Sky House Company – Banner Elk, Avery County, Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina

March 20, 2024

Sky House Company

The Sky’s the Limit


Specializing in architecturally-driven personalized homes that push boundaries.

Standing out from the construction competition, Sky House provides the passion, connections, resources, and confidence required to build the fine custom homes expected and deserved by clients in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina (NC).

Whether the venture involves a first or fifth residence, the company acknowledges each project as an endeavor deserving of undivided attention and respect.

Sky House guides the buyer to make decisions that transform a house into a home, transcending it from a mere structure. With the confidence and experience to offer honest feedback, the firm uses the highest quality materials and the most efficient building practices.

Fueled by passion, the company maintains the drive needed to show up when other builders will not. Sky House tackles plans driven by architecture, embracing each challenge with enthusiasm. With proven expertise and impressive projects under its toolbelt, Sky House is only looking upward.

Driven by Legacy

Jeff Pell, Founder, and President of Sky House, L.L.C., holds a connection to the construction industry that spans generations, rooted in a lineage of builders, roofers, and painters.

Pell earned the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA) Exam credentials and serves as the licensed qualifier for Sky House in North Carolina and Tennessee. Although recognition came, the path to success took surprising turns.

After completing college near Asheville, Pell returned to Banner Elk, eschewing office work for hands-on endeavors. “I decided a desk was not the ideal way to spend my day. So, I got back into the trades and the family business,” states Pell.

Joining his Uncle Fred’s enterprise, Pell Painting, the recent graduate dove into projects.

Expanding his horizons, Pell partnered with a skilled laborer, offering a comprehensive suite of services catering to general contractors. Pell says, “The work volume exposed us to different builders’ methods. I took the finest from them, along with what I could do better.”

Pell’s vision quickly transformed into reality and Sky House launched in 2015.

Growth and Market Trends

Collaborating with his older brother David, the venture rapidly flourished. With unwavering dedication and thoughtfully nurtured relationships with interior designers and architects, Pell emerged as the primary contact for labor needs. This marked a pivotal moment that propelled Sky House towards brand creation, and the organization continued its upward trajectory.

Until getting married two years ago, Pell worked 16-hour days, seven days a week, playing contractor by day, and office administrator by night. “Before that, Sky House was my primary concern. That is all I did because I enjoyed it. And, when the buck stops, and you are the only guy…”

Pell, as head of production, sales supervisor, and qualifying consultant, recognizes having systems and checklists in place before hiring is important. “A hiring strategy ensures a recent employee promptly assumes the workload.”

Still conducting the first Zoom consultations, project cost analyses, and scheduling crews, Pell now has the freedom to be the chief editor, creative director, and problem solver. “Everyone still calls with issues or complexities. I come up with quick solutions and the team oversees things from there,” explains Pell.

As a board member and past president of the local home builder association, Pell studies trends. “In 2020, we expected the industry to slow down, but the opposite happened. Here, the economy is insulated from other markets.” Banner Elk flooded with people no longer working in brick-and-mortar offices. “Remote employees want to live in a beautiful place.”

Personal timelines are another aspect dictating the trade. Clients plan retirement for decades and market or interest fluctuations do not deter them.

Development Specs

The average build cost is $1.8 million and ranges from 3,500 to 5,000 square feet, with four bedrooms and four bathrooms. Generally, residences are vacation or retirement properties, so the plan facilitates the function.

Lower-level walkouts become recreation rooms, family rooms, and garages. Clients desire luxurious ensuites in each bedroom, complete with full baths and walk-in showers. To accommodate this, Pell steals space from the closets. “Since used for short-term stays, these rooms do not need enormous closets. Storage tends to be smaller like in hotels.”

For residents not occupying the premises, full-time security and maintenance become issues. The company provides control and peace of mind by installing water leak detection and Wi-Fi-controlled HVAC systems to monitor vacant properties, providing control and peace of mind.

Building a home nestled in the mountainside presents distinct challenges, such as the worksite layout (establishing supply placement and storage and reaching sections with restricted access). “We install temporary level pads to get in the cranes and to maneuver resources to another part of the structure,” states Pell.

Sky House combines the tried-and-true methods passed down through generations with research and technology to make efficient dwellings. As energy conservation codes strengthen, Pell stays fluid, matching products with new requirements. “Energy code updates will continue to happen. In the next five years, we expect a blower door test will be required to measure the structure’s tightness and consumption.”

At an elevation of 3,895 ft (1,187 m), Banner Elk lays deep inside a wind zone. Surrounded by Mount Mitchell and Grandfather Mountain, the town gets hit with 150 mph (241 kph) wind gusts. In 2020, Hurricane Isaias made landfall in North Carolina, bringing heavy rain, fierce winds, and storm surges to coastal areas.

When excavating high in the Blue Ridge range to access the magnificent views, the biggest unknowns happen when breaking ground. Uncovering and discovering what is inside the granite requires a large rock hammer, or the occasional need to blast. Pell says, “Once we have the rock and pad leveled, the house gets tied into the mountain. We pour concrete directly on top of that mountain.”

Developing structures in precarious elements requires reliable designs and materials. Trusted Partners and Vendors

Collaborating with architects and interior planners whose visions align is instrumental to success.

Sky House adopts two approaches to architecture. “If a customer wants a faster turnaround and designing every inch is not crucial, we team up with Moss Creek Designs,” states Pell. Moss Creek provides ready-built, 100% customizable plans and modifications based on client needs, as well as full custom blueprints.

Local architect, Bob Mann, Attic Design, L.L.C., is renowned for custom concepts. Pell says, “I cannot say enough about Attic Design. Bob has been doing his thing for a long time, and I have been fortunate to cross paths with him.”

Favorite designers include Pam McKay from Diane Davant and Associates and Hart White Interiors in Charlotte.

Vendors the company hires include Sierra Pacific Windows and Doors for quality inventory for the price point. By sourcing nearby materials, Windsor Windows & Doors in Charlotte earned a reputation as a trusted partner, and TimberTech offers a range of decking products to fit different budgets.

Buildertrend, a construction management software, streamlines communication with non-resident clients. Buildertrend offers a scheduler, forecaster, and daily logs to customers sharing the project’s progress. Client feedback shows appreciation for the emphasis on communication. “Every day at 4:00 pm, I start refreshing my profile to see the updated daily logs.”

In the dynamic landscape of custom home building, Sky House emerges as a curator of dreams and a facilitator of lasting connections. The company’s foundation is built not only by standing behind the work but also by standing beside the finest trades people in the high country.

The company’s unwavering commitment to quality, coupled with its extensive network of skilled craftsmen, sets it apart. With a passion that transcends industry norms, Sky House cultivates lifestyles, fosters relationships, and ignites the spark of imagination within the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Peering into the future, the company’s expansion into Tennessee signals a broader canvas for creating bespoke living spaces. Sky House’s dedication to guiding clients through the intricate decisions of home building reflects a unique blend of expertise and empathy.

With a pulse on architectural innovation and a willingness to tackle challenges head-on, Sky House not only builds fine custom homes but also shapes the narrative of elevated living in the vibrant communities it serves.


Sky House Company

WHAT: A skilled craftsman specializing in custom homes and renovations driven by architectural challenges.

WHERE: Banner Elk, Avery County, Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina



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