Although Mark and Susan Hunt have launched a new home build and finish design company called SandCastle Homes, this husband and wife team has been building and renovating homes since they were married in 1999. In fact, some friends and clients refer to them as Coronado’s very own “Chip and Joanna Gaines.”
Their passion for home building, renovation and interior design began with their first home purchase in 1999 in Crown Point (near Pacific Beach, CA). They knew they wanted to live near the water and due to budget constraints could only afford to buy an old bungalow in need of a great deal of “TLC.” After gutting the entire home, this hands on couple proceeded to move walls, remodel the kitchen, the bathrooms, put in new windows, a roof, flooring, repaint the interior and exterior and tackle new landscaping.
Susan was surprised by how much Mark knew about home building. “He was our plumber, our electrician, general builder etc.” Susan told him, “you should have told me this when we were dating, you would have earned even more brownie points.”
Susan got her first taste of interior design with picking out finishes for their kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, etc. “We designed a kitchen with maple cabinets and green corian countertops. In our master bathroom we put in a neutral tile with a sea turtle accent tile. It’s fun to look back at my first interior design choices and see how much my coastal style has evolved. One thing for certain is we both knew that we found our passion. We would spend every free waking moment on our little cottage when we weren’t at our ‘day jobs.’ Neighbors would bring us Gatorade because they thought we were working too hard. It was sweet!”
As for their “day jobs,” Mark was a pilot in the Navy at the time (since retired) and Susan was a Senior Account Manager at Qualcomm. The Navy moved them around a bit but they still managed to renovate homes along the way. Finally in 2006 they were able to set down permanent roots in Coronado with their then four-year-old daughter Zoe and two-year-old son Jack. Growing up in San Diego, Susan remembers driving over the bridge and always feeling like she was on vacation in Coronado. It seemed like the perfect place to raise their two children when the time was right. And the bonus was Mark’s older brother Pete and wife Julie also lived here with their two daughters.
Zoe, now a sophomore at Coronado High School, and Jack, an 8th grader at Coronado Middle School, have grown up with homebuilding as a way of life thanks to their parents. “When they were young, we worried that they may feel disappointed about us building a home, living in it for a while and then selling it, moving into a rental until we built the next one and repeating the process a few times, but they have actually surprised us with being not only up for the adventure but excited about the process.”
About a year and a half ago, Mark and Susan decided it was time to take the plunge and turn their passion into a full time job with the launch of their company SandCastle Homes. They teamed up with an investor/partner and built two spec homes on J Ave. that quickly went into escrow before drywall was even up.
Mark and Susan not only build spec homes but are working with customers to build their own custom dream homes. Mark brings his analytical/engineering background to the build side and Susan brings her creative side to the finish design side of the business.
“We work well together….so much so that we have to remind ourselves to talk about something unrelated to home building,” jokes Susan. “This is not ‘work’ for us… it is truly our passion,” says Mark.
The bonus is when clients hire SandCastle Homes to be their custom home builder….they get the design services included at no extra charge. Susan shared, “There are so many benefits to keeping the build and interior design under the same company. There is never a disconnect. We are in constant communication and take into account design features even before we break ground.”
“We are so grateful for this recognition, but the greatest satisfaction we feel is the smile on our client’s faces when we deliver the home of their dreams. Whether you are in need of a custom home builder/designer or are looking to sell a home in need of ‘TLC,’ we would love the opportunity to work with you.”
~ Mark and Susan Hunt