors who did the roof and gutters, electrical
wiring, security system, and a sound system.
�We were very
creative about how we spent our money,� said Willis. �By being
careful, we were able to get a lot of upgrades that we wouldn�t have
been able to afford otherwise � such as onyx tile around the living
room fireplace, the stamped concrete, architectural roof shingles,
the double ovens, the warming drawer and convection oven. And all
along, I had a lot of fun doing it.�
Tradebank is a
cashless commerce system that connects business owners and
professionals with buyers and sellers.
(This story was reprinted from the
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 17, 2008, �The Home That