The term “craftsman,” especially when applied to the art of building something with one’s hands, comes only with time, practice and the belief that something good can always be made better. Such has been the mantra and business model of Ron Harris, founder of Summerwood Homes in North Little Rock.

 

Harris, who comes from a line of craftsmen, launched the company in 1997 after years working for Entergy Arkansas in Little Rock. From the very start, it was a venture as personal as it was professional.

 

“My oldest daughter is named Summer, and my middle name is Woody,” he said. “We came up with Summerwood.”

 

From the earliest days of the company, Harris envisioned being the kind of builder that other craftspeople wanted to associate with, working shoulder to shoulder with people who were the best at what they did in various areas of construction. That vision carries through to today, and each category of subcontractor pushes the others to measure up by doing their best work at all times.

 

“We like to talk about Summerwood Inc. as not being just Ron Harris,” he said. “My trim carpenter has my painter’s phone number. I don’t have to sit there and worry about people not doing their job. Everybody calls each other. Everybody calls each other and says this is ready, this is ready, this is ready. Everybody has fun critiquing everybody else’s work.”

Beautiful appointments abound in every room.

Harris’ focus on quality and craftsmanship led the company into the realm of custom homebuilding, where he relishes the challenges of taking on whatever a client can envision in all styles of design and architecture.

 

“One of the things that we do differently is we just don’t go out there and do the ordinary. We like to take on these crazy designs and make them a reality,” he said. “We’ve done some really great houses in Rockwater in North Little Rock, for instance, that we’re really proud of. We also did 12 cottages for the city of Conway — the Spruce Street cottages across from Hendrix Athletic Field. It was a partnership between the city of Conway and Summerwood Inc.”

 

Harris’ attitude toward embracing challenges has found a willing audience among clients, many of whom are not only better prepared than they used to be at a project’s outset, but are not shy about throwing curveballs during the build itself.

 

“Clients today have done a lot of research, most of it being online,” he said, then added jokingly, “I would love to have a paragraph in my contract that says, ‘You’re not allowed to search Pinterest during this project.’ People get all these ideas, and they’ll say, ‘What about this? What about that? Do we have that in the budget?’ It keeps things interesting.”

 

A native of Pine Bluff, Harris studied electrical engineering at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, marketing at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, and business administration at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In addition to contributing to the area economy as a business owner, he has also directly served the citizenry of North Little Rock in his role as alderman of Ward 3, a post he has held since being elected in 2017. As he told the press at that time, he built a campaign the same way he builds homes: the old-fashioned way by walking neighborhoods, knocking on doors and attending community events to make personal connections.

Special touches, quality materials and unparalleled workmanship come standard in a Summerwood home.

“I like doing business in North Little Rock. It’s just a whole lot easier than in some places,” he said. “It’s actually kind of fun.”

 

Far from slowing down, Harris speaks with enthusiasm about the company’s most ambitious project to date, the Village of Maumelle, which he described as “our soon-to-be claim to fame.” The 13-acre development, located on Commerce Drive in Maumelle, will be a community within the community built with empty nesters and retirees in mind.

 

The Village of Maumelle will offer several upscale designs in two- and three-bedroom packages ranging from 1,800 to 2,300 square feet in size. The community will also offer a wide range of activities and features, including two dog parks, a clubhouse and pickleball courts. Additional services are slated to come online in the future.

summerwood homes

The forthcoming Village of Maumelle development will be a game changer in central Arkansas.

“Residents will be able to walk to the park and be close to shopping, restaurants, the grocery store,” he said. “Residents can even drive their golf cart to the Country Club of Arkansas to play a round of golf.

 

“Future development plans include shopping, movies and more entertainment. We’re even offering home care, home health care and private chef services to meet people’s needs, allowing them to age in place as opposed to going to assisted living.”

 

Compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and highly energy-efficient, the living units — which will include 39 single family homes, 19 quadruplex townhomes and several two- and three-story townhomes — have already piqued the public’s interest. It is a testament to the builder’s reputation and the public’s demand for quality housing and amenities within reach as they age.

 

“We pulled the first building permit on the 27th of February,” Harris said. “On the 29th of February, we sold it for $208 a square foot, and we hadn’t even dug a footing yet. That shows the kind of demand there is. This project is going to be a game changer.”

 

To see more of Summerwood Homes’ work and for complete details about the Village of Maumelle project, visit summerwoodinc.com.

 

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