By Anna Robertson Ham
In Williamson County, new developments, housing and renovations of existing homes takes place more often now than in years past. The county is growing by leaps and bounds, and many in the industry have relocated to the area to be a part of the growth and transition. Matt Christensen and his wife, Kara, brought their business to Williamson County and have immersed themselves not only in home building and renovations, but also into community organizations and efforts.
Garden Gate Homes was created in 2009 after Matt was laid off by another builder due to the recession. “My wife and I had built and remodeled houses over the years and knew we offered a higher quality home with unique design concepts, setting them apart from the ‘cookie cutter’ homes many home builders produced,” explains Matt. “Even though the housing demand was reduced drastically at the time, we felt God was leading us to step out of the boat and do it on our own. So, we jumped in with all four feet and here we are.”
Growing up in Illinois, Matt’s father was a school teacher and had the summers off. Between Matt and his four brothers, that came free labor for his father’s endeavors over the summer months. “Every summer, he had a major project for us, whether it was a new build or a remodel. We even took down barns together, way before it was popular to do so, and built our family home where my parents still reside today. My dad was then and is now an awesome role model for me and my brothers,” says Matt.
This work with his father and brothers instilled in Matt the desire to create, but with a mindset that there are important factors to consider. “Location, location, location is charm, charm, charm,” he says. “We strive to make each home unique in its character and historical style, always hoping to add to the quaint aesthetics that make downtown Franklin so special. From working with the architects, to finding old materials we can reuse in the design, to using local craftsman to create things that help make a house a home – to us it’s more like a work of art.”
“I am most proud of a duplex we built in town that we use for a short-term rental. Not only has the house improved the street’s charm and appeal, but it also offers me the opportunity to welcome visitors to Franklin. The guests have loved the ‘home away from home’ feel of the design and the ability to walk to Main Street and festivities. Since this adds to their overall experience in downtown Franklin, it is what I am most proud of,” Matt says. “We are currently working on a neighbor’s house, the home of Van and Jane Montague, which is an Italianate style home built in the 1870’s. Van went home to be with the Lord in 2016 and Jane sold us the home thereafter. We absolutely loved having them as neighbors, especially the richness of their life stories and the history of Franklin shared with us while we visited, so we are taking special care to ensure this renovation is exceptional in honor of them.”
Matt feels that the best part of working in Williamson County and especially the Franklin area, is the opportunity to build relationships with such great people. “I get to work and interact with all kinds of people in my business here – from the City officials, to all the craftsman, to all the neighbors and homeowners – and these relationships by far, are the most fulfilling part of the job.”
When it comes to what makes Garden Gate Homes stand out and unique to other builders, Matt says that it is “hands down” his wife. “They don’t have her and I do. She puts a ton of thought in every decision she makes. We both try to make every decision based on what would best suit our needs as a family and how we would live in the house. It can be very tedious and holds up the schedule a bit but the end results are awesome.”
Both Matt and his wife have rooted themselves into our community and not only work hard but enjoy being a part of what makes Williamson County so welcoming and special. “We are very involved with our church and serve our community through volunteering and leading small groups. I tend to serve with my hands, and my wife puts her whole heart into helping other women grow spiritually.”
To learn more about Garden Gate Homes, you can contact Matt at 615.456.5515 or email@example.com, or visit gardengatehomesinc.com.