Building Together — A community contributes, Boys & Girls Clubs benefits

From left: Daniel Pietrzak of the Boys & Girls Club, publicist Mary Beth De Loache, realtor Sheri Hagerty, builder Dennis Fitzgerald, designer Chrissy Gupton, and Boys & Girls Clubs board chair Julian Williamson. Photograph by Catherine Nguyen

by Liza Roberts

The elegant brick house in Raleigh’s Country Club Hills rose quickly over the last several months. From initial concept to fully furnished showcase, the construction of the 6,000 square-foot, $1,999,900 residence on Granville Drive relied, as most high-end homes do, on an army of professionals.

But this time, those professionals aren’t profiting from their work. They’re donating it. Led by DJF Builders, which built the home, a group including the home designer, the realtor, and 18 individual interior designers have come together to benefit a nonprofit they believe in: Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake County. Together, the group expects to donate more than $300,000 to the cause.

“We wish we could do more,” says Dennis Fitzgerald, who had had visited similar charitable show homes along the East Coast with DJF designer Chrissy Gupton, and wanted to bring one to Raleigh. DJF Builders will contribute all proceeds from the sale of the home. “We couldn’t think of a worthier organization to benefit.”

The designer, Carter Skinner, also donated his work; the realtor, Sheri Hagerty of Allen Tate Realtors, is donating her entire commission; the interior designers (each of whom is designing a room) have contributed a fee and 10 percent of any sale of their design work. More than 30 other sponsors have contributed fabric, cabinetry, roofing, lighting, furniture, and more.

Adding to the charitable donation will be the sale of tickets to an opening night preview party on March 23, when the results of the collaboration will be on display. The house will also be open for ticketed tours Wednesday to Sunday in the two weeks to follow, when as many as 10,000 people are expected to visit.

The show home’s contribution will be a major boon to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake County, says board chair Julian Williamson. The nonprofit will use the funds to boost the organization’s programs, he says, and to “position the Clubs for the next decade of service.” Boys & Girls Clubs currently serves 5,000 Wake County kids between 6 and 18 with after-school and summer programs including sports leagues, academic success programs, and character and citizenship programs. Williamson says nonprofits like Boys & Girls Clubs need to get creative with fundraising in order to keep up with the needs of a growing population and a changing philanthropic landscape. “The more and more we talked about (the show house), we decided it was the right thing to do.” The timing was ideal: This year, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake County will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Realtor Hagerty, who at press time was talking to a handful of interested buyers for the house, says that when DJF asked her to partner on the project, she jumped at the chance. “We started thinking about what Boys & Girls does for the youth in our community,” she says. “We want to give back.” Potential buyers of the house do too, she says. They’re excited to think that their purchase will contribute to the community. “The buyer ends up being a partner,” says Fitzgerald.

The buyer also gets the opportunity to live in a custom-built house with floods of daylight from ample windows and French doors, an open floorplan, four bedrooms, a cedar shake roof, and formal gardens designed by Raleigh’s Frank Liggett. “The inspiration was a New Orleans carriage style house,” says house designer Skinner. Designing it, he says, was “a wonderful opportunity to work with everybody on such a worthwhile project.”

The breakfast room by Martha Schneider of La Maison is glamorous, but also designed for “practical everyday use.” The focal points are a blush pink chandelier, gold console, and lamps.

A powder room by Lisa Mende was inspired by our state, with colors that reflect the coast, the foothills, and cotton fields. Custom lighting is by Raleigh’s Louise Gaskill; wallpaper is by Charlotte’s Jill Seale.

The Warehouse combined several North Carolina-made elements for a bedroom with a tortoiseshell chandelier, navy walls, a velvet upholstered headboard, and velvet-trimmed bedding.

A colorful sitting room rendering from Tula Summerford, who created “a modern luxe office for the lady of the house, where modern meets vintage.”

MA Allen combined plum walls, marigold curtains, art by Alexis Walter of New Orleans, a Regency-style table, and white cheetah pony hair chairs for library that can serve as a study or intimate living room.

See it:

DJF Builders Designer Show House, benefitting The Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake County: 3019 Granville Drive, Raleigh, 27609

Thursday, March 23:
Opening night preview party with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails
Hosted by the Triangle Scout Guide to benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake County; 6 – 10 p.m.; Tickets, $100 at

Friday, March 24th:
Speaker series with design community influencers
Sponsored by Charlotte-based Brandshop; 9 a.m. – 12 noon; Tickets at  

March 25 – April 9:
House is open for general admission
Wednesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday 12 noon – 5 p.m.
Tickets, $15 in advance at; $20 at the door

Renderings from Madcap Cottage, which has designed the house’s spacious family room to evoke the island of Mustique with “a spirited dose of tropic-luxe temepered with continental chic.”

Show house contributing interior designers:

Alison Crawford Roane

Anne Wagoner

Betsy Anderson

Chrissy Gupton, DJF Builders

Colorful Concepts, Sally Williams

Danny Taylor

The Gilded Acorn

Green Front Interiors and Rugs, Patrick Casey

Katherine Connell

La Maison, Martha Schneider

Leigh Jones

Lisa Mende

MA Allen Interiors

Madcap Cottage


Southern Studio

The Warehouse

Tula Summerford